If you’ve been playing etc for any kind of length of time, girlfriend probably can tell the difference between the loud, glowing sound the a steel-string acoustic guitar and the softer, warmer sound the a classical. And also if friend play a steel-string, you can want to try out timeless guitar sound without shelling out the cash because that a new instrument. However can you placed nylon strings on her steel-string instead? Let’s find out.

You are watching: How to put nylon strings on a steel string guitar

Why would certainly You put Nylon Strings on a Steel-String Acoustic Guitar?

If you’re hoping to switch the end your steel strings because that nylon ones, you aren’t the an initial to carry out so. In the 1950s and also 1960s music scene, lot of of people guitarists used nylon strings ~ above steel-string guitars. That’s due to the fact that nylon often tends to have a “rounder,” mellower tone the works especially well for fingerpicking.

But often, guitarists swap out their strings the end of pure curiosity. And also because changing strings doesn’t take it a whole lot of technological know-how, that something also novice players deserve to do.

Lastly, you might want to move to nylon strings if she a beginner through sensitive fingers. Beginning out ~ above a steel-string can be rough on her fingers. The understandable to desire to begin with nylon. However if you simply want a more comfortable playing endure for those early days, utilizing silk and also steel strings is simpler and easier.

Is It for sure for the Guitar?


Most of united state feel a genuine link to ours instruments. And also if you’re wanting to switch to nylon strings, you’ll want to make certain that the procedure is safe for her guitar.

Putting nylon strings top top steel-string guitars can be safe, but there is some risk involved. Lot of that risk needs to do through string tension. Steel-string acoustics have actually a string tension of end 150 pounds, while classic guitars have actually a tension of under 100 pounds.

That can not sound like a huge deal, however think about how differently steel and also nylon-string guitars have to be constructed in order come accommodate the tension. Steel-string tools come through a truss rod, a steel rod within of the neck the adjusts neck tension.

On many guitars, friend can access the truss rod either best under the soundhole or ~ above the headstock behind the nut. To accessibility the truss rod in ~ the headstock, you might need to unscrew a tiny piece the plastic first.

Most truss rods have the right to be adjusted with an allen wrench. Turning the wrench adjusts the stick to against the pull of the strings. Without that counter-pressure, her guitar’s neck is most likely to bow end time.

But what go that have to do through the security of the guitar? A steel-string etc neck is developed to respond to the high tension of stole strings. If you move to nylon there is no adjusting the truss rod, the neck is very likely come bow over time. That’s because the anxiety exerted by the neck is much, much better than the stress of the nylon strings. To avoid that native happening, you’ll desire to loosen her truss rod greatly so the exerts very small tension. Once you switch to nylon strings.

How execute You carry out It?

Before us run v the an easy steps you’d need to take in stimulate to placed nylon strings on her guitar, it’s crucial to incorporate a disclaimer. Most professionals will advise you come take her instrument come a etc tech, especially if you need the truss stick adjusted.

Simply transforming strings is for sure for also beginners come do, but if you make a mistake once adjusting a truss rod, you have the right to potentially cause serious damages to her guitar. Through that said, right here are the steps to take it if you want to placed nylon strings on her steel-string.

Choosing Ball-End Nylon Strings

If friend have any kind of familiarity with the classical guitar, you know that the strings are successfully tied roughly the bridge and saddle. Due to the fact that getting that procedure right takes part practice, nylon-string guitars can be tougher come re-string than their steel-string counterparts.

Metal etc strings have actually ball ends, which provides it therefore your leg pins have the right to hold them in place. Pins won’t work-related with traditional nylon strings, however they’ll work with nylon ball-end strings. These strings no enormously popular, but Fender, D’Addario, and Ernie ball (as fine as various other brands) perform offer them.

Installing her Strings

Some steel-string acoustic guitars have actually string-through bridges, likewise called “pinless bridges.” with these bridges, girlfriend might be able to get away through tying classic nylon strings. However, ball-end timeless strings space faster, easier, and an ext secure to install. To obtain these strings end the leg saddle, simply slip every string v its matching bridge hole.

For guitar through bridge pins, you’ll require to an initial remove each leg pin. Bend the wire slightly, around 3/4 of an inch from the ball end (this will help the cable naturally autumn over the saddle). Then, put the ball end through the hole. Change the pin, making sure the bottom of the is securely hold the ball-end down.

What If They don’t Fit?

Even if you do gain the ball-end nylon strings secured, you may uncover that the diameter of the heavier-gauge strings is too large to wire them through each tuning machine. This deserve to be extremely frustrating, and also there’s no easy way around it.

To minimize the danger of her nylon guitar strings being too big for your acoustic, try to acquisition nylon strings in the lightest gauge you have the right to find. Lighter-gauge strings room thinner in diameter, and also they tend to have actually a much more treble-rich tone 보다 heavier strings do.

If none of the ball-end nylon strings fit, you might take into consideration how bad you want to put nylon strings on steel-string guitars. In bespeak to obtain nylon strings come fit, you’d need to adjust the tuning devices on her guitar.

Adjusting the Nut

Selecting her strings and putting castle on is simply the first step in her re-stringing adventure. Maybe you’ve secured her strings v your bridge pin system and gotten them with the an equipment heads on her acoustic guitar, yet you watch that the strings are sitting on height of the seed slots rather than in them.

Steel strings room thinner than nylon strings, therefore it follows that the seed slots space thinner. To truly optimize the setup, you’ll should widen the seed slots. You’ll require nut files to execute this. The process is relatively straightforward, but if friend haven’t done it before, you might want to look for some guidance.

If you select to widen the nut slots, it’s necessary to realize the your steel-string guitar won’t play too if you switch back to steel strings. You should only effort this step if you intend to save nylon strings on the guitar for the foreseeable future.

Should You simply Buy an additional Nut?

You might think the widening the nut slots sounds tedious — i will not ~ buying a timeless guitar nut and also putting the on instead be much easier? The idea is tempting, yet classical guitar strings have broader string spacing 보다 steel strings. The spacing gives timeless guitarists much more room for facility fingerings. If you put a classic nut ~ above a steel-string acoustic guitar, it will (1) prolong past the sides of the fretboard and (2) do it for this reason the wire spacing is different at the bridge 보다 it is in ~ the nut.

That said, if did you do it been reasoning of upgrading her nut anyway, now would it is in a an excellent time to perform so. There space plenty of products out there that have the right to improve your tone — bone, brass, and composites favor Tusq or NuBone room all great choices.

Setting Up your Guitar

Once you’ve performed all the crucial adjustments and also have tuned up, try playing a little. In most cases, you’ll notification some buzzing, and also your intonation is practically certainly off. In order to make her acoustic guitar play well, the will require a setup.

Setting increase a steel-string guitar strung through nylon strings have the right to be a challenge, and if possible, having actually a etc tech execute it professionally is best. However if you do it yourself, remember the loosening the truss stick is crucial.

When setting the action, remember that a classical guitar generally has greater action 보다 a steel-string acoustic guitar. Because there’s much less tension top top nylon strings, they’re much more likely come buzz. If you collection your nylon strings at the same elevation as stole strings, play is most likely to end up being extremely frustrating an extremely quickly.

What Does that Sound Like?


As we stated earlier, steel-string acoustic guitars have actually a bracing pattern that’s designed for much greater tension. As a result, once the lower-tension nylon strings room strummed or plucked, the sound will certainly be a bit quieter and mellower.

Of course, ton is subjective, but you could find the you favor the sound. This is a pretty setup for individual musicians and fingerstyle players. Placing nylon strings on a steel-string acoustic outcomes in a warmer sound. If you have actually an acoustic-electric, her pickup will still work also with the various strings. That’s since acoustic pickups sense the cable vibration once each wire is played.

Depending ~ above your specific guitar setup, there room some potential tonal drawbacks. Because there’s an ext slack in the nylon strings, there’s much more risk of cable buzz once you play. Additionally, especially when you put them on, nylon strings have tendency to need regular re-tuning. New strings need time come “settle,” and during that period, be prepared to stop and re-tune frequently. This have the right to be frustrating to deal with, yet most nylon strings will organize tune relatively well once resolved (as long as her guitar has actually decent-quality tuners).

Also, you’ve most likely noticed that guitars with nylon strings don’t have actually pickguards. That’s because classical guitarists nothing play v a pick. Nylon strings aren’t necessarily created strumming — you can play them with a pick, but because they aren’t as durable as stole strings, playing v a pick will certainly wear them the end faster. Depending upon your playing style, that trade-off may or might not be precious it.

Is making the Switch precious It?

As you can see, switching your acoustic etc over come nylon strings have the right to be a facility process. And also if you desire your guitar to sound its finest with nylon strings, it’s not most likely to sound its ideal or be together playable if you make the switch ago to steel.

If friend really prefer the sound that nylon strings top top a steel-string acoustic, it’s finest to choose a guitar to convert and then store it through the nylon strings. Switching earlier and forth simply isn’t helpful in the lengthy run.

If you’re committed to the idea and have some extra money, you can be interested in “crossover” guitars. These tools effectively combine the qualities of steel and also nylon strings. They have actually nylon strings, yet they likewise have numerous of the playability functions of steel-string guitars.

Can You put Steel Strings ~ above a Nylon-String Guitar?

If you have actually a classic guitar, you might wonder what it would sound like with steel strings. However, this is not a good idea. Us mentioned over that the stress on many nylon-strings is fairly low. Thanks to the low tension, classic classical guitars carry out not have truss rods. There’s no method to gain the neck to offset the extreme pull native the steel strings. If you execute put on steel strings and also tune up, your neck is likely to bow or even break.

Of course, part nylon-string guitars (like those used in flamenco music) do have actually truss rods. That’s due to the fact that most flamenco players usage high-tension nylon strings for lower action and a snappier sound. Even though these guitars have actually truss rods, they quiet aren’t constructed to manage the excessive tension you gain with a steel-string guitar. In short, placing steel strings on a nylon-string guitar isn’t a good idea.

See more: What Is The Height Of An Object Above Sea Level, Unit 2: Section 3: Topographic Maps Flashcards

Final Thoughts

Some guitarists love the mellow sound the nylon guitar strings top top a steel-string acoustic guitar. Rather say it reasons string buzz and dampened sound. And still others would quite not risk damage to the neck. The an option is yours. But if friend do pick to usage nylon strings ~ above steel-string instruments, remember the the guitar’s setup requirements to readjust — both to protect it native damage and to do it sound great.