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  • Nylon vs steel strings

    Posted by Juhan on June 26, 2021 at 7:36 am

    I need some advise. I have a Yamaha acoustic guitar and I want to do an ‘upgrade’. The Yamaha has steel strings, I want to know if I can put nylon strings on my steel stringed Yamaha. I then want to get a new guitar again with steel strings. Are there any difference between a Nylon stringed acoustic and a steel stringed acoustic??

    Any advise on what to look out for? Any suggestions on which nylon strings to use??

    I would really appreciate the advise


    Juhan replied 2 years, 10 months ago 5 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Loraine

    June 26, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Hi Juhan – I believe there is a difference between the guitars that nylon v. steel strings are used on. Nylon are used on classical guitars, while steel strings are used on acoustic guitars. I know you can’t put steel strings on a classical – It would ruin it. There are different tensions between the strings, which would effect the neck of the guitars. I’m sure others will be able to explain the differences better than I can.

    • Juhan

      June 26, 2021 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks so much Loraine 😁

  • Niv

    June 26, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Hi Juhan – What I’ve learned is that you can put nylon strings on the Yanaha acoustic, however, nylon strings are a little wider than the steel strings and you may have a problem with them resting in the grooves of the nut. Also the Yamaha may have a narrow fretboard which may impact your playing…My classical guitar with nylon strings is a little wider than my gibson or the martin. I do like the classical guitar for just picking it up and playing since I play fingers all the time…the classical guitars can not handle the pull of steel strings because they do not have truss rods in them, that’s why the fretboard will belly if you throw steels on a classical…Hope this helps

    • Juhan

      June 26, 2021 at 12:29 pm

      Hi Niv

      That makes sense. I guess I can exchange the piece where the grooves are cut into, or just file it to be slightly larger. But it won’t just be a straight exchange. The current guitar I have, does have steel strings on so I guess the tension wouldn’t be an issue. But then going from nylon to steel sounds like a definite no go.

      I also didn’t realise that there is a difference in width.

      Thanks for the thorough answer and advise

  • Cadgirl

    June 26, 2021 at 9:58 am

    @Juhan, @Loraine is right , the tension is a lot stronger on those steel strings. I just recently had a mishap with a guitar of mine. Those steel stings pulled the neck loose from the body of the guitar. I replaced the strings with nylon (classical) and now it’s in working order again (well, after a little gorilla glue, clamps and dry time). I have 2 guitars with nylon strings and it’s a LOT easier on your fingers when I practice. I also have 2 guitars with steel strings.

    • Juhan

      June 26, 2021 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks Cadgirl.

      I want to get another guitar, just wanting to justify it 🤣

      But yes don’t want to go though all of the effort and then its not worth it. I don’t mind the calloused finger tips, I just want something with a different sound. The nylon stringed acoustic (or classic then) seems to be the easiest way to achieve that.

      Appreciate your advice

  • Alisa

    June 27, 2021 at 7:11 am

    I’d recommend buying a good quality classical guitar with nylon strings instead of putting nylon strings on an accoustic. The nylon strings won’t ruin the accoustic but I doubt if it will sound good. They are not set up for such low tension, you’ll probably have troubles getting it tuned. I’m not an expert but I think that’s the reason why classical guitars have more distance between the fret positions, because the strings are much lower tension. I don’t see how you’d make it work on an accoustic. I might be wrong here, if someone is reading this and thinks “that’s BS” please correct me.

    Anyway, buying a classical guitar is a totally legit and justifiable move, different feel, different sound 😁

    • Juhan

      June 27, 2021 at 11:48 am

      Hi Alisa

      Thanks so much for the input and advise. I have already learners a bunch. Appreciate it

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