I am a guitar beginner. One day, I had a strange idea in my mind. I tried to post a question in a forum for guitar, ukulele, and mandolin lovers. the question was can I use nylon strings on an acoustic guitar? At that time, I thought perhaps many people would say I am so stupid. How could I ask a really strange thing? What are nylon strings? It’s an accessory to not use on an acoustic guitar.
However, several guitarists were glad I asked it.
In fact, this is an exciting way to help you find out the clear and appealing sounds.
While nylon string guitars are used for classical music, steel-string acoustic guitars are designed for rock and country music.
Do you want to know what will happen if you tie the best nylon strings on a steel-string acoustic guitar?
Let’s discover below:
What are nylon strings?
Before anything else, you have to have the basic knowledge.
They are an accessory of nylon classical guitars which are lighter than steel string acoustic models. Thus, never tie metal strings on them.
Can you use nylon strings on an acoustic guitar?
In fact, you can. However, there is a special case. That is if your steel-string acoustic guitar comes with the ball-end acoustic strings held with bridge pins in place, you can’t use the nylon strings.
How will you do to use them on an acoustic guitar?
Prepare ball end strings.
On the market, there are available many ball end Classical guitar strings for beginners. Whether you are a folk guitarist or classical guitarist, one of them can give you the mellow and smooth sounds.
When you tie them on a steeling-strings acoustic guitar, keep in mind the following notes:
- The strings may excessively buzz
- Their action seems very low
- When you fret notes or chords, sometimes the outer E strings will slip off the fretboard’s edges.
The differences between the nylon guitar strings and steel strings
Why do I want to change steel guitar strings with white nylon strings? How are they different?
In fact, they are the same in some features, but there are also many differences.
Do nylon strings hurt less? They are soft and gentle for your fingers to play which suits beginners because it doesn’t cause pains too much.
Steel strings require your high amount of pressure and a significant amount of force to fret notes correctly. If this is your choice, you may stand sore fingers.
Importantly, consider the kind of music you play.
The country, bluegrass, and rock use with steel-string guitars because of the crisp and bright tone of their strings.
On the contrary:
If you are interested in the jazz, classical and bossa nova sounds because of their light attack, nylon-string guitars are great. They can create the mellow sounds thanks to the flexible feature, especially, they produce less tension at pitch.
Their construction is different.
The nylon-stringed guitars have a small size and don’t come with electronics, fretboard markers or cutaways. Their necks are wide to add more room between each string. The body of the nylon string guitar starts at the 12th fret.
The steel-string guitars start at the 14th fret so it can help you reach the high-level frets and solo.
When it comes to this feature, nylon strings require regular tuning because of their soft material. That leads to being sensitive to humidity and temperature. Finally, it goes out of tune regularly.
The steel strings don’t require tuning as frequent as nylon strings.
When is it Time to Change Guitar Strings?
The short answer is every 3 months or 100 hours of use.
However, I highly recommend you change guitar strings more often for the frequent use. If you are a professional player, you will know when it is the suitable time to change your strings.
- Do your strings look discolored or corroded?
- Are they gritty or dry when playing?
- Does your guitar fall out of tune too often?
- Is your tone dull or lifeless?
If your answers are yes to one of these questions or all of them, change the new ones.
What are the main kinds of nylon strings?
Remember these 3 kinds including genuine nylon, fluorocarbon, and titanium nylon.
Which nylon strings are best?
You will pick up one based on your instrument, your technique, and the proficiency of the manufacturer. Please take a look below to know what is the best for you:
Genuine nylon strings
These kinds of strings are the most popular ones.
They are made from the combination of nylon material and 3 bass strings coated with bronze or silver alloy. They create the rich and warm tones although its volume isn’t the same as others. The benefit of the Genuine nylon strings is that they have more vibration than other 2 strings.
Fluorocarbon strings (carbon fiber)
Compared to the classical strings, the voice of the fluorocarbon strings is brighter. Moreover, they have a more volume and a very articulate tone.
In some cases, they get the intonation issues. If you play the instrument fast, they may lack sustain, but you can benefit from articulation. On the contrary, you get the brittle and unemotional sounds from slower pieces.
Titanium nylon strings
Depending on different manufacturers, the formula of the strings will vary. However, there are always 2 main ones: the titanium-nylon polymer and the polyamide. The latter has a repeating molecule chain linked to a certain kind of the chemical bond.
Compared to the first one, the sounds of these strings are brighter. According to some musicians, the titanium nylon strings also have more metallic sounds.
Buying guide of buying nylon strings
Make sure you know how to choose the best nylon strings. Consider 4 features of string construction:
Gauge mentions the thickness of a nylon string. The general rule is that the warmer the string is, the warmer the sounds are. In particular, it will create more volume. The thick strings are usually bright and easy to play.
That also means the nylon string will be stiffer. It’s more difficult to fret the string and execute heavy string bends.
To know the thickness level of the string, you can determine through the package. The smallest number shows the thinnest string, and the higher numbers show the thicker level. 12 is the highest one, but it can be higher, 10-11 is the medium level.
The shape of the wire.
It comes with 2 main kinds: hex core and round core. The former is louder and brighter, so it has more modern tones. Compared to round core string, it is stiffer.
The latter produces more mellow tones suiting the most with blues and classic rock. Moreover, it has more sustain than the former.
The string has 3 kinds of windings: roundwound, flatwound and half round. For standard guitar strings, you use roundwounds creating a bright tone and a textured surface.
Jazz guitarists use flatwound strings having a flat surface, producing so dark and understated tones. But, it’s not easy to play so not suitable for rock and blues.
Meanwhile, half rounds are the middle between the flatwounds and roundwounds. It is not appropriate for modern genres. Compared to the roundwounds, it’s more difficult to play, but they are brighter than flatwounds.
The standard guitar string is coated with a plastic polymer. It’s better to coat because your unit can last longer the uncoated strings. However, the drawback is that it tends to cut the high-end response.
The price of the coated strings will be more expensive.
How to tie nylon strings on an acoustic guitar?
What you must learn is the way to tie the nylon string to the bridge of classical and flamenco guitars.
For the best result:
You have to know how the strings hold onto the bridge.
It’s proper to twist around strings twice and three times for treble strings. To make sure the nylon strings are secure and in turn, what do you need to do? You have to keep the final loop pass under the corner of the bridge back.
Now, let’s go more in-depth in details:
Insert the string
When changing the strings, it’s effortless for the top to be damaged. To prevent it, I recommend you to put a post-it note on the top of your guitar, behind its bridge.
The nylon strings function flexibly due to one loose end which is used to tie into the bridge.
What you have to do includes:
- Slide one end of the string through a hole in front of a side of the bridge.
- Leave around 3 inches of the nylon string which stick out behind of the bridge.
Create a loop with the string
Create a loop with the string
First of all:
Tie the end of the string around the inside.
Wrap it under the string, and you have to be toward the bridge’s treble side.
Before twisting the string around, remember to wrap the end of the string under the first loop.
Repeat the previous step with the same motion one more time. This way creates the second of the two twists.
Pull the string tightly. If you perform correctly, the end of the string will be along the back side of the bridge.
Keep the end
After pulling, you should keep the string loose enough to pass the next hole. The next string wraps over the end of the previous one to keep everything securely and neatly.
What do you have to do in this step?
Pass one end of the string through one hole in its tuning machine. As a result, the end will point through the hole toward your guitar’s body.
Pass and loop
Pass the string’s peghead end up and behind its tuning machine. On the next step, it may be looped under the string.
Wanting to make the exact amount of slack?
Let you use your upright right fist to hold a little tension on the string.
At the same time, let you use your left hand to pull the loop tight against the roller. Keep the bend in the top of the tuner hole to lock the string in position.
Tighten the string
Try to wind the string toward the outside of the rollers and over its tail. Guide the string as long as it doesn’t rub on the peghead’s edges and is coiled neatly.
After that, you can tune to pitch. When it comes to this aspect, you should utilize a maximum of 4-6 wraps to snip the excess string end.
Let you pull the 5th string into position.
Before adding the next string:
You must tuck the end of the first string under the new one to tie it against the bridge’s back.
For every changing time of string, you repeat this step to ensure all of them are tied as neat to the bridge as possible.
When snipping the excess from the 6th string, you ensure its remainder shorter than the distance to the next hole. Finally, use the same way of changing the 6th and 5th strings to put on the 4th string.
Don’t forget to check:
After everything is done, let you check it. Use your thumbs and forefingers to stretch each one across the whole length of the guitar gently.
It’s better to tune all strings for pitching and repeating the stretching procedure 2-3 times.
Pro tip of using ball-end nylon strings
My guide is simple. What you have to do is only to follow my step by step. And you will have a successful result.
However, a lot of people think that it’s a little complicated.
I write this tip that is spent on the quite lazy people:
Rather than learning how to tie nylon strings, you consider the ball-end strings which have the end like steel strings. Thus, you have only some simple step to follow:
Feed one end of the nylon strings through the bridge. After that, wind the strings around the peg to turn them up.
At the end of the article
Can you use nylon strings on an acoustic guitar? Yes. This is even a great way to create the new clear and smooth sounds.
However, if you read my article because you are looking for ease, this is not ideal. Are nylon strings easier to play? No. This is not for you even it’s harder than a steel-string acoustic guitar to play.
Performing your song with an acoustic guitar tied nylon strings in the campfire activity at the weekend?
I am sure that your friends will be surprised. Therefore, don’t hesitate to try this method immediately.
Have fun and don’t forget to leave your comment in the section below. Also, Share my post if you see it is informative. There are many guitar lovers need your help.