The fretboard on a classical guitar is also wider so it can feel a bit more ‘roomy’ which if you have larger hands might appeal. Last updated: June 14, 2019 by Nate 2 Comments. Classical Guitar Strings High Tension vs. Low Tension Strings Nylon Classical Strings Vs Steel Strings. Everybody is telling you the same thing. Actually, yes, you can… However, you can’t utilize “customary” Classical/nylon guitar strings if your steel-string acoustic is like most– where your ball-end acoustic strings are held set up with bridge pins. Like the steel string guitar, you must remove all the strings to restring your acoustic guitar. Never string a classical guitar with steel strings. Instead, you can pick up your favorite pack of nylon strings at a local music shop or off the internet. What this means is that it isn’t possible to use nylon strings for steel string guitars wherein ball-end acoustic strings are held in place using bridge pins. Without a pick guard though it may scratch up the guitar, trying using a thinner pick in order to minimise the damage it may cause. Classical guitars have nylon strings which produce a mellow sound while modern acoustic guitars have steel strings (harder on your fingers) which have a brighter tone. This enables the guitar to deal with high tension placed on it when using ‘steel’ strings. So it isn't a good idea since you are dropping the tension from steel strings to nylon strings . The knots on the bass side and treble side are a little different when changing classical guitar strings, so let’s take a look at one at a time. Small wins could be when you might surprise yourself and play something you were previously struggling with or play along with a song and it sound the same.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'midlifeguitar_com-banner-1','ezslot_4',111,'0','0'])); If you have a classical guitar and are playing along with a rock / pop song, in this example, then you might not get the same satisfaction using a classical guitar. Nylon classical strings are available in two formats: tie-on and ball end. In most cases their strings are not interchangeable. On the other hand, acoustic guitars use steel strings. You can choose to buy low tension strings. Very bad idea. A full set of steel strings applies too much force on the neck of classical guitars, potentially damaging the instruments. I’ll expect this is the reason you’re asking: Classical guitar strings don’t have these ball ends, and must be tied onto the bridge. 1 comment. This site is owned and operated by Luke Winter. Here are some photos for comparison. “Bending”, “Pulling” and “Pushing” strings to create changes in pitch in the string without moving to a higher fret won’t be possible using a classical guitar as it has nylon strings. What happens when you put acoustic guitar strings on a classical guitar? The answer to this question is an emphatic no. If you were to put steel strings on a classical guitar, chances are that you would bend the neck. If you put steel strings on a classical guitar, the excessive tension will warp the instrument. Midlife Guitar is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As we said before you need to make sure that you use nylon strings for classical guitar. If you are using standard tuning, the sixth string or the thickest one will be E. When putting a capo on, let’s say, the third fret, you will change the pitch to G. Of course, you could use any tuning you want, and place capo wherever you want. A truss rod is a steel bar or rod that runs under the fretboard, through the neck of the guitar. Required fields are marked *. Classical guitars are always nylon strings. A classical guitar has a flatter fretboard radius, so barring (making a barre chord) might feel a little different, but depending on your hand size and strength, this might even be an advantage. Use nylon strings ONLY. Log in or sign up to leave a comment log in sign up. Modern classical guitar strings are made from nylon wound with wire and regular nylon, while electric guitar strings and steel-string acoustic guitar strings … As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We also participate in and receive compensation from additional affiliate programs which we believe can add items of value. Classical guitars have nylon strings which produce a mellow sound while modern acoustic guitars have steel strings (harder on … This blog and my YouTube channel are dedicated to helping those learning to play guitar. This is probably the commonest reason for classical guitars ending up in dumpsters. A guide to changing or replacing the strings on your classical or nylon string acoustic guitar. If you plan to change one string, don’t worry about changing all the strings. Whenever I see it I cringe a little. The most important thing is that you use classical guitar strings (most commonly made with nylon strings), not steel strings (or regular acoustic strings). Copyright © 2015 - 2020 - - Privacy Policy. You should know that classical or nylon guitar strings have to be tied onto the bridge and don’t have said ball ends. The bridge being pried away from the soundboard. Here are some characteristics of steel-string acoustic guitars: Steel-string acoustic guitar strings are made of metal wire, some wound and some not. It is even sometimes recommended that you should loosen off your strings on a classical guitar if you are using high tension nylon strings. That being said, Willie Nelson has been playing country, blues and jazz for many years on ‘Trigger’ his Martin N-20 which is a nylon stringed classical/folk guitar. Evidently there is bracing inside the guitars that take the most common type of strings that classical guitars do not have. Honestly, I'm not sure what "folk" strings are, but as a youngster I put Wound steel strings on a Classical guitar and bent the neck really bad. The key is to choose the guitar best suited to the style you want to play the most. Here’s the thing, using the wrong type of string on a classical guitar or an acoustic one can end in a disaster. A typical set of nylon strings puts 83.6 lbs (37.9kg) of tension on a guitar. To learn more and get in contact, please click the button below. DONATIONS: LESSONS: putting new strings on your classical guitar. Acoustic vs Bass Guitar: Which is better for Beginners? save hide report. The extra tension added by the steel strings tends to make the neck warp so the the action becomes so intense that only the most callous finger can stand to play it for more than a few moments. This pain puts a lot of people off at the early stages of learning. This is perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about classical guitar. Oh, and never fit steel strings to a classical guitar. Securing strings to the bridge is simply tying a knot to keep the strings locked in place. In fact, yes, you can… but you can’t use “traditional” Classical/nylon guitar strings if your steel-string acoustic is like most–where your ball-end acoustic strings are held in place with bridge pins…Classical guitar strings don’t have these ball ends, and have to be tied onto the bridge. A classical guitar uses nylon strings which are softer on your fingers than steel strings on a steel string acoustic, and do not carry the high tension that steel strings are capable of. If you were wanting to do this because you like the size of your classical, then there are parlour sized and concert sized (smaller sizes) guitars that are made for steel … He certainly hasn’t any issue making it work for him! If you are playing rock / pop / jazz / blues etc there is no reason you cannot use a pick on a classical guitar. If you really want to play with steel strings you will need to get yourself a steel string acoustic guitar. Sort by. This is not just a recommendation, but a rule. Normally, nylon strings do not have a ball ending. However you can get steel string acoustic guitars with wider necks that may suit you better.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'midlifeguitar_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_5',112,'0','0'])); For example  Seagull (Canadian company who make fantastic handmade guitars) make the S6 which has a wider neck and is an excellent guitar. By Martin Möller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons, Filed Under: Acoustic Guitar String Selection, Care and Maintenance, Guitar Care Tuning Restringing, Restringing. Save my name and email in this browser for the next time I comment. This will put way too much pressure on the neck, eventually causing it to bend and crack. Your email address will not be published. In fact they produce roughly twice as much tension. We put acoustic guitar strings on an electric guitar and the results were not as bad as I might have thought they would be, but still not anything you would actually want. For classical guitars, you'll want to avoid buying steel strings. Your email address will not be published. A classical guitar on the other hand is designed with the intention of holding nylon strings – a much less burdensome task. If you’re a classical guitarist and want to switch to an acoustic guitar, I’m going to tell you the exact step-by-step process one of my classmates go through. Easy mistake to make though, when your new to guitars. Yes this is a no no. Get a cheap inexpensive nylon classical guitar… Therefore if you put steel strings on a classical guitar, you are more than doubling the amount of tension and strain that the classical guitar has been built to handle. The main difference that most guitarists will notice immediately is that the material of the strings is completely different on classical vs acoustic guitar. Thanks for reading and I hope this article has answered your question. When someone asks me if it’s ok to put steel strings on a classical guitar, my reaction is that of horror! Yes, however the songs won’t sound the same which may leave you disappointed. If it’s not yet clear – DON’T put steel strings on your classical guitar, unless you want to experiment with slowly destroying your guitar! Yes you can but you will damage the neck. Their quick-to-install feature is great, and as long as the ball end fits through the guitar bridge, you should give them a try. Yes you can but classical guitar is meant to be played with fingerstyle. Your email address will not be published. They tend to be cheaper but you can pay as much as you want to,  Ervin Somogyi’s models are probably the most expensive which start from US$35,000. The tension on steel-string guitars is much higher, and classical guitars are not built to handle that much tension. I assume by acoustic strings, you are talking about steel strings. Classical guitars, however, should not be strung with steel strings. Classical and flamenco guitars have six strings, the three bass strings look like wound metal, they have a nylon core and a thin copper wire wrapped around the outside. 100% Upvoted. Steel strings exert a lot more tension that nylon strings. I did some research to find out if it is doable and what the limitations might be. Required fields are marked *. The sound is mostly soft and warm, comparatively. Learn more about choosing nylon strings here, 21 Guitar Playing Tips Every Beginner Should Know, Tips for Learning How to Play the Guitar and Sing at the Same Time, Acoustic Guitar Stands: Ways to Keep Your Guitar When Not Playing, Takamine Serial Numbers: What They Can Tell You and How to Decode Them. Yes in general they are. Part of achieving your goals on guitar is staying motivated so it is important to have ‘small wins’. If you were wanting to do this because you like the size of your classical, then there are parlour sized and concert sized (smaller sizes) guitars that are made for steel strings that you can get like the Art and Lutherie Ami. Read more: Gillett Contour S. If you care about tone, buy a quality set of ‘normal tension’ classical strings from the likes of Rotosound, D’Addario or Dean Markley. Related: How to Choose Acoustic Guitar Strings. Both types are covered in our guide ahead. If you were to put metal strings on a classical style guitar, either the the neck would start to warp, the bridge would literally pull off of the top of the guitar or both! 10. When you buy Nylon strings you can actually buy them in different tensions – depending on what you like the sound and feel of and what type of music you are playing. Whilst steel strings are much brighter and produce a ‘twangy’ sound that isn’t achievable on nylon.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'midlifeguitar_com-box-4','ezslot_2',109,'0','0'])); Often beginners purchase a classical guitar because it is cheaper than a steel string acoustic but what they want to play is rock/pop music. Classical guitar strings are softer, no doubt about it so you will not get the same level of finger pain whilst you learn. How to Change Strings on a Classical or Nylon String Guitar Yeah – I’ve seen it/heard about it all too often! share. One of the main issues steel string acoustic guitar beginners complain about is the finger pain that they get from practicing. Acoustic vs. The nylon strings on a classical guitar have a plain end, which means you have to tie them to the bridge with a knot. Steel strings are used on electric guitars (so the magnetic pickups can read the vibration of the strings) and full-size acoustic guitars. They need to be knotted at one end when you string your guitar. Just make sure the guitar was made for the strings you put on as it can bend the neck of the guitar if they are the wrong ones. A typical set of regular-gauge steel acoustic guitar strings puts 179 lbs (81.3kg) of tension on a guitar. "Acoustic guitars" can be either classical or steel-string, but often people mistakenly use "acoustic" to refer to the steel string acoustic only. The answer of course was NO ONE, which is why those particular instruments always sat in the corner collecting dust. Your favourite songs won’t sound the same as you hear and recognise them. However, if you are interested in pop/rock/jazz/blues/folk to name a few then the sound on a classical guitar just won’t do it for you. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'midlifeguitar_com-leader-1','ezslot_8',113,'0','0'])); Steel string guitars can handle a lot more tension than a classical guitar because it has a truss rod and is built to use steel strings. The body meets the neck at the 12th fret. Whereas on an acoustic guitar, steel strings are used. P.S. A classical guitar is one kind of acoustic guitar. What we call “acoustic” guitar is made for steel and the classical guitar is made for nylon (used to be gut). Can You Play Acoustic Guitar Songs (Steel String) On A Classical Guitar? Remove any strings. You can play classical, country, or the blues. The treble strings are a clear nylon composite material. Depends on the type of strings that you will use on your acoustic. Yes, however the songs won’t sound the same which may leave you disappointed. Unwind the strings until the strings get loose enough to remove from the tuning pegs. Well actually it’s more of relief – relief that they asked first and didn’t do it first and then ask later. PIf you fingerpick, the steel string acoustic strings are also closer together so that might be a slight adjustment as it will feel cramped. This would permanently damage your guitar and it wouldn’t be reusable. If this is the case then you are better off purchasing the steel string guitar otherwise you will be disappointed in the sound difference. An acoustic steel string guitar is designed to take the extra tension of steel strings. If it’s not yet clear – DON’T put steel strings on your classical guitar, unless you want to experiment with slowly destroying your guitar! Each one creates sound through vibrating strings and a hollow chamber without electrical input. You can play an abundance amount of songs on the acoustic guitar actually. This is to save damage to your guitar. Your fingers will take time to build up calluses, so you have to start by playing a little at a time but often until this happens. A steel-string guitar has ball-end strings that are fixed with bridge pins. On a classical guitar, nylon strings are used. What Happens When You Put A Capo On The Guitar. If you mean steel strings, I already told you you can't in your other query. Damage may not be immediate when you do this but overtime the neck will likely bend and warp and the bridge could eventually rip loose from where it is glued which could take some of the rest of the guitar with it. Classical guitar strings are created to be used on, as the name suggests, classical guitars. Don’t make that mistake. Can You Play Acoustic Guitar Songs (Steel String) On A Classical Guitar? If you are talking about nylon strings, that is exactly what you should be using on a classical guitar. Some classical guitars may have a truss rod but they aren’t built for the tension that steel strings bring. The bridge is the part of your guitar that keeps the classical guitar strings secured on the body of the guitar. This technique, most associated with blues, country and rock, and which you do hear from acoustic players, even though the technique is more associated with electric guitars, can’t be done until you go steel-string. Steel strings produce even greater tension than high tension nylon strings so imagine the damage they can do to your classical guitar. Classical guitar is not limited to classical music. Steel and nylon guitar strings are not interchangeable.While you could experiment with them and make them work, it will take a toll on your guitar neck. If you look at the underside of your steel acoustic guitar and a classical guitar you will see a dramatic difference. The first thing to clear up is that the steel string guitar and the classical guitar are both “acoustic” guitars. This is the underside of the top of a guitar designed for steel strings. An acoustic guitar is one that is not electric. That means that steel strings are putting a lot more pressure on your guitar. When it comes to the tension you have more options. Secure classical guitar strings to the bridge. Otherwise songs won’t sound the same and it will likely put you off learning any further. Classical Guitars The first basic distinction to make is the difference between classical and flamenco guitars fitted with nylon strings versus steel string acoustics —the type associated with rock, folk, country, and blues. What Are Classical Guitar Strings? The classical guitar has a smaller body shape than regular acoustic guitars. If you really want to play with steel strings you will need to get yourself a steel string acoustic guitar. The tuning and fingering (position of fingers on fretboard) is exactly the same on both guitars.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'midlifeguitar_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_3',108,'0','0'])); However, whilst you can play the same songs on both, there are some key differences which change the tone and the ability to create sounds that are specific to each guitar. I have bumped into this one a few times over the years and always wondered (before I figured out what was happened) who the heck would ever want to play this guitar…..? Such a decision can be justified by creative aspirations if you are either willing to use a dedicated ‘nylon-strung acoustic guitar’ and are prepared to put in the work to maintain it. Nylon strings are also much thicker than steel strings and produce a mellow soft sound. We have a steel string acoustic guitar but my wife has an old classical guitar that she was given many years ago (the one in the feature photo).eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'midlifeguitar_com-box-3','ezslot_10',106,'0','0'])); She is now interested in learning to play but wants to play songs that feature on a steel string acoustic guitar. Many classical and folk guitarists do this and can be done whether you got your guitar for under a hundred bucks or if you own a high-quality, expensive classical guitar. Hi, I’m Luke and I am the founder of Midlife Guitar. They also don’t have fret markers and have nylon strings which makes a different sound to Steel String Guitars. eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'midlifeguitar_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_1',107,'0','0'])); So you can play the same songs on both guitar but there are other differences that will affect the sounds that you create, we explore these below. Change all the strings for consistent tone and wear. An acoustic guitar is considered one of the versatile musical instruments. The only strings I can find near me are acoustic guitar strings but I have a classical guitar. In answer to your question, you cannot put steel strings on a classical guitar. Your email address will not be published. There are a couple of major things that could go wrong if you fit steel strings to a classical guitar including: Leave steel strings for long enough on your classical guitar and it will become unplayable – if it doesn’t implode first! This will cause the neck to warp backward and the guitar will start buzzing all over the place.