Can an Acoustic Guitar Have Nylon Strings?


This is a question that many beginners ask themselves when they are in the process of buying a new acoustic guitar.

Acoustic guitars can be strung with either nylon or steel strings, and there are benefits to both options.

In this article, we will explore why some people prefer nylon-strung guitars and what the differences between them and steel-strung guitars are.

So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Can you use Nylon strings on an Acoustic Guitar?

Yes, you can.

That being said though, if your steel-string acoustic guitar is like most, where the ball-end acoustic strings are held in place with bridge pins, you won’t be able to use “customary” Classical/nylon guitar strings.

Because classical guitar strings do not have these ball ends, they must be connected to the bridge.

To the rescue comes ball-end classical guitar strings. They’re popular with a lot of beginners or anybody who just wants to get the mellow, smooth sound of nylon strings on their steel-string acoustic guitar.

So as you can see, yes!

You absolutely CAN use nylon strings on an acoustic guitar.

But there are some considerations before switching from steel to nylon – and vice versa – depending on what your goals may be.

Now that I’ve covered the basics about whether or not a classical nylon string guitar is compatible with a steel-string acoustic guitar, let’s talk about the differences between them.

The difference between Nylon Strings and Steel Strings

The main difference between the two is that nylon string guitars are typically much quieter than their steel-string counterparts.

Steel-string guitars are known for their bright, loud sound whereas nylon string guitars tend to have a more mellow, sweet tone.

They both produce beautiful sounds but serve different purposes depending on what you’re looking for in your guitar.

For example, steel-string guitars are known to be used in a variety of musical genres such as country and folk.

They’re also well suited for rock because they can play high notes easily since their strings vibrate faster than nylon string guitars.

However, this makes them harder on the hands (especially if you don’t use fingerpicks) because the steel strings are thicker, harder to press down on.

Nylon string guitars have a wider range of tones and can be used for just about any genre you want – they’re perfect for playing classical music or acoustic ballads.

They also tend not to “feedback” as much when played loudly so if you play in a band or are performing on stage, you won’t have to worry about turning your amp up too much.

How do you put nylon strings on an acoustic guitar?

It’s very easy to convert your acoustic guitar from steel strings to nylon.

All that is required of you are the new strings themselves, some time and patience, a screwdriver or two (depending on what type of bridge pins/screws your particular guitar has), and some pliers for removing old bridge pin stringing.

Some steel-string acoustic guitars have bridge pins that are held in by a screw.

All you need to do is remove the old string, add two new strings (one on either side of the neck), and then tighten down the screws again.

However, other types of bridges might not allow for this method because there’s no room between where the string is placed and the bridge itself.

If this sounds like your guitar, you’ll need to purchase “ball end” strings (not classical) which will allow you to tie them on at the bridge without having excess length hanging out of it.

This can be done with pliers or a special tool that’s designed specifically for changing strings.

Again, don’t forget to do the opposite side if you’re putting on classical guitar strings.

They usually come in packs of six so just remember that every string has two sides and your replacement pack should contain twelve total!

It’s also important to decide whether or not you want “customary” steel-string acoustic guitar strings or the more mellow classical strings.

If you’re looking for a louder, sharper sound then go with steel-string acoustic guitar strings.

On the other hand, if you want something softer and warmer sounding that’s well suited to different genres of music, try out nylon string guitars instead!

In Summary

An acoustic guitar can have either steel or nylon strings.

Steel strings are a lot louder and brighter, whereas classical acoustic guitar strings tend to be quieter with more mellow tones that work well for playing different types of music.

Both sound great but it’s important to consider what your goals (and budget) are before making any decisions.


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