At some point every guitarist will wonder about string choices, is it ok to put nylon strings on an acoustic guitar? how do they effect the sound of the guitar, how do nylon string feel, and how do they play?
All of these are very valid questions when selecting a new set of strings. There are so many different types of strings, and nylon strings are one of the popular types of guitar strings.
True, it is a little more uncommon to see nylon strings on acoustic guitar. But there is no problem with putting nylon strings on an acoustic guitar. Putting nylon strings on your acoustic guitar can be a nice change up from the usual steel strings you might be used to.
Typically, nylon strings are reserved for classical guitars. But show me the rule that says you can’t have some fun and I’ll call the cops on myself. If you’re considering putting nylon strings on your acoustic guitar, just do it, it’ll be a couple months of fun.
The last pack of strings I put on my acoustic Taylor guitar were ball-end nylon strings. It’s been a couple of months now and this is what I’ve found!
Can you use nylon strings on a non classical guitar
Yes, you can put nylon strings on an non classical guitar. In fact, nearly ever type of strings can go on any guitar, with a few exceptions.
You should know that most acoustic guitars will not be able to accept standard nylon strings, as classical strings are to be tied at the bridge, rather than a ball and pin.
Therefore, check out what strings you’ll need and get “ball-end” nylon strings should you have a bridge with bridge pins.
Are nylon or steel strings better for acoustic guitar
No string can be said is better for a guitar. As strings impact the sound and that to a great extent is subjective to the listener. That being said, if you wanted to get super technical, you should probably stick to the type of string that comes standard for your guitar.
You could argue that some strings vary in tension, or steel strings are more abrasive on the frets, but all those are minor variables and are not make or break.
Classical guitar strings have been around or a long time, or have steel-string guitars. They’ve had time to come up with improvements of the years. Chances are the manufacturers know a thing or two about what will be the best string for your guitar.
Should Beginners start with nylon strings
One nice thing about nylon strings, is that they are easier on the fingers. That’s right, nylon strings don’t hurt as much as steel strings.
I still recommend building up your calluses, but I understand it can be a pretty annoying hurdle to get past. Once you do those, you’ll be off to the races.
Nylon strings don’t aren’t easier to play. When I first switched to ball-end nylon strings on my acoustic guitar, it took me a few minutes to get used to the feel. I wouldn’t say harder or easier than steel strings, but different.
It’s similar from going from electric guitar strings to acoustic guitar strings. Or even changing which gauge of string you play with, light, medium, heavy.
Each type of strings will have to be played a little differently, but that doesn’t necessary mean they’ll be easier. The sound of nylon strings is unique and quite bright, mellow tones.
How to put nylon strings on an acoustic guitar with pegs
So you want to nylon guitar strings on your acoustic guitar, awesome! If you have a guitar with bridge pins, you need to get ball-end strings!
Sure, you might have an odd bridge and you can manage a way to DIY tying classical strings around your bridge. Perhaps you could also find a small bead and tie the string onto it at one end (I’m curious to see if that would work, haha).
Ball-end nylon strings will make it putting nylon strings on an acoustic guitar no more difficult than any other string change.
One thing you should know ahead of time is that nylon strings stretch! It took probably about 2-3 weeks before I didn’t have to substantially tune my guitar each time I picked it up to play. Nylon strings seem to need more time to settle than their steel-string counterparts.
It really wasn’t a huge deal, but if you were planning on performing with nylons, it something you’ll want to know ahead of time. The first session of playing I was stopping to tune every couples minutes, it was a little comical!
Nylon ball end guitar strings
Ball-end nylon strings are just that, nylon strings with a ball attached to the end, designed for bridge pins. Typically, nylon strings are used in classical guitar. These strings have nothing attached to them and are tied to the bridge. A classical bridge doesn’t use pins like an acoustic bridge might.
Nylon ball-end strings are an easy way to throw some nylon on your acoustic guitar. They can be a little tricky to find at your smaller music shops, but larger chains will probably have at least one option.
I personally had the D’addario Nylon Ball-End Strings. They were pretty great. My only concern was the excessive amount of settling time the strings need to retain their tension.
However, this was my first set of ball-end nylon strings, so I don’t know if that was to be expected. Still, it did seem excessive.
So if you’re looking to put nylon strings on an acoustic guitar, you can easily do this with ball-end nylon strings. The string change will be not different than a standard steel-string change.
The only consideration is the longer settling time the strings need before they stay in tune for long periods of time. It might take a couple of weeks before you can be picking it up to play without tuning it.
Nonetheless, I’m happy I tried out putting nylon strings on my acoustic guitar. Will I stick with nylon strings? No I don’t thing I will. Would I try them again in the future? Not for a while, but I certainly will go back.
Overall, I enjoyed having nylon strings on my acoustic guitar. I’ve had no problems to report. After a short learning curb of getting used to them, I bet you’ll enjoy them too!