Can I Use Nylon Strings on my Steel-String Acoustic?

nylon strings

Restringing a guitar isn’t necessarily a particularly difficult task, but it is important to be sure you are putting the right type of strings on your guitar. Using incorrect strings could damage the neck of the guitar by placing either too much or too little tension on it. The end of the string also matters, as your guitar may require either ball-end strings (commonly found on steel-string acoustics and electric guitars) or strings that need to be tied (commonly found on classical guitars). Bobby, The Guitar Answer Guy, answers the question, “Can I Use Nylon Strings on my Steel String Acoustic?


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.


This is important to note. They type of setup you have on your guitar can affect your ability to change out steel strings for nylon strings. As Bobby mentions, traditional classical strings don’t have a ball on the ends as they are typically tied and wrapped around one another across the base of the bridge. However, don’t fret! There is an option if you have this type of setup:


There are actually ball end Classical guitar strings available. They’re popular with a lot of Folk guitarists, or anyone simply wanting to get the the smooth, mellow sound of nylon strings on their steel-string acoustic guitar.


These strings are a great option if you are interested in changing out your steel strings for nylon and your guitar requires ball-end strings. Once you have the nylon strings on, you may need to make a few additional adjustments to ensure your guitar has the best sound. You may notice a buzzing sound, low action, or strings slipping off the bridge. If that is the case, getting the guitar’s setup changed may be necessary. It is also important to note that you should never place steel strings on a classical guitar meant for nylon strings as it can seriously damage the instrument.


Bobby Davis, The Guitar Answer Guy, is an Air Force Vet that has been playing guitar since 1987. His site,, is designed to help guitarists of all levels learn about proper care and maintenance for their instruments, and also provides some guitar lessons and theory information. To hear all of his string suggestions, and learn more about switching out steel strings for nylon, please visit the full article here:

Cassidy is the Digital Marketing Manager at Making Music and has recently begun her career in the music industry. In May 2017, she graduated from the Crane School of Music with a double degree in Music Business and Music Theory. Upon graduating college, Cassidy did an internship with DANSR, Inc. in Illinois before moving to Southern California where she was the NAMM intern for six months. Her favorite instrument is the clarinet, but she also enjoys dabbling with guitar, piano, ukulele, saxophone, and flute.

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