Can You Put Nylon Strings On A Steel String Guitar?

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Guitar players and fans, get ready for a musical adventure! In this article, we’ll be exploring a topic that’s caused quite a stir in the guitar world: can you put nylon strings on a steel string guitar?

It’s like a game of “what if?” where the stakes are high, but the rewards are sweeter than a chorus of perfectly strumed chords.

Well examine the good, the bad, and the sound of using nylon strings on a steel string guitar and find out what kind of musical magic can be created. Although in general, there are 6 types of guitar strings, but we won’t be talking about all of them in today’s article.

Nonetheless, tune up your guitar, sit back and enjoy the journey!

So, Can Nylon Strings Be Used On A Steel String Guitar?

Why settle for just one type of string when you can have two? The answer to the age-old question of “Can nylon strings be used on a steel string guitar?” is yes!

Still, hold your horses! There are some things to keep in mind. Nylon strings have a softer, warmer tone compared to their steel string counterparts, and a lighter touch too. But be warned, putting nylon strings on a steel string guitar is like putting training wheels on a motorcycle, it changes the ride!

The increased tension from nylon strings can impact the guitar’s neck and action, so it’s best to consult with a pro before making the switch. So go ahead, mix it up and let the good strums roll!

What Happens If You Put Nylon Strings On A Steel String Guitar?

Whether you’re restringing your guitar by yourself, or a professional is doing it, it’s important to know beforehand how much it costs to restring a guitar.

Either way, if you’re considering putting nylon strings on a steel string guitar, there are several things you need to keep in mind as the change can have a significant impact on the tone, playability, and even the structure of the instrument. Here are some of the key considerations to take into account:


One of the most noticeable changes when putting nylon strings on a steel string guitar is the tone. Nylon strings have a warmer, softer, and more mellow tone compared to steel strings, which are typically brighter and punchier.

This change in tone may be desirable for some players, but its important to note that the overall sound of the guitar may be different than what they are used to.


Nylon strings have a lower tension compared to steel strings, which can have a significant impact on the guitar’s neck and action.

The lower tension can cause the neck to bend or bow, which can result in intonation issues, playability dificulties, and even damage to the guitar over time.

Bridge and Saddle

Steel string guitars are designed with a bridge and saddle that can accommodate the tension of steel strings.

Nylon strings have a higher tension, which can cause damage to the bridge and saddle if they are not designed to handle it.

Additionally, the bridge and saddle may need to be modified or replaced to properly suport the tension of nylon strings.


Nylon strings are generally easier to play due to their lighter gauge and lower tension, but this change in playability can take some players time to adjust to.

So, the change in tension and the impact on the neck and action may result in some players experiencing intonation isues, which can make playing the guitar more difficult.

Strings Slipping

Steel string guitars often have a wrap-around bridge that holds the strings in place, while nylon string guitars have a tie-block system. When putting nylon strings on a steel string guitar, the wrap-around bridge may not hold the strings in place as securely, which can result in the strings slipping and causing intonation issues or even snapping.

Nut and Saddle Modification

The nut and saddle of a steel string guitar may need to be modified or replaced to accommodate the different gauge and tension of nylon strings. This modification is crucial to ensure proper playability and to avoid damage to the guitar.

In conclusion, putting nylon strings on a steel string guitar can have a significant impact on the tone, playability, and structure of the instrument.

Before making the switch, it is advisable to consult with a professional guitar technician to ensure the guitar is properly set up for nylon strings and to avoid potential damage to the instrument.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the changes that may ocur and to be prepared to make any necessary modifications to the guitar to ensure a successful and enjoyable playing experience.

Alternatives (Besides Nylon) Strings To Put On A Steel String Guitar

Are you still looking to change up your steel string guitar’s sound? If yes, you can try these string options:

  • Hybrid Strings: A jack of all trades, these strings offer a mix of steel and nylon that’ll leave you saying “I can’t decide, I love them both!”
  • Phosphor Bronze Strings: These strings are like your favorite pair of worn-in jeans – they just get better with time! Perfect for players who want a warm, rich tone.
  • 80/20 Bronze Strings: Want a brighter sound? These strings are like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day! Ideal for bluegrass, folk and country players.
  • Silk & Steel Strings: Looking for a gentle touch? These strings are like a hug from your grandma, soft and comforting. Perfect for fingerstyle and classical players.
  • Nickel-Plated Steel Strings: Ready to rock? These strings are like a punch in the face (in a good way), bright, powerful and full of energy. Ideal for rock, blues and metal players.
  • Stainless Steel Strings: Durable and rust-resistant, these strings are like a robot, reliable and consistent. Great for players who want a long-lasting sound.

Remember, strings are like ice cream flavors – what works for one person may not work for another. So go ahead, try them all and find the one that makes your guitar sing!

Final Words

So, as a super short answer to the question whether you can put nylon strings in a steel string guitar it is yes! You can put them there but of course, you should have in mind the elements and aspects that’ll change! I also had a lot of people asking me whether you can put acoustic strings on an electric guitar or not, which is also quite an interesting topic.

Anyways, I hope this article provided you with everything you needed to know!

Whether you want to learn about guitars, guitar equipment or other instruments, Guitarsquid has all the answers.