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This may seem crazy, but I really love the sound of nylon strings, and I DO NOT want to buy a classical guitar though.

I was wondering if any manufacturer makes nylon strings for a "normal" acoustic guitar. One where the strings have the standard small "bolt" and at the end of the string instead of having to tie them off, as well as correct tension.

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8 Answers 8

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is a balance between the strings and the top. If you put too much tension, it'll sound awesome until the top snaps or the bridge comes flying off. If you don't put enough tension, you don't get the top moving and it doesn't sound good. Nylon strings are for classical guitars and vice versa.

There are silk-and-steel strings from string makers like D'Addario which might work for you.

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I figured as much, but thought maybe some entrepreneurial type had found a fix for that. What are the differences between silk-and-steel as opposed to the standard strings? –  Anonymous Mar 8 '11 at 21:04
Take a look here for info about coated strings: music.stackexchange.com/questions/1629/…. This probably will not answer your question though, so I would recommend posting a new question re: silk and steel strings etc. :) –  Ali Maxwell Mar 8 '11 at 22:38
What is it about nylon strings that you like? Or, conversely, what is it about classical guitars that you don't like? Classical guitars don't have to be overbuilt to take the steel string tension so they're relatively inexpensive. I am sure my classical was cheap cheap cheap but isn't bad. –  VarLogRant Mar 9 '11 at 4:43

The only problem with putting ball-end "folk" nylon strings on a steel-string guitar is that the steel-string guitar is braced under the top to resonate properly with steel strings. The nylon strings only put about 40% as much tension on the top of the guitar as steel strings. So if the guitar in question has a thick top that is heavily braced, the nylon strings will not be able to "excite" the top to vibrate properly, and the sound will be a bit quiet and muted. If the top of the steel-string guitar is thin and lightly-braced, it will work better.

A rule of thumb is that inexpensive steel-string guitars are "over-built" with a heavier top and heavier bracing, and more expensive steel-string guitars are "lightly built" with thinner top and lighter bracing. More expensive guitars are more resonant, but also more delicate and less durable.

Also, the style of the steel-string guitar matters as well. Nylon strings would probably not sound great on a big dreadnought or a jumbo guitar, but would sound better on a grand auditorium, concert, "O" or "OO"-style guitar, which are smaller guitars that are braced more lightly as a rule.

Here is a link to D'Addario "folk" ball-end nylon strings.

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Steel-strung guitars contain a truss rod which is designed to be counteracted by the tension of steel strings. Storing the guitar with loose strings is a bad idea; putting nylon strings on the guitar is a bad idea. Especially if it's an expensive guitar.

If you're really desperate to try this, go to a guitar shop and ask if they can adjust the truss rod to suit your nylon strings. I suspect it won't be possible, but it's worth asking.

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You can put nylon strings on a normal guitar.

There are nylon strings with ball ends. e.g. these

The only problem you will have by fitting thes on a regular acoustic is that the three highest strings(in pitch) might be too thick for the ballslots..

You will not brake anything on your guitar and this can safely be tried , but i doubt it will sound any good.

Never put steel strings on a classical guitar though, since this will certainly break the guitar.

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I have ball-end strings on my classical guitar, because I didn't want to have to do the tie-off thing. I don't know that it'd fit in a bridge string-hole for a steel-string guitar. –  VarLogRant Mar 10 '11 at 3:27
It might be necessary to use a file to get them to fit... However it can be done! I don't know why anyone would want to do it though.. –  mrbuxley Mar 10 '11 at 13:38
as an anecdote: I have a brazillian-made classical guitar bought second hand for my brother in 1974 which had steel strings on it (the same set!) for about 15 years until I got my hands on it. Still have it, with nylons, and it did not break. The nut and bridge were squashed and destroyed and the machine pegs disintegrated from the pressure, but the neck is fine, the bridge is attached and top is still intact. –  horatio Mar 10 '11 at 17:45
Nylon strings with ball ends are sometimes labeled as "Folk guitar" strings. –  Wheat Williams Mar 23 '12 at 22:41

There are quite a lot of crossover guitars out now.

What you get is steel string playability as in the size of the neck the nut and lower action on a guitar purpose built for nylon strings. Ιbanez makes a nice one for about £250.These guitars are also known as hybrids.I have one made by cort it was not too expensive and the tone and playability is excellent.I play solo style a mixture of jazz, classical, popular, country blues and ragtime and the nylon strings handle all these styles producing a really lush warm sound.When i play steel strings they sound too harsh compared to the nylon strings.

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Been playing for about two years, I've always strung my acoustic with nylon strings and haven't had any problems with the neck. You can find nylon strings with ball ends.

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Which manufacturer makes them? –  American Luke Mar 27 '12 at 1:36

Its sounds amazing i just tried them today an i got Daddario folk nylon strings with ball ends. The only problem is that it doesn't stay in tune at all, like in 2 minutes you'd probably be a whole step lower. I'm guessing this is because the nuts to small for the higher pitch strings so it doesn't hold the note for very long, but may hold it longer for the lower pitched strings. I strongly doubt though that this would do any damage to your guitar the worst would be that the string would just snap and end up breaking somewhere. The nylon at least on my guitar doesn't appear to be capable of pulling anything off or out of order. The higher pitched strings E B G feel sort of to weak and plasticky. Or i guess I'm just not very familiar with nylon. Hopes This Helps!!!

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I was just able to get the high E at D and it stayed that way try tying a ribbon onto it. –  Eni Jul 2 '13 at 6:28
Keep stretching and tightening. Eventually it will settle and stay in tune. The same thing happens when you string a classical guitar. –  slim Jul 2 '13 at 14:37

I have been playing for about 8 years and I used to love to put nylon strings on my steel string acoustic.

For many reasons. Easy to play a little quieter for when your in your parents basement. I like the sound.

Anyway the didnt do anything to my guitar (Washburn D10S)

I have used the ones with the little ball, also if they didnt have balls on them i just tied a large knot in the end and they stayed on just fine.

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