i tried a plain nickel 80% wire on electric guitar , when i plaid it , didnt give any sound except feedback , tried stainless steel wire same result , tried steel , it gave sound but in distortion amp of overdrive it kept clean and the distortion can be heard less in the background and it tends to break when tuning , so i'm interested to know the material used for plain electric strings

  • pretty sure it's the same as plain acoustic strings, just fyi – Some_Guy May 13 '17 at 10:03

The plain (unwound) strings are the same as the core of the wound strings, an alloy of steel. I don't know which alloy is generally used, and I expect different manufacturers use slightly different alloys. Generally music wire will be a "spring steel" type, which is a high carbon wire.

Edit: I looked it up; music wire, a type of spring steel, is an alloy with carbon and manganese. I should also note that in Guitar string sets, in the Nickel, Stainless, Bronze &c. sets, the metal difference is in the windings of the wound strings. The unwound strings are generally plain steel, unless coated.


On an electric guitar the amplified sound is produced by interaction between the magnetic field of the pickup magnets and the string. This means that for an electric guitar with conventional pickups you need ferromagnetic strings, this includes carbon steel, nickel steels and some (but not all) stainless steels.

Equally different materials will produce different levels of output and different tone.

So not all acoustic guitar strings will work on electric guitars. Note though that some acoustic and electric guitars have piezo-electric sensors, usually under the bridge which detect mechanical vibrations directly and there are also optical systems both of which work with any strings.

Classical guitars often use nylon or brass strings but in many cases the strings for electrics and acoustics will be interchangeable.

Having said that from what you describe it sounds a bit like there is some technical fault with your setup which is drastically reducing output, this could be a bad connection or faulty component in either the guitar itself or the cable, amplifier or any external effects or pre-amps. Alternatively if you have active pickups or an on-board pre-amp it could be a flat battery.

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