It is one of the most debated things whether you can put nylon strings on an electric guitar or not. For experimenting with their music, most of the guitarists try to change the guitar strings against their nature. Sometimes it works, and sometimes we fail. However, if you ask can I put a nylon string on an electric guitar or not?
The answer is no. Putting nylon strings on an electric guitar would be the worst thing any guitarist can do. Electric guitars are meant to play steel strings as they have magnetic pickups that only activate with steel strings. So, if you are thinking of putting nylon strings on an electric guitar, keep in mind that you will never be able to activate the guitar pickup.
However, there are some people who still put nylon strings on all types of guitars to experiment with their music. So, if you want to know why we should not put nylon strings on electric guitars and what happens when we put nylon strings on electric guitars, follow the article religiously.
Will you be able to play an electric guitar with nylon strings on?
You will surely be able to play an electric guitar with nylon strings on, but it will never sound like an electric guitar. Along with it, if you are trying to play your electric guitar through an amp while nylon strings are on, it will either remain silent, or the sound will be minimal.
Almost all of the electric guitars come up with magnetic pickup configuration, and this is only activated with stainless steel strings.
So, when you put on nylon strings on an electric guitar, the magnetic pickup configuration will remain uninterrupted, so the sound will either be minimal, or you will have no sound.
Along with it, if you play the guitar without an amp, the guitar will probably sound like an acoustic guitar with a lot of buzzing. So, it is near too impossible to play an electric guitar with nylon steel.
Why we cannot use acoustic guitar strings on electric guitar
Well, there is no issue in using an acoustic guitar string on an electric guitar. However, no guitarist would suggest you do so. We understand that there are emergencies, and we have no options. If this is the case, then you can use an acoustic guitar string on an electric guitar, but make sure that your acoustic guitar has steel strings.
The reason why we guitarists hate to put acoustic guitar strings on an electric guitar is the imbalance of sound. If you look in detail, both acoustic and electric guitars are made differently. An acoustic guitar has a hollow body, while most electric guitars have a solid body.
An acoustic guitar works on a general pickup configuration. While on the other hand, an electric guitar uses a magnetic pickup configuration.
Keeping this in mind, one must remember that using an acoustic guitar string on an electric guitar would cause disturbance in sound. The thickness of strings is slightly different, and thus the sound differs.
So, for this, you will have to have a good grip over the sound of your guitar and must understand sound adjustment. Along with it, one must have proper knowledge about guitar tuning and how to place the right tune on a string.
These are the things that you will have to ensure if you are going to use acoustic guitar strings over an electric guitar. If you can manage all of them, there is no issue in using the acoustic strings on an electric guitar.
Reasons why we cannot put nylon strings on electric guitar
There are a lot of reasons that restrict you from playing an electric guitar with nylon strings on, but a few of the most important ones are mentioned below.
1. The electric guitar has magnetic pickups
As discussed above, all the electric guitars come up with magnetic pickup configurations, and they are only activated with the vibrations generated by stainless steel.
Nylon strings are soft and contain no metal; this is why the magnetic pickup does not respond to nylon strings, keeping the guitar either quiet or producing some annoying sounds.
2. Nylon strings will sound like the acoustic guitar on an electric guitar
When you connect nylon strings to an electric guitar, this by no way means that the strings will start to sound metallic. Nylon strings are soft in their nature, and they will produce less vibration as compared to stainless steel.
So, when you put on nylon strings and unplug the guitar from the amp, the instrument will sound more like an acoustic guitar.
All in all, with the nylon strings on an electric guitar, you will be converting a sharp and fresh-sounding instrument to a softly sounding guitar with a lot of buzzing sound due to unwanted vibrations.
Will a nylon string work on a steel-string guitar?
Yes, they will. There are a lot of acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars that use nylon stainless steel and their base string types. However, as they do not have a magnetic pickup configuration and are hollow bodies, nylon strings will work well on them.
However, for this, you will have to do a bit of tuning with the tuning and string setup. But, in short, you will be able to replace steel strings with nylon strings. Lastly, it is worth saying that on an acoustic guitar, a nylon string set creates a more soothing sound than a steel string set.
Can I attach nylon strings to a semi-acoustic guitar?
Yes, you can attach nylon strings to a semi-acoustic guitar. The thing that you need to ensure is that the guitar must not have a magnetic configuration. Those guitars having magnetic pickup configurations will struggle to comply with nylon strings.
Other than that, there will be no issues if you use any string set on semi-acoustic guitars. A semi-acoustic guitar can comply with all types of strings. What you need to do is adjust the tuning a bit, and the guitar will sound fine.
How long will nylon strings last?
This is something that is usually defined by witnessing the style of play of the guitarist. Most of the guitarists play with soft hands, and some keep their hands hard on guitars.
However, on average, a nylon string is supposed to last as long as 80 hours. This usually accounts for 2 months if you play regularly. But, if you take good care of your strings and guitar, there are chances that the nylon strings may survive for as long as 100 hours.
Can you put steel strings on a nylon string guitar?
It would be a big blunder to put steel strings on a nylon string guitar. Though it might not affect the sound of the guitar to a greater extent, it can be dangerous for the guitar.
Nylon strings are mostly preferred in classical or acoustic guitar. These guitars have no truss rod, and this is why to reduce the tension from the strings, the guitar manufacturers prefer nylon strings. These strings are soft and sound good.
However, steel strings generate more tension, and as the guitar has no truss rod, the tension generated from the strings may damage the guitar neck. So, it’d be better if you avoid putting steel strings on a nylon strings guitar.
Is it easy to play guitar with nylon strings?
Certainly, it is easy to play guitar with nylon strings. Most of the guitarists use nylon guitars at the early stage of their learning. The reason behind it is that our fingertips in the early stage of learning are so soft that steel strings might cut them.
On the other hand, nylon strings are soft, they blend easily, and while pressing, they do not hurt that much. So, it is quite clear that playing guitar with nylon strings is easy when compared with steel strings.
What type of strings are used in an electric guitar?
Well, for electric guitars, there are various types of metallic strings that we use. But some of the most common types of strings include steel, stainless steel, and nickel-plated steel. These three types of metals are used for manufacturing the strings of an electric guitar.
All of these string types can respond to magnetic configuration pickup type, and thus they allow an electric guitar to generate a hard rock type of sound. So, if you are going to get a string set for your electric guitar, make sure you get one of the above-mentioned types of string set.
In summary, it’ll not be incorrect to say that you will never be able to play an electric guitar if you are using a nylon string set. Nylon strings are designed to be used for classical or acoustic guitars.
So, it will be a wrong turn if you try to play your electric guitar while putting nylon strings on it. However, if you want to know more and clarify your concept, let us know. We would love to help you out.