Why Classic Guitars Have Nylon Strings [5 Reasons and Fixes]

As beginners, at least all of us bought and practiced classical guitars. Some of us left them after a while, but there are some who still use classical guitars as their main guitars. However, have you ever thought about why classical guitars only use nylon strings? Why are strings different from all other types of guitars, and are there any particular reasons why classic guitars have nylon strings?

In short, the main reason why classical guitars have nylon strings is their sound. Classical guitars are known for their deep and rich sound with high resonance. This is something that steel strings will not offer. So, to keep the sound of classical guitar rich and smooth, the manufacturers use nylon strings.

Best strings for electric guitar
Best strings for electric guitar

Now, if you want to know more about classical guitar and their nylon strings, we have a deal for you. Here, we will be introducing you to everything that you need to know about classical guitars and nylon strings. Therefore, follow the article to the end to find answers to your queries.

What Is Classical Guitar: A Brief 101

A classical guitar is a regular acoustic guitar with smaller body and nylon strings attached. Unlike an acoustic guitar, a classical guitar uses nylon strings which is why it is categorized differently from acoustic guitars. Along with it, a classical guitar is a bit smaller and offers a deep, rich, and smooth sound.

Due to its rich sound, a classical guitar is used mostly for fingerstyle playing, and strumming on it is not preferred as we do on other guitars. Along with it, this is worth mentioning that a classical guitar plays an important role in composing Spanish music.

Spanish music is considered incomplete without the rich tone of classical guitar. And this is why most of the time, we term classical guitar as the Spanish guitar.

5 Main Reasons Why Classical Guitars Have Nylon Strings

We all know that a classical guitar always uses nylon strings and steel strings. However, how many of us know some of the main reasons why a classical guitar uses nylon strings? So, to help you out, below, we are going to list some of the most common yet important reasons why a classical guitar uses nylon strings.

1- Nylon strings offer smooth and rich sound

One of the main reasons why manufacturers use nylon strings in classical guitars is their sound. A classical guitar is known for its smooth and rich sound, which adds a base to your music. And this is why it’s odd to use steel strings on a classical guitar.

Steel strings are sturdy, but they produce quite a sharp sound that no one wants to hear, at least from a classical guitar. So, to maintain the rich sound of a classical guitar, it is suggested to always use nylon strings. Using any other strings than nylon will ruin the original sound of your classical guitar.

2- Nylon strings are a cheaper alternative than steel strings.

When we compare the best nylon string with the best steel strings, there will be a huge gap in their prices. Nylon strings are way cheaper than steel strings, and they also last longer if taken care of well.

So, it is thought by most guitarists that to keep the budget low and to cut the cost of your guitar, the producers of classical guitars prefer to use nylon strings.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can change the strings from nylon to steel if you have got money. Even if you have money, replacing nylon strings with steel will affect the sound of the guitar. And, if you love Spanish music, then steel strings on a classical guitar are not going to work for you. So, no matter what the conditions are, it is always better to have nylon strings on a classical guitar.

3- Nylon strings are soft on hands

We do not think that many of you used an electric or even semi-acoustic guitar to learn how to play the guitar. On the other hand, almost all of us use either classical or acoustic guitar to learn how to play the guitar. The reason behind it is simple. Almost all of the classic and most of the acoustic guitars use nylon strings.

Unlike steel strings, nylon strings are way softer on hands, and as beginners, they will not hurt your fingertips. Along with it, a classical guitar is used by fingerstyle guitarists. So, if there are steel strings on a classical guitar, it will be hard to play fingerstyle.

This is one of the main reasons why a classical guitar has nylon strings. So, if you are a fingerstyle guitarist, it will be better to use nylon strings for your classical guitar.

4- Steel strings do not sound good on classical guitars

Have you ever even tried using steel strings on a classical guitar? Well, we tried it, and to be honest, it was not such an amazing experience. Though the sound was not bad, it was not something that you would expect from a classical guitar.

With steel strings on, the sound of the classical guitar turns a bit sharp, and this is something you would never demand from a classical guitar.

So, if you were wondering why on earth we do not use steel strings on classical guitar, this is one of the main reasons. This is why if you love your classical guitar and want to sound like a proper classic guitar, never use steel strings on it.

5- Steel strings reduce the average life of classical guitar

You may know it or not, but steel strings reduce the average life of a classical guitar. It is clear that the steel strings do not have as much stretch as nylon strings have. So, when you install steel strings on a classic guitar instead of a nylon string, the pressure on the neck is high and, with time, increases.

Steel strings are used mostly for those guitars that contain a truss rod. The truss rod bears the stretch caused by the steel strings, and the neck remains unaffected. However, the case of a classical guitar is different.

A classical guitar does not have a truss rod, and thus the entire pressure of the steel strings falls directly onto the neck of the guitar. And, if you keep on playing the guitar using steel strings, the neck will start to bend, and there will be a point when it breaks.

This is why the manufacturers of classical guitars do not use steel strings on them and suggest always using nylon strings for classical guitars. So, if you have a classical guitar, always use nylon strings on it.

Are nylon strings necessary for classical guitars?

There is no doubt that nylon strings are necessary for classical guitar. With no nylon strings, a classical guitar will sound more like an acoustic guitar, and the purpose of getting a classical guitar will fade away.

Along with it, the classical guitar is used mostly by beginners, so if there are no nylon strings, it will be hard for beginners to learn as steel strings are harsh on their fingertips.

All in all, it is necessary for a classical guitar to own nylon strings. It will help to keep the originality of the guitar and help you enjoy the proper classic guitar sound.

Why don’t classical guitars use stainless steel strings?

There are many reasons behind it, but one of the most common reasons is the sound of the guitar. We know that classical guitars are supposed to produce rich and smooth sounds with high resonance. However, when we attach steel strings to the classical guitar, the sound shifts from smooth to sharp, and the guitar sounds a bit odd.

Also, there is another reason that stops manufacturers from putting steel strings to a classical guitar. You will agree that classical guitars do not have a truss rod. So, if you are attaching steel strings to the guitar, the pull of strings on the neck will be high.

This pull will affect the action of the guitar and can also cause buzzing if the strings are getting old. Also, in extreme cases, due to no truss rod, the steel strings can even bend and break the neck of your classical guitar.

Are all of the classical guitar strings nylon?

Certainly, all six strings of any classical guitar are made up of pure nylon. However, some people change the strings to steel after getting the guitar. However, even if you are going to change the strings to a classical guitar from nylon to steel, it is necessary to change all of the strings.

Playing the guitar with half nylon and half steel strings will be such a mess that you would never try it again. So, it is for sure that all six classical guitar strings are made up of nylon other than it, the guitar will not perform the way you want it to.

Conclusion

For those who were looking to know why classical guitars have nylon strings, this article must have been a treasure for them. Above, the article has highlighted and defined some of the most common and crucial reasons why classical guitars have nylon strings.

Along with it, we have also tried to sum up some of the most relevant questions relating to classical guitars. However, if you feel anything missing or need assistance, let us know. We are always here to assist you. 

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