Possible silly question

Discussion in 'Acoustic Soundboard' started by Willmunny, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Is it possible to (successfully)put light steel strings on a classical style guitar? The guitar in question does have a truss rod adjustment. Thanks in advance
     
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  2. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    If it has a truss rod, sure. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t recommend it.

    you’ll likely have to adjust the truss rod some, as even light metal strings are more tension than nylon.

    also, the nut and action may be a little weird, as it was set up for thick, light tension strings, originally.

    I do like playing classicals, with their wide,flat fretboard.

    Edit: didn’t consider the possible bridge issues, yeah that could possibly be an issue.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
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  3. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    I wouldn't do it. The bridge and the top bracing are not designed for steel strings. Even light ones.
     
  4. Jesse414

    Jesse414 Senior Stratmaster

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    I think extra light electric strings put approximately 145 pounds of tension on the neck joint. If by successful you mean stringing them on and watching the fretboard fold over onto the top of the guitar yes it should work. It might not happen immediately but I wouldn't do it. Any one know how much tension a standard set of classical strings put on a guitar?
     
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  5. RobZ69

    RobZ69 Senior Stratmaster

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    I've read nylon strings are about half the tension of steel strings.

    So I agree that putting steel strings on a guitar designed for nylons, is likely an effective way to fold that guitar up.
     
  6. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    Oh I don't know, it's quite fun watching the bridge break free of the top and fly over the nut.

    On somebody else's guitar. :D
     
  7. 3bolt79

    3bolt79 Dr. Stratster

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    You could try strings that are made for that, like Thomastik.
     
  8. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the info, I trust you guys immeasurably
     
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  9. madmtnmotors

    madmtnmotors Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    I have a classical acoustic guitar that was designed for nylon strings, yet someone felt compelled to string it up with steel strings a long time ago. The extent of work required to fix the damage compelled me to purchase another acoustic guitar to play while I drum up the intestinal fortitude to remove a glued on neck from an acoustic guitar. Tuners, nut, neck, and bridge all require repair...

    So much for a "free" guitar!
     
  10. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    Worst idea ever.
     
  11. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

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  12. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    I will use this as an opportunity to learn some fingerpicking.
     
  13. Nadnitram

    Nadnitram Most Honored Senior Member

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    Over the nut, under the nut, beside the nut ... just as long as it doesn't strike a nut directly. :whistling:
     
  14. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    It'll strike the nut all right... the nut that's holding the guitar ;)
     
  15. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    D'addario normal tension strings have a total of about 83 lbs of tension. As long as you don't exceed that, the guitar won't fold up. Find out how much tension the strings you're considering actually add up to. Probably .009s will be too heavy.

    Intonation is going to be weird in any case b/c steel doesn't stretch the same way nylon does. Might be ok, might not.
     
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  16. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

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    It will NOT be ok. Twenty years teching now and I can tell you it will end in disaster. At the least it will warp the top. More serious it will pull up the bridge or outright pull it off. Worse case is it does both.
     
  17. 3bolt79

    3bolt79 Dr. Stratster

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    The only steel strings that are safe to use on a classical are Thomastik. The string gauges are similar to an electric guitar set. I still wouldn’t put them on my classical, as it’s a longer scale, so there will be more tension still. Is there a reason that you wanted to put steel strings on a classical? Even hard tension classical strings aren’t going to be much over 100 lbs of tension, even going to Martin’s Magnifico or other Aquila offerings.

    But putting regular ole electric guitar strings on a classical is going to result in about 140 lbs of tension, or more, on that guitar. Good classicals are lightly built, and won’t stand for that. So I ask you Will, why did you want to do it in the first place? Or were you just curious? If you want help selecting a set for a classical let me know. I used to be somewhat of an expert on classical strings. If you are looking for a particular sound, let me know. About the only thing you can do to change the sound of a classical, aside from technique and nail care, is to change the strings.
     
  18. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Just curious, mainly. I have a guitar coming that will have nylon strings, (long story) I had not really considered playing nylon strings before.
     
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  19. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    That's a matter of string tension, and because classical guitars are built to be delicate, it needs to be done thoughtfully. If the guitar is ok with "normal tension" classical strings (83 lbs for D'Addarios), it won't be damaged by the same amount of tension from a different material. Playing with a string tension calculator, a set of balanced .009s should be a little above that and I would assume unsafe for a classical guitar. If you used a set of 8-38 (I'm assuming D'Addario, 8, 10, 15, 21, 30, 38) you get a total of about 77 lbs, which should be safe. But it's not a very even-tensioned set. A set of 8, 10.5, 13.5, 20w, 26w, 36w (you can order custom sets online, Stringjoy is the one I use) would be much more even-tensioned and would have total string tension of 69.2 lbs. Reducing the tension on the guitar isn't going to break the guitar. But it probably won't play very well, either--steel strings don't intonate the same way as classical guitar strings.

    I love nylon strings, but they're very different from steel strings. I wouldn't want to convert a classical guitar to steel string because I prefer nylon. But I have no fear it would break a guitar SO LONG AS YOU DON'T INCREASE TENSION.
     
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  20. abnormaltoy

    abnormaltoy Mouth draggin' knuckle breather Silver Member

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    I fall on the side of don't do it, due to the increased tension of the strings. You might want to contact the maker of the guitar and ask them.

    But

    Can't you learn to finger pick on nylon strings?
     
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