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Table of Contents
- Steel Strings Exert Too Much Tension
- What Damage Should I Expect
- Final Verdict
When someone asks me if it’s ok to put steel strings on a classical guitar, my reaction is that of horror!
Well actually it’s more of relief – relief that they asked first and didnt do it ‘first and then ask later.
The answer to this question is an emphatic NO.
Steel Strings Exert Too Much Tension
Steel strings exert a lot more tension that nylon strings. In fact they produce roughly twice as much tension.
That means that steel strings are putting a lot more pressure on your guitar.
An acoustic steel string guitar is designed to take the extra tension of steel strings.
A classical guitar on the other hand is designed with the intention of holding nylon strings – a much less burdensome task.
Classical (Nylon) Strings
When you buy Nylon strings you can actually buy them in different tensions – depending on what you like the sound and feel of and what type of music you are playing.
Learn more about choosing nylon strings on my blog.
It is even sometimes recommended that you should loosen off your strings on a classical guitar if you are using high tension nylon strings. This is to save damage to your guitar.
Steel strings produce even greater tension than high tension nylon strings so imagine the damage they can do to your classical guitar.
What Damage Should I Expect
There are a couple of major things that could go wrong if you fit steel strings to a classical guitar including:
- A bent neck
- The bridge being pried away from the soundboard
- Damage to the tuners
Leave steel strings for long enough on your classical guitar and it will become unplayable – if it doesn’t implode first!
(Related: How to Choose Acoustic Guitar Strings)
If it’s not yet clear – DON’T put steel strings on your classical guitar, unless you want to experiment with slowly destroying your guitar!
If you really want to play with steel strings you will need to get yourself a steel string acoustic guitar.
If you were wanting to do this because you like the size of your classical, then there are parlour sized and concert sized (smaller sizes) guitars that are made for steel strings that you can get like the Art and Lutherie Ami.
Thanks for reading and I hope this article has answered your question.
DON’T put steel strings on your classical guitar, unless you want to experiment with slowly destroying your guitar!
Only use nylon strings on your classical guitar.