View Full Version : Classical Strings on a Acoustic Geared Tuner Guitar

07-26-2009, 11:32 AM
I was wondering if you can put nylon strings on an say Ovation guitar?

I rarely play my guitar anymore because I don't like the feel of the strings compared to my uke... So I was wondering if I could...

Also any suggestions on what strings to get? I like D'Adarios on my ukes...

07-26-2009, 12:29 PM
You could, it's not like the other way around where steel strings could warp the neck of a classical and lift the bridge off.

Some considerations:

Steel strings apply ~3 times as much tension as nylon, and an acoustic guitar is built for that with a thicker top. Nylon strings are not going to resonate as well and the guitar will sound pretty quiet no matter what brand you use.

Nylon strings are typically wound around a tie block at the bridge. Steel strings are usually held in a hole by a peg. They do make ball-end nylons, but I'm not sure if the ball is small enough to fit in the peg hole. Perhaps you could attach those little washer type ends from a steel set.

Nylon strings are thicker and the slots in your nut/saddle may not be wide enough to keep the strings from slipping out. You may need to file them out a little bit. If you do that and then decide to go back to steel, you might have to replace those two items.

I'm partial to carbon trebles these days. They are thinner and brighter than standard nylon. I used to use Hannabach Goldins, but over the last year or so they've skyrocketed in price. I started using Oasis GPX carbons and I think they're every bit as good. I'd go with high tension or even XHT if you're going with a brand that offers it.

07-26-2009, 08:30 PM
Ovations guitars with a factory setup are pretty low action. You will most likely get a lot of buzzing.Raising the action at the saddle can be done with shims, but if your acoustic has an under-saddle pickup, then shimming it will cut the volume a lot.

07-26-2009, 09:57 PM
They're two different instruments that just share a similar shape and string count.

In other words... No.

09-17-2009, 01:32 PM
They're two different instruments that just share a similar shape and string count.

In other words... No.

So its been a while since I posted this... But this has been bothering me for a while now... How are the different enough not to be able to do this?

09-17-2009, 02:33 PM
Just about every Ovation I've ever seen has a bridge that uses the bottom edge (the side away from the nut) as a stop for ball-end strings. I like that arrangement better than pegs, but the angle at which the strings break over the saddle, which has some effect on the sound. Pegs are a pain in the butt; I haven't liked them since one managed to work loose, went flying and shot my cat. (Just kidding. I don't have a cat. :rolleyes:)


You could, in theory, put conventional nylon strings to an Ovation bridge, but the lack of surface area for the knot to sit against might be a problem unless you came up with a better way to tie them off. There are ball-end nylon sets available, and for the $7.50 a set costs, they might be worth trying out.

If you have problems with the nut being the wrong size and don't want to adjust the slots, you might be able to get a couple of sets of strings and pull out widths that fit and tune it eADGBe or eaDGBe instead of EADGBe.

Guitars are great instruments for experimenting, and you run no risk of messing anything up by putting nylon strings on one designed for steel. Worst case is it doesn't sound as good (likely) or the action is low enough to cause buzzing (could happen). Worst case there is you get an extra saddle blank and cut it taller. But if it keeps you playing, the compromises might be worth it.



Hobgoblin Steve
09-17-2009, 04:07 PM
please let me know how this works out, Im very intrigued by this. I want to get an acoustic, but I know I wont play a steel stringed one, or rather, I would, but not often.
I was also offered a pretty good deal on a Dean acoustic (steel), and this would solve my current problem.

09-17-2009, 04:30 PM
Cool I will let you all know :) Looking at High Tension Aquilas or D'Adarios... Any suggestions?

Hobgoblin Steve
09-20-2009, 10:33 AM
any update on this?

09-20-2009, 10:47 AM
I decided against it... I did some searching online, and everything I have found says doing this might cause the neck to warp due to lack of tension... I would rather not chance it...

09-20-2009, 06:13 PM
Some companies sell nylon strings with ball ends, I think they're called folk strings. I tried nylon on my acoustic once (it was an interesting experiment that lasted about 15 minutes). They sounded pathetic. Too quiet, slacky tension, and lots of buzzing. If you don't like the high tension buy some light gauge metal strings. They don't sound as nice, but they're much easier to play.