Guitar Tricks Blog
Posted: June 14, 2019

Nylon Guitar Strings - 5 Must Knows

nylon guitar strings

Nylon guitar strings are guitar strings that are made from nylon. Generally, the treble strings are made out of pure nylon while the bass strings are wrapped in metal so that they're heavier. Nylon guitar strings are great for a number of reasons. They're lighter, and easier on your fingers. This is helpful if you're just beginning to play guitar. They also last a long time and sound great. Here are five things you should know about using nylon strings on your guitar.

Nylon strings aren’t always 100% nylon

The three treble strings on a set of nylon guitar strings are clear, while the E, A and D strings are wrapped in metal. Generally, the metal winding on the bass strings give these strings more weight, which will produce a lower-pitched sound. For those of you that aren’t familiar with nylon strings, it’s important to know this so you’re not left wondering if someone had mixed up a set of nylon strings with a set of steel strings! 

 

Nylon strings should be wrapped / tied onto the guitar

Nylon stringed guitars are built a little differently that steel string guitars. The necks of these guitars are a little wider, like classical guitars, and the headstock features a different method for stringing the guitar. 

First off, since these types of strings do not have ball-ends or bridge pins to attach to the bridge of an acoustic guitar, nylon strings must be tied onto the bridge. I highly suggest watching this lesson on how to change strings on an acoustic guitar to see exactly how it’s done.

In short, you must slide the nylon string through the bridge and wrap it around twice to secure the string into place.

nylon guitar strings

Once you get the first loop done, loop it around once more to make it secure.

Nylon stringed instruments has the strings wound through the middle of the headstock. Remember, that you should try to wind the strings so that you’re winding them towards the top of the headstock, and make sure to keep the string in the middle of the pole. According to Guitar Tricks instructor Christopher Schlegel, this ensures better tuning and tone.

 

Nylon strings last a really long time

When you put new nylon strings on a guitar, it can take a bit of time for the strings to stretch and get into tune. But once they’ve been stretched out and worn-in, the strings can last a really long time, sometimes up to a year, or more! Nylon strings last a lot longer because, unlike steel strings, they’re not going to rust and, since nylon is just plastic, they’re more durable and stretchy. 

 

Nylon strings are great for fingerstyle

Since nylon strings are a lot softer to play, and a lot easier on your fingertips, they’re a great option if you want to play songs that require fingerpicking. Nylon strings are often found on classical guitars and offer wider necks. Because of this, you can play all sorts of interesting chords and shapes without having to worry about your fingers bumping into themselves. 

 

Nylon strings are great for beginners

It’s true! Steel strings have high tension and can lead to painful or uncomfortable fingers when you’re first learning guitar. This is totally normal, but if you find steel strings just too unbearable, then it’s perfectly fine to switch to a nylon-stringed guitar. Nylon strings are super soft, and are easy to play because, again, it’s just plastic. Another benefit is that they’re great for chords, especially barre chords because you can easily hold down all of the strings with a finger, without the high tension of steel strings. This makes nylon instruments great if you’re just starting out. 

That's it! Which types of strings did you start playing guitar on? Let us know in the comments.

 

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