Guitar Strings - Why Should I Use Nylon Strings?

By Phil Zertisky

When playing your guitar, the choice of the guitar strings will create a different sound depending on which type you use. Depending on the type of music that you prefer to play also has an impact on choosing the correct strings. Many guitars are built and tuned to use the strings that are originally with the instrument and should be used when being replaced. If you choose to change them, you will likely hear a different sound and in many cases, your guitar will lose some of the quality.

If you play an acoustic guitar, you will use different strings than if you play an electric one. Some strings that are used on acoustics are only designed for this instrument and will not give a pleasant sound at all, if used on any other kind. What you will find is the variety and cost of strings will vary, dramatically, depending on the quality of your guitar.

The simple explanation is this. Nylon strings are predominantly for acoustics and steel or bronze strings are for electrics. There is also consideration for how you play. If you are seeking a more mellow and deep sound, this will be achieved much easier with nylon strings. Think John Mayer, Eric Clapton (post Cream genre) or Jimmy Buffet. Your electric guitar, with steel strings, will have a more brash sound and allow you to reflect more emotion. Consider the sounds of Pete Townsend, Slash or Richie Sambora.

With each of these consummate professionals, they create their sounds based on how the strings tie into the song that they are performing. You should do the same. Some of the newer companies on the market are adding a liquid nitrogen to their strings and have added a new sound. These are designed to add more tone and have an additional life expectancy. They are also more expensive.

Whereas nylon strings are almost exclusively used on acoustic guitars, you can get a great sound using bronze strings on them as well. Because of the echo that is created in the body of the guitar, you get a very rich and full sound, but if you are not playing the notes perfectly, you will likely hear some vibration and incomplete notes or chords. Using these on electric guitars, you do not have quite the same challenge.

One of the biggest concerns for the casual player is comfort. Using nylon strings is easier of your fingers, especially if you are just starting out. To get the best sounds from your chords, you need to develop callouses on your finger tips and you will not engage in quite as much discomfort learning with nylon stings. With all other types, just be prepared to experience some learning curve pain, as you develop your finger tips. This will go away, the more you play, but in the early stages, if you are really determined to play a lot, there will definitely be some discomfort.

As with most everything, your guitar strings need care. Your perspiration and body oils will get on the strings and change the sound and make it more difficult to perform your chords and note playing. So, clean them often and maintain the quality. If you are planning to perform, always have an extra set of the same strings, in case of breakage.

If you are a seasoned player, try some of the new technology and see if those allow you to be more creative and generate better sounds. Guitars are a great instrument and once you get started, you will likely never put it down, so best of luck with creating your sounds. - 32186

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