Can You Put Steel Strings On A Classical Guitar?

Do you have a classical guitar, and are wondering if you can restring it to play more pop/rock material instead of classical music?

I’m assuming that’s a yes… So this blog post is for you!

We’ll be discussing the pros and cons of putting steel strings on a classical guitar and exploring some of the best options available.

Is It A Bad Idea To Put Steel Strings On Classical Guitars?

Yes, it’s a bad idea!

You should not put steel strings on a classical guitar. Steel strings are thicker and more taut than nylon strings. This added tension can cause the neck to warp and the action to become too intense, resulting in a broken guitar.

Furthermore, steel strings produce a brighter and crisper sound than classical guitars with nylon strings, which isn’t ideal for a classical guitar style of playing.

For these reasons, it is best to stick to nylon strings on classical guitars.

So What’s The Difference Between Nylon vs Steel Strings?

The primary difference between nylon and steel strings is the sound.

Nylon strings produce a warmer, mellower sound that’s ideal for classical, flamenco, and folk music. Acoustic Steel String Guitars on the other hand, are louder and brighter and work better for rock, country, and pop music.

When it comes to construction, nylon strings are made of a softer, less dense material and are under less tension than steel strings. This makes them slightly easier on the fingers, but also means they don’t last as long as steel strings.

Nylon-string guitars also tend to be smaller, with wider necks and often no electronics, cutaways or fretboard markers.

How Long Does A Guitar String Last?

Generally speaking, a guitar string can last anywhere from 90 days to two years, depending on various factors such as playing style, playing conditions, and how often it is played.

But to be safe, we advise you change your strings after about 100 hours of play, or three months.

Why Do Strings Break When Tuning?

When tuning a guitar, strings can easily break if the tension is too high.

This can happen if you over-tighten your strings, or if the edge of the tuning peg is too sharp, or the nut, bridge, or tuner has issues.

Do Guitar Strings Loosen Over Time?

Yes, guitar strings can loosen over time.

The constant playing, strumming, bending, and vibrating of the strings will cause them to stretch out and become loose.

This is especially true for electric guitars, which generally take 1-2 hours of constant playing to break in and settle.

New guitar strings are also nearly impossible to keep in tune until they have had time to ‘settle in’ to the tension applied to them. As the strings become looser, they can lose their intonation and become harder to keep in tune.

Which Guitar String Breaks Most Often?

The most common guitar string that breaks is the high E or first string. This is due to it being the thinnest of all the strings, making it less able to withstand the tension when it is tuned.

How Often Should I Change My Guitar Strings?

As mentioned above, the general rule of thumb for changing guitar strings is every three months or after playing a set of strings for 100 hours. This applies to classical, acoustic and electric guitars.

However, it’s important to consider factors such as how often you play, the environment you play in, and the type of strings you are using.

Professional guitarists may need to replace their strings more frequently as they play harder, and more frequently.

A complete beginner who plays for 30 minutes every couple of days will be able to push their strings to 3 months.

The Top 5 Classical Guitar Strings To Buy

1 – D’Addario EJ45 Pro-Arte Nylon, Normal Tension

Brilliant All Round Strings

Perfect For: Everyone!

String Tension Rating: Normal

Features: Semi-polished bass strings offer rich low end with minimal fret noise


  • Reliable classical tone – D’Addario’s best-selling, normal tension set
  • Superb treble string intonation and consistency, from laser-controlled production
  • Long-lasting, and great for the planet, with eco-friendly, anti-corrosion packaging


  • None

The TedScore: 9/10

2 – Fender 100 Classical Nylon Clear, Silver Tie End Strings

Nylon strings that emit warmth, clarity and sustain

Perfect For: Beginners

String Tension Rating: Normal

Features: String gauges .028 .029 .032 .035 .040 .043


  • Clear and warm tone
  • Made by Fender


  • You pay slightly for the name

The TedScore: 7/10

3 – D’Addario XT SPC Classical Strings, Hard Tension

The best classical nylon strings you’ll ever touch

Perfect For: Intermediate to Advanced Players

String Tension Rating: Hard

Features: Strings that are wound in silver plated copper


  • Bright sound and plenty of volume thanks to hard tension
  • Exceptional feel thanks to quality construction
  • High Tension Strings that are made to last


  • None

The TedScore: 9/10

4 – Augustine Concert Low Tension

For those looking for the best tone from their guitar

Perfect For: Intermediate to Advanced Players

String Tension Rating: Low in Bass Strings, Regular in Treble

Features: A variety of tensions, to make your guitar sound better than ever


  • Top-quality strings for your classical guitar
  • Exceptional feel thanks to quality design
  • Warm and rich with low-tension bass strings


  • A little pricey

The TedScore: 7/10

5 – Classical Guitar Strings by Gear4music

Brilliant beginner strings

Perfect For: Beginners

String Tension Rating: Normal

Features: A very cost-effective set of nylon strings, perfect if you’re a complete beginner


  • Very cheap


  • There are better strings on the market if you have the budget

The TedScore: 5/10

How Do I Change A String On A Classical Guitar?

The short summary of changing your nylon string guitar string is as follows:

  1. Tie a new string to the bridge. Start by threading the string through the hole in the bridge. Make sure the string is secure before continuing.
  2. Secure the string around the tuning peg. Wrap the string around the tuning peg multiple times in a clockwise direction, ensuring the string is tight against the peg.
  3. Turn the tuning peg until the string is in tune. Using your left hand, hold the string taut while you turn the tuning peg with your right hand until the string is in tune.
  4. Secure the bridge end of the string. Once the string is in tune, tie a knot at the bridge end of the string and cut off any excess.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 with other strings. Repeat these steps for each of the remaining strings, tuning each one before securing it to the bridge.

But if you’d like a more detailed set of instructions, see our dedicated article, ‘How To Change Classical Guitar Strings’.

What Is The Difference Between An Acoustic and Classical Guitar

The main difference between an acoustic and a traditional classical guitar lies in their sound.

Acoustic guitars (especially steel string guitars) are usually louder and brighter, while classical guitars are typically softer and mellow.

When it comes to the strings, acoustic guitars usually use steel strings while classical guitars use nylon strings. Steel strings give the guitar a more metallic sound, while a nylon string guitar gives a more mellow and warm tone.

And of course, they’re used for different genres of music!

Summary – Can You Put Steel Strings On A Classical Guitar?

In short, no, you can’t put a steel string on a classical guitar. The extra tension will just break the guitar.

If you want a brighter, more pop/rock sound, grab a steel string acoustic guitar instead!


  • Are there steel strings on classical guitar?No, there are no steel strings on a classical guitar. Classical guitars have nylon strings. To find out why, read the article above.
  • Is it okay to replace nylon guitar with steel strings?It is okay to replace a nylon guitar with steel strings IF it’s originally an acoustic guitar.If the nylon guitar is in fact a classical guitar, it’s not advisable to swap the strings out for steel – you’ll break the instrument!
  • Can you put any strings on a classical guitar?Yes, you can put any strings on a classical guitar, as long as they are made from nylon.
  • Can I Play Classical Guitar On A Steel-String Guitar?Yes, you can ‘technically’ play classical guitar music on a steel-string guitar, but in all honesty, it’s best to use a nylon-string classical guitar.
  • Which Guitar String Has The Highest Frequency?The highest-frequency guitar string is the High E string, which has a frequency of 329.6 Hz. This is the thinnest guitar string and produces the highest pitch sound when plucked.
  • What Are The Six Guitar Strings?A classical guitar typically has six strings; E-A-D-G-B-E from low to high.