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  #1  
Old 09-12-2012, 09:56 PM
hieu1811 hieu1811 is offline
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Default Any problem stringing nylon strings to acoustic guitar

Hi,

My female friend wants to get a small guitar as a birthday present to get started, preferably nylon strings to reduce the finger pain.

I spotted a decent small size acoustic guitar at nearby store. It has normal bridge pin bridge, and tuner set, which one of the store owner said it might be difficult to string nylon string in the bridge pin. The store owner next door said we just need to tie a knot at the end of the nylon strings under the bridge pin.

So i would like to know can it be done, and does it affect set-up, intonation, tonewise?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I need to finalize by tomorrow.
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2012, 10:08 PM
ChunkyB ChunkyB is offline
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It would affect set-up significantly, as the string tension is much less with nylon strings, and you typically need higher action on a nylon string guitar because the strings deflect more.

Also, you would need a new/modified nut to accommodate the larger strings, especially on the treble side.

It's not worth the cost. I honestly worry about this "store owner" making this recommendation. Is he a guitar tech, or does he have any guitar experience?

Just get a nylon-string guitar. You can find great ones everywhere for cheap.
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  #3  
Old 09-12-2012, 10:17 PM
hello people hello people is offline
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You can just whack a set on, it's be alright.

I used to do that to my old Ibanez Performance sometimes for a bit of fun.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hieu1811 View Post
Hi,

My female friend wants to get a small guitar as a birthday present to get started, preferably nylon strings to reduce the finger pain.

I spotted a decent small size acoustic guitar at nearby store. It has normal bridge pin bridge, and tuner set, which one of the store owner said it might be difficult to string nylon string in the bridge pin. The store owner next door said we just need to tie a knot at the end of the nylon strings under the bridge pin.

So i would like to know can it be done, and does it affect set-up, intonation, tonewise?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I need to finalize by tomorrow.
Hi hieu...

Several string companies build nylon strings with ball ends. They will likely not fit the nut slots correctly, but they will not damage the guitar.

So what if the intonation is off. You just want to postpone the sore fingers, so intonation won't be your primary concern.

If it is, then bite the bullet and learn to play normal strings on a steel string guitar.




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  #5  
Old 09-13-2012, 03:29 AM
Garthman Garthman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hieu1811 View Post
Hi,

My female friend wants to get a small guitar as a birthday present to get started, preferably nylon strings to reduce the finger pain.

I spotted a decent small size acoustic guitar at nearby store. It has normal bridge pin bridge, and tuner set, which one of the store owner said it might be difficult to string nylon string in the bridge pin. The store owner next door said we just need to tie a knot at the end of the nylon strings under the bridge pin.

So i would like to know can it be done, and does it affect set-up, intonation, tonewise?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I need to finalize by tomorrow.
Yes it can be done and it usually works well. As has been mentioned, ball-end nylon strings are available and make it easier to attach the strings at the bridge but a knot or two at the end of loop-end strings works OK too.

You might find that you have to widen the treble string nut slots a little (the bass slots will be OK). But string up first and see how the strings sit in the slot - if they are too proud, just lift each string to one side and use a piece of folded sandpaper to widen the slots - work gently and pop the string back in the slot from time to time to check progress. Just take your time and work slowly - it's very easy to do.
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:30 AM
SteveA SteveA is offline
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I would suggest you not go that route......Purchase .11 Gauge strings and tune down a 1/2 step.....

Have her play every day for 1/2 hour for about 5 days.....Her fingers will be sore with possible string indentations.

REST ONE DAY COMPLETELY.......come back and play and and you will be surprised how the body has formed a thick skin callous in order to adjust to the newfound "threat" of Guitar strings......

Our bodies do adapt amazingly to the punishment.....

Just like working out, running etc, she will be fine.

In a few more days that pain will be history and she should be able to play fairly pain free for 1/2 hour to an hour......

DON'T GET A CHEAP HIGH ACTION GUITAR FOR HER.......

Hope this helps
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  #7  
Old 09-13-2012, 07:51 AM
JCook1 JCook1 is offline
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Why not just get a classical guitar?

jack
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:35 AM
gitgal gitgal is offline
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Interesting. I bought an inexpensive steel string acoustic at a pawn shop a few months ago (since got rid of it). The owner of the shop threw in a pack of strings and they are nylon with the ball ends. I didn't even give it much thought at the time but yesterday, when I was reorganizing one of my hutches, I came across them. I don't plan on using them but why in the heck would he give me those for a dreadnaught? LOL
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:41 AM
zabdart zabdart is offline
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You might consider a set of silk and steel strings, which have a much lighter gauge and less string tension, and therefore don't hurt the fingers as much. I knew a girl in college who did just that, and she was very happy with it.
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:06 AM
JCook1 JCook1 is offline
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Quote:
Interesting. I bought an inexpensive steel string acoustic at a pawn shop a few months ago (since got rid of it). The owner of the shop threw in a pack of strings and they are nylon with the ball ends. I didn't even give it much thought at the time but yesterday, when I was reorganizing one of my hutches, I came across them. I don't plan on using them but why in the heck would he give me those for a dreadnaught? LOL
Being a pawn shop owner he probably doesn't know much about guitars; he might think a string is a string.

Jack
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:43 AM
mchalebk mchalebk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zabdart View Post
You might consider a set of silk and steel strings, which have a much lighter gauge and less string tension, and therefore don't hurt the fingers as much. I knew a girl in college who did just that, and she was very happy with it.
This would be my suggestion as well.

I did try ball end nylon strings on a steel string recently and the high E string kept popping out of the nut slot. You will almost certainly need to widen the nut slots for the treble strings to make this work, and then the nut will be no good if you switch back to steel strings.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:50 AM
drunkinminer drunkinminer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mchalebk View Post
This would be my suggestion as well.

I did try ball end nylon strings on a steel string recently and the high E string kept popping out of the nut slot. You will almost certainly need to widen the nut slots for the treble strings to make this work, and then the nut will be no good if you switch back to steel strings.
Sure make a great case for getting a Classical.

OP listen to the man. Just tell her to get a Classical and be done.
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  #13  
Old 09-13-2012, 12:46 PM
Garthman Garthman is offline
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The problem with a classical is the wide fretboard - many beginners find it difficult especially if they have small hands.

A dreadnought with nylon strings often fits the bill.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:16 PM
jseth jseth is offline
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Just read through all the replies and didn't see mention of this fact: the guitar will sound like dog poo with nylon strings on it! That, alone, may make your friend decide that the guitar isn't for her...

The guitar I started out playing, in 1958, was a cheap Sears Silvertone steel string acoustic... now, truth be told, I probably couldn't fret that thing today, not without a pair of Vise-grip pliers!!! But, back then, it was all I had, so I struggled along with it, sharing it with my older brother and sister... at one point, my sister put Black Diamond nylon strings on the thing, which made it much easier to fret the notes, but there was literally next to no sound/vibration coming from the guitar!

Either get her a classical, to start out, or get her a steel string and have it set up with 10's or 11's... unless, of course, she's a big robust young woman with strong hands!
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:22 PM
jeepnstein jeepnstein is offline
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Finger pain is the sign of a poorly set up guitar. Slapping nylon strings on it is just masking the problem. A cheap guitar with a good setup is the ticket here. Our local mom 'n pop offers such a beginners model and it's a joy to play.
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