Nylon String Guitar Vs Steel String (Which is Better?)

Table of Contents

What is Nylon String Guitar?

Nylon string guitars look and sound the same as steel-string guitars, but nylon strings produce a softer tone that is easier to play. Nylon string guitarists often use fingerpicks or a thumb pick to increase volume.

The nylon strings on a nylon string guitar have lower tension than the steel strings on a steel-string guitar. This allows for easier fingering and greater control when picking notes, so beginners are often encouraged to start with a nylon string guitar before switching to a steel-string one.

Electric nylon string guitars have pickups that are similar to those used for steel-string acoustic guitars. These pickups are more robust than those used in classical guitars, so they can be used with distortion effects. Nylon string guitarists are more likely to use electric amplification than classical or flamenco players.

Nylon-string guitars come in a variety of types and sizes that suit particular playing styles and budgets. Most nylon-string guitars have the same body shape as a steel-string guitar: a large, rounded soundbox and small waist and tailpiece.

Types of Nylon String Guitar

Nylon string guitar is a type of acoustic guitar. Many nylon-strung guitars are fretted, but there are also fretless versions. Modern nylon string guitars typically have steel strings, though they might be wound with gut or nickel-silver wire. Some nylon string guitars do not have a neck, and the strings run directly from the bridge to the body.

The classical guitar is similar in appearance and construction to the Spanish guitar but differs in size, shape, neck angle, and string arrangement. The steel-string acoustics are usually made of hardwood (occasionally maple), with a spruce or cedar top. They are often built in both flat top and archtop styles. Electric guitars based on these designs are also available.


The nylon string guitar is a type of steel-stringed acoustic guitar made from a single piece of material. The strings run over a plastic or metal headstock, and there is no soundpost in the body. They were patented by John D’Angelico in 1927. Various materials may be used for strings including nylon, gut, silk, and more recently various kinds of synthetic materials such as Kevlar and Dacron. Some of the strings are wound with wire and form “electrolysis sets”.

The string material may be different than the body and neck, so the instrument is a hybrid. When nylon strings were first patented, they were very expensive. Today, modern nylon string guitars are very affordable. They are often used by folk artists to get that purer sound without having to deal with heavy bronze strings which can produce a warmer sound than steel ones. Today’s nylon string guitars require a good technique to play well.


Nylon string guitar is a class of instruments that has its roots in the nineteenth century, with the first nylon-strung instruments appearing around 1830. Eventually, Japanese luthiers, Suzuki and Takeo Haigu began developing a new style of simpler-to-build nylon string guitars that they called ‘The New Fiddle’. Other manufacturers followed suit and started creating their own versions of this style, using different materials to construct the body and neck.

What is Steel String Guitar?

The steel-string acoustic guitar is a modern form of guitar that descends from the classical guitar but is strung with steel strings for a brighter sound. The most common type is known as a dreadnought, named after the great booming sounds created when played loudly. Steel-string guitars are sometimes referred to by their Gibson brand name “Jumbo”.

Steel-string acoustic guitars are an important part of any musician’s arsenal, be it strumming folk tunes or playing the lead in hard rock bands.

I’m sure you’ve seen steel-string guitars, but what is it? I’ll quickly summarize the differences between nylon and steel string guitar. Nylon string guitars are usually tuned to a range that’s in the key of A to G and usually include lower notes in E and D.

Steel guitar bands normally range from D-G and sometimes F because steel strings don’t have the same tension as nylon strings, so they’re easier to press down on.

Types of Steel String Guitar

Guitar types include acoustic, classical guitar, folk guitar, steel-string guitar. Steel-string guitars are closely related to the classical guitar. They are more advanced versions of guitars with more advanced construction methods used to build them.

These guitars have a hollow steel-wound “G” shaped magnetic pickup attached directly beneath each bridge for amplified sound. Classical guitars use nylon strings and steel-string guitars use steel strings.

Acoustic and classical guitars are used for playing folk music and they both sound alike, but the only difference is the sound of the guitar. Acoustic and classical guitars differ in their construction methods, body shape, and most importantly, their sound.


  • Steel string guitars, as the name suggests, use steel strings.
  • Steel string guitars can be acoustic or electric
  • The sound is known for being crisp and clear, and can be heard in most folk, country and rock songs.
  • Steel string guitars enable the player to play at a much wider range of volume, from pianissimo to fortissimo
  • Steel string guitars are generally more affordable than their nylon string counterparts


The steel-string guitar is a common type of acoustic guitar that has a metallic or wooden soundboard and metal strings. The steel strings are either wound around the entire body or just above the body, where they can vibrate freely. This type of instrument is often used in folk music with an acoustic rhythm accompaniment, which distinguishes it from other acoustic guitars.

Which is Better?

Nylon string guitars are arguably one of the most versatile guitars on the market. They offer a uniquely smooth sound, which makes them perfect for folk music or country-style tunes. You can also use nylon string guitars to play punk rock, jazz, blues, and even heavy metal with enough practice. It is important to note that these strings are very soft and fragile, so you have to take added care when changing your strings or using your guitar in general.

Steel-string guitars, on the other hand, are more traditional in nature and were once the staple for teaching young kids. They are made with steel strings and feature a thicker sound than nylon string guitars. If you play country, folk, rock, or heavy metal music with these types of guitars, the guitar will provide you with a rich sound that will come through clearly when played at high volumes. If you are looking for a guitar that is made to last, steel-string guitars are definitely worth considering.


Nylon string guitars are fine for most guitar players. But if you’re looking to spend time with your guitar, to explore the deepest reaches of the instrument, to take on some blues or slide or old-timey Americana tunes, steel string is the way to go.


Which guitar is better nylon or steel string?

“A nylon string is more flexible and under less tension at pitch, giving it a slower attack and more mellow sound, while a steel string is under much greater tension providing a faster attack and brighter sound,” adds Córdoba head luthier Enns.

Is nylon string guitar easier to play?

Yes, nylon strings are softer and more gentle on players’ fingers, so beginners generally won’t have to worry about finger pain or developing the callouses that will help them practice pain-free.

Can nylon strings be used on a steel-string guitar?

No, nylon guitars are not designed for the additional tension of steel strings. Steel strings have substantially higher (100 lbs more) string-load tension and will stress the neck. And, nylon guitars usually don’t even have a truss rod.

Are nylon strings good for guitar?

The nylon strings on classical guitars like Kremona Fiesta FC contribute to a warmer, mellower sound, which is well-suited for classical, flamenco, and folk music. An acoustic guitar with steel strings would be more well-suited for playing country, rock, bluegrass, or just about any other type of music.


Q: Should I choose a nylon or steel string guitar?

A: You should start with a nylon string classical guitar because it will be easier on your fingertips than a steel string acoustic guitar. Overview. Select the Guitar That Reflects Your Musical Interest. Nylon String Guitars Are Typically Used for Classical and Folk Music; Steel String Guitars for Rock, Country and Most Other Styles.

Q: Do nylon strings last longer than steel strings?

A: Steel strings tend to break easier than nylon strings due to the high tension they have. However, this does not mean that they are super bad in terms of durability. They can also last a very long time if treated properly. But with daily usage, the durability of nylon strings outranks steel strings almost every time.

Q: How much does a nylon string classical guitar usually cost?

A: Nylon string guitar prices. Inexpensive: You can purchase a student nylon string guitar for less than $100. The guitar may be 1/2 or 3/4 size, and it may be made of basswood in full or in part. You shouldn’t expect phenomenal sound quality or durability from an instrument like this.

Q: Which does guitar use nylon strings?

A: Neck Width. A standard classical guitar has about 1 cm wider neck than an acoustic guitar. … Action Height. The action height of a guitar is the “height” distance between the top of the fret to the bottom of the string. Nut. The nut of classical guitars is broader and higher than other types of guitars. … Truss Rod. …