Nylon vs Steel String Guitar Sound

One thing that trips up a lot of people when shopping for a good acoustic guitar for beginners is the string type on the guitar. The most common type is the steel string guitar, and the lesser known type is the nylon string guitar.

Which string type you want to get really depends a lot on personal preference and they type of music that you will be playing. It is important to make your decision before you buy a guitar though as you cannot alternate string types in a guitar as guitars are designed only to work with one type of guitar string.

About Nylon Guitar Strings

Let’s start with the string type that is not as common. The first thing that you should know is that many people suggest that nylon strings are easier on your fingertips than the steel strings. This is a common misconception, however it does hold true for many people (myself included).

Guitars with nylon strings are commonly used for folk music and classical music. You will also find a lot of singer-songwriters using them when they play in small, intimate club settings.

Nylon strings are very responsive and give off a nice, mellow tone.

As you may have already guessed, nylon string guitars sound different than those with steel strings. It is also worth noting that you’ll likely end up needing to tune a nylon string guitar more frequently as the material is softer and more likely to experience changes due to fluctuations in humidity and temperature.

This video on the advantages of nylon string guitars will give you an idea of what to expect.

About Steel Guitar Strings

When you listen to your favorite band, they guitarist is most likely using a steel string guitar. It is because steel strings are used in all the most popular types of music, like rock and country.

Steel strings offer a bright, crisp tone when played.

Steel strings are a stronger, more durable material than nylon, which is why many people feel that they are more painful to work with when playing. The stability also means that you do not have to tune the guitar as frequently as a nylon string guitar.

This video on the differences between nylon and steel string guitars might help clear up any remaining questions that you may have about these two guitar string types.

And if you have any other questions on buying your first guitar, check out our beginner guitar shopping tips guide.