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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Electric strings on an acoustic. Bad idea?


New York City

Oct 2nd, 2018 01:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

Dumb question? I imagine they would not sound the same but is there any risk of damage to the guitar? Electric guitars are usually meatier builds so probably handle higher tension strings better than an acoustic. Would light gauge electric strings still have more tension in them than an acoustic set?

Edit to add: I'm talking about a steel string acoustic. I wouldn't put electric guitar strings on a nylon string classical.

(This message was last edited by digiboy at 04:05 AM, Oct 2nd, 2018)

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Oct 2nd, 2018 09:31 AM   Edit   Profile  

Strings of the same gauge regardless of how they are wrapped produce the same approximate tension.

I'd expect a loss of tone acoustically however you may not notice much difference if plugged in.

I see it as a no gain swap. If the strings are too tough on you or you want easier bends just go to a lighter acoustic set.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Oct 2nd, 2018 09:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

To elaborate on Hammond101's comments:

For the plain strings, there's no difference between electric and acoustic. Always high strength steel.

For the wounds, the core strand is always steel, but the wraps on acoustics can be bronze. You wouldn't want to use those on an electric because of low output.

Electric strings tend to be lighter gauge and lower tension than acoustic for ease of play, lower action, and easier bending. Acoustic strings are generally heavier gauge because you need more mass moving to drive the top. On electrics, the amp takes care of the need for more volume.

Sets with an .011 high E would be considered fairly heavy on an electric, but on the light side for an acoustic.

reverend mikey
Contributing Member

N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Oct 2nd, 2018 09:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

The other issue is whether or not you're using an electric set with a plain G or wound G. A plain G string on acoustic sounds pretty, well, plain - naked. I've never liked it.

As Hammond said, same gauges should be fine, but I wouldn't expect an improvement in tone, and most acoustic guitar magnetic pickups are designed to be used with acoustic sets of strings anyway...


New York City

Oct 4th, 2018 02:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

So bottom line from what I read here (and admittedly a bit of Googling) electric strings shouldn't be a problem as far as damaging the guitar, they just may not sound as good.

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Oct 4th, 2018 02:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

"they just may not sound as good."


Contributing Member

Stinks like hell

and the neighbors complain
Oct 5th, 2018 11:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, acoustic strings (the wound ones) generally have more mass than electric strings--exterior diameters being equal.

This additional mass is necessary to get that flat or carved wooden top moving. It creates better tone, volume and projection.

Electric strings can sound very "plinky" on an acoustic guitar.

FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Electric strings on an acoustic. Bad idea?

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