I've now saved up enough for my first acoustic (I've been playing electric for a year now.) I'm interested in playing classical pieces mostly but also want steel strings for pop/rock songs. So, my question is can I buy a steel string and put nylon strings on it if I wish later?

And, could someone recommend a good acoustic UNDER $200 (I've already seen the "Under 300" thread)

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nylon stings cant take the tension of a steel stringed guitar, if youve ever played a classical guitar you should notice that there is WAY less tension on the nylon strings
Do not put nylon strings on a steel string guitar and vice-versa. There is a HUGE difference between the amounts of tension from each type of string. Mix-matching them will cause a lot of problems for the neck, the bridge, and the tuners.

As for recommendation: The Greg Bennet Samick acoustics are decent enough. Korean made, and with decent tone wood. You might want to check them out.
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Putting classical strings on a steel string guitar will pose no problems, but it will sound horrible since the strings do not have enough energy to move the sound board.
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^^ THAT is the correct response. Everyone else is just really confused.

Just to elaborate, and to clear up some of the confusion...

Steel strings on a classical guitar

It is a very bad idea to put steel strings on a classical guitar. This is because steel strings will exert roughly twice the tension of nylon strings when tuned to pitch. Steel string guitars have truss rods to stabilize the neck, and heavy bracing to strengthen and support the top. A classical guitar, lacking these features, simply cannot withstand the same degree of tension without sustaining permanent damage.

Bottom line: The neck and top will warp, or the bridge will be torn from the guitar, or both.

Nylon strings on a steel string guitar

While not recommended, it is less of a bad idea to put nylon strings on a steel string guitar. It is exactly the reverse of the above scenario, so nylon strings will only exert half the tension of steel strings when tuned to pitch. A steel string guitar will tolerate that easily. However, because there is so little tension in the strings, there will not be enough energy transferred through them to "drive" the top - with all that heavy bracing, a steel string guitar's top needs a great deal more energy to induce the vibrations that create the sound we hear. Hence, the guitar will sound very quiet and muddy when played.

It is also not recommended due to the fact that nylon strings tend to be of much larger diameters than steel strings. I'm not positive, but I think even with the narrowest gauge nylon strings you'd have to widen the nut slots before the strings would fit into them properly. You may also run into tuning problems due to the way the saddle is shaped/angled for a steel string guitar. If you really must put nylon strings on a steel string guitar, make sure you buy the narrowest gauge available and get the type will ball-ends. Most nylon strings have plain ends, and I'm really not sure how you'd go about tying them to a steel string bridge.

Bottom line: Your guitar will sound like crap and you may have trouble with the nut slots being too narrow, but your guitar won't be harmed.
Last edited by sunshowers at Dec 7, 2008,