#1
Hi folks,
I'm primarily a electric guitar player but I also have a acoustic guitar (not classical) which I only use to strum a few chords and songs in my bedroom. I have no intention of playing live with my acoustic or something like that. It's really just a bedroom guitar for practice purposes.
Like a typical electric guitar player I sometimes struggle with the action and the amount of energy I have to use to finger chords which give me no trouble on an electric.
So here's what I been thinking: put a set of .9 electric guitar strings on my acoustic. Will it work? Does it throw of intonation? Of course it will sound different but is it complete nonsense? The lightest gauge for acoustic strings I find are 11s and they are in comparison to electric really hard to play for me (I use 9s on all my electrics).
Have any of you done that? What are your results?
#2
Most of us just man up and use strings that sound good on acoustic guitars, .012s or better.

Your guitar will likely sound like crap with .009s, thin and stringy. But, if those are all you're willing to stain yourself over, that's your business.

Acoustic strings don'r reallt come in .009s. "Acoustic extra lights". ore .010 to .047. And heaven forbid, we would hate to see you strain yourself even with an electric regular regular set, .010 to .046

Have the guitar setup properly, that could make it easier to play. Will it make it easy enough for you? That's your call.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 31, 2014,
#3
Just learn to play on a 11 set. I have never found it hard, and I use 9s on my electric. Acoustic and electric feel different. Also, I would guess acoustic strings sound richer than electric strings. You can't put acoustic strings on an electric because they are not magnetic. But I'm sure they are better for unplugged sounds.

I think you could do it but I just don't see the point. Get used to heavier strings. Also, acoustic isn't a bend guitar. Play it differently. Different stuff works for electric and acoustic. And if you learn something new on acoustic, you can always try the same stuff on electric. Different way of playing makes you learn new things.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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Yamaha P115
#4
a) Get it set up - there's no intrinsic reason for the action to be as high as many acoustics are (but you'll never get quite as low as a good electric, I admit)
b) Tune it down a whole step to reduce string tension
c) Play it with a capo (the bridge to first fret action is often set too high)
#5
Elect strings sound dull and lame on an acoustic but technically will work. I play a lotta acoustic blues and use string bends frequently. A light set of acoustic .10s will get me through a 4 hr gig without bleeding. I also prefer to tune down 1/2 step but sometime this makes the keys player crazy.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#6
Well thanks for your answers.
I know that acoustic is different than electric and I know that it's "harder" to play. And I really don't have problems with playing on an acoustic. Mine has just been setup and is already very easy to play. And I use 11s on my acoustic. It's different and "harder" to play than my electrics but I'm not in pain or anything.
I just wanted to know why not try electric strings. But yeah, I think I understand what you guys mean.
#7
Quote by Reinima
...[ ]....I just wanted to know why not try electric strings. But yeah, I think I understand what you guys mean.
The windings on acoustic strings are made from "bell bronze", (80% copper/20% tin), and some related alloys. They're actually what gives the acoustic guitar its characteristic sound.

Brass is non- magnetic material. So that part of the string won't be captured with an electric guitar type pickup.

I ran into this situation with a "hybrid" 12 string I own. It's on the order of an ES-335 body, with a sustain block/ one piece body. It has a piezo under the saddle, and a mag pickup in the neck position. I couldn't stand the electric strings it came with when using the piezo, so I put an acoustic set on it. Now the piezo sounds great, and the single coil up front gets a "meh", at best.

Were you to instal a sound hole type electromagnetic type pickup, nickel electric strings might be a viable (?) option, but with a piezo or a mic, they're pretty much not.

Although what you'd wind up with, is something that's reminiscent of an electric guitar, with the worst feedback problems ever.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 31, 2014,
#8
Yeah electric strings would work but they'd sound like crap, especially 9's. Custom lights(11's), I think still sound good on an acoustic but it's a matter of taste I guess. I like lights best(12). If the acoustic is set up well, it shouldn't be much harder, if any, than an electric. It might take a tad more finger pressure but IMO the acoustic is more forgiving. You can be a little sloppy in fretting your chords with an acoustic and it won't sound as good but with an electric it would sound even worse. I started about 7-8 months ago and I bought both an acoustic and electric. Most of the music I listen to is electric but to my surprise, I find myself picking up the acoustics(have 3 now) 95% of the time. To me the acoustics are just more convenient and fun to play.
#9
There's no real reason not to, but IMO anything less than 12s sounds thins and stringy to me on an acoustic. Even when you use heavier ones (eg 12, 13s) they tend to sound dull on an acoustic. I use 13-56 electric strings on my resos because I use a electric guitar-style magnetic pickups in them, but they sound better acoustically with phos bronze acoustic strings.
#11
I've never used electric strings on my acoustic.
I have never been caught wearing a dress in downtown San Diego( good thing cell phone cameras are a recent invention).
I have never( even inadvertently) aimed my weapon at a fellow soldier.
I have never locked my child in a closet( well, my sister's child.... he ain't actually mine).
I've never stuck my tongue on a campfire.
I've never left my acoustic in the trunk(boot for you limeys ! ) in my car.
there are just some things you wouldn't consider doing.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#12
Yes, of course you can use electric guitar strings on an acoustic guitar.

The reason that bronze-wound strings are used on acoustic guitars is largely due to the historic development of musical instrument strings. The early guitars were strung with twisted gut and the bass strings were much thicker than they are nowadays - to an extent that they were difficult to play (this led to the development of long-necked instruments like the theorbo which used long thin bass strings rather then short thick ones).

The first metal-wound strings (wound on gut) began to appear in the late 17th century in Italy. The metal used was copper since it is very ductile (therefore easier to form into wire) and was cheap and plentiful. Unfortunately copper corrodes very quickly so silver was used for posh people. Silver-plating was developed in the 18th century which helped a lot.

Nylon took over from gut in the early part of the 20th century and good quality steel wire became available at about the same time - together with the machinery to produce even-diameter thin wire. Bronze or brass - harder and longer lasting - was the natural material to replace silver-plated copper for the windings of bass strings (although silver-plated copper is still used and is popular for gypsy jazz, for example).

When the development of electric guitars began (and the early experiments involved attaching pick-ups to the top of acoustic guitars) it soon became evident that bronze-wound strings gave uneven response with a magnetic pickup (because as Captaincranky mentions, brass is a non-magnetic alloy) so strings were developed with steel, nickel plated steel or pure nickel windings (both ferrous hence magnetic metals).

The main reason for winding the bass strings is to impart mass not to produce a particular sound. In fact, nickel wound stings can sound fine on a guitar (some guitars might not sound as good as they do with bronze, others might sound better - it all depends on the listener). Over the years I've found that it's not really possible to predict how a particular string will sound on a particular guitar - you have to experiment.

I have two of my acoustic guitars strung with electric guitar strings: my vintage Eko Ranger VI which is fitted with a magnetic sound-hole pick up and my 12 string which I keep in standard E tuning and is fitted with a hybrid set 10 - 44 electric strings. Both guitars sound fine acoustically as well as amplified (and BTW, in response to the Captain's comments, the 12er has an EQ/UST amp and sounds perfectly OK amplified with the electic strings - no more feedback than with bronze wound)

Try it. And if you want to use 9 gauge you use 9 gauge - the volume might suffer a little - so what?
Last edited by Garthman at Aug 1, 2014,
#13
Quote by stepchildusmc
I've never used electric strings on my acoustic.
I have never been caught wearing a dress in downtown San Diego( good thing cell phone cameras are a recent invention).
I have never( even inadvertently) aimed my weapon at a fellow soldier.
I have never locked my child in a closet( well, my sister's child.... he ain't actually mine).
I've never stuck my tongue on a campfire.
I've never left my acoustic in the trunk(boot for you limeys ! ) in my car.
there are just some things you wouldn't consider doing.


You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind...

but I do tend to leave my inexpensive travel guitar in the trunk sometimes.
#14
Quote by rohash
You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind...

but I do tend to leave my inexpensive travel guitar in the trunk sometimes.

Blasphemy I say !!!!
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#15
Quote by Garthman
...[ ]....The first metal-wound strings (wound on gut) began to appear in the late 17th century in Italy. The metal used was copper since it is very ductile (therefore easier to form into wire) and was cheap and plentiful. Unfortunately copper corrodes very quickly so silver was used for posh people. Silver-plating was developed in the 18th century which helped a lot.
While this is a good post, it's a tad incomplete. Bronze also corrodes quickly. But true, the copper in it is more active than the tin. This is why when you wipe down any bronze alloy string vigorously, you'll get a green color on the rag. These are copper salts, formed with the interaction of chemicals in sweat. As soon as I see green on the rag, I know I'm through the coating on My DAD EXPs : The green is pretty much the same as copper's signature "patina", (actually spectral color as well) , and it's the stuff you'll see on "General Go-get-em's" statue in the park.

Tin forms a lattice when added to copper and creates a harder, more ringing alloy. Copper alone for a bell flat out sucks. A bad batch of "bell bronze", gives you the Liberty Bell. The ideal mix is about 80& (Copper) / 20% (tin). (Plus I'm told you might need a bit of luck, and optimum stellar alignment for a perfect batch). So, today's typical guitar string alloy's composition, is likely either a parallel development, or an outgrowth of the bell making process.

Phosphor bronze is harder still, and often used in industrial bearings.

Quote by Garthman
I have two of my acoustic guitars strung with electric guitar strings: my vintage Eko Ranger VI which is fitted with a magnetic sound-hole pick up and my 12 string which I keep in standard E tuning and is fitted with a hybrid set 10 - 44 electric strings. Both guitars sound fine acoustically as well as amplified (and BTW, in response to the Captain's comments, the 12er has an EQ/UST amp and sounds perfectly OK amplified with the electic strings - no more feedback than with bronze wound)
I would have to read what I said originally to rebut this. Instead, let's move forward. You've so obviously never heard a set of "Korean 12 strings", and hence I mostly reject this comparison. I have 3 Crafter 12 strings, and all get strung with D'Addario Phosphor Bronze 12 String Lights. My D-8-12 in particular, was the worst sounding 12 string I'd ever heard. Since I bought it through the mail, I thought I had been ripped off. A string change made a fine instrument out off it. While Crafter obviously has fine luthiers, their string department/ supplier is sadly wanting.

As for the two semi -hollows, my choice of bronze strings favors their piezos, at the expense of their magnetic pickups. Bronze is a whole lot warmer than a steel 12 string set. I appreciate Roger McGuinn's prowess with the Rick 12, the mid boost and compression he uses. However, the rest of the Byrds, along with some line losses during the recording process, are quite necessary, to make it a whole lot more tolerable...

Quote by Garthman
Try it. And if you want to use 9 gauge you use 9 gauge - the volume might suffer a little - so what?
The trouble here is, the artist's aural sensibilities might conflict with the intended audience's taste. (I do however, freely admit, they may not be competent to sound judge quality, or simply not know any better)

At any rate, I can sit and play my semi hollow twelves by myself and convince me that they sound good, when the truth is, they need to be plugged in. (Although being much softer of voice than Michael Bolton, the lack of amplification let's me know how far off key I am, without resorting to in ear monitors).

BTW, silver also "corrodes" quickly, and I expect that those posh people you mention, had plenty of staff to keep it in tip top, sparkling condition.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 1, 2014,
#16
I think it's very much a case of "each to his own", Cap'n. We are all different.

Quote by Captaincranky
. . . . . . .The trouble here is, the artist's aural sensibilities might conflict with the intended audience's taste. (I do however, freely admit, they may not be competent to sound judge quality, or simply not know any better) ,. . . . .


But this is what the OP said in his opening post:

"I'm primarily a electric guitar player but I also have a acoustic guitar (not classical) which I only use to strum a few chords and songs in my bedroom. I have no intention of playing live with my acoustic or something like that. It's really just a bedroom guitar for practice purposes"

HST I do play live with both my nickel-steel strung acoustics and no-one has ever commented adversely on the sound.
Last edited by Garthman at Aug 2, 2014,
#17
Quote by Garthman
I think it's very much a case of "each to his own", Cap'n. We are all different.
How true, but I don't think you've ever heard the original strings which Crafter used to use. To help bring home my point, they've started shipping their acoustics with D'Ad EXPs. Lessons learned, I suppose. My guitars were from lots of LH backstock, so I got the whole, "strings made in Korea" treatment.

Quote by Garthman
But this is what the OP said in his opening post:

"I'm primarily a electric guitar player but I also have a acoustic guitar (not classical) which I only use to strum a few chords and songs in my bedroom. I have no intention of playing live with my acoustic or something like that. It's really just a bedroom guitar for practice purposes"
For me, that's all the more reason NOT to string it with electric strings. I like to swap instruments from hard to play, to harder still to play. (6 string acoustics, with custom light at the least, to 12 string acoustics). If I were to string up with .009 electrics, I wouldn't be able to stop barre chords from buzzing when I picked up an acoustic 12. This from practical experience, playing a Les Paul (copy) and trying to jump to an Ovation acoustic 12. Granted my experiences don't apply to anyone other than me, but I always like to include to another viewpoint, just to keep things interesting.

I've known players who firmly believe playing an acoustic, ruins your touch for the electric. Coming back to acoustic almost exclusively, I found all I was able to produce with my Ibanez "ART", (with .009 to .042), was over driven noise. Extremely light strings do suck some the available dynamics away from an acoustic, and being confronted with someone who will be, "almost exclusively strumming", well you know.

In fact, some of our bluegrass guys, string with mediums AND raise the action, to the end of being able to project, and have a lot of dynamic range with a solid bottom end at their disposal.

Quote by Garthman
HST I do play live with both my nickel-steel strung acoustics and no-one has ever commented adversely on the sound.
Well, if it will make you happy, I freely admit I was likely giving the audience way too much credit for sound evaluation. As I also said, the swap from brass to steel, does favor one type of pickup over another. For a sound hole magnetic, steel strings might absolutely be the way to go.

My guitar teacher actually made fun of me when I dropped the action down on my $15.00 acoustic saying, "you don't want your neck hand to have to do any work, do you"? Perhaps he had a sadistic streak, or maybe he was trying to help me better myself as a player. He also said, "if you build up strength with your acoustic, when you go to the electric, you'll be that much faster". Or maybe, since that was pushing 50 years ago, times have simply changed...
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 2, 2014,
#18
On an acoustic guitar that you value, I do not recommend stringing it with electric guitar strings.

I strung up my Yamaha dreadnough (hence my username) with electric guitar strings when I was a beginner guitar player, and while a convenient solution, it sounded terrible and was artistically shameful.

If you can afford not do it, DON'T DO IT
My God, it's full of stars!