What if i used classical guitar strings for the regular octave strings and normal 12 string upper octave strings?
Do you think the two sounds will clash or will it give it a fuller, less metallic sound?
Well I suppose I must be crazy because I did exactly that about 5 years ago. I used a set of La Bella 850W high tension nylon strings with bronze-wound bases - and a wound G - for the main courses and used nickel-steel (electric guitar) strings for the octaves: 9 / 11 / 8 / 12 / 16 / 22w.


I have a short recording of it but it's on my work's computer - I'll try to post it tomorrow.
Last edited by Garthman at Mar 12, 2017,
Quote by Tony Done
I would also be interested in doing it the other way - nylon for the octaves - to take the bright edge off, especially in the lower four courses.

I tried it that way too, Tony, but found nylon for the main strings to be better. I've been meaning to try using nylon for all the strings but haven't got around to it yet. The octave G is problematic - you'd probably have to have the G strings in unison - you can get away with using E, B and D nylon strings for the bass octaves. You can also use a mix of tensions - normal to high, to get a balance.

I don't think I'd want to go back to all steel now - nylon rules for me most of the time.
Last edited by Garthman at Mar 12, 2017,
Quote by Tony Done
. . . The lower string tension of nylon on a 12 string would be nice.

Try it. I'm hooked.

There are some potential pitfalls with your idea. First, nylon strings are bigger in diameter  than their steel string counterparts. This may force you to modify the grooves  in the top nut of your guitar to get them properly seated.

Nylon strings also have to be higher than steel strings because of their greater "excursion". It would, (I'm guessing), be fairly easy to have the string pairs foul one another if the guitar was played heavily. Obviously, that would depend on your touch.

I think nylon strings would be too loose were you to tune down to D-d. That's common practice with steel strings, to allow easier fretting, and preserve the physical integrity of the instrument. ("Save ir's life", as it were). Although granted, you may not find tuning down to be necessary with the lower tension of nylon strings.

This next bit might meet  with some disapproval from members who are more of a purist nature than myself. I use amplification and equalization, along with just a touch of compression to curve the sound to my liking. Keep in mind I find the unprocessed sound of a 12 string to be a bit strident. Still, I love the instrument's potential sound with processing, more than the dry, "right out of the sound hole" stridency an unequalized  12 can exhibit.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 13, 2017,