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  • Steel Strings on a Classical Guitar?

    2 min read

    Steel Strings on a Classical Guitar?

    Yes, you can safely put steel strings on your classical guitar.

    photo of classical guitar with steel strings and the TurboTail

    With the TurboTail installed, even a very lightly built guitar with a feather-light soundboard can withstand the tension force of the heaviest gauge steel strings for decades and decades. This even includes classical guitars.

    This is amazing since classical guitars are the lightest guitars made because they are designed for nylon strings. The tension force of a set of nylon guitar strings is around 80 lbs., as opposed to steel strings which have a tension force of 140-190 lbs.  

    Guitars Designed for Steel Strings

    photo showing x-bracing inside an acoustic guitar

    Almost all steel string guitars have a rigid, X-braced soundboard. Basically, the soundboard is a stiff, structural plane, just like the floor of a house. Sure, if you stomp hard on the floor, a person downstairs will hear you. But, there is no sensitivity or nuance to the sound transmissions. If the floor did not need to support your weight, plus furniture, then it could be built much lighter. Then, if you just tapped on it with your little finger, the same person downstairs would hear you loud and clear, as if you were tapping on a drum skin.    


    Steel Strings on Guitars Designed for Nylon Strings

    Guitarists have tried installing steel strings on classical guitars in hopes of taking advantage of the sensitivity of these lightly built guitars, particularly of the ultralight fan bracing of the classical guitar soundboard.

    Initially, the result is that the guitar sounds really good. Unfortunately, very quickly the guitar top begins to lift and deform. In a matter of hours, days, or weeks, the guitar is completely unplayable. Wouldn’t it be great you could achieve the improved sound, without destroying the guitar?  

    Impact of the TurboTail

    With the TurboTail, you can install steel strings on any classical guitar that has a truss rod in the neck. (All Cordoba and Godin guitars are built with a truss rod in their necks.) The truss rod helps to stabilize the neck, as well as making it possible to adjust the string action.

    In some of our video demonstrations, you will see that we have installed steel strings on a budget classical guitar and achieved a volume and tone that is better than that of a standard steel string guitar costing many times more. 

    Watch Demonstration & Comparison Videos

    We have a number of videos demonstrating steel strings on classical guitars, as well as comparing those to regular steel string guitars.  Click here to watch our videos 

    Experience the TurboTail yourself.  Buy one here