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Due to the lack of crossover guitars available in guitar retailers in the uk, i am considering buying a steel strung guitar and replacing the steel strings with nylon strings.I did this a while ago and had a great sound with no problems occuring with the neck of the guitar.I was advised by a guitar technician in a music shop that the neck of the guitar would soon warp so i restrung using steel strings.Has anybody done the same thing please let me know if you had any problems..I know some people will say when changing like for like strings ,you should only change one string at a time but i know of a top uk guitar maker who when repairing or customising guitars will cut the strings off in one go using wire cutters.There are obviously different schools of thought about this procedure so any info or comment would be welcome,best wishes to all my guitar playing brothers and sisters.

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Replies to This Discussion

You will need to find Nylon strings with ball ends in order to accomodate the bridge set up on steel string guitars. These are available but not as common as normal nylon strings which are designed for Nylon string bridges.

Changing strings one at a time does minimize neck tension changes and would thus be the prefered method of restringing, however, most manufacturers agree that if a guitar will not be played for a long period of time, removing the string tension is the preferred method of long time storage so, I do not think that removing all strings for a restringing would be considered to be detrimental.

Many years ago, when I was ignorant of the differences between nylon and steel string guitar construction, I had a nylon string guitar with steel strings.....I did not own it very long so I don't know how well it held up to steel string tension. I would not recomend stringing a guitar with anything but the strings it was designed for. Even steel string guitars will often recomend light, medium, or heavy guage strings based on their construction.

You might consider one of the silk/steel composite strings for a steel string guitar rather than a nylon string.
I recall being told that nylon string guitars have different internal bridging than steel string guitars, so the tone may not be optimum. There is no such bridging in a banjo though, and I substituted nylon for steel on a six-string banjo recently with very good results. I don't see any problem with replacing steel with nylon since there will be less tension. Nylon strings are bigger in diameter, however, so you will have to do some filing probably on both the nut and bridge.

As Charles suggests, you should use ball-end strings which you can find for purchase on the internet if they are not available locally. By the way, good nylon-string guitars can be purchased that way too. You could try ebay, musciansfriend.com or perhaps music123.com. In fact a google shopping search for "guitar" will probably turn up quite a few other options.

I would expect some warping of the neck and possibly other problems if you were to put steel strings on a nylon-string guitar. Unlike nylon string guitars, steel guitars have a steel bar in the neck to accommodate the greater tension of steel strings.
I think it somewhat depends on the guitar itself. I have an Ovation shallow body that I had put nylon strings on for many years (it has a neck that is almost like an electric) and it was never a problem, in fact it worked very well.. The tone was not quite what a nylon string guitar would offer but since it has a bridge transducer pickup I could compensate with a parametric EQ. I have since reverted to steel stings on that guitar because of how I use it not due to any problem with the nylon. Since the nylon strings create less tension than steel string I would think a truss rob adjustment might be needed but I don't think it will hurt the instrument. It is a good idea to check with a reputable but open minded luthier just in case. Most so-called Silk and Steel sets seem to have ball ends so that would work. Let us know what you decide and how it works out. Good luck.

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