Acoustic Strings on an Electric Guitar

Q: "Can I use acoustic guitar strings on my electric?"

A: Taking a typical set of acoustic strings into consideration, the high E and B will work fine and should generate the normal amount of output if used in an electric guitar. As for the other four, you will probably get some output but they will most likely lack the depth, thickness and volume that a normal set of electric guitar strings would give you.

The reason for this is simple: the materials used. Unwound strings and the core of the wound strings -- both acoustic and electric -- are made from spring steel which has magnetic properties that are able to generate output on a pickup. But unlike electric guitar strings, wound acoustic guitar strings are wrapped in materials that do not create magnetism (such as bronze), meaning that only the core will contribute to the output and not the entire string. And since the output strength directly depends on the mass/diameter of the magnetic materials, you end up with a thinner, more transparent sound.

As for nylon acoustic guitar strings – they won’t work at all!


Your Turn to Sound Off!

Have you ever used acoustic guitar strings on your electric before? What was your experience?

Sound off in the comment section below!

One thought on “Acoustic Strings on an Electric Guitar”

  • Kirk Bolas

    I've done this once. One of my first gigs, a wedding reception as part of a three piece, a "developmentally" challenged teenager got a hold of my guitar (an '88 MIM Tele) between sets and proceeded to tighten all the strings to the breaking point for the A, D, G and B strings. I had mistakingly thrown an acoustic set of strings in my gig bag and had to replace the broken strings on my ax with the acoustic set. It definitely did screw with my volume and tone, but I was able to finish the gig. I don't recommend it, but it will work in a pinch.

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