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Acoustic Strings on an Electric Guitar

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  • Acoustic Strings on an Electric Guitar

    The strings on my Dot were in need of a change, so I figured I'd experiment with this a bit, as I've heard it can give the guitar a "woodier" sound. To put it plainly, I hated the sound(with these strings, anyway). Besides being harder to play, the acoustic strings were quieter and thinner-sounding than electric strings, with the only notable benefit being a slight increase in percussiveness. It was kind of an interesting sound, and I'm sure I could have adjusted my setup to suit it better, but the trade-off in playability makes it not worth it to me. As it was, the electric strings sounded much better.

    Bullwhips, blowguns, ropedarts, guitar, and chinchillas:http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeC7RW5RQxvVdM89dVNuEeQ/videos

  • #2

    The bronze wrapping of the acoustic string is non-ferrous (an 80/20 string is 80% copper and 20% tin; no iron to speak of); as such, only the steel core of an acoustic string can disturb the magnetic field of the pickup and produce an electrical signal. So I have no doubt they'd have a thinner sound.

    And yes, acoustic strings, because they have to "drive" the top of the guitar with the varying tension produced by their vibration, are thicker for the same general label: "light" on an electric is around 9-42, while acoustic strings with the same "light" rating typically have a 12-54 gauge or thereabouts. You'd have to get "extra-light" acoustic strings (10-47) to approach the average electric set (10-46 is considered "regular" by most manufacturers).

    Yamaha BB404Fender Mexi Jazz, customizedYamaha TRB-1005Fender Highway-1 Strat, customizedEpiphone Les Paul, Worn BrownTakamine Jasmine acousticTaylor 114ce acoustic/electricPeavey 210TX+ext 2x2x10 comboFender Bassman 150 1x12h comboWhen shopping for an axe, you will probably find yourself negotiating with your checkbook. This is normal, but do refrain from talking to it out loud.

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    • primal1
      primal1 commented
      Editing a comment

      I knew about the difference in string gauges and magnetic properties. I just figured I'd try it out anyway since there doesn't seem to be many people trying it out on YouTube. I also remember hearing about some guitarist that swore by using acoustic strings on his electric guitar, but I can't remember who. As of now, I think he's full of ****.


  • #3
    Yes, the metal is thr issue for the tinny sound.

    I have a Hamer Duotone, which is a hybrid with an acoustic bridge and regular Duncan humbuckers, and I tried acoustic strings on it. The piezo sounded a little better that way, but the humbuckers sounded awful. Then I tied a set of DR Zebra wounds, which have nickel and bronze on the wound strings. They were only slightly better, and they still sounded awful with the humbuckers. I now use regular electric nickel wounds, 12 gague.
    Guitars: 3 Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmaster, Squier Bullet, 2 Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson ES-339, Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Dot, Epiphone SG, PRS SE Custom 24, Ibanez AS73, Hamer Duotone, Larrivee D-03R, Takamine EG5013S, 1951 Epiphone Devon, Ibanez SR305 (bass)Pedal Chain: BBE Green Screamer -> MXR Distortion III -> Boss CE-5 -> EH Stereo Pulsar -> Boss DD-20 -> BBE Boosta GrandeAmps: Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5SoundCloud

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    • kolapsar
      kolapsar commented
      Editing a comment

      I once put electric guitar strings on a nylon string acoustic. the neck held up but one of the tuners popped off


  • #4

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I do believe I read somewhere (probably here) that electric guitar strings are magnitized so the pickups "pick up" better than normal "acoustic" strings...hmmSomeone asked why 1 of his electric guitar strings wasn't as loud as the other strings. The dead one was an acoustic (steel) string.

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    • #5

      There are several string manufacturers that make acoustic strings containing more ferrous materials.  DR Zebras is one I've tried.  If you like the sound of acoustic strings, give them a try.  I think you'll find you'll have better volume balance between the strings.

      I once installed a strat pickup on an acoustic, and with regular acoustic strings it didn't sound good at all... very low response from the wound strings, but the Zebras it was fine.

      Magnetic pickups made for acoustic guitars are designed to deal with the uneven string magnatism of regular acoustic strings.

      Please visit my website www.treeguitarworks.com

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      • thewthrman
        thewthrman commented
        Editing a comment

        I put 12s with a wound G on my piezo-equipped electric to see if it helped.  It did indeed.  The thing that makes a hybrid guitar be more convincing as an acoustic is the wound G if you can get used to it.  I actually found that 10s sounded ok with the wound G.

        I am talking about electric strings.  Acoustic strings are too expensive to waste on an electric.


    • #6
      @thewthrman

      You are correct. I always use a wound 3rd (usually with 11s), so it was no real transition for my hybrid guitar.
      Guitars: 3 Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmaster, Squier Bullet, 2 Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson ES-339, Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Dot, Epiphone SG, PRS SE Custom 24, Ibanez AS73, Hamer Duotone, Larrivee D-03R, Takamine EG5013S, 1951 Epiphone Devon, Ibanez SR305 (bass)Pedal Chain: BBE Green Screamer -> MXR Distortion III -> Boss CE-5 -> EH Stereo Pulsar -> Boss DD-20 -> BBE Boosta GrandeAmps: Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5SoundCloud

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