Have you ever wondered what it sounds like when you put acoustic guitar strings on an electric guitar? Well, we tried it out, so that you don’t have to waste your strings finding out for yourself.
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Can you use bronze acoustic guitar strings on an electric guitar?
Well the short answer is no. But today we’re going to try it out and see what it sounds like so that you don’t have to waste a few packs of strings to find out for yourself.
Alright, so to serve as a control group, we have a set of 9 1/2 to 44 electric guitar strings here on this little Epiphone 339. Let’s see what this sounds like so that you have something to compare the acoustic guitar strings with.
This is my clean tone with electric guitar strings I’m running through this little five watt Ampeg behind me with a Traynor 1 by 12″ cabinet.
As you can hear, that sounds just like electric guitar strings ought to, has a nice mix of warmth and brightness and a lot of good output out of the amp. Now let’s through some bronze acoustic guitar strings on this puppy and see what happens.
So of course I couldn’t find my tuning peg winder when I needed it, so that took a little bit longer than I would have hoped, but, at last we have everything set up with Phosphor bronze strings, this is 20 through 50 gauge set that we have on here. Let’s see how it sounds.
The first thing I noticed is that when strung up, acoustically, if I’m not putting it through an amp, it sounds just fine, it sounds nice and bright like any acoustic guitar would.
But of course it’s not the acoustics that we’re concerned about, it’s how it sounds through an amp, so let’s turn it up and see what it sounds like clean.
Interestingly, it doesn’t sound quite as bad as might expect. You are getting some signal passing through to the amp, you can hear the cords, it might even work in a pinch. The problem is, the output on these wound strings is way lower than our previous nickel strings, especially when you compare them with the plain steel strings.
That for example, I was playing my G and my B, which is actually a G sharp and a B if you’re paying attention and it’s way, way different, the volume between those two strings. So it really leads to an overall unbalanced sound, it’s not something that I would really recommend for anybody.
So the question is, why does it sound like that? Why don’t Phosphor Bronze strings sound just as good through an amp as nickel strings? Well the reason is because pickups work on magnetic output and Phosphor Bronze strings just don’t have quite as much of it.
The reason we are getting some signal through to the amp is because Phosphor Bronze strings, or 80 20 bronze strings, they still have a steel core, there’s something there in the string that is magnetically active that’s moving across in front of those pickups and giving us some signal. The problem is that the wrap wire, the Phosphor Bronze in this case, is not very magnetically active at all, so it’s not really giving you much signal on that end, it’s just acting to mute the magnetic output so that when we get the signal through to the amp it’s pretty low, pretty weak, and doesn’t really have that fullness or that brightness that we look for in a typical set of electric guitar strings.
So, should you ever put acoustic guitar strings on an electric guitar? In my opinion, no. I can’t really see what good would come from it, it’s just not going to sound right, it’s not going to give you all that output. If you’re playing a hollow body electric, mainly as an acoustic instrument at home, maybe. But even then, I think you’re really just wasting strings versus using the type of strings that are meant for a particular guitar.
So there you have it. We put acoustic guitar strings on an electric guitar and the results were not as bad as I might have thought they would be, but still not anything you would actually want. I had actually made this mistake before when I was maybe 13 or 14, I put a set of acoustic strings on my electric because they were what I had and I didn’t understand why I shouldn’t do it. It probably actually took me a few days before I really realized that it wasn’t working, but I was 13 at the time.
Are you like me? Have you ever made this mistake before? Let us know down in the comments, be sure to give this video a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel so you can keep up with more great stuff like this in the future.