Has anyone tried both for a comparison? I guess it depends on what kind of sound you want, or if you've installed a certain kind of pickup... But I was just wondering if a CBG with a through-the-box neck design would sound better with acoustic/nylon strings...

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On my doubleneck build, I'm using a combination of monofiliment fishing line and extra light steel electric guitar strings. So far it works great! Accoustic steel strings have a different sound. With steel strings, you have to watch the tension, as they can bend the neck easily. Plus, through effects, I can get classical nylon strings to sound as "dirty" as I want them too!
I haven't experimented with nylon strings at all. The low tension of the nylon strings contributes to a quieter sound though...as does the through neck design. Of course, that doesn't really matter if you've got a piezo in there. With an electro-mag pup, you'll want some sort of nickle wound strings to get the most response. A great, but slightly more expensive option are Zebra wound strings. They are Acoustic gauges but have phos. bronze and nickle wound side by side (hence the zebra pattern). The best of both worlds? They work pretty well for me. As for ease of playing, electric and nylon strings will be kinder to your fingers.

I always find it hard to discuss sound comparisons because it is such a personal thing - what sounds good to one sounds bad to another. A big factor is scale length - shorter the scale the fatter the strings need to be to reach the pitch you want and not be too floppy. For full scale length (six string stat neck on a CBG body) I like 8 gauge electric strings (lightest gauge you can get for an electric) to me they sound bright and are real easy on the fingers - compared to a friend who can play on 12 gauge steel acoustic on a "proper" guitar (these would pull my CBG apart with the tension) they come a poor second (until you plug mine into in an amp).

I have spent alot of time messing around with 3/4 scale electric guitars for my children and find unless you go upto 12 gauge electric strings they are impossible to tune to standard EADGBE (strings are too floppy to hold the tuning on anything lower). By comparison 3/4 classical guitars tune fine with normal classical nylon strings.

My last project was doing up an old soprano uke and as I play guitar I went for DGBE tuning using hard tension nylon strings (to get to tune to pitch I used the next string up so for E used the B string tuned to an E etc) This worked well.

Also previously I had a couple of cheap travel guitars (off ebay with bridges that had pulled away because too high a string tension had been used) one had an high action which caused buzzing if it was lowered so I used classical strings and it sounds great. The other has electric 8s and sounds mediocre at best.

My personal steel string acoustic sounded great with 12 gauge strings but I found it too hard on the fingers - 10 gauge sounded weak so again i stuck on nylon classical strings (the ones you can get with ball ends) and really like it. It sounded completely different with the 3 different types of string.

Best suggestion is to try different strings - if I am doing this and going up to a bigger gauge I always check out the tension I am adding using this http://www.mcdonaldstrings.com/stringxxiii.html

Have also found over the years different brands of the same gauge can sound different also.
I always use mini humbuckers in my most recent builds. electric strings sound thinner and brighter to me, but you do get a little more sustain and pickup response. I personally like to use light acoustic strings because they have more power and a "meatier" sound. the pick up sounds a little raunchier to me which is what I am after. I play with my fingers instead of a pick also because to me it has more presence. buy a cheap set of light electric strings and play with those for a couple of days. then trow on some light acoustic strings and see which ones you like. I keep two super cheap set of strings and toss them on every guitar I build to see which one will sound better on each build.
Here is another string gauge calculator that I use. Just plug in your scale length, choose your open note on the string and hit enter. I have small hands, so I go a bit smaller than the suggested gauge for each string.

Just to clarify: Electric guitar strings are nickel plated steel over a steel core, not nickel over a steel core. Acoustic steel strings are generally a bronze wrap over a steel core. This is for the wound strings.
Hey Don, this is true...its not a pure nickel wrap. I wasn't aware that there would be confusion over that. In case anyone's unfamiliar they are usually just listed as nickel wound (so you're not pestering the guy for nickel plated steel specifically). There's also the less common stainless steel wound string. On to the acoustic strings...the most common variations are phosphor bronze wound and 80/20 bronze wound (also sometimes referred to as brass). It should also be noted that there are wide variations in tone between different brands and different winding styles. The core of the string isn't actually round, its a hexagon shaped core. There are generally 3 different styles of winding: round wound, flat wound (more like a metal tape), and ground wound (starts as round but is ground down to reduce finger or slide noise). Don't forget to get them coated in Gore-Tex too, to resist corrosion! Obviously there are a ton of variations available and I'm sure someone will come along and add a few more to the list before long.

Don Thompson said:
Just to clarify: Electric guitar strings are nickel plated steel over a steel core, not nickel over a steel core. Acoustic steel strings are generally a bronze wrap over a steel core. This is for the wound strings.
Scotty, I use electric strings on my lap slide and like the sound given. All my other guitars (aside from my Framus classical ((on which I have nylon)) I use acoustic (bronze wound). I even put acoustic strings on my older gibson epoch and really dug the sound.


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