Can You Use Electric Guitar Strings on an Acoustic? Find Out!

For acoustic and electric guitars, different types of strings are available. 

However, this presents a question. Can you use electric guitar strings on an acoustic? 

This question’s answer isn’t as obvious as expected, and it might even surprise you.

Can You Use Electric Guitar Strings on an Acoustic?

There have been instances when I’ve been in severe need of a string and haven’t been able to find any adequate substitutes. But, because I had electric strings on hand, I chose the closest item I could locate that was near enough to the proper gauge and installed it on my acoustic guitar. That thread saved my butt. And, on occasion, whatever you have on hand will suffice to keep the show running. Can you use electric guitar strings on an acoustic guitar?

It just so happens that I’ve dealt with similar situations before. And no, it isn’t a major concern. Electric guitar strings can work well on an acoustic guitar. Electric guitar strings are typically thinner, which will alter your acoustic guitar’s tone and playability. It may take some time to adjust. However, your acoustic guitar will sound a little more electric than an electric guitar, which some people prefer.

It will most likely require a short setup if your guitar is buzzing. You can either take it to a professional or look for online tutorials on doing it. If you’re worried about tone or action with electric guitar strings, you might look for an alternative set of acoustic guitar strings. Alternatively, you might bring your guitar in for a tune-up.

Electric strings, on the other hand, perform well on acoustic guitars.

What Is The Standard String Gauge For An Acoustic Guitar?

The usual gauge for acoustic guitar strings is 12. ( light gauge ). A light gauge of acoustic strings would have the following measurements:

  • High E- 0.12 
  • B -0.16 
  • G – 0.24 
  • D – 0.32 
  • A – 0.42 
  • Low E – 0.53 

Medium gauge strings, often known as 13 gauge strings, are less prevalent but not unpopular. They could give your guitar a little extra ” boom,” and they’re also good for various tunings. They take the following measurements:

  • High E – 0.13 
  • B -0.17 
  • G – 0.26 
  • D – 0.35 
  • A – 0.45 
  • Low E – 0.56
  • B -0.17 
  • G – 0.26 
  • D – 0.35 
  • A – 0.45 
  • Low E – 0.56 

Of course, depending on your needs, there are various alternative options.

What Strings Are Typically Used On An Acoustic Guitar?

Are you are currently in search of the perfect set of strings to use on your guitar?

Well, bronze, bronze coated, phosphor bronze, silk and steel, NanoWeb coated, nylon, and others are some of the most prevalent acoustic guitar string kinds. Nylon strings are commonly used on classical, flamenco, and folk guitars.

All other varieties of acoustic guitars normally come with one of the other types of strings mentioned, the most common of which is bronze (or one of its variations). Of course, some string varieties are distinctive, such as flat top strings, yet they are all constructed from the same materials.

When Would I Need to Use an Electric Guitar? 

You could use electric guitar strings on an acoustic guitar in the following situations:

  • Electric guitar strings appeal to you more than acoustic guitar strings. Said, you prefer them to others. Perhaps you enjoy the activity or sound. In any case, electrified strings are your preference.
  • You want to be able to play your acoustic guitar as if it were an electric guitar. Perhaps you’d like to translate some of your electric licks to acoustic but find it difficult to do so with a heavier string gauge. Using electric strings should make things a lot easier.
  • When there’s nothing else to do, you can find yourself in a position where you don’t have an extra set of acoustic guitar strings and need to come up with something quick at a rehearsal, open mic, gig, studio, or even overseas. The show can continue if you have electric guitar strings on hand.
  • When you’re trying out new things, most guitarists go through a phase of trying out various strings because they all feel, sound, and play differently. You might try electric guitar strings on an acoustic guitar at some point and like the results.

Guitar String Best Practices 

We’re currently discussing guitar string best practices; expanding on the subject would be useful. Here’s everything you need to know about guitar strings.

You Should Replace Your Guitar Strings Periodically 

How often is it mostly determined by how much you play your instrument? If you’re a beginner and only play your guitar here and there, you might not need to replace your strings for two to three months. You might get away with replacing your strings every six to 12 months in some situations.

If you play a few hours every day, it’s always good to think about replacing your strings every one to three months, if not more often. Pro guitarists often get their axes restrung before every show, as they don’t want to break a string on stage. But regardless of what level you’re at, your strings will degrade over time, and they will even break. It’s good to periodically replace your strings to improve your guitar’s tone, minimize breakage, and ensure more tuning stability.

The following are some of the tools that can assist you in replacing your strings;

  • A new pack of strings 
  • Tuner 
  • String winder 
  • String cutter

Use the same gauge of string when restringing your guitar.

If the pack of strings you bought is designed for the type of guitar you’re using, you can use it with any brand or model of guitar.

We do, however, advise adhering to the same string gauge. The string gauge is normally listed right on the packaging, along with information on whether you’re buying a ” standard” or “bespoke” gauge. It would help if you used a standard gauge unless you already have one. The most common string gauge on an electric guitar is 9, while the most common string gauge on an acoustic guitar is 12.

If You’re Thinking About Changing String Gauge, Bring Your Axe In For A Setup 

Moving up or down a gauge isn’t a big concern, at least not to the point of damaging or ruining your instrument. However, there will certainly be a major variation in action and playability. The difference will be considerably more pronounced if you move up or down additional gauges. If you go down a gauge, you’ll notice that the strings get a little slinky. 

You may hear some fret chatter. If you move up a gauge, the strings will be a little tighter, the action will be higher, and the guitar will be harder to play overall. Because of the extra heaviness of the strings, moving up a gauge always takes some getting used to. 

You suggest that you take your guitar to a professional to get it set up when switching to a new gauge of strings. You’ll avoid huge tension and action concerns this way. However, you can conduct a set up yourself if you wish, and there are many wonderful articles and videos online that will walk you through the process.

Best Electric Guitar Strings

1. Gibson Vintage Reissue

Building with the nickel concept, Gibson has created the Vintage Reissue model. These strings are made entirely of nickel and produce a warm tone with incredible clarity. The pure nickel composition gives the tone a mellower sound while simplifying string bends.

However, because of the string’s increased warmth, we discovered throughout our testing that these strings tend to drive you toward your bridge pickup.

Other minor variations in this range, such as nickel-plated Brite Wires and a set designed for Gibson’s Les Paul models, are available. Still, we chose the Vintage Reissue because they give a certain tone, and they do it beautifully.

Pros:

  • Nickel is 100% pure.
  • The clear, mellow sound
  • It’s ideal for string bends.

Cons: 

  • The tone can be overly warm at times.

2. D’Addario EXL

Next up comes Ernie Ball’s lone actual competitor, at least in terms of the product range. Six alternative construction processes are used in the D’Addario XL series, each with its qualities.

With the flat wound XL Chromes and XL Nickel Wound, which are great for “everyday” use, and the XL Pure Nickel and XL Prosteels, which have improved output and brightness, the XL Half Rounds and the XL Coated Nickels, which have a little longer lifespan than a standard set of nickel wrapped strings, you have a variety of alternatives to suit your playing style and your budget, you can find the perfect strings for your instrument.

Each subgroup is available in various gauges, and as D’Addario’s best-selling lineup, you should give them serious consideration. The only major disadvantage is that there are so many different sorts to choose from that it’s easy to make the wrong decision.

Pros:

  • A wide variety of materials are available.
  • Options for a wide gauge
  • A best-selling book

Cons: 

  • There are too many options.

Conclusion

Can you use electric guitar strings on an acoustic? As you can undoubtedly tell, there’s a lot to learn about guitar strings. They significantly impact your guitar’s sound, action, and playability. And different strings get different outcomes. Much of it boils down to personal preference, but there are times when certain strings work, and others don’t.

Make sure you understand the limitations of your guitars so you can always have the correct gear on hand. We hope you enjoyed this guide and that you have a lot of fun playing!