Finding the best nylon strings for your guitar is not as easy as it sounds. Just like the guitars themselves, they are not all the same. The guitar has been around for a few years. The ‘classical’ guitar was even included in orchestras, and pieces were written for it.
Segovia increased its popularity with his concerts and recordings. But it wasn’t until 1948 that it began to have nylon strings. Until that time, the term ‘catgut’ was used to describe the material the strings were made from.
Before cat lovers start jumping up and down…
What they used was nothing to do with our furry friends. It was actually made from the intestines of cattle and sheep and then wound with silk. Nylon had been invented in the mid-30s, and gradually it became the natural material for the guitar string.
We expect for many, the nylon-strung guitar was their first experience of the instrument. With some, maybe a string broke, and that was it. Into the cupboard under the stairs, it went. Maybe we weren’t even aware that you could buy nylon strings to replace them. But you could, and you can.
So, let’s take a look at what is on offer as we find the Best Nylon Strings for you…
Top 8 Best Nylon Strings For The Money 2020 Reviews
1 D’Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical Guitar Strings
If you are going to start, it may as well be with one of the best guitar string producers around. They developed their string making business in Italy in the 1700s and even in those days were recognized as masters of their craft.
Fate took hold in 1915 when there was an earthquake that shattered the town. The family moved to New York and carried on the business. Now, after centuries of the family business, they still make great strings for many instruments. The Pro-Arte Nylon Classical is one of their range.
The manufacture of classical guitar strings has come a long way since those days in Italy. Now D’Addario uses lasers. On the nylon-based trebles, lasers measure the exact diameters and tensions levels during the manufacturing process. This ensures that the intonation is going to be exact and the sound perfect. They use a nylon monofilament material.
On the bass strings, the basic material is a nylon multifilament. The finished nylon article is then given a copper winding that is silver-plated. This process ensures the warmth of the nylon string is clear, but it also delivers a big tone and sound and makes them one of the Best Nylon Strings around.
A warm and cultured tone…
D’Addario Pro-Arte strings are made from the finest materials that produce a good level of volume with a warm and cultured tone. Strings gauges for the Trebles .0280, .0322 and .0403. For the Basses .029, .35 and .043. These are a quality string from a quality manufacturer. They are set at a very attractive price point.
- Precision-engineered string with quality materials.
- Affordable price.
- None at this price point.
2 D’Addario EJ27N 3/4 Student Nylon Fractional Classical Guitar Strings
This is a set of three-quarter size strings for a student guitar by D’Addario. These strings are specifically made for ¾ size entry-level guitars. They are made to be normal tension and give a good volume whilst also giving a relaxed playing resistance.
In the set, there are three treble strings of clear nylon and three bass strings that are copper wound and then silver-plated. Like all D’Addario strings, they give you a warm tone, and they are long-lasting. They are a tie-up end fitting. This means they will take some care for them to be fitted securely. They will also need a few days to stretch into tuning.
Perfect for a young beginner…
Especially suitable for the student player, they are made to the same high standards that all D-Addario strings enjoy, which means they are always going to sound and feel good.
A very economical set for a three-quarter size instrument that sound good and are reliable.
- A student entry-level string at an affordable price.
- Made to D’Addario high standards.
- Three-quarter size guitars only.
3 Ernie Ball Earthwood Folk Nylon
Ernie Ball needs little introduction to anyone who has been near a guitar. He had been a musician himself. As the 60s rock n roll era became more serious, he noticed that guitar players were having problems. The standard Fender strings most used were too heavy. He designed a new option with an ‘unwound ‘third string – The Slinky.
He then took them to Fender, who said they were not needed. So, he manufactured them himself, and the Ernie Ball string empire was born. Now they make everything, and the Ernie Ball Earthwood Folk Nylon is one such string.
If it is an Ernie Ball string, then you know it is going to be good. They do not suit everyone, but they do have a quality about them that makes them one of Best Nylon Strings on the market. These are a medium tension, full-size acoustic guitar string suitable for either Folk or Classical styles.
They are constructed using a clear nylon filament. The three treble strings are nylon, and the three bass strings are wound. They have a multifilament core and a bronze based wrap covering.
All six strings have a ball-end fitting. This is considered by many an advantage. They certainly are easier to fit. Most manufacturers claim that ball-end fittings can be used on a tie-block bridge, but most pros decline and use tie-up strings.
The sound, as you might imagine, is good. A warm sound from the nylon but just a little bit of attack and volume form the wound bass strings. This makes them ideal for a variety of genres. You can play soft and delicate classical passages or pick a bit harder for Folk styles. They are set at a medium price point and offer good value for money.
- Ernie ball quality string.
- Nice sound with a little attack offers a range of uses.
- They might not be suitable for use with a tie-block bridge.
4 Augustine Classical Guitar Strings
Augustine has a big reputation to live up to. Founded in 1947, they have not been producing strings as long as some, but the quality is indisputable. They compare to and exceed the quality of the best of them. But they have another claim to fame. They were the company that, in 1948, created the first nylon string.
Albert Augustine was Danish and emigrated to America. It was the great guitar virtuoso Segovia, who mentioned to him the lack of any quality strings in America. Mr. Augustine duly obliged. Now they produce high-quality strings but are best known for their classical range.
The ‘Red’ series is one such string being a medium tension. They are one of Augustine’s biggest sellers because of the warmth of the sound. The trebles are very sweet sounding, and the basses tighter, deep, and responsive with a clear tone. Perfect for classical play where the main melodics need to be sweet, but the depth must not be lost.
They are a highly acclaimed string. And used by more professional players for recording and performance than you can shake a stick at. They are tie-up fitting.
Expensive, but the quality usually is…
Excellent quality means they are going to be a bit more expensive, but if you want the Best Nylon Strings, it usually costs.
- Excellent tone.
- Made by one of the best manufacturers of classical strings.
- The price might put some off.
5 Hannabach 652537 Series 815 Silver Special High Tension String Set
The Hannabach legacy of string making goes back in time 150 years to when they were founded in Germany in 1869. Since then, they have and still produce strings for many great classical guitarists. They have quite a range of strings to choose from, all of them made with professional quality to ensure the highest performance. Today they are endorsed by many of the top musicians
The 815 Silver special is one of their top-selling strings, and it is not hard to see why. They come in a range of tensions from super high to super low. The string we are looking at is the super low tension Silver series. These are generally recognized as one of the Best Nylon Strings you can buy.
Balanced and consistent…
The trebles are precision-made nylon and the basses nylon coated with silver. This is designed to give a balanced and consistent sound. The sound though, has also got to be better than just consistent. The trebles are bright but still with that warmth so necessary to play classical music.
The basses also have that warmth but with a sharper sound. They are suitable for beginners right up to professional standard, but beginners will notice a difference to cheaper strings.
Designed to be distinctive…
These are very sensitive and made that way. They are designed to pick up every nuance the music demands. Poor technique will show up with these strings, and they won’t forgive you. But it is unlikely you will find too many strings that have a better tone and quality. They are tie-up fitting.
As classical guitar strings go, they are not cheap. In fact, they are a lot more expensive than most. But, quality is quality, and these are certainly that. They are made in Germany.
- Great string from an esteemed manufacturer.
- Rich, warm, and clear sounds.
- The price will put some off.
6 D’Addario EJ34 Folk Nylon Guitar Strings
Another set from D’Addario, the EJ34 Nylon string, has a variety of uses. It is principally designed for Folk music but can also be used for a classical style. Unlike some of the more expensive strings, this is ideal for beginners.
They are made with clear nylon trebles, and black bronze wound basses. The black nylon string is an interesting design feature. Clear nylon is known for a nice balance of brightness and a warm sound. It is very much the traditional type of string used on classical and folk guitars. The inclusion of black nylon alters the sound somewhat.
Black nylon is known to have a warmer, less harsh sound and is far more mellow. Putting black nylon on the bass strings, therefore, makes the guitar sound mellow and soft. Not good for all types of playing but definitely an alternative sound if that is what you want.
The strings have ball-ends, which means you need to check your bridge system. They do make string changing easier and less fuss. They come in an anti-corrosion package to ensure they are in prime condition.
At the price point, these are a very good string. Easy to play with and a comfortable tension, so therefore good for a beginner. They won’t win too many awards for being the best string, but they are a good average standard. But for experienced players looking for a different sound, they also provide that.
- A good value with a mixture of clear and black strings.
- Very affordable price and ideal for beginners.
- Some will want better quality.
7 Fender Classical/Nylon Guitar Strings
Of course, Fender will be here somewhere. Where there are guitars, there is always Fender. One thing you can always say about old Leo was that he could see a good thing coming.
In the 50s, Folk music was booming. He had his Telecaster and Precision bass, but what about an acoustic. One day in the early 60s, a German immigrant walked into his office and just said: “I’ll build it”. He was working at Rickenbacker at the time but saw the future lay with Fender. Leo hired him, and off we went.
Nylon strings were needed for some instruments, and along they came. Fender rarely missed a trick in those days. How times change.
This is a nylon string from Fender for the Classical guitar market. Fender is not known for producing the very best quality string. They have always been good without being exceptional. What you might call a budget alternative. These strings fall into that category. They are good but without being exceptional.
They are a tie-end design and are made with good quality nylon. Nothing wrong with the manufacturing process, it is high quality.
Excellent for the budget price…
The treble strings are plain nylon and the basses nylon with a silver-coating. This added coating really does bring a bright and lively sound. In turn, this makes them suitable for a variety of genres. They will sit comfortably in the Folk world as well as the classical style. The gauges sit comfortably spaced and are .28 0.29 0.32 0.35 0.40 and 0.43.
They are a budget range string and priced as such. Therefore if you are expecting high-quality sound and performance, it is unrealistic. These will perform reasonably but are not going to set the world alight. For a beginner or for a second practice guitar, they are fine, for performing maybe not.
- Decent string for a beginner.
- Very affordable.
- Some may just want a better quality string.
8 GHS Strings 10 Set, Hawaiian D-Tuning Ukulele Strings
Nylon strings are not just for Classical or Folk guitars. GHS Strings was established in 1964 and makes a range of strings for various instruments. These are for the Ukulele.
They are a plain nylon string designed to give a classic sound and feel. They are a low tension string that is ideal for beginners and experienced players alike. Having a low tension means they are a bit easier to play.
Listen to the waves crashing…
Sometimes having a low-tension string can affect the way the instrument sounds. But this string will still produce a nice easy sound. They are made specifically to be used with Hawaiian D-tuning but can also be tuned to the standard G-C-E-A.
The tone for a nylon only string is quite bright, and the volume they give quite surprising. These will work well on a standard size Ukulele but not on a tenor size. Each string is individually packed in an air-tight envelope to ensure it remains in pristine condition until it is unwrapped.
They are very much a budget string, and so performance expectations should not be too high.
- Affordable price.
- Decent string for a beginner.
- Some will just want more quality.
Best Nylon Strings Buyer’s Guide
Replacing Your Nylon
Nylon strings usually fall into three categories. There are those that are budget level really aimed at beginners. There are those that suit intermediate players. Sometimes they may suit Classical, and other strings are better for Folk music. Then you get the serious strings aimed at the professionals. The price point quite obviously will vary accordingly.
One of the biggest problems with Nylon strings is when it comes time to change them. There are two designs, the tie-up, and the ball-end. Some will say that the ball-end will fit a tie-up bridge, but it is certainly not always the case. There are differences, so your choice needs to reflect what system your instrument uses.
Often, there are a lot of problems with the actual change. There is a rule that should be followed to ensure the string gets the best chance to ‘bed-in’. That is to only change one string at a time. Don’t remove them all. You can get away with that on an electric or steel-string acoustic. But the classical, nylon-strung is not so happy about having all its strings removed. So, take your time and change one at a time.
Choosing a string will ultimately depend on the sound you are looking for. Most are engineered very well. The low tension strings we looked at are easy to play. There is that difference in the richness of the sound as you go up the scale. That may suit some, but not all.
Classical or Folk…
Nylon strings can be used for Classical style but also for Folk. There is a different technique for both, and a Folk player may want a little more twang to accent his picking, especially at the bottom end. The Classical player, on the other hand, will want a warm, smooth sound to accent the nuances of the music.
Whatever you need, we have looked at some good options — good strings by established manufacturers. We are sure you will find a set that suits you.
Need Strings For Your Other Guitars?
If you’re looking for strings for your other instruments, then please check out our reviews of the Best Electric Guitar Strings, the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings, and the Best Guitar Strings currently available.
What Would We Choose As The Best Nylon Strings?
We would be using the strings in an instrument designed to play Classical music. And a classically designed instrument needs strings that are designed for it. Therefore we would choose the…
Expensive, yes, but also they have outstanding quality, making them well worth the price.