Are Acoustic Guitar Strings the Same as Electric?


Without guitar strings, there would be no music. They are voice chords of the guitar and, therefore, one of the most crucial guitar parts. Selecting the perfect strings for your guitar is essential mainly because it affects the tone and playability of the guitar. The two main types of guitar strings are acoustic and electric strings.

As a guitar enthusiast, you’re probably curious, Are acoustic guitar strings the same as electric? The answer is No. Acoustic Guitar strings are not the same as electric guitar strings.

Guitar Strings

If you’re thinking of putting acoustic guitar strings on an electric guitar or vice versa, you need to know the outcome and the kind of sound you will get. Using the correct guitar string enhances your guitar’s performance. It goes without saying,  the wrong string can affect its performance, or worse, it might crash your guitar.

Using acoustic guitar strings for an electric guitar

While you can use the strings of an acoustic guitar for electric guitar, it is not recommendable for several reasons. Usually, The pickups on an electric guitar convert the strings’ vibration into electric currents to create a bright sound that sounds great to the ears. Fixing acoustic guitar strings on an electric guitar will produce an irregular sound, a low-mid range tone. It won’t resonate as loudly as standard electric guitar strings.

Higher gauge acoustic guitar strings will feel stiffer and be more difficult to bend. Also, using the higher gauge strings puts additional tension on your guitar’s neck. You may have to adjust the truss rod.

Using an electric guitar string on an acoustic guitar.

What happens when you put electric guitar strings on an acoustic guitar?

You might have seen some guitarists using electric strings on acoustic strings. Electric guitar strings will work adequately on an acoustic guitar. Practically, it doesn’t sound all that bad. But, while some players are comfortable with the twangy sound it produces, some are not.

Also, acoustic Guitars have larger slots than electric ones. Therefore, using light-gauge electric strings on an acoustic for an extensive period will create grooves in the nut slots. Even though that won’t necessarily harm the guitar, humming sounds and intonation problems will arise.

Although, with suitable gauges, acoustic guitars can benefit from the nickel of electric strings. One merit of using nickel guitar strings on an acoustic guitar is that your strings get a longer life cycle. This is because nickel is more resistant to degradation or corrosion.

Difference between acoustic and electric guitar strings

You can differentiate both species of guitar strings by the number of string windings, size of the string gauge, and their composition materials.

Electric guitar strings

String gauge

The term “string gauge” refers to string thickness. Acoustic strings have a thicker string gauge. Most electric guitars come with 0.009 or 0.010 gauge strings, and 0.012 gauge strings are for most acoustic guitars. With easier-to-bend strings and more compact fret spacing, Electric guitars are significantly simpler to play. Although, regular light electric strings and the majority of Extra Light acoustic strings have the same gauge.

Wound Strings

While Acoustic guitars usually come with four wound strings and two unwound strings, electric guitars come with three wounds and three unwound strings. You can mix and match guitar strings as long as they are tuned to pitch and the string sets have a constant tone across all six strings,


The significant difference between acoustic and electric guitar strings is the materials from which they are made. All materials used to create a guitar string have unique auditory properties that affect tone, robustness, and overall feel. However, the steel core is a common acoustic and electric guitar strings feature. Possibly the only similarity between the two instruments is this.

 Three metals are frequently used to make electric guitar strings: stainless steel, nickel plating, pure nickel, or chromium. These alloys are magnetically active. On the other hand, manufacturers construct acoustic guitar strings using bronze and brass, a more acoustic resonant material. The Brass material gives the strings a clear and enhanced sound. The phrase “80/20” refers to the composition of brass, which comprises 80% copper and 20% zinc.


A guitar’s strings affect its rhythm and playability. While an electric guitar produces its sound using electricity. Acoustic guitar emits sounds through vibrating by strumming strings. This alone justifies why acoustic and electric guitars use different strings.

Due to their electro-magnetic make-up electric guitar strings are usually made of substances that allow them to function with the pickup magnets.

In contrast, Acoustic guitar strings are primarily constructed with bronze and brass. These alloys are more acoustically vibrant compared to electric guitar strings. Acoustic guitar strings don’t have the same magnetic properties as electric guitar strings. Ideally, they are made to reverberate and become loud without amplification. These distinct strings are essential for producing a decent sound.

Acoustic Guitar StringsElectric Guitar Strings
They are made of materials with acoustic resonant abilities, e.g., brass or bronze, or a combination of both.Electric guitar strings work with the theory of electromagnetism
Acoustic strings produce sounds by vibrating while strumming. Electric guitar strings produce sounds through electricity and amplifiers
Acoustic Guitar strings are heavier gaugeElectric guitar strings are light-gauge strings
The materials of acoustic strings give it a warm and full toneElectric guitars string give it a  brighter and lighter tone.
Acoustic guitars have four wound, and two unwound strings, respectivelyElectric guitars have three wound and three unwound strings
Acoustic strings are thicker strings that enable their warm sounds.Electric guitar strings are thinner, enabling brighter sounds


Electric guitar and Acoustic guitar have myriad differences, including their strings. The string you decide to use affects the sounds your guitar produces. Before spending money on guitar strings, you should ensure they are the right ones. This way, you don’t waste money on strings that don’t work as you want them to. Also, while you can use the strings of one on the other, the outcome will most likely not be desirable. Some guitarists, however, find experimenting with sounds using different strings interesting.

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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