Silk and Steel Strings: Acoustic Guitar Strings For Soft Hands

For most guitar beginners, one of the most difficult things is the left hand finger pain at the first few weeks when you start playing guitar especially for those with soft hands like women and little kids.

silk-and-steel-stringsSo if you want to learn folk acoustic guitar or you have already own a steel string guitar, what would you do to reduce finger pain? My answer is silk and steel strings. Although silk and steel strings are not perfect for all guitars, it is still a best choice for those suffering finger pains. Before shifting to silk and steel strings, it is better to know the advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages:

  • Easy to play for their softness
  • Make more mellow tone
  • Work well with small size guitar
  • Good for finger style


  • Are not durable, especially in cases of heavy strumming
  • Not work well for some guitar models which are designed for larger string tension
  • Will lose volume
  • Will change the tone of your guitar

Silk and steel strings on folk guitar will make a tone between the mellow classical guitar and bright steel string guitar. In some cases, sustain of your guitar may be lost too. If your guitar is little brighter than you want it to be, silk and steel strings may add some mellow and you may prefer it. Otherwise, you should reconsider shifting to silk and steel strings. Silk and steel strings work well on smaller body guitars but not on some guitar designed for larger gauge strings or larger string tensions. Silk and steel strings generally make less loudness but enough for practice. However, silk and steel strings are easy to play for beginners especially for women and little kids. If you don’t care about the issues mentioned above, shifting to silk and steel strings is a best choice.

Silk and steel strings vs. nylon strings

Some people suggest use nylon strings because they are softer than steel strings. Yes, nylon strings are soft and easy to play for soft hands. The issue is they are designed for the nylon string guitars (classical guitars or Flamenco guitars). If you put nylon strings on a steel string acoustic guitar (folk acoustic), it will not make decent sound. If you prefer classical guitar music, you can start with a classical guitar, there is no problem. If you prefer the music styles played by steel string guitars, it is not wise to buy a classical guitar to learn and shift to steel strings guitar. More badly if you use steel strings on your classical guitar, it maybe damaged permanently.

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