Don’t Mix Violin And Guitar Strings! Here’s Why

As I searched the internet, I came across the common question. Can you use guitar strings on a violin? It may sound bizarre to ask that, but here’s the answer.

You shouldn’t put guitar strings on a violin. There are many reasons why that’s a bad idea. Violin strings are way different than guitar strings. The sound you’d get would be bad, and also you could damage your violin.

Technically, you could put guitar strings on a violin. After all, you’re free to do anything. Still, there’s no rational reason, apart from experimental one, to do it.

Violin with guitar strings will sound very bad. In the end, you’ll probably damage a violin even further.

Are Guitar And Violin Strings The Same?

Guitar and violin strings are not the same. They are differently wound. Their strings are of different thickness, also.

And last, but not least, they have different size. Well, that’s obvious, since a violin neck is much shorter than a guitar neck.

Guitar is usually strung in the following order (from low to high): low E, A, D, G, B and high E. Violin strings are strung in this order: G, D, A and E (with G being the lowest, and E being the highest string).

There are, however, some similarities. E string on a violin often has a thickness of 0.11″. If we talk about string gauges for a guitar, 0.11″ are considered heavy and thick.

But, you can play 0.11″ gauge strings on any guitar. It’s in the standard array of thicknesses for a guitar. If you want to know more about how string gauge affects the sound, check the article from this site about it.

However, if you were to put a high E guitar string on a violin, it would sound bad. It’s simple. Those strings are differently wounded, and made, in general.

Next potential problem is the tension created by strings. Guitars have truss rods. (With the exceptions of classical guitars).

Truss rod is a part of the guitar that provides a counter tension. Counter tension needs to be provided and exerted on a neck.

That’s because guitar strings exert tension in one direction, and truss rod is needed to balance that tension by providing a tension in the opposite direction.

It is bad to have too strong or too weak counter tension exerted by truss rod. Violins, on the other hand, don’t have truss rods. Putting guitar strings on a violin will shook up the balance on violin neck.

Therefore, you’d have violin neck tilted backwards after some time. That would cause buzzing noise. And that’s bad.

Can You Use Violin Strings On a Guitar?

No, it’s not a good idea to do that. It’s due to same reasons. Violin strings are shorter, and thicker. They’ll exert much bigger tension to your guitar’s neck.

Hence, the guitar neck would get tilted and bent. The action on a guitar will go higher (since the tension provided by violin strings is much stronger). Action being too high would reduce the playability of a guitar.

It makes no sense to put them, anyway. Guitar strings are not expensive, so don’t be cheap, and get yourself some decent guitar strings!

Other Related Questions

There are other questions regarding violin and guitar. Let’s go through some of those questions.

What Feature Does a Guitar Have That a Violin Does Not Have?

There are a lot of differences between those two. First of all, violin is bowed instrument, while guitar strings have to be plucked to ring the sound.

Also, violin has much longer sustain, because its strings are bowed. Violin is also significantly louder than a guitar.

That’s one of the reasons why guitar isn’t included in the orchestra. It’s too quiet. For more information about it, check this article:

Violin has a fretless neck. Guitar necks mostly have frets on it. That makes those two very different to play.

Of course, there are many physical differences. For example, guitar is much bigger than the violin.

You may not know this: Guitar strings are tuned in 4th, while violin strings are tuned in 5th. I won’t get into the historical reasons of why that’s the case.

Guitar can play chords. It is very difficult, on the other hand, to bow three strings at once on the violin. Usually violin players bow one or two strings at the same time.

So, technically, you cannot play accurately chords on violin. That’s because a chord has at least three notes.

As you can see, there are a lot of differences between those two. The bottom line is: guitar has many features violin does not have, and vice versa.

Can You Use a Violin Bow On a Guitar?

You can, of course. Especially if you like to experiment with your guitar. But will it harm your guitar?

Well, it can only wear off your guitar strings faster. But that’s a minor issue. The more important question is: Will it sound good? And is it easy to play guitar that way?

It will probably sound awful. That’s because guitar strings are not meant to be bowed. They are differently wounded than violin strings. Therefore, you’ll get that screechy harmonics sound mostly.

It can be performed as a stunt, I guess.

But the biggest problem is the playability. Bowing guitar strings on a guitar is hard and useless. Violins have arched necks, so it’s much easier to bow on each string.

On guitars, you could only bow low E and high E strings. There’s no room for bowing other strings. That’s because they are close together. The neck of a guitar is not suitable for bowing.

However, there are many guitar players that played their guitars with a bow. But, as I said, it was mostly for stunt purposes.

Here, you can see the example.

This actually sounds not so bad. But again, it can only be used for experimental purposes. Not that you can play any song this way.

If you like to experiment with sound, you’ll definitely like this article from this site.

Can I Use a Guitar Tuner For Violin?

Yes, you can. Guitar tuners can easily be used for tuning violin strings. After all, violins strings are: G, D, A and E. All four of those pitches are also found on a standard tuned guitar.

Guitar Tuna is probably the best tuner app at the moment. However, professional violin players tune their violins by ear.

You can check this article if you want to know more about guitar app tuners.

Final Words

I hope this article gave you some valuable information about this topic. If you enjoyed reading it, as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it, I’m more than happy about it.

Don’t forget to check out other interesting articles about various guitar topics and issues!

Good luck with tuning, and rock on!

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