Today I’ll have some fun comparing modern composite monofilament strings, often referred to as carbon strings, to nylon strings.

The first thing to notice when comparing carbon to nylon strings is the perceived loudness. I still remember very well the first time I played carbon strings on my classical guitar when I was 18 years old. I was so blown away by the sound of carbon strings and I’ve been using them ever since on live concerts. The gap of loudness between the bass strings and the trebles was suddenly gone!

Still, every time I’m switching back to nylon it feels like something is missing, almost as if some of the life was taken away. That being said, it is the sound of nylon strings what many people love and are used to when listening to classical guitar. More over, in the studio it’s much easier to record nylon strung guitars as they typically don’t sound harsh in the upper register and they tend to have fewer strange sound artefacts as well. Carbon strings often have certain frequencies sticking out, so EQing is often necessary.

What is really important when playing on carbon strings is to really work them. Vibrato is much harder to make, you need to dig deeper into the strings but on the other hand be careful not to press too hard. Once you start distorting the sound of carbon strings, they always sound bad unlike nylon strings, where the distorted sound is more percussive and adds character to the sound.

To recap, here’s my take on the pros and cons of each type of strings:

– loud
– great tone projection
– long sustain
– thin and metallic sounding 1st string
– sometimes too bright
– can be harder to play

– easy to play
– beautiful vibrato
– colours are more pronounced
– tend to sound more plasticky
– more loudness difference between wound basses and trebles

Please, grab a coffee and listen to the samples, and don’t hesitate to write me a comment of what you think.


  • Jose Ortega says:

    Thanks for this video. A friend of mine gave me a classical Yamaha guitar as a gift. I play mainly the piano and electric bass, but I am falling in love with the classical guitar. Today I bought some Daddario Carbon strings, I had heard they were good, but I was a bit afraid that they would be too bright. I listened to your video and I preferred the sound of the carbons, they did not seem metallic to me at all, and better yet, they did not sound like plastic, which can happen with nylons. Thanks for trying out the strings in so many different styles.

  • Very helpful your video!!! Thank you for creating such an elaborated presentation. My preference after listening to you? Carbon!

  • Tom Burch says:

    Thanks for this Uros. My 82 year old ears couldn’t hear much difference. But I lean toward nylon. Easier to play? I need all the help I can get.

    Your playing is beautiful!


  • Hart Kornell says:

    Thank you for the outstanding comparison. I tend to like best whatever I’m playing at the moment, and hearing the carbon and nylon side by side, on so many different styles was illuminating or me. Your work in putting this together is much appreciated.

  • Thanks very much for this in-depth review and congrats for your wonderful playing, Uros!

    Don’t you think that another “pro” of Carbon is better intonation? In particular, many nylon strings tend to drift *sharp* because of friction/heat, which drive me nuts! La Bella 2001 are terrible in that respect…

    • Dear Francis, I haven’t had such experience with D’Addario Pro Arte strings or at least not any more than with carbon strings, but I noticed this with nylon strings from other manufacturers. Do you notice this behaviour with all nylon strings?

      • Paul Provoost says:

        Hi Uros,

        I notice the same effect with Savarez New Cristal trebles. After a few minutes of playing the trebles drift sharp. It is not much, but surely enough to be unpleasant.

    • Richard Pauling says:

      Thank you for saying that about nylon strings drifting into “sharp” pitch. I’ve struggled with the “drift-sharp” phenomenon. It helps me that you put this occurrence
      into words. I thought the “drift-sharp” annoyance was due to my imagination or that I had not tuned my guitar correctly in the first place.

  • What Brands of Carbon Strings to use on my Washburn FISHMAN Clasica 2 EQ equipped?
    The first, second, and third strings, have very little sound, while the 4th, 5th, and 6th string has a strong sound, with the EQ plugged in my amplifier.
    Could the bridge pickup be defective?
    Any advice appreciated Thank You for a Friendly Reply………..Yours Truly “moonie”

  • Is carbon strings biodegradable? Have you found any BIO resin or BIO composite as strings?

    It has to be easy to do…

  • Would be nice to see a comparison of carbon against D’addario Titanium strings. I’m learning flamenco and with all the hammer/pulls the carbon is pretty tight. I like the sound of carbon, but playing nylon would make it a bit easier. I’m about to try the titanium, which feel like nylon but brighter… One step below carbon in brightness. Titanium seems to be the best of both worlds. What do you think?

  • Peter McCredie says:

    Hi Uros,

    This was great because I’m installing Carbon strings now. Slippery little devils when tensioning.
    Based on your examples and what I will be playing, I’m leaning into the sound of Carbons.

    I also enjoyed listening to your playing of the examples, especially the voice leading piece.
    Very good choices to demonstrate the pros and cons of each string type.


  • Hi Uros,
    thank you for the very clear explanation and showing of the differences between nylon and carbon strings.
    I am playing (as an amateur) on a Manuel Adalid 11 with fantastic sustain and was comparing your string test on that one. I am using two different brands carbon, i.e. Hannabach 725 Goldin MHT trebles and Knobloch sterling silver bass set. This is very satisfying combi. Nylon strings sound a little “thin” on my Adalid.
    Thanks again.

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