Can You Put Steel Strings on a Cordoba Mini? (Dangers)

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Written By Sarah Barlow

Chief Music Officer

Though you can put steel strings on a Cordoba Mini, is not recommended.

Not only will it be hard to play, but will cause irreversible damage to your Cordoba and void the warranty.

We explain the associated risk and why this should be avoided through the rest of this article.

Putting Nylon Strings on any Cordoba Instrument Is A Crime…

The whole ethos of Cordoba is about making exquisite quality nylon string guitars and ukuleles.

They are perfectionists regarding tone, and even crafted their own nylon strings that enhance it to the maximum extent.

So, the fact you are even considering putting steel strings on one of their instruments would be very offensive to them! (I joke..).

But if you are considering putting steel strings on your Cordoba mini, I implore you not to, and I explain why below.

How Steel Strings Will Damage a Cordoba Mini

The Cordoba Mini is a very fine instrument, designed to be set up with nylon strings.

Guitars designed for nylon strings, including the Cordoba Mini, have multiple differences in their design and setup compared to guitars design for nylon strings.

From the bridge to the nut, to the tuning mechanism to the neck, to the body bracing, there are many very important differences.

Some of the differences are minor and could be worked around with a bit of skill and effort.

But other differences are unavoidable and make it virtually impossible for you to play with steel strings on your Cordoba Mini for any period of time, without serious risk of compromising your instrument.

Nylons Strings Require Different Tension Than Steel Strings

All of the problems stem from the fact that Nylon strings require less tension than steel strings to produce the same note. As such nylon string guitars do not need the same bracing and structural rigidity as steel strings guitars do because the string tensions are much less.

Some of the differences include the neck (whether it has a truss rod inserted), bracing on the underside of the soundboard, and how the bridge is configured and attached to the soundboard.

So if you fit a set of steel strings to a Cordoba Mini, you will adversely impact all of these aspects of your guitar.

What Will Happen If I Put Steel Strings on My Cordoba Mini?

Most importantly, you will immediately void your warranty if you put steel strings on a Cordoba Mini and they make that very clear on their website.

But in terms of some specific damage, you could cause to your Cordoba Mini if you were to put steel strings on it, one of the main things that would happen, and probably the quickest is neck warping.

The neck of a Cordoba Mini is not designed to sustain the pressure that steel strings would be exerting on it, so it would buckle, and or break after a period of time.

The bridge on the guitar would also show signs of strain, in the form of either snapping off or starting to pull away in some form.

And if the neck and bridge damage wasn’t enough, there is a good chance you would also see warping to the soundboard (top side of the acoustic guitar body).

How Long Could I Keep Acoustic Steel Strings on My Cordoba Mini Before It Caused Damage?

I personally would not risk putting them on ever.

Potentially you could put them on for an hour or two, even a day or two, and maybe not see any obvious signs of damage.

But I would not risk putting steel string on your Cordoba Mini at all.

If you really want steel string on a small travel guitar, there are many affordable high-quality options for you to consider so I would focus on that instead of trying to use a Cordoba Mini for anything other than its intended purpose.