how-to-change-guitar-strings

Every guitarist faces the same problem of how to change guitar strings at the verse of their first guitar restringing experience. Some of them learn the process but many of them fail to restring their instruments in the right way & which is true for many experienced guitarists. As a result, they face problems like breaking strings & maintaining perfect tuning.

Either you are a guitar virtuoso or a beginner, knowing how to change strings on your guitar is a useful skill you should have. In this article, I will guide you through all the steps to change acoustic guitar strings. In the end, I will answer some FAQs regarding how to change guitar strings.

Credit: Fender

Step 1: Gather Necessary Tools

You can restring your guitar without using any helping tools. Just your guitar and a new set of strings are enough. To save time you can use a string winder which you will find in any guitar shop.

To cut the strings you will need a wire cutter. Also, you will need a guitar tuner if you don’t know how to tune a guitar without using a guitar tuner. Overall, the recommended tools are-

  • Your Guitar
  • New Set of Strings
  • Wire Cutter
  • String Winder
  • Guitar Tuner

After gathering all the necessary tools, find a quiet place to restring your guitar.

Step 2: Remove Old Strings

Remove your guitar’s used strings in the following procedure. 

  • Loosen the tension of each string by turning the tuning keys with a string winder. Start with the high E string. and gradually finish with the thickest (low E) string.
  • Cut the String above the soundhole using a string cutter. If you don’t have a string cutter loosen the strings more.
  • Detach the string from the tuning pegs.
  • Open the bridge pins using the cut-out in your winder & detach the string from the bridge.
  • Wind up the removed strings and throw them into a bin.

Optional Step: Clean Your Guitar

After removing the strings you will have a chance to clean some rough spots of the guitar. Use a clean cloth or dust removing brush to clean the guitar neck, fretboard, tuning pegs, and bridge areas. If the fretboard surface is not smooth enough use lemon oil to make it clean & smooth.

Step 3: Setting The Strings Into The Bridge

Set up the new strings with the bridge in the following process-

  • Remove the bridge pin out from the bridge.
  • Insert the ball end of the string into the bridge hole about 10 cm deep.
  • Replace the bridge pin.
  • Then slowly pull the string while keeping some pressure on the bridge pin until the string is mildly tight.

The Bridge pin may look a bit insecure to come outward. Then push it back into the hole a bit more tightly.

Step 4: Winding The Strings Into The Tuners

This step is the same for restringing acoustic & electric guitar (not for classical guitar). Here is how you do it.

  • Check that each tuning post’s holes are pointing straight down the neck.
  • Pass the sharp end of the string through the tuning post’s middle hole.
  • Pull the string’s tail end all the way through the tuning post’s hole. Check that the string is in the proper nut slot.
  • Create slack on the tuning post with your hand near the fretboard.
  • Start winding the string. Make sure the tuning post’s initial rotation passes over the free end of the string. This is vital that the string first wrap around the tuning post & goes over the free end of the string.
  • Confirm that the string is winding toward the center of the headstock. You can use the string winder.
  • Finally cut the excess string using the wire cutter.

Step 5: Stretching & Tuning The Strings

The final part is, tune your acoustic guitar. New steel strings take a couple of hours to settle their expansion & tension depending on the weather & humidity. That means the tuning will keep changing during this time.

So you may need to tune your guitar several times. I will recommend you keep playing your guitar and tune it continuously for the first 12-15 minutes. After all, playing guitar with new strings is much more enjoyable. Bend each string at the 12th fret to stretch the new set of strings.

If you don’t know how to tune a guitar check up the link below.

How To Tune A Guitar For Beginners [Easy Guide]

FAQs

How often should I change my guitar string?

The frequency of changing guitar strings depends on how much do you play and practice your guitar. Humidity also affects the strings.

If your thicker strings (4th, 5th & 6th) have brown dust color around the 2nd and 3rd fret, you will know it is already time to change. If the color becomes dark brown to black then it is high time to replace them.

I practice on average 2-3 hours per day & I prefer to change my acoustic guitar strings before two months. New strings always produce bright and sharp sounds. So, if you have a music show to perform, or want to record anything, make sure to use a new set of strings.

I broke one of my guitar strings. Can I change the only broken string, or do I need to change the whole set?

Yes, you can change the only broken string. But, if the strings are already used for around 3 weeks, I will recommend using a whole new set of strings. Mixing old strings with new strings or using a different brand of strings together would likely give bad sounds.

That’s it. Following the above steps, you can easily change your acoustic guitar strings. If you have any other questions, ask me in the comment section. Thanks for reading this far.

Arifur Rahman
Hello, my name is Arifur Rahman. I am a guitarist & music composer. I write about music & guitar at Calibbr.

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