How to Change Guitar Strings
How to Change Guitar Strings | String Changing Basics and detailed instruction for classical guitars, acoustic guitars and electric guitar in the guitar basics lesson.
String Changing Basics
Classical Guitar Stringing
Acoustic Guitar Stringing
I have one of the Planet Waves Combined String Cutter and Winder in each of my guitar cases. Believe me, they are a great little tool to have. It's compact and allows a quick change, wheather that is a single string emergency or any entire string set.
This is usually a trial and error process for beginning and intermediate guitarists alike. But now with a good set of strings costing in the $15.00 and up range, the error portion of that statement gets to be quite costly
If strings are not placed on your guitar properly, you can have all kinds of problems such as:
In this How to Change Guitar Strings article we will cover both Classical Guitars and Acoustic Guitars. We will not cover Electric Guitars because there is such a variety of bridges available.
Usually with electric guitars, installing the ball end of the string is rather simple as the string is fed through a slot or placed on a post. The remained of the operation can be followed in the Acoustic portion of this article.
Lets talk about string selection first. Most Classical Guitar Strings are made of nylon for the high (3) strings and silver coated copper thread over a nylon filament core for the (3) bass or lower strings
Also, Classical Guitar Strings come in several tensions:
Which tension is right for you? That depends completely on your guitar and the tonal range and volume you expect to get from the guitar. Just remember that even the best of strings will not make a poorly made guitar sound good, but poor strings will make a well-made guitar sound awful.
I have gravitated to a high or hard tension string on my guitar. I like than added volume and the tightness of the strings. Also the strings do not oscillate quite as much as the low tension strings do and I get less string buzzing.
That is a often asked question that I get. Here are some things to consider to access your string condition:
There is a large selection of strings available. You can click here for my string recommendations and here is a list of my recommended picks:
If you are having trouble getting enough volume or punch out of your guitar on the treble strings, which is quite often the case on the lesser quality guitars , you may want to explore carbon fiber strings for your 3 plain strings in lieu of the standard nylon.
How long your guitar strings last is strictly a function of how much you play, how you care for your strings. So let's dive into that in this section.
If your hands perspire quite a bid during playing be sure to always wipe down your strings with a soft micro fiber cloth. Not only wipe done the top surface of the strings, but run the cloth under the strings (between the strings and the frets) as well.
The bass or silver-wound strings are almost always the first to go, so keep a small supply of these around.
Because as strings age, the bass strings pick up quite a bit of grime. You can extend the string life by soaking the strings in a warm (not hot) solution of 3 parts water and one part household ammonia for 15 minutes to 30 minutes. You will find that the strings are amazingly brilliant after you restring them.
The last how to change guitar strings tip is to be sure your string up your guitar properly, and that is what this article is about.
Now that we determined the need to change our string we will progress right into the actual process. Assemble the following tools to aid you in the easiest and quickest method for this.
How to Change Guitar String - The Required Tools:
I will tell you that in the event of an emergency, all you need to have is a sturdy fingernail clipper or a toenail clipper. So carry one with you in your case.
Start laying the guitar on it's back on the padded workbench. Take the wire side clipper and cut the first or "e" string near the sound hole, while holding the string. This will keep the string from damaging the guitar. I would recommend loosening the string a couple of revolutions prior to cutting.
Unwind & Cut You Old String
Remove Each String: Carefully remove both ends of the string from the bridge and the tuner. Take care not to scratch the top or the head piece. Unwrap the new string and insert the string through the the hole in the bridge tie block from the saddle side of the hole.
Insert Through Tie Block
Pull enough of the string through the tie block so you can loop the string around for 2 twists and wind up with the end of the string facing toward the bass side. See pictures below.
Loop the String Around Three Times
Get That Final Loop Correct!: One of the most important things to accomplish is the final loop should go over the backside of the tie block. If you don't do this the string will slip. If your installation looks exactly like this you will have absolutely no slippage.
Pull the string snuggly to tighten up the winding.
Pull The String Tight So It Locks Onto The Tie Block
Now take the other end and place it through the first tuner roller on the right. Adjust the tuner so the hole lines up vertically prior to inserting the string.
Pull enough of the string through (about 3 or 4") to pull it up the backside of the roller and then thread it through the hole once more.
Thread The String Through The Roller Hole Twice
Time to take up some slack in the string: I like to start with 4 to 6" of slack above the fingerboard, measured at the string midpoint. Pull the string end at the roller to meet this length.
Now with your right hand, grasp your string winder and hold the string near the nut with your left hand to guide the string around the tuner roller.
It is important that the string rolls over the top to the roller and not under the roller, as this would make the tuning backwards.
Also, attempt to guide the string over the roller so it crosses over the string entry point at the roller hole several times.
Time to clip the strings: Now take your clippers and cut the end of the string about 1/2" above the roller. Note that at first you can leave the string long, in the event you didn't do everything as you should have and have to start over.
If you left too long a tail on the string at the tie block of the bridge, you will have to very carefully clip this end of the string too. There should only be about 3/8" of the string extending beyond the point of the loop.
Continue this same procedure with the 2nd and 3rd strings.
Insert Wound String & Loop Only Once
The 4th 5th and 6th strings: With the 4th string (the first wound string), the only difference is with the method used at the tie block. Only one loop around will be necessary, as shown in the photos.
Make Sure The Loop Hangs Over The Tie Block Edge
Also, you may find that the 5th and 6th strings cannot be threaded through the roller hole a second time. That is ok since the wound strings have a great deal more grip than the plain nylon strings.
Just be sure to "lock" the string on the roller by crossing over the roller hole a couple of times.
Some Wound Strings Have A Loop At One End. Use This Loop On the Tuning Roller As Shown Above
It may be a bit more difficult to leave the string long with the wound strings because they can damage the peghead slots as you tighten the strings, so cut them off right away Just leave a little extra string length to wind around the roller if you want some extra insurance.
The String Should Cross Over Itself Several Times
How to Change Guitar Strings seems like a rather easy task to perform, but there is definitely a right and a wrong way to accomplish this. Putting your strings on improperly can lead to slippage of string and leaving you with a guitar that is very hard to keep in tune. Also, if not installed properly, you can have a greater incidence of string breakage.
First, lets assemble the proper tools for this job to quickly and efficiently complete our task.
The Planet Waves Pro String Winder & Cutter is three tools in one. Its a string winder, a string cutter and a bridge pin puller. Very handy too. I keep one in each case for emergency acoustic guitar string changing.
I prefer the Korg CA-40 Electronic Tuner. It is very accurate, affordable , easy to read and long-lasting battery life to boot.
Elixir Phosphor Bronze Strings
Start and the lower right post with the "E" string and work your way around COUNTER clockwise to the lower left peg with the Low "E"
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