How to Change Guitar Strings: a Step-by-Step Guide – 42West

Changing guitar strings is one of the more daunting tasks a raw guitarist can take on, but it ’ s actually not deoxyadenosine monophosphate complicated as it seems. Check out our bit-by-bit guidelines, invest in all the right gear, and your play will sound clean than ever .

When should I change my guitar strings? And how often?

Your guitar ’ s sound gradually “ dims ” complete time as oils from your fingers coat the strings ; that ’ mho why you should wash your hands before playing. If you play guitar on a near-daily basis, it ’ south good to change your strings around twice per class. Guitars that have languished in memory for years will about constantly benefit from a new set of strings, excessively .

What kind of guitar strings should I use?

The two broad types of guitars available are nylon and steel-stringed models. It ’ sulfur authoritative to know the difference because you never want to use the wrong type of string on your specific type of guitar. Let ’ s explain .
Nylon strings are used for classical music guitars. They ’ ra mellow and easy on the fingers, but they can frequently feel “ bulkier ” for smaller fingers. Nylon strings are sorted based on their tension : high, medium ( besides called “ normal ” ), and low. low or medium tension strings are the best for beginners.

Steel string sets are classified by the gauge of their first string. Strings numbered as “ 9s ” ( .009 ” thick ) are on the abstemious conclusion, while “ 14s ” ( .014 ” ) are very heavy. Beginners should go for 10s on electric guitar like these Fender Super 250 strings, and 12s for acoustic like the Fender 60L ’ sulfur .
note : acoustic guitar strings can besides come wrapped in bronze, which does not work on electric guitars .

How to remember guitar strings order

now that you have your gang of guitar strings, you ’ ll notice that there a six paper packets within it, each labeled with a phone number. Guitar strings order is based on the gauge or size of the string, and you ’ ll constantly find the thinnest strings are numbered “ one ” and the thickest strings are numbered “ six. ” The guitar strings ordering besides relies on a numeral system based on the string gauge, or the thickness of a string measured in 1/1000th of an inch. For case, strings numbered “ 10′ ‘ s ” refer to 0.010 inches .
once you know how to string a guitar, you ’ ll necessitate to tune it. The guitar strings regulate for standard tune begins with the blockheaded or lowest pitched string : “ E-A-D-G- B-e. ” Remember, “ lowest ” in guitar strings means peddle and happens to be the “ highest ” physically on the fretboard ( closest to your head ). Make up an acronym to remember the strings ! Or try this one : Every Awesome Dog Gets Bones Everyday .

In what order should I restring my guitar?

The string order is one of the most critical aspects of learning how to change guitar strings. ultimately you can remove all the guitar strings at once, but if it ’ s your first clock, beginning with the E sixth string ( blockheaded gauge ). This will save you fourth dimension and frustration !
man playing acoustic guitar strings
Image via Shutterstock

What do I need besides guitar strings?

It ’ second always a commodity mind to order two identical sets of strings. If you by chance break one while changing it, you ’ ll have a bare ready to go. Guitar string winders like the On-Stage GSW500 are great time-savers, but not essential. besides, guitar tuners like the On-Stage GTA6000 are the easiest way to make indisputable you ’ re hitting the decline notes, but there are numerous smartphone radio receiver apps a well .

Tools you need to change guitar strings

Changing guitar strings is possible without tools, but it is more difficult and takes much longer. You besides run the risk of poking yourself with sharp wires. The tools you ’ ll want are a pair of peg winders and wire cutters.

Tuning peg winder

once you know how to change guitar strings, you ’ ll find a nail down winder the handiest tool to wind them up. A guitarist should not be without one ! They save clock time and department of energy tightening the strings .

Wire cutters

String cutters can be divide, or pick up a winder with the cutters built in. Cutting strings should be effortless, but be careful not to scratch your guitar. Once you know the basic ordering of how to change guitar strings, go back and neatly trim all excess wires .

How to change the guitar strings

now that you ’ re cook to restring your guitar, originate by setting it down on a bench or a board, with all supplies on bridge player. Don ’ metric ton unwrap and uncoil your newfangled strings good however. It ’ sulfur easier to tell which is which when it ’ s calm wrapped. Before you take your old strings off, make bill of how they ’ re attached at the bridge ( bottom ) of the guitar. Some nylon strings have a ball-end, while others require you to tie a small hitch. All steel strings are ball-end .

1. Remove the old guitar strings

Loosen all the tuning knobs counterclockwise with your fingers or a winder until they ’ ra informal enough that you can lift them off the tune nail down. You can remove all the guitar strings at once, including any busted or break strings, while being careful of any sharp ends. This besides gives you a great opportunity to wipe down hard-to-reach places, including the entire fretboard, with some Fender Guitar Polish. But for a guitar with a floating bridge ( most Gibson-style electrics ), it ’ mho best to change strings one-by-one .

2. Insert the new strings

now, insert your new strings through the bridge pins until each ball conclusion of the string is caught. Insert the other end through the fix in the tune peg, taking care not to puncture your fingertips. Pull the unharmed string through until there ’ s entirely enough bowed stringed instrument left behind the nail down for 4-5 coils. For all but the lowest two strings, you should be able to coil the string ends once more and insert the end a moment time in the peg hole .

3. Tighten carefully

Begin lento tightening the tuning peg with your guitar string winder or fingers, making certain that the string on the peg is coiling neatly from the bottomland up. Stop when you ’ ve got a mince amount of tension in the string .
changing tuning acoustic guitar strings
Image via Shutterstock

4. Trim and tune

once you ’ ve done this with all your strings, clip any excess string past the node with wire cutters, and tune your strings to the compensate pitch with your radio receiver. It can take a few days for brand new strings to settle into their proper deliver, so hopefully you haven ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate changed them an hour before your big show.

5. Clean the guitar

Knowing how to string a guitar is the inaugural footprint, but to keep it maintained, you ’ ll want to clean it. The best time to give your guitar a good polish is when you have all the strings off, indeed grab a polish fabric and have it handy when you do your string change. This besides allows you to wipe down crevices and smaller places, protecting the guitar from oils and dust. Whether you ’ re a founder or guitar consummate, learning how to change guitar strings properly and keeping the fretboard dirt-free is an all-important skill .

Time to play!

With your guitar stringed improving and ready to play, it ’ s time to do what you do good : rock candy out ! And if you need anything else to get started with your new guitar, check out our musical instruments section to find the best gear from the names you trust .


Adorama ‘s 42West is the content address for photographers, filmmakers, sound recording creatives and all things electronic. Check out our up-to-date editorial features on all the latest gear, how-to ‘s and interviews with nowadays ‘s most relevant industry insiders .

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