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How To Change Guitar Strings

How to change guitar strings

An important part of looking after your guitar involves changing the strings when they break. This is something that can happen quit regularly as they get worn out. Similar to your car headlights, if a one string gets worn out and breaks its likely others could follow. So it’s in your best interest to learn how to change guitar strings.

You can change guitar strings with three simple steps:

  1. Remove the old strings
  2. Check over your new strings
  3. Tighten and tune the new strings

What you will need

There’s a few tools we recommend getting your hands on for this job. This way, whenever a string snaps you’ve got everything you need on hand to fix it as soon as possible. We recommend having the following on hand:

  • New guitar strings
  • A String Winder
  • Guitar Tuner
  • Guitar String Cutter

Ensuring you have new strings seems an obvious one but many of us have been in the position where a string snaps and we don’t have a new one to replace it with. Make sure you purchase purpose built strings for the type of guitar you’re using.

Guitar string winders are a cheap accessory for your guitar but believe me, they make the job of restringing much easier. These are great value for money so it’s highly recommended you have one of these on hand.

Another thing people tend to forget is that the new string will need to be tuned perfectly. This is where a guitar tuners comes into the equation. Having one of these handy makes tuning up the new string so you’re ready to go a heck of a lot easier.

Sadly, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the perfect sized string. Likelihood is that when you’re finished stringing it up, there’s going to be some slack left. A guitar string cutter helps you cut the string down to the perfect size for your guitar.

How To Change The Strings

So, now you know what you need it’s time to look at exactly how you change your guitar strings.

Remove The Old Strings

So removing the old strings is the first step in this process. If your old string snapped it’s quite an easy process as you just need to unwind the string until it’s released. That should cover the top half, then just remove the bottom half from the bridge and the jobs done.

If you’re changing a string that hasn’t snapped then you’ll need to loosen the tension. Once you’ve done this you can use your string cutters to seperate the top from the bottom and release each side. Remember to be catious of the string bouncing up when you cut it, and to always remove the tension before doing so.

Check Your New Strings

Make sure everything looks all good with your new strings. You will usually get a colored guide with your pack to help you. This can be used to match the end color with the chart provided. You then need to feed the string through the appropriate bridge on your guitar.

Feed the string through the eye of the tuning machine you then want to pull the string nice and tight.

This is when it can get a little bit of a fiddly job. You need to turn the string backwards and try to loop it underneath the string folding it round and over the top. This is quite a difficult process to explain but the video above details how to do this. The end goal should be the string being locked in place with a knot like shape. You’ll want to leave some slack at the end of the string.

Tightening And Tuning

Now it’s time to start turning the tuning machine using your string winder. Use one hand the hold the guitar string during this process and the other hand to wind the string. Make sure you hold on tight to the string for the entire duration because if you don’t the knot could come loose.

Once the string has been tightened you can remove most of the excess that you might find. Leave a fraction on there which you should be able to easily bend around the outside of the eye.

Now it’s time to get tuning your guitar. This is something that will be made much easier with your guitar tuner. You could always do this manually if you wanted to but we recommend using a tuner for perfect precision.

Video Guidance

If you’re unclear on any of the information above hopefully the video below will help:

Final Thoughts

Figuring out how to change a guitar string is one of the most useful and effective ways to look after your guitar. Once you’ve done this once or twice, you should feel yourself becoming more comfortable with the process. After doing it a few times it’s gonna become second nature to you.