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Changing Your Guitar Strings: 7 Expert Tips

Changing guitar strings on a guitar for beginners

Every aspiring guitarist should learn how to change their strings properly, so they can achieve the best possible sound.


In this handy guide, we’ve shared 7 step-by-step tips for how to string a guitar the right way.  


1. Invest in a String Winder Tool:


When it’s time to clip your strings, you’ll be happy to have a string winder with a built-in cutter. One side of the tool is designed to slide onto a guitar peg, so that you can quickly tighten a new string, while the other side typically has a clipper. This affordable gadget will save you a ton of time, and the cutter is safer than using standard pliers.


2. Remove the Old Strings:


Next, carefully unwind the old guitar strings one at a time, so that the neck isn’t damaged from the lack of tension. We recommend replacing the order of guitar strings as you remove them, but make sure to wipe down the guitar neck first. Slowly remove the string by unwinding it from the tuning peg, rather than trying to cut it while it’s still tight. There’s a good chance the string will whip up in the air and hit you if it’s not slack, so be careful!


3. Avoid Poking Yourself with the String Ends:


Most guitar strings are made with metal, which can be extremely sharp at each end. When removing and replacing strings, try not to hold the ends, and keep the loose strings away from children. The last thing you want is a metal splinter in your finger.


4. Remove the Bridge Pin Without Damaging the Guitar:


Your string winder should have a small notch for removing bridge pins. If you’re changing acoustic guitar strings, just slide the notch under each pin, and pull. You can also use pliers or a spoon, but this has the potential to damage your instrument. To avoid this, place a small cloth under the tool that can serve as a protective barrier.


5. Test the Bridge Pin When Replacing Strings:


After attaching the new string, make sure to push the bridge pin in as hard as you can, so that it doesn’t pop out when you tighten the string. Before you finish the job, you can test the pin by pulling on the string with your hand, so you don’t have a potentially dangerous surprise later on.


6. Cut the Surplus String While Leaving Enough to Wind:


Most guitar strings are much longer than necessary, so you’ll need to cut the excess string length. We recommend leaving about a hand’s width past the tuning peg, so that you have enough to work with when winding it around. Bend the last inch of string into a kinked “v” shape, hook it into the tuning peg, and wind it around the peg a few times by hand. Then, tighten it with the string winder.

7. Tune the String and Break It In:

Once your new strings are tight enough to start tuning, don’t forget to stretch each one out from the bridge to the neck. This will ensure that your strings stay in tune, because they’ll have less slack. Finally, take out your smartphone or dedicated tuner and finish the job.

No matter your skill level, you set the pace for musical progress. Our Grammy®-winning masters will guide you on a transformative journey. Visit ArtistWorks to learn more.


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