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How to String a Guitar

by Emily Lloyd

Acoustic guitar

Things You Need:

  • Guitar
  • New guitar strings
  • Wire cutter
  • String winder
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Electric tuner or piano

It's time to restring your guitar if a string has snapped or lost its brightness. It's important to change your strings out whether you own an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. There is some debate about whether it's better to change the strings one at a time or all at once. If you decide to take all the strings off your guitar, it gives you free access to the fretboard so you can give it a good cleaning. However, some people fear that the sudden loss of tension can damage the guitar. Proceed with caution whichever you choose. These step by step instructions will teach you how to string a guitar with ease.

Stringing a Guitar:

  1. Loosen the strings. Loosen the tuning pegs either by hand or by string winder. A string winder makes the job go much faster and is available at your local music store.

  2. Remove the loosened strings from the guitar. There are two ways of doing this. The first is to unwind the whole thing and pull the string from the tuning pegs. The second way is to cut the strings in half. However, if you choose to cut the strings, you MUST loosen the strings before you cut them. Cutting tight guitar strings is dangerous because the strings will snap and cause damage to your acoustic guitar and to you. Please exercise caution and loosen the guitar strings before you cut them.

  3. Remove the string pins. The string pins are located on the bridge of the guitar. Use needle-nose pliers to pull them out, not scissors or wire cutters as they can damage the string pins. Do not throw the string pins away.

  4. Open the new guitar strings and place in string pin hole. Begin with the thickest string (low E). Take the ball at the end of the wire and use the string pin to push it into the string pin hole. It will catch on the bottom of the pin right then or when you begin to tighten the strings. Make sure you press firmly on the string pins to make them stay in the hole. You can choose to attach all the guitar strings at once or one at a time.

  5. Thread the string. Thread it along the fretboard up to the head and then through the hole in the peg. Do not pull the guitar string all the way through the hole. Leave plenty of slack to wind the string. Three inches of slack should be about right.

  6. Wind the guitar string around the tuning peg. You can do this manually or with the string winder. Start at the top and gradually guide the string towards the base. Don't worry about the leftover string. Just cut it off when you're done.

  7. Tune string. Use an electric tuner or a piano to tune your acoustic or electric guitar's new strings.

  8. Repeat all steps for the remaining strings. Throw away old and excess guitar strings. Your guitar has been successfully re-strung, and you're ready to get back to your music.

Tips about Guitar Strings:

  1. Guitar strings come in different brands. It's up to the player to decide which one they want. Try out different brands to see which one you prefer.

  2. If a new string breaks, it is fine to replace only that one; however, if your strings are old and one breaks, then it's best to replace all the strings. Old strings fall out of tune, lose their "brightness" of sound and break easily.

  3. There are different types of strings. Thinner strings are better for beginning guitarists. The thicker strings produce a better quality of sound, but they are harder to play.

  4. Coated guitar strings last longer.

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