Knowing a little about the instrument and its strings makes it easier to understand how to restring a guitar. As it is quite familiar, the guitar is a crucial member of the stringed instruments family. It is also known as a fretted musical instrument that is used to produce different musical rhythms.
Strumming or Plucking are the two ways through which a guitar is played. A typical guitar has 6 different strings. Different bygone guitar designs led to the making of modern ones. At present we have three important types of the instrument. They are:
- Classical Guitar – Spanish type with nylon strings.
- Steel-string Acoustic Guitar – advanced version of the classical guitar.
- Hawaiian Guitar – guitar type that is played by placing it across the player’s lap.
Electric guitars are an advanced version of normal guitars. These include an amplifier and a pickup to make the music from the instrument loud and better. These guitars became a significant part of rock music and blues.
As we mentioned earlier, a traditional guitar comes with six strings. However, there are also 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 18-string guitars as well. Modern guitars come with fluorocarbon or nylon polymer strings. These polymers could be metal, plant, or animal products too. Some guitars use steel strings that are made from alloys of steel, phosphor bronze, or nickel.
Here is how to restring a guitar in simple steps:
Learning this skill is a perk for both beginners and virtuosos. It is essential to change or restring the guitars regularly to maintain the music quality. While electrical guitars need frequent changing, the other guitars work for a considerable time with the same strings. We will need the following things to restring a guitar.
- New/fresh strings
- Tuner and string winder
- String cutters
- Flat-headed screwdriver
Before proceeding with how to restring a guitar, one needs to prepare the instrument for the process. Choosing a clean and calm ambiance is the best as we will not lose any tools, and we can hear the guitar’s tuning without overlaps.
Moreover, pick the strings of your choice or those that fit your guitar. Once you choose the place, find something to balance the instrument’s neck. You can either buy special equipment from guitar stores or just find something soft and curvy. Follow these steps on how to restring a guitar.
- Free each string from the tension using a tuning key and loosen it.
- Unwind the loosened strings from the tuning post and remove them.
- Now, use the in-built notch of the string winder and remove each of the bridge pins. As soon as the pin is removed, you can easily remove the string as well.
- Here, tuck in the string’s ball end against the bridge towards the underside. Place the pin back and see that the ball end of the string doesn’t rest on the pin’s tip. As otherwise, the string would lose its grip.
- Now, take the string along with the tuning post and tighten it so that it has a good grip.
- Cut the string 2 inches away from the instrument’s head. This is so that we can easily poke the string through the head shaft.
- Wind up and tighten the string using the string winder. Here, don’t worry about the tune. Just tighten it to the appropriate tuning key.
- Tighten all the strings in the same process. Usually, it is best to place the strings in the order – 5A, 4D, 3G, 2B, and 1E.
- Stretch the strings and see if they are correctly set.
- Tune the guitar using a tuning machine. In case you are not confident about the tuning, you can visit a local guitar shop and get it done.
As soon as the tuning is complete, cut off the extensions to avoid interruptions while playing the guitar. Leaving the excess causes inconvenience in playing the guitar.
How to restring an electric guitar?
As we mentioned above, the electric guitar needs frequent restringing. So, knowing the process can save a lot of time and money. Here is how to restring a guitar of this kind.
- Lay the guitar on a flat surface and use neck support to keep it stable. In case you don’t have one, use your torso to serve the purpose.
- Sever the old strings using the wire cutter. Make a slack by cutting the stings midway or near the neck. Remove them once cut.
Most people lose the grip of their guitar while cutting the strings. It is best to be careful here and not drop the guitar.
- Now, place the new string along with the guitar. For Fender-type guitars, thread the string into the tremolo cavity, since it is a non-locking style. For Gibson-style, take the strings along the underneath tailpiece.
- Insert the stings into the holes and turn the hole perpendicularly using the tuning keys.
- Tighten the strings 3-inches from the bridge. Place your thumb in the 3-inch position towards the neck on the string and then tighten the keys.
- Twist the string in a clockwise direction and make an ‘S’ shape. Do the same in the opposite direction for the high strings.
- Slide the strings between the post and the nut by converting the ‘S’ shape into a ‘P.’
- Tighten and lock all the strings by creating a loop and crimp.
- Anchor the strings in the lower part using the string winder and tighten them.
Here, remember that you do not tighten the string completely. Leave a little stretch and tune them as required. Cut the excess string as you complete the tuning.
Is it fine if I replace one broken string on the guitar?
You can but, it is best to replace all the strings at once. The mix-up can ruin the sound or lead to different tunes.
What is the frequency of changing the strings?
Usually, it is best to change the strings every six months. However, it depends on the frequency of using the guitar and if you clean the strings after usage.
Also, check out our post on Best Acoustic Guitar under 500, to know more