If you have a guitar that has seen better days and has been played a lot, it might not sound or feel as it should. One of the most common problems you might experience after having played for a while is that the strings start to fray, become loose, damaged, and worn down. If this is the case, you will need to replace those guitar strings.
Although stringing a guitar is not overly difficult, it does require the right steps and materials. Moreover, stringing an acoustic guitar is a bit different than stringing an electric guitar, both of which we will cover here today. Let’s get to it and teach you how to string a guitar.
How to String a Guitar: Step by Step
Right now, we are going to go through a step-by-step tutorial on how to string a guitar. We will start by talking about how to prepare to string a guitar, followed by how to string an acoustic guitar, and then an electric guitar.
Preparing to String a Guitar
First, you need to find a quiet and clean place to restring the guitar. You want the area to be quiet so you can easily tune it without any outside interference. You also want the area to be clean and organized so that you don’t end up losing any tools.
You will then need to gather all of your necessary equipment. You will need new guitar strings, some wire cutters, a string winder, and a tuning machine. Of course, the guitar strings you choose will depend on what your personal preferences and tastes are.
You then want to find a spot to secure and support your guitar while you restring it. There are special guitar stands designed just for this, although you can always use something soft like a towel as well. Keep in mind that these initial steps are the same for both electric and acoustic guitars, which is why we have kept this section separate.
How to Restring an Acoustic Guitar
Now that we have the initial steps taken care of, let’s provide you with a step-by-step tutorial on how to restring an acoustic guitar.
- First, you are going to use the tuning keys to loosen the tension on all of the strings. Simply turn all of the tuning keys in a counterclockwise manner to loosen the strings. You can then unwind the guitar strings from the tuning posts and remove them.
- Your string winder should have a small built-in notch that you can then use to remove all of the pins from the bridge of the guitar. Once you have pulled out the pins from the bridge, you can then remove the guitar strings from the bridge of the guitar. You can remove all six strings in this manner.
- Now, with your new strings, take the ball end of the string and then secure it on the underside of the bridge. With the groove of the bridge pin facing the sound hole, place the string under the pin and slide it into the pin hole. Make sure that you pull on the string with the other hand while pushing the pin into the hole, to make sure that it is tight and in the right position.
- You are then going to take the other end of the string and pull it through the hole in the tuning post, pulling it through so that the end of the string is about three inches past the hole.
- You can now use the string winder to tighten the guitar string, and then repeat this for the other five strings. You can then use a guitar tuner to tune each of the strings accordingly, and then use wire cutters to cut away any excess string.
How to Restring an Electric Guitar
Now that you know how to string an acoustic guitar, let’s talk about how to restring an electric guitar.
- Using the tuning posts, loosen the strings so that they have a bit of slack to them. You will use wire cutters to sever the strings on your electric guitar. You do need the strings to have some slack on them, or else when you go to cut them, they will snap back at you.
- With all of the guitar strings severed, you can pull them out from both ends.
- If you have a Fender guitar or something similar, you can take your guitar string and thread it through the cavity of the tremolo. If it is a Gibson or something similar, you will thread the new guitar string through the tailpiece underneath the body.
- Now, take the machine heads and make sure that the holes are aligned with the neck of the guitar. You need the hole in the post to be facing the neck. Then, with the string inserted into the hole, use the tuning key to turn the post so that the hole is perpendicular with the neck of the guitar.
- Make sure that there is about three inches of string for winding and tuning. You will now take the string and twist it into a S shape around the post and twist the string clockwise. You will then take the string and slide it between the post and the nut, taking the portion of the string that is already through the post, and passing it around the post and between the extra string between the post and nut. Once this is done, loop the ends of the string together, make a crimp, and then tighten the strings towards the headstock.
- You can now use a string winder to tighten the tuning key and turn clockwise to tighten the strings. You need to repeat this process for all six guitar strings. At this point, you can now go about tuning your electric guitar as you usually would.
As you can see, as long as you have the right tools and a bit of patience, stringing a guitar is easily done.