#1
In the past I've restrung my own guitars both ways.
Lately I've read a few articles citing that removing all the strings at once can cause the neck of a guitar to warp. I've got a friend I'm teaching guitar to and she's getting a free Bullet Strat from her boyfriend, who hasn't touched it in years. I intended to give it a proper restringing and cleaning, but I don't want to do any damage to the guitar. I also don't feel comfortable doing truss rod adjustments, so if the neck were to warp, I wouldn't feel comfortable adjusting it back.
Would I be better off taking it to a tech for a proper restringing and setup?
Last edited by samjbow at Oct 6, 2013,
#2
It probably won't cause the neck to actually warp, but going from high to no to high tension in a short period of time is going to mess with the action and tuning stability. Really, why would you not restring one at a time? Unless you are treating the fretboard there's really no reason to take them all off. If you do it one at a time the guitar and strings settle in much faster, especially on guitars with a whammy bar.

Personally, I take them all off twice a year to condition the fretboard, but if I'm just restringing, I do it one at a time.

There's a setup sticky at the top of this forum, start there. If you really get in trouble or can't fix your issue, then take it to a tech. Most of this is simple, though, and you should be able to maintain and do simple tweaks even if you've never tried before.
#3
Alright, I should be able to adjust all that myself without any issues. I plan on giving it a cleaning, both the frets and around the pickups, and possibly oiling the fretboard, but I've never done that myself. Some people have told me lemon oil can be used and others have told me to stay away from it. The guitar has a rosewood fretboard, so would you say yay or nay to regular lemon oil?
#4
There are better options. Get some Dunlop conditioner or something actually made to condition a fretboard. Lemon oil doesn't generally do a great job of moisturizing the board.
#7
Quote by samjbow
In the past I've restrung my own guitars both ways.
Lately I've read a few articles citing that removing all the strings at once can cause the neck of a guitar to warp.


Nope. Internet Myth. Wive's Tale. Hooey. Feldercarb.

Remove them all if you like. The only downside is that TOM bridges might flop off. The neck will be fine.
#8
Quote by Roc8995
There are better options. Get some Dunlop conditioner or something actually made to condition a fretboard. Lemon oil doesn't generally do a great job of moisturizing the board.


Again, Feldercarb and Internet Junk and Elven Mythology and Dunlop Marketing.

Fretboards do NOT get "moisturized." You do not "replace vital oils". You do not need something that "penetrates deeper into the fretboard." And do NOT use linseed oil on your fretboard -- you can easily end up with a sticky mess that might not dry for weeks.

Put a few drops of ordinary mineral oil on your rosewood or ebony fretboard, wipe on, wait a FEW minutes and wipe off. Done. The oil serves two purposes. One is cosmetic (makes it look pretty) and the other is functional in that it helps PREVENT moisture in liquid form (sweat, etc.) from penetrating the board. Moisture in vapor form has no problem getting past various finishes.

Lemon Oil (well, the furniture polish stuff) is mineral oil with a few solvents added. Most of the time there isn't anything "Lemon" in it at all. Dunlop Fretboard conditioner is essentially mineral oil, as are MOST of the fretboard oils in tiny bottles. Mineral oil costs about $11 per gallon where I am. Fret Doctor runs about $12/ounce or two. With 128 ounces in a gallon, you do the math.

Linseed oil is not really an oil where wood is concerned. It's a finish. It polymerizes inside the wood. Maybe. Raw Linseed Oil may or may not polymerize, and if it doesn't, it stays sticky. Not a good thing for a fretboard. "Boiled" Linseed oil (in the old days it really was boiled, but these days they add chemicals to do the same thing) is linseed oil treated to dry (polymerize) much faster. Tru-Oil Gunstock oil is one version of boiled linseed oil. IF you insist on using linseed oil (boiled or not), Bob Taylor of Taylor guitars suggests: "Use it once. Wipe it on, wipe it off, wait for it to dry. Then don't use it for at least two years. At the two year mark, wipe it on, wipe off, wait for it to dry. Then don't use it again for ten years."

Do NOT let your fretboard conditioner sit overnight or even for a few hours to let it soak in, penetrate, whatever. Wipe it off, wait a few minutes, wipe it off. It may actually soak in. But it will leech right back out a few days later, ruining a perfectly good new set of strings. It may also soften the wood around the frets enough to allow them to pop up. Neither is a desirable result.
#9
"One string at a time, keeps the action in line"
Ultimately, it's all an Illusion for your confusion.

#10
It doesn't matter - as long as you don't leave it for weeks without strings then the neck will not be affected.

Unless you lean it against a timed radiator in an otherwise freezing room, cover it in water regularly and dry it with a hairdryer....
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
#11
Anyone who's ever had an FR will tell you one at a time. It's the only/best way.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#12
I do all the strings at once, even with jazz box with floating bridge. Why? so I can clean fretboard of gunk and polish up the frets. Corrosion is never ending battle here in Thailand. Most strings last 3 weeks if lucky. If the neck warps, I think you have a crapola guitar. I have never ever ever had a problem with that... might as well go in bathroom and chant "bloody Mary'... also clean out the nut a tad while at it, and small drop of machine oil on saddle is okay too. If there is any intonation problem, it is gone about the same time the strings settle in anyway.... which after some 'pops" and playing, is not long.
#13
I've always took all of the strings off every time I restrung. The neck(s) on my guitar(s) have never warped on me, so it's just another myth on the internet. The neck will warp if you don't have any strings on the guitar for a long period of time, too much tension on the strings for awhile, and the slight variations in weather. The way you resting in a 20 minute period will affect the neck.

And about it affecting the action and/or intonation? Even without restringing, they will change slightly over a long period of time, so it's good to check that every so often, but it's not affected by taking all of the strings off while restringing.
Skip the username, call me Billy
Last edited by aerosmithfan95 at Oct 11, 2013,
#14
Quote by aerosmithfan95
I've always took all of the strings off every time I restrung. The neck(s) on my guitar(s) have never warped on me, so it's just another myth on the internet.

That's not how statistics work.
#15
For hard tail I always take them off all at once because I also do some cleaning when I am at it. Makes it easier.

On Floyd (all 1 one of them I regret to own) its one at the time for obvious reasons. I block the floyd in divebomb stance and start changing.

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#16
Quote by Roc8995
That's not how statistics work.


Well, I've never met another person (in person) that had their necks warp, either. It's impossible for a neck to warp in the 20-25 minutes it takes to change strings.
Skip the username, call me Billy
#17
"Impossible" is a strong word in a world that contains literally millions of guitars. "Improbsble" or even "highly improbable" would be my personal go-to...

Oh yeah..count me as another one at a timer.
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Oct 11, 2013,
#18
I didn't say you were wrong. I'm saying the plural of "anecdote" isn't "data." You can't say something is impossible just because it's never happened to you or your statistically insignificant group of acquaintances.
#19
i remove them all at once so i can wipe down the frets, clean all around the pickups and get into the otherwise hard to reach areas and apply lemon oil. I have heard that it can warp a neck but i figured that was a bunch of crap. I guess in theory it could but since it has never happened to me and i have taken them all off at once since forever i assumed it was poppycock.
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#20
There's no reason to go one at a time, but there's also no reason not to.

I've had a ton of guitars for a long time, and I've been backstage enough to watch several techs take a set of dikes and simply clip the suckers right off -- all at once -- on a complete rack of guitars they were prepping for a gig that evening. I've yet to see, in person, a single guitar, anywhere at anytime, suffer a warped neck due to having all of its strings removed at once. And I've never had a tech that I trusted tell me that he'd seen a neck warped due to having its strings removed all at once.

But there's absolutely nothing wrong with changing your strings one at a time. Just in case you lose your place and forget which string is next.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 12, 2013,
#21
...I've been backstage enough to watch several techs take a set of dykes and simply clip the suckers right off...


(Emphasis mine.)

OK. I know 2 definitions of that word, and NEITHER makes any sense in this context.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#22
Heh, it's spelled with an 'i' for future reference, friend. Although the other implication could be quite funny.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#23
With a "y", it is one accepted spelling for a barrier against water, and slang for a lesbian. What is it with an "i", and how would you use it on a guitar?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#24
Quote by JustRooster
Heh, it's spelled with an 'i' for future reference, friend. Although the other implication could be quite funny.


Yup, "dikes." Not dykes. "diagonal or side-cutting pliers, a hand tool used by electricians and others." I'll get back to you on an excuse for the misspelling.



Although if you can get a pair of dykes to clip your strings it's more fun to watch.
#25
I just randomly found this thread again and what have I begun o.o lol.
As for restringing a Floyd, I've restrung them all at once, putting an eraser underneath the bridge so that it doesn't fall into the body.
I think I'll continue restringing all at once. Action and intonation are adjustable (on most guitars, anyway), I was only concerned with the possibility of the neck warping, but if that's highly unlikely then I'm not going to stress about it.
On a side note, I used those exact same cutters in the post above, and they worked horribly. Lol.
#26
Quote by dspellman
Yup, "dikes." Not dykes. "diagonal or side-cutting pliers, a hand tool used by electricians and others." I'll get back to you on an excuse for the misspelling.



Although if you can get a pair of dykes to clip your strings it's more fun to watch.

Never heard them called that. And I have a few of those, too.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#27
Quote by dspellman
Nope. Internet Myth. Wive's Tale. Hooey. Feldercarb.

Remove them all if you like. The only downside is that TOM bridges might flop off. The neck will be fine.


My Bigsby B5 tremolo is a royal PITA when I replace all strings at once. The workaround is to use a capo to temporarily secure a new string against the fretboard and keep some tension on the Bigsby while I'm winding the string around the post.

I always take off all my strings, clean and oil the fretboard Fret Doctor, and then restring and stretch everything from scratch.
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#28
I've been told if you leave the neck stringless for an extended amount of time it messes with how the rod is adjusted,
I also leave the old ones on so I can tune the freshly replaced one up to an almost in-tune pitch.
tl;dr if you ain't leaving the strings off for long it boils down to preference, string on holmes.
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