Hi there

Got my first electric guitar last christmas!

Need some advise.

I am planning to replace the original strings with Fender 150 (010-046) (the originals are pretty thin)

Would appreciate if someone could please guide me thru' changing strings on a Yamaha Pacifica. And also, are Fender good strings (learning to play blues/blues-rock)

Any help would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

On the back of the guitar, take off the panel that covers the access to the strings and tremolo. Do not remove the strings all at once. Start by removing and replacing the smallest gage string. One by one, remove and replace each string down to the largest gage. Feed the end of the sting through the back of the guitar were the string access is. Thread it over the bridge and nut. Feed the string through the hole in the tuning peg and leave yourself enough slack to rap the string around the peg about 4 or 5 times on the small gage and two or three on the large gages. I doubt you will have to do any tweaking with your truss rod or tremolo so that should be pretty easy.
Hey dude.

Good choice with the string gauge (size), that's what I use, and they are generally considered the 'standard' gauge for electric guitars. The originals may have been 9s, or even 8s (you just use the size of the first string to denote the gauge of the whole set, so you're putting 10s on your guitar). They're more than slim enough for lead (any slimmer is just wimpy, i think), and are thick enough to tune down half a step (and still thick enough to tune down a whole step, though you will then start to encounter some minor buzzing). The perfect choice of strings for you, in fact.

Anyway, changing them. Here's a few pointers to keep in mind throghout the whole process:

1: DO NOT take all your old strings off and then start putting the new ones on. The neck sort of relies on the tension of the strings to maintain it's shape. Taking all the strings off releases all this tension, and can (but but almost never does) put your neck slightly out. The 'DO NOT' for you is really because your guitar has a tremolo, which complicates this matter further. The vintage style trem you have on your guitar needs constant tension. If you take all your strings off, tuning it back up to pitch will be a right bastard (strings you've just tuned will 'mysteriously' go flat/sharp again).

If you've already done the schoolboy error of removing all your strings in preparation for the task of changing them, here's what you do. Once you've got them all on, stretched, and ready to tune up, tune 'em like this; Imagine you're putting a wheel on a car. You don't screw the bolts in clockwise/anticlockwise, because this can mean a wonky wheel. You zap the bolts in symmetrically (top, bottom, left, right, then any diagonals). Same principal here. Because you've ****ed up your trem's position, when you get to the point of tuning it, instead of systematically tuning your first, second, etc strings, tune your first string, your sixth string, your second, your fifth, your third, and then your fourth, re-checking each string as you go through, working your way to the 'middle'.

2: Make sure you wrap the strings around the tuning posts at least three times. If you do not do this, you will experience tuning instabilities.

3: A good habit to get into, especially when you're new to all this, is not cutting your old strings off. Rather, if you unwind them, you've got a spare in case you bugger up one of your new ones when you're putting it on (it happens). If you snap a string by stretching it too much (a common schoolboy error), you'll be ****ed and left with an unplayable guitar if you don't have a spare.

4: This job will be so much easier if you have a pair of clippers and some thin-nose pliers. Not just easier, but you'll do a better job, too.

Anyway, here's how you do it, in steps.

1: Look at the back of your guitar. There's a plate with six holes in it. This is where the strings are threaded through. You can unscrew this plate to make the job a little less cumbersome, but you should be fine leaving it on.

2: With your guitar properly tuned to pitch, start turning the machine head of the first (high E) string, loosening it as much as you can. Loosen it until the string is like spaghetti, grab that sucker and unwind it from the tuning post with your fingers (pletely and put it to one side. As you take this string off, take care to observe at every point how it went on in the first place.

3: Get your fresh new string (in this case, your 1st string/high E), thread it through the hole, and up towards the headstock to be wrapped around the tuning post. Use your common sense and remember how the other one come off, it's the same in reverse. An extra thing I do here, is lubricate all the point which the string touches with graphite (a pencil). I get a sharp pencil, and basically draw a bit of graphite on the part of the bridge the string touched, in the groove of the nut the string goes through, and any guides (little metal bits the string goes through after the nut, before it gets to the tuning post) on the headstock you might have. I play a Les Paul, so I don't have any string guides, but you will have on your Pacifica.

The lube thing is totally up to you. It helps tuning stability a little bit. If you do alot of bending, tuning up/down, using your trem, or all of the above, it stops (or helps prevent) strings getting snagged on any of these points, and they glide over them smoothly. It's just another good habit to get into. It's an especially good idea if you have a tremolo, which you have, so I'd advise you do it.

4: Wrap the string around the tuning post at least three times (I always do more, except on my bass E/sixth string), then thread it through the tiny hole, grab it with your pliers, yank it through firmly (but not like, ridiculously hard), and then yank it up firmly. This will lock it into place. This part of the re-stringing process is extremely fiddly when you're a beginner. You might find it slipping and buggering up your whole job of wrapping it around the tuning post, causing you to have to start again. It's frustrating. But don't worry, and don't give up. You'll get better at this.

5: Ensuring that the string is running it's course properly, sitting and running correctly through the bridge and the nut (that thin white plastic bit at the top of the fretboard, seperating it from the headstock), start tighting the string. Now, you need to keep your bearings here. If you tighten it to much, it'll snap. How do we know how much to tighten it? This is another reason for having your guitar in tune when you start this procedure, so you can let your ear guide you by going on by the pitch of the next string. However, at your stage, you may not even know how to tune by ear, so a tuner is highly recommended.

6: After getting that string up to it's pitch (E in this case), then comes the process of stretching. Different folks do it different ways. Some people pull the string from the 12th fret upward away from the fretboard firmly (but not too firmly) a few times. Some people fret the string on the 12th, and repeatedly pluck it and bend it up. I use a combination (not at the same time, one after the other) of the latter, and repeatedly using the machine heads, tuning the string up a semitone from it's intended pitch, then dropping it back down to what it should be. I don't recommend this for you however, as you probably don't even know what a semitone is, and run the risk of breaking your string.

If I were you, I'd just use the second method, fretting the string on the 12th, and repeatedly bending it up. Once you've done it a few times, it should keep it's tuning even after being bent. If not, stretch it some more.

7: After having achieved consistent tuning on that string, and checking the rest of the guitar is in tune (you probably banged the machine heads about a little when putting that string on), cut the excess string off, leaving at least a centimeter to allow for slippage in the first day. When strings are new, even after stretching, they need a little room to breathe and move (or slip lol). This extra bit of slack gives them that. Leave it like that for a day or so, and after some decent playing time, snip the remaining excess right off down to as close to the machine head as you desire.

Alot of guitarists don't bother taking this particular precaution, and you generally don't need to. But, there's always that chance of slippage. It happened to me once when I started out. The string slipped, and unwound from the tuning peg, and I had to by a whole new string because I couldn't get the old one back on (because I'de cut it right to the nub). If you leave a bit, slippage which probably won't happen, doesn't matter if it does. You can just get your pliers back out, nab the extra bit you left, and yank the string tight again.

It's a good habit to get into, and I still do it even now.

8. Repeat the process with all the other strings, then tune up one final time.

That's pretty much it. You'll probably find that you cannot easily wrap your sixth string/bass E around the tuning post three times. Don't worry too much, two will suffice for that string. Other than that, if you know how to do one, you know how to do them all. This guide might make it sound like re-stringing your guitar is rocket-science, it's really not. It's a really simple procedure. However, though simple it does need to be done well. There's nothing worse than a badly strung guitar. They sound crap, don't keep their tuning very well, and are the sign of a bad guitarist.

If you pay attention to what you're doing (everyone makes the old 'I've put the wrong string on!' mistake once lol!), use your common sense, you'll do a good job. The first time, it take you half an hour or so, maybe even closer to an hour. Take your time the first few times you do it. It doesn't matter how long you take. Those new strings are gonna be on there at least a week (probably alot longer knowing beginners..), so what's half an hour putting them on? The more you do it, the better (and quicker) you'll get at it.

Having a well maintained, well strung guitar gives you a great start towards learning your instrument. Start how you mean to go on. Good luck with your lovely new guitar (the Pacifica is a great beginner's guitar, probably the best). Make sure you practice as much as you can! An hour everyday (which is what I committed myself to) will see you improving really fast. Failing that, try and get at least a few hours a week. Happy twangin'!
Last edited by Martin Scott at Feb 14, 2007,
Quote by Martin Scott
1: DO NOT take all your old strings off and then start putting the new ones on. The neck sort of relies on the tension of the strings to maintain it's shape. Taking all the strings off releases all this tension, and can (but but almost never does) put your neck slightly out.

This is one of the biggest myths on these forums.

Taking off all of the strings for the short time it takes to clean the neck and frets and restring the guitar WILL NOT HARM THE NECK.
Quote by chaseNbadguys
On the back of the guitar, take off the panel that covers the access to the strings and tremolo.

There's no need to remove the plate, the strings will pass through the holes regardless.

Quote by chaseNbadguys
Start by removing and replacing the smallest gage string. One by one, remove and replace each string down to the largest gage.

It makes little diference which string you start with.

Doing it the way you've described will still ensure that at some stage the thickest (low E) string is off the guitar. Think about it, it makes no difference.
^free. i dont agree with all of Martin's post either. and i know u know what ur talking about,

but it is really important that guy's just starting out swap strings one at a time.

on TOMs the bridge can pop off. and that's a problem for them. i know. i answer the posts.

on trems, the bridge tension changes and then that's another problem.

sometimes the neck relaxes a little too. no, that doesnt mean it's broken, but that's another half hour of posts, me explaining how to set up a guitar.

TS this is a simple picture, how to string.

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Last edited by jj1565 at Feb 14, 2007,
Hey guys !!

Wow !! This is overwhelming!!!

Thanks a lot for all your pointers & help.

Planning to change strings this weekend. Wish me luck !!


Quote by Free
This is one of the biggest myths on these forums.

Taking off all of the strings for the short time it takes to clean the neck and frets and restring the guitar WILL NOT HARM THE NECK.

Firstly, I didn't say it'd harm the neck. I set it may put it out slight, but probably won't. Secondly, the issue was more to do with his trem as I stated.
Yeah fair enough mate. I know you were trying to help the guy out, and he seems pretty pleased that you went to the effort, so no problems.

I just didn't want the TS to get the wrong end of the stick, so to speak. A lot of advice given in these forums leads the inexperienced guitarist to believe that they will seriously damage their guitar doing what can only be desribed as routine maintainance.

The ironic thing is that people will say things such as "Don't take all the strings off at once coz you'll wreck the neck" and the next thing they're advising people to play about their truss rods. Go figure.

As for the trem, thats an easy problem to overcome but I'll let you explain it