Restringing A Guitar

I will save you the embarrassment of going to your local guitar store and saying "Can you replace my strings" and having them laugh at you while walking to the back of the store.

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Hello! There are many guitarist that do not know how to put on strings so I will save you the embarrassment of going to your local guitar store and saying "Can you replace my strings" and having them laugh at you while walking to the back of the store.

Taking Off Strings

Because it is hard to put on new strings when the old ones are already on the guitar you must take them off first (isnt that logical? lol) The first thing i would do is loosen the string. If u dont, and i have had this happen to me you will end up with a cut lip and some brand new rusted strings. If you happen to do cut yourself during this process immediatly get a kleenex or something because that creates rust on strings insanely fast. Then get some wire cutters and cut off the loosened string.

Strat Style Body Electric Guitar

  • Step One The first step to putting on guitar strings is to take them out of the package and straighten them out a bit so it is easier to work with them. Just unravel them and run your fingers through the string so it gets it ready to hold a lot of tension. I would recomend putting on strings one at a time so it is easier on you.
  • Step Two Ok now that you've got your entire strings ready its time to put them on your guitar. On a strat you have to slide the strings through the back of the guitar. There should be a small white plate on the back on your guitar with little tiny holes. Just slide them through and they will come out of the bridge.
  • Step Three Bring your string up to the tuners. Make sure that the string is in the incisions on the bridge and nut. Ok now there are also many different was to do step 3. I find it easiest to bend the string at 90 degree angle about 3/4 of an inch from the tuning peg. Make sure your pulling on the string slightly hard so the measurement comes out right.
  • Step Four Now that you have that down slide the string through the hole in the tuning peg and start twisting the tuning peg slowly. I would tune it up a whole step, let it sit for a minute or two, then tune it up again, let it sit for a minute or two, etc. That way the string becomes comfortable with the tension and doesn't snap in two seconds.
  • Step Five Now you must tune your string. It may become hard on electric tuners because they aren't used to the tinny sound so I would tune it by ear. After its in tune sit down and play.

    Acoustic Guitar

    This is slightly different then putting new strings on an elecric for example and it will be a little more difficult.
  • Step One Open your pack of new strings and take out the 6th string. Remember, we are changing them one at a time. The envelope the string is in should be labeled with a string gauge -- .054 is a common gauge for the sixth string in a set of light gauge acoustic strings. Slide your fingers through them so that they become comfortable.
  • Step Two If you have an acoustic with string pegs, place the ball of the string into the peg hole and pull up and towards the sound hole until it catches in a slot or groove. This may take a few tries. Once the string catches, put the string peg back into the hole, placing the grooved portion of the peg over the string. Electric guitarist will be feeding the string through a hole in the body of the guitar or the tail piece (end stop, bridge, etc.) depending on your particular guitar.
  • Step Three Once you have the ball end of the string in place, pull the string over the bridge of the guitar, then the nut of the neck, and up past the tuning peg. Now i would make a 90 degree angle at the string so it winds easier. Make the angle about 3/4 of an inch above the tuning peg.
  • Step Four Cut the end of the string off about a half an inch past the bend in the string. Feed the bent end of the string through the hole in the tuning peg and begin to wind it, all the while keeping tension on the string so it doesn't have any slack. Once you have the string started you can take out your string winder, slide it over the tuner and wind the string until it is tight.
  • Step Five Next, take off the string winder and finish tightening the string until it is in tune. Repeat this process for each string until they have all been changed.

    Heavy Tremelo - Floyd Rose, etc

    Ok this is probably one of the hardest guitars to restring so dont get discouraged.
  • Step One Reset all fine tuning screws located on the bridge to a middle position. Loosen the "string-lock screw" located at the back side of your bridge using an allen key. The string-lock screws are the screws that run parallel to the body of your guitar. After several counter-clockwise turns, the string should pop free from the bridge.
  • Step Two Using an allen key, loosen the "nut clamping block" (the part of the guitar where the neck meets the headstock) that covers the sixth and fifth string. Once the nut clamping block is loosened, you should be able to extract the string from the guitar.
  • Step Three Now, take your replacement string, and using wire cutters, clip off the ball at the bottom end of the string. Put the freshly clipped end of the string into the saddle of the bridge. Examine the other strings to see where exactly the new string should go. Push the string down into the saddle as far as possible. You may have to further loosen the string-lock screw.
  • Step Four Using your allen key, gently but firmly tighten the string-lock screw to hold the string in place (be careful not to over-tighten!) Be sure the string stays secure in the saddle while doing this. Feed the string under the loosened nut clamping bolt, and under the "string retainer" (the bar on the headstock that runs parallel to the nut).
  • Step Five Feed the string through the tuning peg, leaving some slack in the string. Then make a 90 degree angle about 3/4 of an inch above the tuning peg and wind it until it becomes intune.

    Gibson Style Bridge

    This is one of the easier bridges to work with.
  • Step One The first step to putting on guitar strings is to take them out of the package and straighten them out a bit so it is easier to work with them. Just unravel them and run your fingers through the string so it gets it ready to hold a lot of tension. I would recomend putting on strings one at a time so it is easier on you.
  • Step Two Ok now that you've got your entire strings ready its time to put them on your guitar. Ok now feed the string into the saddle and then on the actual bridge you will see little incisions in it. Pull on the string gently until all the string comes out. Make sure that the string is in the incision in the bridge.
  • Step Three Bring your string up to the tuners. Make sure that the string is in the incisions on the bridge and nut. Ok now there are also many different was to do step 3. I find it easiest to bend the string at 90 degree angle about 3/4 of an inch from the tuning peg. Make sure your pulling on the string slightly hard so the measurement comes out right.
  • Step Four Now that you have that down slide the string through the hole in the tuning peg and start twisting the tuning peg slowly. I would tune it up a whole step, let it sit for a minute or two, then tune it up again, let it sit for a minute or two, etc. That way the string becomes comfortable with the tension and doesn't snap in two seconds.
  • Step Five Now you must tune your string. It may become hard on electric tuners because they aren't used to the tinny sound so I would tune it by ear.

    Final Notes

    Remember there are many different ways to replace strings. This is just how i do it. There are many other techniques. I tried not to get over descriptive and confuse you but again i hope it was helpful Thank You.
  • 92 comments sorted by best / new / date

    comments policy
      its_our_secret
      I have a question. I know I may sound stupid, but at what time should I change my guitar strings. I've been playing guitar for a year, and i haven't changed any strings. I don't know if thats a bad thing or not.
      MonkeyOnDope
      I still don't get it. I will just keep on taking my guitar to a shop and "have them laugh at me while they change the strings"
      RHCP=w=
      Changing your strings? It depends on how much you play and what kind of strings. If you play once in a while I would say every 6-8 months. If you you play alot and use elixer strings I would say every three months because elixers last a while.
      Rooster
      I get the squirrels to change my strings... in exchange for nuts...
      rohs_11_
      danilo19: totally warped: i would say say every six months you should change em. it does make a big difference when you change them uhm your way off id say like every 1 month
      uhh...i had my guitar for like a year and i never changed them..does it matter that much?
      danilo19
      totally warped: i would say say every six months you should change em. it does make a big difference when you change them
      uhm your way off id say like every 1 month.
      totally warped
      i would say say every six months you should change em. it does make a big difference when you change them.
      haggardguy
      change your strings,itll sound and feel alot better. Usually change them every couple of months at the bare minimum.
      Rubin Remus
      It's a simple thing to do really, good article. I'm suprised you need a thread to explain it. Somebody commented on breaking strings through tuning up, I've done that. My first guitar had a Floyd Rose and that's the one that used to snap like a bitch. Since then, I've had no problems restringing anything. Good work though mate.
      atm_sk8er
      BRIDGE PINS GOD DAMIT BRIDGE PINS NOW GO DIE HAHAHA your so right. you guys wont believe this..i had a red swolen line on my balls from re-stringing a guitar. (my first time, i just tuned it up all the way quickly, and i was only wearing boxers and the guitar was on my knees. please, kids, tune them up VERY slowly. good article, especially for noobs, and told me some stuff i didnt know. good job on the differnt bridge explanations too. 4 1/2 *'s
      WilliamVN'R
      yeah it will help people who are new to guitar, but most of us will already know all this. well done for showing methods for different bridges
      Digger
      There is a bit more 2 tuning a floating bridge, probably a lot more technique there than actally getting the strings on. Haggardguy is right, put the strings on a floyd upside down every time.
      Slash6969
      ya i agree with haggardguy its fairly usless nothing that u couldent pickup easily and alot of it is comon sense... i gave it the same rating 2 stars
      lost_it_again
      somebody needs to do a version of this for bass, particularly to help me fit some heavier gauges to my five string
      Metallica420
      May have god have mercy on the soul of the man who does not know how to restring a guitar. Peace
      haggardguy
      You should also point out that if you change string gauges on a floating trem it has to be set up again. Also, you can just put the ball end at the tuner side of the neck on a floyd rose so you don't have to cut the ball ends. Also on a floating trem if you take all the strings off the bridge will crash into the body so you have to prop it up or change strings one at a time so you don't damage your finish. I don't know why everyone gave you such a high rating for a fairly useless article that leaves out the little details which are always more important then you would think.2 stars.
      atm_sk8er
      k how do you get the grey box around a quote by someone, i press the quote button but then it just does it like i wrote it
      Blood_Covered
      lesismore666 wrote: i cut my lip restringing my fender, it hurts like ***..
      how the heck did you do that?
      tom1thomas1
      Can you change one string on it's own when its broken or should I replace them all at the same time. Mine are 2 months old and I've played 5+ hrs most days.
      KeganKatastrofe wrote: thank you so much i was just about to leave to ask someone at my local guitar center to re-string my guitar (this is the first time i've broken a string. XD) and you just saved me from looking like a dick thanks =D
      Same here, cept I was gonna have to wait a week for when I'm up there (still am coz I need the strings) This was so much better than articles on other sites, I wouldn't have realised what the back panel was for on a strat otherwise yep im noob.
      KeganKatastrofe
      thank you so much i was just about to leave to ask someone at my local guitar center to re-string my guitar (this is the first time i've broken a string. XD) and you just saved me from looking like a dick thanks =D
      timaaaahhhh
      Dude you suck... Why didn't you tell me I shouldn't have taken all the strings off at once? Now I'm ****ed... The guitar stores are closed, I don't know anyone who can help me get these strings on... My neck is gonna get warped. The way you say to wrap the strings around the pegs and whatnot is so vague... Thanks a lot.
      the fendernator
      Every guitarist I know with a Floyd Rose has had the problem of the whole bridge lifting up or down if higher or lower gauge strings are fitted. Perhaps you should have included that in your article so we didn't have to spend 25 adjusting the set up to cope with heavier or lighter strings?
      InfiniteMisery
      I would never take all the strings off of my guitar when re-stringing. Do it one at a time! If the A string is getting in the way when you're putting on the low E for example you could snip that off but taking them all off at once could damage the neck on some guitars.
      imapunkforlife
      BE CAREFUL WITH BRIDGE PINS!!!!! THEY SHOOT OFF!!! ok ya well i was restringing my 12 string last nite and i had gotten new pegs and i cant even count the number of times they shot up at the ceiling and i had to track them down
      LuckyJim
      may have been useful to add that if your stringing a les paul style guitar then you should put them on in order E A D E B G, its a pain in the ass if you try to put them on in order of gauge. and although it is blindingly obvious, that you should leave a few inches of slack in the string when feeding through the tuning peg.
      pHaKe
      thanx man, i've payed enough to replace my low E string..... now i just need to buy about 50 strigns and i'll be good....
      fatfish
      i have a fish and it can run faster than your mum, oh yehhhhh..... lyrical genius
      Mattsz111
      You saved me the humiliation of going to the guitar shop and having them laugh at me again thanks man.
      r0b_89
      LOL u cut your lip restringing a guitar (hahahaha!) and sum other guy said the same thing on this board the stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me
      ruberducky
      i could either restring my guitar by hand or come to you guys and say ill give you a cookie if you restring my guitar. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA WHAT YOU LAUGHEN AT.
      LESTER-PAUL
      This really sucks,(article) i put new strings on my fender style guitar by my self, when i was only been playing guitar for a month at that time.omg. this suucksss..(the article)
      Slash6969
      Ya but i hate when people call bridge pins the wrong thing so u only get 3 stars
      Losergoth
      Thanks for the info. I haven't changed my strings for a year, and didn't think it really mattered. I guess I'll just get laughed at and go get them changed. I'm not gonna risk messing my guitar up. Good job, though.
      Slash6969
      If you have an acoustic with string pegs
      BRIDGE PINS GOD DAMIT BRIDGE PINS NOW GO DIE
      Antzzang
      ummm the august issue of guitar world has a vid on how to restring. it's really good
      rusty1881
      I've heard that you can loop the string around the tuning peg a couple of times before putting it throught the hole is that right?
      bad beaver
      I agree with all of you, Nirvana is overrated. hahahahahahhaahhhhahahahhahahahaha ha hoo boy! ...sigh.
      r_lightning
      [quote]so I will save you the embarrassment of going to your local guitar store and saying "Can you replace my strings" and having them laugh at you while walking to the back of the store.
      takara98: They're not going to laugh at you, a lot of guitarists don't like to take the time to change all of their strings all at once so they get the strings put on the guitar when they buy them. Other than that a good article.[/quote] clearly enough, you didnt see the sarcasm..
      JHguitarman22
      must be alot of newbs cuz restringing guitar is like something u do in the first 6 months u start guitar