How To Re-String Your Guitar

Aging strings on your guitar can lead to difficulty in tuning. With a few simples steps you can re-string your guitar in no time.

When the strings on a guitar begin to age, they grow stiff and are more likely to break. Finger oils from your hands and finger tips build up in the tiny ridges of the wound strings and mute their vibrations, which will also make it very difficult to tune your guitar. The combination of string breakage, dull tones, and difficult tuning make it little more than a frustration to play guitar, but with a few simple steps and tools it is easy to re-string your guitar in no time.

First, you will need to remove the old strings from your guitar. This process can be different depending on what type of guitar you own. On a steel string acoustic, you will first need to remove the bridge pegs. They are usually made out of plastic and are typically very difficult to remove. First unwind the tuning pegs on the headstock to loosen the tension of the strings, then use a pair of needle nosed pliers to extract the pegs one by one until all the strings are loose from the bridge. The pins are meant to be replaceable, so don't worry if you scratch or mar them with the pliers. The surface of your guitar, however, should be covered with a towel to prevent accidental scratching or denting should your pliers slip off of the pin. On a classical or nylon string guitar, you simply need to untie the strings from the bridge. Be sure to use the tuning pegs on the head stock to loosen them first so they do not snap back with tension. On a solid body electric guitar, no attention need be paid to the bridge until later.

After this point, the process is the same for all types of guitars. You will need to unwind the strings at the headstock using the tuning pegs. Once they are completely unwound, you can remove all the strings completely from your guitar. This process can be made easier with the use of a string winder, which can be purchased at your local music store. Now that the strings are removed, open up the new package of strings you have bought for your guitar. Sort them according to string gauge, going from heaviest to lightest. The back of the package of strings usually has a guide to show you which strings are heavier and go into which position on the guitar.

Begin with you heaviest bass string. Put it into the top position on the guitar, first securing it at the bridge end. On a steel string acoustic guitar, you will need to push the plastic pin you removed earlier back into its hole in the bridge along with the string. This will lock the string into place in its assigned hole. On a classical or nylon string guitar, tie the string securely onto the bridge. If using an electric guitar, simply pull the string through the bridge. Repeat this process with all the strings, up to the very highest.

Once all your new strings are secured to the bridge, guide them through their designated slots in the nut above the first fret of your fret board, then through the hole in their correct tuning peg. Hold the string out and wind the tuning peg to tighten the tension of the string. Make sure that the string winds to the inside of the headstock. Repeat this process for all 5 other strings - you now have a completely re-strung guitar!

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