How to Change Guitar Strings Step by Step [Beginners Guide]

how to change guitar strings step by step

Do you love playing the guitar? If yes, then knowing how to change guitar strings can be really helpful. Whether you are a pro or an amateur, it is a normal and easy “DIY” skill that you should master.

There are three types of guitar that you may need to restring:

  1. Acoustic Guitar
  2. Electric Guitar
  3. Classical Guitar

Restringing each of them is just a bit different, and we will talk all about it.

So let’s get down to business!

First of all, no matter what type of guitar you are restringing, you need to do some basic stuff. For example, make sure that the area where you are about to do the operation stays clean. That way, you won’t lose small tools. Then, you got to ensure that your tools are organized. So what are the tools for changing guitar strings? Basically, you’ll just need three things- a guitar tuner, a set of pliers, and a string winder. Also, don’t forget to have a new set of string. Then get started with the proceedings.

Related Read: Best Acoustic Guitar for Small Female Hands

How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings

how to restring an acoustic guitar infographic


Now, let’s talk about how you can restring an acoustic guitar:

Step-1: Loosen up the tension of the strings

This is the very first thing you need to do. So how are you gonna do it? Well, all you need to do is to turn the tuning key, and the string will start to loosen up. Use the string winder if you have to. When that happens, make sure to unwind the string off.

And, we are done with the first step.

Step-2: Removing the bridge pins

The next thing you need to do is to remove the bridge pins. So how are you going to do it? Remember the string winder? Well, you got to use the built-in notch of the winder to remove these pins. After removing all the pins, you’ll be able to remove the string from the bridge.

Step-3: Attach the string and bridge pin

After removing the string, you need to attach the new string and bridge pin, and it’s not difficult by any means. All you have to do is to place the “ball end” of the string inside the hole. After that, just push it down with the pin.

That’s almost 50% of the job.

Step-4: Place the other end of the string through the tuning post

Now we’ll start our operation in the headstock area. Basically, you will have to push the string through the tuning post of the guitar.

Step-5: Winding up the string

After pushing the string through the tuning post, you should start winding.  You can use a string winder if you want. You can also do it with your own hands.

[Note- At this time, you should not look to tune. Just make sure that you have tightened up the string properly.]

Step-6: Tuning the Guitar and Cutting the Extra String

We are almost done with the restringing process.

In most cases, the beginners have to tune the string a couple of times. Use a tuning machine. If you are facing issues when using the machine, you can go to your local music shop to take help from professionals. Furthermore, Use a wire cutter if you want to cut the excessive string.

And, that will be the end of it.

So that’s how you can change acoustic guitar strings. As you can see, it’s not the most challenging thing to do. You should be able to do it. But if you can’t do it, you can take help from someone who has done it before. You can find a more in-depth guide on how to replace acoustic guitar strings here.

How to Change Electric Guitar Strings

how to restring an electric guitar infographic

Now that we are done with Acoustic guitars let’s see how to replace electric guitar strings:

Step-1: Make sure to put the guitar at a good position

You have to keep the guitar stable. Use guitar support if necessary. If you don’t own one, then place the neck against your torso.

Is it even too hard?

Step-2: Cut the strings

Loosen the tension of the strings first and then cut it. Use a wire cutter to cut all the strings. Once you cut all the strings, you’ll just have to remove it.

Piece of advice- If you cut the string before loosening it, the string may bounce back and hurt you in the process.

[Note- Also note the fact that you can clean the guitar as the strings have been removed. Pick up a piece of cloth and clean the fretboard or the headstock area. Because of the strings, it’s not always easy to clean these areas.]

Step-3: Place the new string through the guitar

This is probably the most fun part as you are about to attach the new string. If you have a Gibson-style guitar, you have to take the string through the tailpiece(underneath the body). In the case of a non-locking Fender-style, you need to put the string into the tremolo cavity.

Step-4: The plain end enters the hole

As you probably know, the string has two ends- the ball end and the plain end. In this step, the plain end goes through the hole in the post.

[Note- Make sure to get the correct slack]

Step-5: The wrapping part

Now, the slacked part of the string should be wrapped around the tuning post over the string that already went through the post.

[Note- If the tuning machine is like the vintage slotted style, then you’ll have to do things a bit differently. In this case, you need to put the plain part of the string into the hole of the post and make sure to bend the string around  towards the inside of the headstock]

Step-6: Winding the string

Use your string winder and start winding. Stop when your string is making a note and cut the excessive string by using a wire cutter.

We are almost done, but there is one teeny-weeny thing you got to do.

Step-7: Stretch and final tune

Before you start playing the guitar, you need to stretch the strings(maybe one or two times).

These days you will find many ways when it comes to tuning your guitar. You can easily have a headstock tuner, or you can download a tuning app, or maybe you can get a pedal tuner.

And that’s it. Your guitar is ready to roll with you.

You can find a more in-depth guide on how to replace electric guitar strings here.

How to Change Classical Guitar Strings

how to restring a classical guitar infographic

We are done with the acoustic and the electric guitar. But what about the classic ones. Well, like the previous ones, restringing classical guitars is not too difficult either. It’s a 4 step process, and we will talk about it right now. So if you don’t know how to restring a classical guitar, then stick to us.

Step-1: Loosen up the tension of a string and remove it

Use a string winder and to loosen the strings and then remove them. Starting with the low e string is a good idea.

Step-2: Take the new strings and attach it to the bridge

One end of your string may have a wider wrap and a different texture.  This end won’t go to the bridge.  The other end will go to the bridge, and you will have to put it through the bridge hole. Now you have to bring the tail up and around and tuck it under the loop.

[Note- The low string needs a single wrap and the other strings need a double wrap.]

Step-3: Attaching the new strings to the neck/tuning key

Take the string and put it through the hole in the middle of the post in the tuning key. Have some slack. Twist the tail around the string two times and then use your string winder to tighten things up. Keep tightening it until the string is near the correct pitch.

Step-4: stretch the strings

Give your strings a stretch so that they take less time to settle in

And that’s it.

You can find a more in-depth guide on how to replace classical guitar strings here.

How often to replace guitar strings?

It’s the question that most people ask us, and to be honest, we don’t have a definite answer to that question. Because before we answer that question, we need to ask you some questions like- “Are you a pro or an amateur?” or “How often do you use your guitar?” and many more.

But we will tell you one thing. If you are a professional, then more often than not, you will have to restring your guitar once a week. And if you are a beginner, then you may have to change it once in two or three months. However, keep in mind that it’s not an accurate answer.

Well, folks, that’s about it from us. If you ever wonder how to change guitar strings, then this article should be helpful.

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