Hello there!🖐 Hope your weekend was great? As “off” but true as this may sound, many guitarists (especially beginners) do not know how to handle a broken string situation, they keep visiting the music store or calling a friend to help out whenever they’re found in these shoes. Stringing a guitar is not as hard as you think. Let’s solve that problem today, we would learn a step-by-step approach on how to string or restring an acoustic guitar (as the case may be).
Before you begin changing strings, get yourself a complete set of strings and some basic tools like a string cutter, tuner, a pair of pliers (just in case) and string winder (optional). This might be a good opportunity to also clean out your fretboard, so you can have some cleaning tools handy too. For a proper guide on how to clean your guitar, check out my article on How To Properly Clean Your Guitar.
Make sure you find a clean, flat surface to place your guitar on, placing it on a rough surface will scratch and damage the finishes on the body of the guitar alongside the fact that it would make it really uncomfortable to properly do anything. Place the guitar on something soft like a cloth or towel to further protect it and keep it steady while you change the strings.
- Slacken the strings one after the other and remove them from the peg. Loosen the string by turning it’s tuning peg counter clockwise. This is where your optional string winder comes in to hasten this process. After it is fully loosened, pull on the string gently and remove it from it’s tuning post in the machine head, then go to the bridge pin (where the other end of the string is attached), pull out the bridge pin to release the strings completely. If its difficult to pull out, you can carefully use a pair of pliers to pull them out. Do this for all your strings. Make sure you wind up the strings carefully before throwing them in the trash, so that it does not cause any domestic injuries to pets and humans❗
- This step is optional. If you haven’t cleaned your guitar in a while, this is the time to do so. Removing the strings makes the guitar “naked” and easier to clean. Read more at How To Properly Clean Your Guitar. But if your guitar is clean enough, you can skip this step and proceed to the next.
- Get your new sets of strings🧵 and check the order in which they come. Be careful not to mix them up; to avoid any mix up, you can line them up on a surface or arrange them according to the manner in which they would follow on the guitar [low E being the 6th and thickest string, followed by A (5th) , D (4th), G (3rd), B (2nd) and the high E being the 1st and thinnest]. Pick them up one at a time and unfold.
- Put the ‘ball-like’ part of the string into the bridge pin hole (insert about 2-3cm of the string length), and put the bridge pin back in its hole, ensuring that the bridge pin sits comfortably but loosely in the hole.
- With the string inside the hole, push down the bridge pin firmly until only the white rounded top is visible, pull on the string to make sure its tight enough and properly inserted into the hole.
- Trace the string from the bridge down to the fretboard, down to the nut and down to hole the machine head. Turn the tuning pegs to ensure that the holes in the tuning post are pointing towards the neck⬅. This puts it in a position to “receive” the string once it comes down the lane of the fretboard.
- Insert the string into the hole in the tuning post and wrap it around the post a couple of times, leaving some excess string (about 5cm or more, it depends on the total length of the string), or you can use a string winder to fasten the process. The string may not be so tightly fitted on after this. Not to worry, you’re doing it right!👍
- Turn the tuning pegs clockwise or anticlockwise🕣 (depending on which side of the guitar the corresponding tuning peg is). The idea is to further tighten the string, so however it goes, clockwise or anticlockwise, just make sure your string is being tightened. Repeat these processes for all your strings.
- Tune your guitar using a tuner and cut off the excess string at the tuning post using a string cutter✂, cut off as much excess string as you can, it makes your guitar look neat👌.
Now your guitar is properly strung, cleaned and tuned! This is pretty much it!✅