Updated: Mar 8
One of th
e most basic forms of maintenance for guitar players is replacing their strings. Changing strings is a fairly simple process if you have the right tools. For this job, you will need a new set of strings, a string winder (optional), and a pair of wire cutters.
To begin, place the guitar on a flat surface along with all of the needed supplies.
Make sure that you can easily access the string tuners. Begin by loosening the strings with your string winder, or by hand.
Once the strings are loose, begin to remove them from the tuner by sliding the string through the opening on the side of each tuner. Once this is complete, the strings should be freely hanging from the guitar.
Depending on the type of bridge on the guitar, you may be able to pull the strings through the opening at the bridge and remove them. In the example pictures, my student’s guitar has a bridge that is designed to lead the strings through the back of the guitar to remove them.
After you have removed the strings, use a microfiber cloth to wipe down any dust or dirt that may have accumulated on the fretboard or near the pickups on the guitar body.
When cleaning off the fretboard, it may be a good idea to use some oil on the frets. However, if you have a finish on the fretboard, there is no need for this step. I recommend using F-One Oil by Music Nomad.
Now it’s time to begin adding the new set of strings to the guitar! Open up your string set. You should see a number on each individual string package. These numbers indicate the thickness of the strings. This is measured in 1/1000 of an inch. For beginners, I recommend using Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Strings. The string gauges on these strings are 10-46, meaning that the 1st String E is 10/1000 of an inch in diameter, and the 6th String E is 46/1000 of an inch in diameter.
Begin by opening the 1st string E (10). You will notice that the two ends of the string look a bit different. One end is meant to go through the opening at the tuning peg, while the other is meant to hold the string in place at the bridge. This is known as the ball end of the string.
Begin by sliding the pointed end of the string through the bridge opening, you will notice that the ball end of the string will keep the entire string from sliding through the opening.
Once you have completed this step for all six strings, it will be time to begin the process of running the strings through the tuners.
Start by taking the 1st String E and running it through the opening at the tuner. It is a good idea to make sure that the opening is parallel to the fretboard for easy access.
Once the string is threaded through the tuner, begin winding it counter clockwise with your string winder, or by hand.
Repeat this step for each string! Once completed, you can cut the excess string off using your set of wire cutters.
Now you are ready to tune up and rock out to your favorite tune!
Here are the amazon links to all of the products used in this article:
F-One FretBoard Oil
Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Strings