How to: Re-String Your Acoustic Guitar
A great thing to know how to do, and can probably save you $20 and a trip to Guitar Center, is how to re-string your own guitar.
How often you play your guitar, and how dirty your strings get, designate when to change the strings on your guitar. To lengthen the life of your strings, it is important to play after you have washed your hands, and to wipe down your guitar after playing.
Once you notice some discoloration, and less vibrant sound, it is time to replace your strings. It is good habit to replace your strings on average every 1-2 months.
When deciding what type of string to replace, ask your instructor what is best for you. This is based on what type of guitar you play (acoustic, electric, classical) and what weight you feel is best. If you aren’t sure, try different weights each time you replace your strings, you will notice the difference and develop your own preference.
To change your acoustic guitar you will need:
- Wire cutter, or scissors that are able to cut the strings
- Pliers for bridge pins
- a dry cloth to wipe down guitar
- Begin by loosening the sixth (lowest/thickest) string of the guitar, by turning the tuner. Do not jump ahead and start loosening all strings, this could damage the neck and bridge by releasing too much pressure all at once.
- After the string is all the way loose, you may now uncoil it from the tuning peg. Remove the other end by releasing the bridge pin. It may be tight, you can carefully use your pliers to release it. If any damage is done to the bridge pin when doing so, these can be easily and affordably replaced. Now that the 6th string is removed, this is a good opportunity to wipe down that part of the guitar that is not normally exposed.
- When taking the 6th string from its envelope, note that there is a small ball on one side of the string. Slide the ball-end of the string down a couple of inches into hole in the bridge. Now, replace the bridge pin back into the hole, aligning the carved slot of the pin with the string.
- As you replace the bridge pin, lightly pull on the string (being careful not to crimp the string with your fingers), until you feel the ball slip into place. If the pin pops back out while very lightly pulling on the string, repeat the process. This may take a bit of practice, but you’ll get a feel for it quickly.
- Very gently pull the string up towards the headstock of the guitar, applying just enough force so that most of the visible slack disappears from the string. Pull the string about one generous inch past the tuning peg you will be feeding it through, and, using your fingers, bend the string to a 90 degree angle, so the end of the string points in the direction of the tuning peg.
- Insert the bent string end into the tuning peg in the direction that matches the strings remaining. Making sure the string end points up, wind the tuning peg slowly and as the string tightens, it will coil appropriately as along as the string end remains feeding through the top. As you are turning and tightening, hold the bridge pin in place so it stays tight.
- Repeat on the 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings.