Acoustic Guitar String Replacement Tips for Beginners

guitar-stringsAcoustic Guitar String Replacement Tips for Beginners

The strings on an acoustic guitar do wear down, especially if the guitar is used regularly. Guitar pros recommend changing the strings on your guitar every month or even twice a month if you play your guitar for hours on a daily basis. Beginners may also have a tendency to break a few strings during practice sessions as well, which makes it important to have an extra set of strings handy.

Acoustic guitars like the Fender CD-140SCE acoustic-electric have steel strings that are prone to corrosion and accumulation of dirt – a combination of sweat and dead skin from your fingers as well as dust in the environment. Corrosion and dirt buildup on the strings can make a guitar sound dull, so if this happens, a replacement is surely in order.

Replacing the strings requires the use of a couple of simple tools: a string winder and wire or string clippers. Follow these tips when changing the strings on your acoustic guitar.

Two strings off, two strings on

When changing your guitar strings (the entire set), remove two strings first and put two new strings on. This technique keeps some of the tension on the top of the guitar.

Start with the low E string

Loosen the tension on the low E string first by turning its tuning peg, followed by the next string. Once these two strings are loose, take your string or wire clippers and cut the two strings above the soundhole. Unwind the strings from the tuning peg.

Use the winder to pry the post from the bridge

The string winder has a small cutout you can use to get the posts loose from the bridge. Getting the posts loose can be done by hand, but if they’re stuck you’ll need a tool. Once the bridge posts are loose, take these out of the bridge and take note of their order.

Use good quality strings

Make sure that the new strings you’ll put in your guitar are made by a trusted company that stands by the quality of its products.

Pay attention to string placement

Check the label on the string package to make sure it’s the right one to avoid having to restring your guitar.

Choose the right end

In this case, it’s the ball-end of a string. The ball-end anchors the string to the bridge, so take this end first. Insert it into the bridge then put the bridge post in with the cutout in the post facing the string. Press the post in and pull up on the slack of the string. Take the next string and repeat the process.

Pre-cut with care

You can pre-cut the strings before attaching them to the machine heads. Make sure you measure carefully so you have enough string length to wind on the machine head. Fender suggests measuring a distance of one and a half machine heads from the machine head you’re winding.

Thread carefully

Thread the string through the tuning peg from the middle of the headstock. When winding the string around the tuning peg, start from the top so you finish at the bottom of the peg and get the right angle over the nut. Use the string winder and make sure the string is wound evenly around the peg without overlapping. Do the same for the next string.

Just continue the process for the rest of the strings on your guitar, and you’re done!


Jules FitzgeraldThis post was written by Jules Fitzgerald, a staff writer for Know Your Instrument. Jules writes regularly about acoustic and electric guitars. Jules has been playing the guitar since he was in High School and has been teaching it for the past five years. When not strumming away or writing about guitars, he likes to go travelling to far off and obscure places and has recently just go back from a trip deep inside Tibet.

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