How to Restring an Acoustic Guitar

How to restring an acoustic guitar

There are a few things that every guitarist should know how to do well; one is how to restring an acoustic guitar. Restringing your guitar is one of those things that will be much harder than it looks if not done correctly.

Ever restrung your acoustic guitar before, only for the bridge pins to shoot out in mid-air while you tune-up? Don’t worry; you’re not the only one. Let’s avoid that in future, though; We are here to help! We will walk you through changing your acoustic guitar strings one step at a time.

When Should I Change My Acoustic Guitar Strings?

Changing your guitar strings doesn’t have an exact timetable; it depends on how often you play. As you play, the strings naturally oxidize due to the dirt and sweat from your hands. So, the more you play, the more the strings tarnish, and the sooner you have to change them.

With regular play, on average, uncoated acoustic guitar strings will last around one to three months. Coated acoustic guitar strings are known to last upwards of six to nine months. We aren’t saying after a few months, your strings will rot away to nothing, not at all. What happens is they start to lose their tone and sound lifeless with minimal sustain. No matter how long your strings have been on, when they begin to sound lifeless, it’s time to restring.

Of course, the exception to these guidelines is when you break a string mid-show. In which case, change it now!!

How to Restring an Acoustic Guitar: Step by Step

Follow this step by step guide, and you’ll be restringing your guitar like a pro.

1. Find a suitable surface to restring your guitar

With your replacement string or strings at the ready, you need to find a suitable surface. What you need is a nice flat surface with plenty of space to work. The last thing you want to do is damage your guitar, so put down something soft to protect it. You should also find something suitable to support the neck; the Music Nomad Cradle Cube is perfect. Supporting the neck will also keep the guitar still while you change the strings.

2. Removing the old strings from your acoustic guitar

One at a time, unwind the strings at the tuner (machine heads) until each is completely unwound, and pull them from the hole in the tuner. Now, look to the bridge, and you’ll see each string is attached by a plastic peg, known as a bridge pin. You have to ease the pins out of their holes, which should be easy enough. If you have trouble, you can get some dedicated tools, like the Music Nomad GRIP Puller, to make it easier.

3. Give your guitar some attention

Unless you broke a string, you shouldn’t be in too much of a rush to change your strings. With the strings off, it’s a good excuse to pamper your guitar with our guide to cleaning your guitar.

4. Attaching the new strings

Take one of your new strings out of its packaging and unwind it. Next, place the appropriate bridge pin very loosely in its hole. Now, take the ball-end of the string, lift the bridge pin slightly, and put the string into the hole. Position the string so that the rounded edge sits vertically, and not horizontally, in the bridge pin slot. If you are changing all of the strings, make sure you know which string is which so you can restring in the correct order to avoid problems.

5. Replacing the bridge pins

This step is simple but essential. To ensure the ball-end of the string is seated correctly against the bridge, you should pull up on the string while pushing the bridge pin down. When done correctly, there should be no movement from the ball-end of the string.

6. Threading the strings through the tuners

Make sure that the holes in the tuners (machine heads) are facing the bridge. Take the first string and thread it up through the hole in the corresponding tuner. It’s smart to leave a fair amount of slack to be wound onto the tuning post. Place your finger just below the headstock, between the string and the fretboard, adding some additional string length.

Take the excess string that’s through the tuner and start to wind it in, from the outside inwards. Wind it around the tuning post and thread it underneath the string on the other side. Pull this tight while still holding the slack. Next, rewind the excess in the other direction, but thread it over the string now, and pull it tight.

Make sure the string is in the correct position at the nut

Hold the string at the nut and make sure it’s in the correct slot. Make sure there is tension at the tuning post and that the string winds around the tuning post from the inside outwards.

7. Tuning the new string

Tune the string to the correct pitch, and cut off the excess string at the tuning post. You should do this with a string cutter like the Music Nomad GRIP Cutter.

Get Back to Playing

As you can see, restringing your guitar isn’t hard at all. Just repeat this with all of the strings, and you are good to go!

Featured Image: Pixabay License, by Daniel Kirsch, via Pixabay


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