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How to Restring a Classical Guitar

Classical guitars have 6 nylon strings although 3 of them look like metal (these have a nylon core and a thin wire wrapped around to make them thicker).  Classicals need to have their strings changed regularly to get the best tone and playability.

The nylon, when under tension starts to stretch. This makes it more prone to snapping as it causes micro fractures in them. You will find that when they get old, it will be difficult to keep in tune and they may snap.

The bass strings (the ones that have a metal winding wrapped around them) show you more obviously that they are old and need changing. These are usually silver plated copper, so if the copper is starting to show through, this is a good indication that they need changing. They can also turn black due to the silver oxidising, again another indication that they need changing.
In between the windings, the wrapped strings get gunked up with dead skin cells, oil from your fingers, dust and lots of other yucky things. This causes the string to vibrate unevenly and so not give a good ring when plucked. You may also find that your fingers smell funny after you have played.

If you have broken one, this is another indication that you need to change all 6 of them, so that you get an even tone.

Below you will find a step by step guide on how to change the strings on a classical guitar.

However, if you need any help choosing a set, or more information when trying to fit them, feel free to call us on 0845 2222 603 and we will be happy to assist.

Good luck.

P.S. NEVER USE STEEL STRINGS ON A CLASSICAL GUITAR! They can cause irreparable damage.

1) Removing the Old Strings

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restring Acoustic Guitar

1) Firstly turn the machine heads clockwise to make them slack. 2) Cut all 6 near the soundhole once you have slackened them off.  This will make removing them a lot easier. 3) Use a pair of String Cutters or a pair of wire snips to cut them. 4) Now carfully remove them from the tuning winder roller.  Take your time as they can be wrapped around quite a few times. Remove all 6.

5) Now remove the strings from the bridge.


Remember where the thinnest and thickest are.


Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

6) Push it through the loop and through the saddle.  You can then easily unwind the loop and remove them.

7) Remove all 6 and give the bridge a dust. 


N.B. Be careful not to move the plastic saddle.

8) If you have some lemon oil, put this on a cloth and rub into the finger board to nourish the wood. Make sure you clean both sides of the frets as this is where a lot of dirt builds up. 9) Now give your guitar a thorough clean and polish.

10) Make sure you have Classical Guitar Strings.

Using anything else can cause repairable damage to your guitar!


2) Tieing the New Strings to the Bridge

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

1) Sort the new ones ready to be installed. 2) Take the new Low E (the thickest) and push it through (from the soundhole side) the hole in the bridge you removed the old one from. 3) You will need around 3 inches pushed through. We will call this the tail. 4) Take the tail and bend it back over the bridge and to the right of the string. 5) Loop the tail around the bottom of the string and back on itself.
 

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

6) Feed the tail under itself and pull the slack through. 7) Again, feed the tail under itself a second time. 8) Now pull on the longer part that will go up to the tuners to make the knot you have just tied, tight. 9) Here is a close-up of the knot. 10) Do this process again with the next one.
 

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

   
11) When tying the knot in the next string, take the tale of the first one and tuck it into the second to keep it looking tidy. 12) Here is a close-up showing how the tail of the first one is held by the knot of the second one. 13) Keep going until you have tied all 6 to the bridge.  You may want to tie the knot in the last one the opposite way, so that its tail can be tidied in the "b" strings knot.    


3) Tying the New Strings Machineheads (Tuners)

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

1) Start with the low E (thickest metal) string and pull it up the neck and over the first groove in the Top Nut. We need to measure it for cutting prior to winding around the tuner. 2) Measure 6 inches (15cm) past the tuner roller that it is going to be wound around. In this instance the Low E is wound around the bottom right tuner in the photo. 3)Cut at the 6 inch (15cm) mark using wire snips or a string cutter. 4) Pass the string over the first tuner roller and then pass it down through the gap. 5) Take it up from underneath and pass it up through the hole in the roller.
 

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

6) Feed approx 3 inches (7cm) through the roller to give us a tail. 7) Fold over the approx 1/3 inch (1cm) at the end of the tail. 8) Hold the bit that passes over the top of the roller over the hole in the roller.  Holding the folded over end of tail, we are going to use it to hold the string in place, so push the tail and folded end back down into the hole it was passed through. 9) Pull on the part that passes down the neck to make the loop around the roller tight.

10) The next step is easiest if you have a String Winder.

 

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a Classical Guitar

11) Keep the string winding around the roller under tension as you gradually wind up all the slack. Guide it so that it winds against the previous winding.

12) Gradually wind up all the slack around the roller and get it close to being in tune. 

This usually makes approx 4 winds around the roller.

13) Now tie the next thickest one to the next roller and keep going until you have finished the first side.

Now Start with the thinnest string to the top right roller (as in the picture) and then complete the remainder.

13) Once you have all 6 in place, tune the guitar to pitch. 14) Play for the rest of the day.

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