Below, you will find a step by step guide on how to change them on your acoustic guitar. Simply follow this guide and shortly you will have restrung your guitar. You can also jump straight to step 1 below.

The Strings 
Acoustic guitars have 6 strings.  Normally you will have 4 "wound" (more on this in a mo) bass strings and 2 plain treble ones (more on this in a mo too). The bass ones need to be thicker to get the lower notes, this means they are made with a core wire and then an outer wire wrapped around this.

The outer wire is either made from 80/20 Bronze or Phosphor Bronze. These are called "wound" strings. For help choosing a new set, see our String Guide. The trebles are made from a single strand of nickel-plated steel and are referred to as "plain".

The windings of the wound bass ones get gunked up with dead skin cells, oil from your fingers, dust and lots of other yucky things (you may also find that your fingers smell funny after you have played) as you play. This means that they no longer sound as bright and crisp as they do not vibrate evenly.

Your G, OR 3rd, is also the most prone to breaking (on an acoustic) as it has a tiny core and if this breaks, it is just another indication that they need changing.
Remember, when you change them, change all 6 at the same time so that you get an even tone. 

If you need any help choosing a set for your acoustic guitar or need any more information when trying to fit them, feel free to call us on 01225 319540 and Guitarbitz will be happy to assist. If you'd rather do it yourself, read on.


First, you'll need a few things:
 
String CuttersSpray CleanerString Winder,  Headstock StandLemon Oil, two cloths, one for cleaning the body and one for the lemon oil, a tuner and finally some new strings! 
You can find everything you need to change your acoustic guitar strings in our store! Check out our Guitar Cleaning and Care page.
 
 
 

STEP 1

Slacken the strings and remove the strings from the machine head/ tuning peg. You can use the winder to make this quicker.


STEP 2

Push the string towards the bridge pin to try and move the string back inside the body of the guitar, if it doesn't budge then hopefully step 3 will help.
 
 

 STEP 3

One option is to push the bridge pins up from underneath. To do this go in through the sound hole and feel for the bottom of the pins, you may wish to use a cloth to protect your hand as they can be slightly sharp.

They are quite often stuck because the ball end is jammed in the hole by the pin, so do try and pull this out from the bottom too by pulling the ball end from the bottom and pushing from the string from the top. 


 STEP 4 

Most string winders have a slot that can be used to remove bridge pins. Be careful as this can mark the wood, or alternatively you can try a pair of pliers with a cloth wrapped around the ends, so it doesn't damage the pins but both of these should be a last resort.


 STEP 5

Pull the pin upwards and hopefully it will come out fairly easily if you have followed the previous steps.

 

 


STEP 6

This is a great time to give your guitar a deep clean and get off the dust that would normally be hard to reach, including the fretboard, saddle, bridge & scratchboard (if your guitar has one).

 

 


STEP 7

Put a few drops of lemon oil on a cloth, if your fretboard is a dark wood such as rosewood or ebony.


STEP 8

Slowly work the lemon oil into the wood up and down the fingerboard, don't wipe it all away let a small amount soak in for 30 seconds or so.


STEP 9

You can also hydrate the bridge if it looks very dry. Make sure you remove the saddle first or avoid it as the lemon oil can cause strings to slip on the saddle.


STEP 10

Grab your new packet of strings and take a close look at what order the strings go in and this is crucial to restringing guitar correctly.


STEP 11

Add a 45° bend at the end of the string. This will help make sure the ball end is in the correct position, which will improve tuning stability.


STEP 12

Push the ball end down with the bridge pin. Make sure the tail of the string sits in the groove of the pin and that this groove is pointing straight down the neck.


STEP 13

Repeat these last two steps for the other five pins. Pull on the tail of each string to make sure the ball end is in contact with the bottom of the pin.


STEP 14

Make sure the holes on each machine head are pointing straight down the neck.


STEP 15

Draw the string over the saddle, over the top of the nut and through the hole in the machine head.

 


STEP 16

Pull the string tight and measure to the next machine head along. This will give you a good amount of winds around the post and again help with tuning stability.


STEP 17

Pull the excess you have measured back through the post and begin to wind anti clockwise, make sure to keep some tension so the measurement you made stays the same. The string running down the neck should always be on the inside of the post.


STEP 18

Make sure the new wraps are on the bottom pushing the previous wrap upwards.


STEP 19

Start tightening the string until there is a small amount of tension. A couple of winds around the post should be enough.


STEP 20

Take your wire cutters and trim off the excess string. The closer you can get the neater it will look.


STEP 21

Do the same for the remaining 5 strings, gradually working from the thickest to the thinnest.


STEP 22

Once all the strings are on you can bring them all up to the correct pitch. Bring all the strings up to pitch gradually moving back and forth between each string so the tension is even across the neck.

We're using a clip on guitar tuner here.


STEP 23

Now the guitars up to pitch you need to stretch in the strings. This is a vital step as it will stop your guitar dropping its tuning, it will eliminate a lot of time wasted retuning to break in the strings. Tune it back up after doing this and you should be ready to play some tunes!

After a few times doing this you'll become familiar with the process and much quicker at it. It can be slightly daunting at first but will make your guitar far nicer to play. Good luck!

You can grab any of the acoustic guitar parts or accessories mentioned in this guide on our website, and check out our other helpful how-to-guides to get the most and best from your instrument. 

 

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