In this post, we’ll teach you how to change acoustic guitar strings in five simple steps.
Changing your acoustic guitar strings can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be!
This article will outline the simple steps to change your strings this way you can be sounding your best at all times.
Why Change Your Acoustic Guitar Strings?
The reason for changing your guitar strings is simple. The more you play, the more the strings will wear down and their sound will become dull.
Between the natural oils in your fingers, dirt, rust, and sweat, your strings will begin to get dirty.
They will eventually lose their brightness!
When Should You Change Your Acoustic Guitar Strings?
Throughout your guitar playing career, you should change the strings often to ensure that they stay in their best condition.
The frequency at which a person changes their strings depends on how much and with what intensity they play; for those who just dabble or have light use of it, every 100 hours is recommended as an average goalpost.
For more frequent players (like myself), I recommend changing them after 2-3 months so that there’s no chance of my fingers wearing out any part other than new string material when strumming away!
What Do You Need For Changing Guitar Strings?
Here is all that you need to change your acoustic guitar strings:
Five Steps to Change Your Acoustic Guitar Strings
Step 1: Loosen and Cut Current Strings
First, loosen the string by turning the tuning peg until it becomes loose.
You can do this by using either your fingers or a winder. The winder will make this step quicker.
Then you can take some wire cutters and cut the string.
You can cut the string more towards the 1-3 frets or past the nut on the headstock.
Either way, just be careful as the wound string on the tuning peg will be sharp as it was just freshly cut.
Step 2: Remove and Discard Old Guitar Strings
Next is to remove and discard the old guitar strings.
As stated at the end of Step 1, removing the strings can be challenging.
You will need to remove the cut strings in two places; the headstock and the bridge.
The headstock is a little more challenging as it’s wound. I suggest taking your wire cutters and using it to either clip the string again this way it’s easier to remove from the tuning pegs.
Down by the bridge, you will need to loosen the bridge pins to remove the strings.
Sometimes the bridge pins will pop up making them easy to remove.
Other times, they will be harder to remove and will need more force than just your fingers. In this case you would want to gently use your cutter to assist with making the bridge pin loose.
Once you have removed all the strings, then you can wind them up and throw them away.
Step 3: Clean your Guitar
Okay, now it’s time to clean your guitar.
I know some players that don’t give it a cleaning when changing their strings.
To me this is a great opportunity to clean all the dust and dirt off the fretboard.
Cleaning your acoustic guitar is important to prolong the life of the instrument, and keep it sounding its best.
To clean an acoustic guitar, I recommend using a soft cloth with a good guitar cleaner.
You can wipe down all of the nooks and crannies.
It’s also good to check for any cracks in the wood that could be harboring humidity or bacteria.
Step 4: Restring Your Guitar
Now is the time to restring your guitar!
There are really two things you need to do in this step and that’s to thread and wind the string.
Before we do that however, I’d like to share the order of how I put the strings on.
When I first started changing my own strings, I would just go in order from 6th to 1st string or from the 1st to 6th string.
One day a friend of mine said this order will add tension to the neck and body overall.
It was then suggested to distribute the tension evenly.
You can start with either the high E or the low E string. If you start with the low E then the next string you put on should be the high E and vice versa.
After the 6th and the 1st strings, then you will put on the 5th and 2nd strings and then the 4th and 3rd.
If you started with the high E string, then you will do the above in reverse order.
Thread and Wind
When it comes time to thread the strings, there are also two ways you can do it. There is no right or wrong way as it’s just a matter of preference.
The first way is to run the string through the hole on the tuner post. Once the string goes through then you will pull the string and add some slack.
You can then use your fingers or winder to tighten the string.
If you are winding the 6th. 5th, or 4th strings, then you want to see that string turn counterclockwise on the post.
When winding the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strings, then you will want to see the string turn clockwise on the post.
Something that has been helpful to me is not to tune and fully tighten the strings until you have them all on.
I also prefer to not cut the tail ends until they are all on.
The reasoning is because if clipped too close and they keep falling out of tune, you will need some to ensure there’s excess string available.
Step 5: Tune and Stretch
Okay now it’s time to tune and stretch.
It will probably take 3-4 times of tuning and stretching to have the strings settle.
Play some chords to ensure they are in tune.
Once you are in tune, you will want to place your finger on the 12th fret and give each string a little pull from the fretboard.
Repeat this step until strings remain in tune consistently.
And that, my friends, is how to change acoustic guitar strings in five simple steps.
It will take a few times to get used to the process. As you keep changing strings, it will become easier and easier and quicker and quicker.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate guitar player, it’s important to know how to change your acoustic guitar strings.
Once you learn this skill and gain some experience with the instrument, changing strings will become second nature for you.
The process may seem daunting at first glance but don’t be discouraged; just follow these easy instructions and you will have your new set of strings installed before you know it!
If anything seems unclear or if you need any help with the installation process please feel free to reach out to us so we can answer any questions you might have.
We are always happy to provide our customers with personalized service as they take their music journey one step further.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and remember to always HAVE FUN!