How to restring an electric guitar
Learning how to restring an electric guitar can be intimidating. However, getting rid of old strings for a brand new set can show how much your strings are affected by the tone and sustain. You should change your strings when they become rusty, gummy, or you find that you constantly have to retune your guitar. If you are about to play at a big event, you should change your strings the night before to avoid any unexpected breaking when you are on stage. Some of the tools that you might use to make changing your strings easier include strings, headstock stand, string winder, string cutter, and tuner.
Keep your guitar in a stable position through the process. Use something to support the neck of the guitar on a flat and solid surface. You can also choose to keep the neck securely against your body as you unwind the strings. To get started, release the tension on the strings and grab your string cutters. Place your hand where the neck meets the body and cut the strings between your hand and the bridge. By keeping your hand over the strings, you can reduce the chances of them springing up and poking out your eye. After the strings are cut, remove the strings from the bridge and unwind it from the tuning machine. Don’t yack or pull the guitar strings with too much strength. Try to protect the guitar as much as possible by being patient and taking your time.
After you have removed all the strings, take this opportunity to clean your guitar with a lint-free cloth. Remove all the dust, grime, and dirt from the neck of the instrument. This cleaning will help your guitar look and feel better, as well as allow you to play faster. You can also purchase a bottle of fret-cleaner at the local music store for a deeper clean.
Make sure you have purchased the right strings for your electric guitar. Most of the time, you should be using a regular weight or lite strings. Strings that are too heavy or thick for your guitar will warp or bend the neck if you don’t make the proper adjustments. Therefore, you should stick to the regular weight or lite strings until you have more experience and know more about your guitar.
Now, take the new set of strings and check to see if it includes a color guide. If it does, all you have to do is match the ball-end with the color on the string color chart provided. Most guitarists prefer to begin with the heaviest string, which is the 6th string or the top E. If you have a Gibson style guitar, thread the new string through the tailpiece under the body. If you have a non-locking Fender style guitar, you should take the new string into the tremolo cavity.
Keep the eye of the tuning machine perpendicular to the headstock and parallel to the nut. Once that is done, thread the string through the eye of the tuning machine from the inside and keep the string tight, with a bit of slack. Remember, the tuning pegs won’t be marked. Therefore, you should just replace the strings in the same pegs and order that you took them out. Most electric guitars will have the first peg for the top string, then each one down the tip of the head is for the adjacent string further down. If you are worried you won’t remember where the strings go, either look at a picture of your particular electric guitar online or take a picture beforehand of your instrument.
Put the string on both sides of the peg in order to shape it into an “S.” This is easier than it sounds, so there is no need to overthink it. Try to grab both sides of the peg in a firm grip, then turn your hand all the way to the side to crimp both edges of the string. Once you pull the string out, you will see that it has ended up in an “S” shape.
Next, wrap the end of the string around it keep it tightly in place. Grasp the end of the string and pull it under the side of the other string that is being put into the tuning post first. Once you have gone underneath, bring the end back over the top and pull it taut to the end tip of the guitar. You want to create a loop around the last bit of string you have left.
As you hold the string, you should begin to tighten it into place. Place a finger on the string a few inches before the tuning peg. Don’t press it too tightly in place; make sure it is held down securely though. Turning the tuner in a counter-clockwise fashion, slowly watch as the string winds around the peg. If you doubt how much you should tighten your strings, it is better to err on the side of looser rather than tighter. You can use a tuner to help get yourself to the right tension, but if you tighten too much at the start, you might cause them to snap.
Once you have finished the first string, you can continue the process with the rest of the strings. As soon as you remove a string, make sure to clean the fretboard because this is the best time to do it.
After you have finished all the strings, cut the ends of the strings using wire cuttings. You might want to leave 1/2” or more to allow for a deeper tune. After the strings are cut, you will want to tune the guitar frequently. The strings will get used to the tension and will slowly stretch over the next couple of days. You might have to regularly tune it when you first put the strings on to keep them in the right pitch and at the proper stretch.