If it is your first time changing all your guitar strings at once, you might feel a little overwhelmed. Once you’ve done it a few times though you will be an old pro.
This is how I personally change my strings every time. Note the trick I use to keep from having to re-tune my guitar over and over again after changing my strings.
Here are the basic steps to changing guitar strings:
- Gather all needed supplies
- Put your guitar in a secure position
- Remove all of the old strings
- Clean the guitar before putting on the new strings
- Put on the strings
- Tighten to half tension and PULL! (this is a personal trick that keeps new strings in tune the first time you tune them up)
- Tune up!
- Tune up again
- You’re done!
This will usually include: anew set of guitar strings (duh!), something to trim the strings with, a rag to clean with, a string winder and a comfortable chair (or a carpeted floor if you are a bit of a klutz like me).
Make sure you aren’t going to drop or scratch the guitar while changing the strings. Laps can be good if you are steady but often it is easier to do on the couch, a carpeted floor or even if you have a left over piece of carpet or a thick blanket to pad it, the kitchen table.
Remove all the old strings from the guitar and throw them out. My wife hates finding old strings laying around the house cause I forgot to throw them away. Do your wife, or mom or sister a favor and get rid of those rusty old things.
Now is a great time to clean all that grime from the fret board and to get into places that you can’t normally when the strings are on. Try to get as much dust, dirt and crud out now.
Put on the new strings one at a time. Make sure they are laying in the saddle and nut properly.
Only tighten the strings to roughly half tension for now. Now put one finger across the nut to keep the strings from popping out and grab one string with your other hand right around where you would strum it. Pull away from the body. Do this up and down the string a few times. Do each string individually. Stretching the strings like this will keep them from having to be tuned over and over again when you start playing. Don’t be shy, you can tug pretty hard without hurting them.
Now tune up to regular tuning
Play something with lots of hard strumming and bending, this should put the guitar a little out of tune and get the rest of the slack out of the strings.
Tune up one last time
That’s it. Now instead of having to re-tune 3 or 4 times within the next hour, your guitar should stay in tune pretty well.
There you go, my 10 steps to changing guitar strings.