How To String A Guitar

Hey there music lovers! In this article, we’ll be showing you how to take care of your beloved guitar. Particularly, how to string a guitar. 

How To String A Guitar
Photo by 42 North from Pexels

What Are Guitar Strings?

Strings are lengths of a material(usually string or nylon) that are quite flexible which are used by musical instruments to produce sound. To produce this sound on a guitar, these guitar strings are vibrated freely while still being controlled adequately by the musician when playing the instrument. 

Generally speaking, an acoustic guitar tends to have six guitar strings. Although there are now quite a number of 12 string acoustic guitars available in the market. 

These 12 strings are unique in the sense that each string is pleated with another string surrounding the duplicate pitch. This creates a very opulent chorus effect. 

However, for the sake of this article, we’ll be sticking to just 6-string acoustic guitars. Which begs the question:

What Is An Acoustic Guitar?

It goes without saying that a guitar is, first of all, a musical instrument. So what makes it different from other instruments? It’s fretted! And it also produces its sound inside its body. Pretty unique and cool right yeah?  

This is made possible by the sound produced through the vibrating strings located above a hollow chamber. (You know that hole present in the middle of an acoustic guitar? That’s the hollow chamber we’re referring to) 

Unlike an electrical guitar, the vibrations are carried through the air in an acoustic guitar and do not need to be amplified electrically. 

It’s interesting to note that some acoustic guitars can also be played as an electric guitar. (They just need to be plugged into an electric source.) These types of acoustic guitars are called “semi-acoustic” guitars.  

How To String A Guitar

Loosen The (Old) Strings 

First, make sure you are comfortably sitting or standing; whichever one you prefer, just make sure you’re comfortable. 

  • Loosen the 6th string (also known as the Low E), the 5th guitar strings (also known as A) and the 4th guitar strings (also known as D). Use your left hand to turn the turners clockwise while holding the tension on the string using your right hand. 
  • Loosen the strings used for treble including the 3rd string (also known as G), the 2nd string (also known as B) and the 1st (also known as High E). To do this, turn the tuners clockwise. 

Remove The Strings And Clean The Fretboard 

You’ve successfully loosened all the strings, well done! The next step is to remove the bridge pins using wire cutters. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Apply gentle pressure in order to pull out the bridge pins; you can also use the saddle as a beam.
  • Carefully and gently remove the old strings from the bridge by lifting them out of the bridge and discarding them. 
  • Now that the old strings are no longer hindering you, you can go ahead in cleaning the fretboard.
  • First, cover the soundhole of your acoustic guitar using a towel. Now use a .0000 gauge steel wool to clean your fretboard. Rub as hard as you can on the fretboard to clean it, however, ensure it doesn’t touch the body.
  • Now is the perfect opportunity to use some fretboard conditioning oil just in case it looks a bit dry. Just pour a little on your cleaning equipment and wipe it over the wood. 
  • Now that the fretboard is shiny and clean, the process of re-stringing can begin. 

Lock The Strings Back In Place 

  • First, insert the ball end of the 6th string then the bridge pin. 
  • Push down the bridge pin; now pull the ball end of it up until it catches properly. 
  • To ensure that the string has been locked firmly in place, pull gently on it. 

Trim The 6th String 

  • Do this by stretching the 6th string over the head of the peg. 
  • Now use wire cutters to trim the 6th string at the string post of the 5th.

Insert 6th String Back In Post 

  • Ensure the tuner of the 6th string is turned so that the tuner hole is at an angle of 45 degrees. 
  • Now, insert the 6th string, and then make sure the tuner is facing an anticlockwise direction. This is necessary to tighten the string.
  • Is the end of the string protruding approximately 1/8th of an inch from the hole of the tuner? Yes? Good! 

Ensuring The Tune String Is Pitched

  • Now we need to make sure the guitar strings are tuned to the perfect pitch. For the bass strings, two or three wraps are perfect, no more, no less. 
  • Repeat this procedure to set up the 5th string.  
  • Remember with the rest of the bass strings, you will also need to stretch the strings to the corresponding tuner length further than the post-it has been inserted into. 

Trimming The 4th String

  • All you need to do is measure a single tuner length of slack before you snipe the string and tighten it. 

Installing and Trimming Treble Strings 

  • Remember you need to trim the end of the treble strings 1 or 1 and a half tuner lengths further than the post-it has been inserted into.
  • The 3rd string and the rest of the treble strings need to be at an angle of 45 degrees so ensure the tuner is in alignment with this angle. 
  • When this has been achieved, the treble strings should be tightened in an anticlockwise direction. 

Treble String Wraps 

  • The G, B, and High E strings also known as the treble strings all need roughly 6 wraps. 

Wrap The Post Down 

  • Ensure the lowest wraps of the strings of the treble which are located below the edge of the tuner holes. This is to prevent a kink from being created and might break the string. 

Stretch The Strings And Tune

Stretch each individual string carefully and gently until each of them stays in pitch. Now fine-tune your acoustic guitar and start strumming those strings with melodious music. 

Photo by Lovely Ram from Pexels

Additional Tips 

Please note that this process of stringing also applies to guitars which have 12 strings. The only exception is you would need to trim the bass strings the same of two tuner lengths further down the post which it has been put in. for trebles, this is three tuner lengths. 

  • To re-string a slot head guitar, you would need to trim the strings 1 and a half lengths further down the post which it has been put in.
  • To wrap a string around a slot head guitar, one of the wraps goes inside while the remaining wraps are placed on the outside, closer to the tuners, outside the string end. 

Do You Need To Use A Tuning Peg?

Definitely, Yes. Using a tuning peg can help you to properly turn your guitar string to get the perfect pitch. They can also be used to wrap the strings around its base if you don’t want to file it. 

We hope you enjoyed this article and that you’re adequately equipped now to string your guitar. See you next time.