Saturday, November 13, 2010

How to re-string your acoustic guitar step by step..

Hey yo! alright.. i know maybe many of you know how to re-string your guitar, but there are many who dont, or dont dare.. So let me give you an advise.. You can cut service charges ($$$) by restringing your guitar on your own, and it would be a good experience too..

Be patient and dont worry if you break your strings, especially if its your first time. During my first time, i was scared like sh*t.. but after awhile, i kind of mastered it.. my restringing and twining has become much neater already.. So i have thought of putting up a post for those who wants to know how..

First, what you need.. (Please read through the whole post first before taking action.. This is to be familiar of the steps and mistakes that may occur.) 

a tuner.. this is important when you tighten your strings.. It keeps you in track if it is too tight or not and prevents your strings from breaking..

Cloth, same as those used to clean glasses.. Sweat from hands will cause rusting on strings.. always clean your strings..

A plier.. used to remove pins from the bridge of the guitar.. 

A set of new strings..

A flat surface.. Usually a table but i do not have a big table so I use my bed..

So, whats the first step? 

(note, DO NOT REMOVE ALL YOUR STRINGS FIRST. you may loosen the tension of the guitar between its neck and body and damages may occur.. DO RE-STRINGING 1 BY 1)

First, know the pattern of your guitar's tuning board.. 

Usually it is a V-shape for an acoustic guitar.. Basically the string run inwards to out..

Then, know the position of strings..

  • 1st string is an e-string.. this is the smallest string in diameter.. its the furthest string at the bottom of you hold a guitar in position.. 
  • 2nd is the b-string..
  • 3rd is the G-string..
  • 4th is the D-string..
  • 5th is the A-string..
  • 6th is the E-string, which is the thickest..
The illustrations shown by me will be the re-stringing of the D-string.. The steps are also applied on the other 5 strings.. 

So, we un-tune the string.. When the string is loose enough, we can just use our hands to unwind the string off.. 

un-tune the string..

The string as it gets looser.. this image shows that im pulling the string off..

String is removed.. 

 Now, at the bridge..

This is the bridge of your guitar.. As you can see, my D-string is loose..

If you can, pull its pin with your fingers.. 

If you cant use your fingers, use a pair of pliers.. I think there is a much more proper tool than this, but lets say we dont have it.. 

Well like I said, use a much proper tool.. The plier may damage your pin like the picture above, but if you do it gently, there is no obvious damage.. my other 5 pins are still looking good even after I used pliers.. (Personal note: this is where I learnt when to use the pliers gently.. So you gain experience from doing.. )

When the pin is removed, this is how it looks like.. remove the old string.. 

To install the new string, place the 'ball' of the new string right below the pin.. 

Push it into the hole..

Pull the string alittle to make sure its tight.. 

Next up, fit in the other end of the string into the tuning board.. 

the hole.. 

insert the string into it..

pull the string as much as you can.. give a space allowance of 5cm to 7cm.. after that, push it back.. this is a space allowance for winding.. 

lock it by making a slight twist, its like a hook.. 

tune back your string..  If winding is too little, the strings may come off the tuning board by itself, but if you wind too much, tuning will be hard.. best is to have about 3-4 rounds.. thats why there is about a 5-7cm allowance.. Do not tighten the strings all the way just yet (important for next step).. 

Fit the strings nicely into the nut, its alike a second bridge but at the neck (image above)..

Red circle: I did not place the string into the nut properly and tuned it.. this is wrong..
Orange circle: the groove for the string to go in..
Green circle: a properly fit string..

use a tuner to keep track of the string's tune or tension.. tuning a guitar too tight off its note may break the string.. always be careful and patient.. 

a clean wind, nicely done.. do not worry about its excess strings all over yet.. it is important in case the winding is not enough..

Repeat the steps for the other strings.. 

Old strings, what to do? Well these strings are still usable unless they are snapped.. Keep all strings in case you snap a new string before a performance and need a spare, lets say.. 

Excess strings, what to do? Alright, these strings are dangerous for the eyes.. These strings are sharp and fine and can cause injury.. use a wire cutter to cut off the excess strings when you are confident with the installation of your strings.. 

take care.. =)

Im open to comments, do comment.. thx.. =)

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