Change Your Guitar Strings

Applies to either electric or acoustic

These instructions apply to both electric and acoustic guitar strings.  For this article I will be describing the process of changing electric guitar strings but the process applies to both electric and acoustic.  

It is a common step to un-wind all 6-strings at one time.  This is not a good method. The neck of the guitar is under tension in the front by the strings and in the back by a truss rod.  By un-winding all your strings at once you are warping the neck of the guitar.  So the best method is to unwind 2-strings at a time.


If holding the guitar in your lap in playing position, unwind the first 2-strings, the "E" and "A" strings on a standard tuned guitar.  

Take your package of new strings and open it up and look for the "E" & "A" strings. In most cases they will be the thickest ones.  Also, the last string on a 6-string guitar is also an "E" in standard tuning. The difference is the thickness of the string. The high "E" will be the thinnest string in the pack. 


Take the "E" string and feed it through the hole and up to the headstock and pull it through the tuning knob. Do not pull it completely tight! Leave enough room so that once you start tightening the string it has room to move.  At this point start turning the tuning knob ensuring that the looping of the string around the knob is going over and around.  If you have a head stock with 3-tuning knobs on opposite sides ensure that the strings are being fed up through the center.  

Do the same thing for the "A" string.


Once the string begins to get a little tight, a trick I have found is to take hold at the center of the string and pull on it a little bit.  New guitar stings have a break in phase where they can be a little elastic and not hold a tuning as well.  Also, I sometimes like to tighten them up pretty tight, but not too tight, and turn the tuning knob back and forth a couple times to take the springy nature out of the strings.  


After the "E" and "A" Strings:

Continue this process for the remaining 4 strings.  On Standard electric guitars the top 3 strings, in standard tuning, "E" "A" "D", have an extra winding around them and are thicker than the bottom 3 strings. This is how they can be distinguished.



Because the bottom 3 "high note" strings do not have the extra wrapping they are, in most cases, the same as acoustic strings and if you happen to break one on the electric guitar and only have acoustic strings handy they can act as a substitute. 


Hope this helps and Rock On!