Although changing electric guitar strings may look easy, there are several things that need to be considered prior to installing them on the guitar. If you are new to playing the guitar this information will save you a lot of heart ache on your journey to mastering you instrument.

There are many advantages to installing new guitar strings on your instrument. Restringing your guitar the correct way will insure your guitar stays in tune while you play. New strings have a distinct crisp clean sound. Most of all they make you want to play more often.

Things You Will Need

  • An electric guitar that is in need of a string replacement.
  • Your favorite guitar strings. My personal favorites are elixir NANOWEB electric guitar strings.
  • A lubricant of your choice, vaseline or any lubricate that will react well with the harware on your guitar
  • A tuning machine winder. These are very inexpensive and pretty much pay for them selves after the first use.
  • A sharp pair of wire cutters.
  • A guitar tuner.

Step 1

Set up a nice clean work area. Remove the old guitar strings and dispose of them properly. Now would be a good time to wipe down the guitar body and the neck paying special attention to areas that will be harder to clean once the strings are installed.

Step 2

Remove the low "E" string from its packaging and lace it through the bridge of the guitar. Pull the end of the string all the way up to the low "E" tuning post. Feed the end of the electric guitar string through the tuning post.

To get the proper string length pull the guitar string tight, measure three finger widths past the tuning machine your connecting the string too. Make a sharp bend at the end of your three finger width measurement. Pull the string back until it is secured in the tuning machine post hole. Now make another sharp bend on the opposite side of the tuning post.

Applying enough pressure to make the string tight to the tuning post, use your tuning machine winder and start wrapping the guitar string around the tuning post. Insure you are turning the tuner so the guitar string is winding to the inboard side of the tuning post. Additionally make sure the string wraps are wrapping down the tuning post.

Once you have wound up the guitar string use the cutting pliers to trim the long end of the left over guitar string. Snip the left over string close to the tuning post so you have a nice clean look.

Repeat the process on all six strings and move to the next step.

Step 3

Once all the guitar strings are installed you have to stretch them. This will insure any slack in the tuner post windings or bridge is accounted for. Stretch the strings by slightly pulling upward from the guitar body. Do this several times for all the strings, tightening up on the turners each time to make up for the slack you create.

Now that we have all the slack out of the strings it is time to add the lubricant. Apply a small amount of lubricant to the nut and bridge slots.

Tune you guitar to pitch and play some sweet music.

Pretty much all guitar strings sound well when they are new. What separates the good from the bad is how long that new crisp sound lasts. Some musicians change there strings every couple weeks. Depending on your playing style and how often you play a good rule of thumb would be to change you electric guitar strings at least every month.

Once you get the hang of it, changing your guitar strings takes little time. The rewards for doing so will be obvious when you crank up the volume and play.

Tips & Warnings

Some areas of the instrument to look at prior to installing the guitar strings are the nut and bridge slots. These are the areas where the strings contact the guitar at the headstock of the neck (nut) and on the body (bridge). Insure the slots the strings set in are not to deep.

Check out the tuning machines while you have the guitar strings off. Make sure they are not loose and secured tightly to the headstock.

Address any issues with the guitar while you have the strings off. Fixing them will be much easier. Soon enough you will be a pro at changing string on a electric guitar.