How To Restring An Electric Guitar: The Best Method
Learning how to restring an electric guitar is essential. After all, you should know that electric guitars require a frequent change in the strings. In fact, electric guitars need more often change in strings compared to their acoustic counterparts.
Because of this reason, most manufacturers today have integrated specialized hardware on their guitars. As a result, restringing becomes fast and easy. Among the three types of guitars (classical, acoustic, and electric), the electronic ones are the most comfortable to restring.
Serious guitarists will need to restring their electric guitars every three to four months. Fortunately, the process is pretty simple. However, it still requires some practice.
In this article, we will teach you the easiest way to restring an electric guitar. Let us get started!
How To Restring An Electric Guitar
Taking Out The Old Strings
You should remember that you need to remove your current strings if they fall out of tune quickly. Moreover, you should do the same if the strings are already gummy or rusty. You also need to remove the strings if they feel hard and sticky.
If you have an upcoming gig or concert, then you should restring your guitar immediately. This way, you will prevent unprecedented breakage during the event.
In removing the strings, you should take note of their paths. If you are new to this process, you should familiarize the proper arrangement of the strings. If necessary, you can take a photo of the string configuration. Alternatively, you can search for a picture of your guitar model on the internet.
This is not a complicated process. However, this is still an essential part in the overall restringing of your electric guitar.
You should also take a look at the overall structure of your guitar. Some electric guitars have distinct winding patterns or holes near the strings. Therefore, you should not cut the strings without taking a look at everything.
Loosening The Old Strings
You can loosen your current strings by down tuning. Turn the tuning machine so that you can loosen all of the strings. When they are loose, you can already pull them by your hands. You can know if a string is loose if it sounds deep when you pluck it.
You can also cut your strings off. However, this method is not cost-efficient. You can still use your old string if the new one breaks during the restringing process.
- Tip: If you are just new to restringing, make sure that you loose one string at a time.
When the string is loose, you can already unwind it from the peg. Next, free it from the neck of your electric guitar.
Removing The Strings From The Bridge
On standard bridges, (e.g. Fender Strat and other types of string-through guitars), you have to pull strings out from the body of the instrument. To make this process a lot easier, push the strings through so that you that you can have a grip on them. Hold the string on the donut-shaped metal and pull it away from the guitar.
You should remember that you should never yank the strings. Instead, you have to take your time in pulling strings to ensure the safety of your guitar.
Once you removed all of the old strings, you have to clean them using a lint-free cloth. Aside from restringing, your guitar needs some cleaning, too. Use this opportunity to take out the grime, dust, dirt, and other debris that are stuck in the neck of your guitar.
Cleaning your guitar will make it look good. It can also protect your new strings from the small elements. A clean guitar will make it sound quite faster. If you want a thorough cleaning, try using a fret-cleaner, which you can purchase in any music shops near you.
Restringing The Guitar
- The first step in the restringing a guitar is getting the right strings. Specifically, you should get "lite" or "regular weight" strings. Using strings that are too thick and heavy for your guitar could bend the neck if you don't adjust them properly. Therefore, unless you are not an expert guitarist, you should stick to regular strings.
- Tip: Pick a high E string with a .008-.0011 thickness.
- Take your guitar on a flat platform and lay it there. You need a spacious working space when restringing your guitar. Ideally, you should place a blanket or cloth on the surface to prevent scratches and dent.
Some guitarist would rest the head of their guitar on an edged platform to make the process a lot easier.
- Make sure that the tuning post hole is facing you. Moreover, the said hole should be parallel to the frets. This hole is pointing up if you are playing your guitar.
- You need to weave your first string through the bridge and to the tuning peg. In threading, make sure that you do it inside out.
Many guitarists would start by stringing their heaviest string or the top E. Many musicians call this as the "sixth string." The top E has the highest gauge number (around 0.50).
Slide the string in the opposite direction as you pull the other strings. Next, run the string through the tuning peg hole. This way, you can pull the string tightly away from the guitar.
In doing this process, make sure that you have 2 to 3 inches of slack. This will prevent the strings from getting stiff even before you tighten them.
- Next, you need to grab the string on the two sides of the peg. After this, you have to crimp it in an "S" shape. In doing this, your right hand should come towards you. Meanwhile, your left hand should push top, towards the tuning pegs.
The "S" should be similar to the Van Halen logo. Just don't be conscious about the shape. Just follow our guide in crimping, and you can achieve it in no time!
- You need to wrap the end of the string so that you can lock it entirely. You can do this by pulling the end of the string to the side of the other string (the part you fed to the tuning post).
After you complete this process, take the end part of the string to the top and pull it tightly. If possible, you have to pull it towards the tip of the guitar.
- Lessen your grip to the string as you gradually tightening it. Put your index finger on the string by one to two inches. Specifically, it should be in the area in where it meets the peg. Never pin it. Instead, just hold the string down. By doing this, you can slowly turn your tuner in a counterclockwise motion.
Also, make sure that you wind the string around the tuning peg in a uniform manner. You may also want to use a tuner so that you can get the right tension. If you don't have a tuner, just don't tighten the strings too much. Otherwise, your strings would break.
- Once you can complete this process on the top E string, you can also do the same to the rest of the strings. Make sure that you should work through the packet for a flawless output.
Before you start with other strings, make sure that you clean the fretboard first. In this way, you can leave some slack before you start tightening the string.
- Tip: If the head of your electric guitar is a 3x3 setup, you should turn the lower tuning pegs in reverse position. You can still repeat the same process. However, you should replace the up with down and the left with right.
- If you are done with all the strings, you can already cut the excess ends. You need to use a wire cutter to do this process correctly. Ideally, you should leave around half an inch of string. In this way, you can do low tunings.
- You should tune your electric guitar from time to time. New strings are still sturdy. They have to get used to the tension so that they won't stretch. Stretching typically happens in the first two days. However, you can still avoid it by tuning your newly installed strings.
The overall process of how to restring an electric guitar is pretty easy. You don't need complicated pieces of equipment to change the strings of your guitar. Instead, you just have to be patient so that you can get the strings in their proper positions.
Just follow the steps that we have given you, and you will no longer have problems in restringing your guitar. Remember, this process is also applicable to classic and acoustic guitars. Once you can master it, you can deal with any guitars!
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