Sunbury School of Music

Changing Acoustic Guitar Steel Strings

Guitar strings should be changed frequently to keep your sound bright. When you fit new guitar strings, replace the strings one at a time, in other words replace each string before you move on to the next string. The guitar neck is under tension from the strings, and this will minimise the change in tension on the guitar neck.
Tools you will need:

  • Pliers
  • String winder
  • Pencil
  • Mirror

Steel Strings Step 1

Guitar bridge pin

1. Remove an old string, then insert the ball end of the new string and secure with the bridge pin. Ensure the ball is straight inside the guitar with a mirror.

Steel Strings Step 2

Pencil the guitar string slot

2. Rub a pencil in the slot on the nut so the guitar string slides evenly while tuning the guitar. Now cut about 15 cm off the end of the string.

Steel Strings Step 3

Wound guitar strings

3. For wound strings: thread the guitar string through the hole and pull back 5-6cm. Turn the tuning peg anti-clockwise with the string winder and wind the guitar string so that the free end goes underneath the main string for the first turn.

Steel Strings Step 4

Wound guitar strings 2

4. Keep turning the peg anticlockwise with the string winder, so that the free end goes over the main string for the remaining turns.

Steel Strings Step 5

Unwound guitar strings

5. For unwound strings. After threading through the post, bend the free end toward the center of the guitar and back around under the main part of the guitar string, then bend it upward and keep turning the tuning peg with the string winder.

Step 6

Clip the guitar strings

6. When you have installed all of the strings, cut the ends short. Now it is time to tune the guitar.

Tuning Guitar Strings

  • 1st String = E 329.6 Hz (E4)
  • 2nd String = B 246.9 Hz (B3)
  • 3rd String = G 196.0 Hz (G3)
  • 4th String = D 146.8 Hz (D3)
  • 5th String = A 110.0 Hz (A2)
  • 6th String = E 82.4 Hz (E2)

Classical Guitar Nylon Strings Step 1

Remove the old strings one at a time, paying attention to they way they were previously set up. Start with the 6th low E string.

Nylon Strings Step 2

Pass about 10cm of guitar string through the bridge then bring the free end back around under the string and loop it clockwise under and over 2 or 3 times, finishing at the back of the bridge.

Nylon Strings Step 3

At the head of the guitar, cut the string about 10-11cm past the tuning peg and pull it back. Then turn the tuning barrel so that the hole is parallel with the guitar neck

Nylon Strings Step 4

Pass the string through the hole and back over the barrel under the string itself. For the first 3 guitar strings, wind the free end around twice before you wind it up with a locking knot.

Nylon Strings Step 5

The 1st and 6th strings should wind away from the centre of the guitar, and the 2nd to 5th strings wind toward the centre, this keeps each string straight as it crosses the nut. You should have about 3-5 winds of string around the barrel for each string in order to maintain the tuning.