When to change the guitar strings? Do they really need changing?
Before we learn how to string a guitar properly, we need to know few things first, like when to change the strings, what's the best type of strings to buy, and so on.
Every now and then, depending on the frequency of your guitar playing, you will need to change the strings on your guitar. Factors that determine when to change the guitar strings are: Type of the strings (the better the type, the longer they hold without the need to be changed), age, frequency of playing on them, and storing conditions. And of course, if your string breaks (duh!).
Type of strings: There are many well-known, well-respected companies that are famous for being great guitar strings producers (D'addario, Ernie Ball, etc), and you can get their strings from Amazon for a lot cheaper than what your local guitar store sells them. I've dealt with this topic in another article that discussed guitar strings in general and how they operate, and made a few suggestions on very affordable high quality guitar strings. I highly recommend that you check the article (CLICK HERE) if you still haven't bought a set of strings yet and are looking to buy one, or to simply learn more about your guitar strings.
Age: Age is determined from the moment you install the strings on the guitar. If you are a casual player (up to one hour a day), your strings can hold well from six months up to one year. If you are a hardcore guitar player, and play intensively from two hours and above, your strings will be intact and last anything between two to five months, maybe even six, depending on how “frequent” you play.
Frequency of playing: The more you play, the harder your strings will work, and the less time they will hold.
Storing conditions: It's okay to leave your guitar outside hanging on a special guitar-stand. But if you are going away on a vacation and you know you won't be touching your guitar for quite a long time, it's better to have a gig bag or a guitar case ready at hand to store your guitar in it.
Things that can affect your guitar strings and make them deteriorate while your guitar is outside are: Sunlight and temperature, dust, and humidity. All of which, of course, affect the body of the guitar as well.
So unless you are practicing every day, I suggest that you store your guitar in a good place, inside a guitar case.
Should you learn how to string a guitar yourself? Or just give it to a more qualified person to do the job for you?
I went down to nearest musical instruments store, and asked how much would it cost me to buy a new set of strings for my classical guitar and change them? They answered and gave me a price of around 40$, and for a normal quality strings. Now … Compare that price with the prices of the best guitar strings in Amazon, which go anything between 5$ to 15$, and you'll realize that not just that you should, but you MUST learn how to change the strings yourself and know where to buy them.
So this is a no-brainer, you'll learn now how to change your guitar strings, and since you're here I want you to take the opportunity to learn more about your strings, when to change them, what type is best to buy, and more all from the article here and the one that I suggested in the first paragraph (or just CLICK HERE).
How to change the guitar strings – The electric guitar version
Watch the video below:
- STEP 1: Starting from the top end of the guitar (where you tune your guitar), loosen the string first until you can pull it off the post, or cut it. BEWARE: If you want to cut the string, you'll still need to loosen it a little bit so it doesn't jump off furiously and hurt yourself or the body of the guitar.
- STEP 2: Pull the string from the other end until it comes out completely.
- STEP 3: Take the new string now, and notice that it has two ends: A “plain” end, and a “ball” end. Grab the string from the “plain” end and insert it through the hole in the bridge, follow the same path back through the hole, up the neck of the guitar and to the tuning area, until the “ball” end reaches inside the hole in the bridge.
- STEP 4: Insert the “plain” end of the string inside the hole in the post on the tuning area of the guitar, and pull the string out.
NOTE: You don't want to pull the string all the way out until it's very tight, you need to pull it out just enough to keep it loosen up a little bit, so you can produce enough winding around the tuning post to make the string stable. Watch the video for more details on this.
- STEP 5: Press on the string with your finger on the entrance of the tuning post to lock on it, and start turning the machine in the “tune-up” direction, until you start noticing the string making a pitch. Use a tuner to tune the string to your desired tuning.
NOTE: Make sure that the string is inside the slot on both ends of the guitar before you fully stretch and tune it up!
- STEP 6: You need to stretch the string. Use your hand and fingers to “tug” on the string a few times in several places along the length of the string. After each try the string will go flat, you'll have to tune it up again. By doing this several times, the string won't stretch and will stay in tune and stable.
- STEP 7: Finally, trim the excess end of the string with a pair of wire cutters, and you're done.
Changing the acoustic guitar strings
And the video below:
The whole process is fairly similar to the electric guitar version, only the parts involving the bridge area and the tuning machine area is a little bit different.
Note that he didn't manually stretch the strings (tug on them) in the end, and that's because when you play on the strings for a few times in the beginning, they get stretched naturally and eventually with time they'll become stable. But in the first few days, be ready to tune your guitar every single time you try to play on it.
Changing the classical guitar strings
Check the video here:
I like this one, because it shows a good close-up to each step of the procedure, and the whole process is being done very slowly so it's super easy to follow up.
Note that classical guitar strings don't have “plain” and “ball” ends, but rather, a “firm” end and a “springy” end.
You start with the “firm” end of the string, on the bridge area, and in contrary to the previous two procedures, you'll have to wind the string a few times around the bridge through the hole. It's not as easy but doing this a few times over and over again and it'll start to feel simpler.
Mainly you want to wind the thin strings three or four times around the bridge, while the thick strings it is enough to make a couple winding. It's because the thinner strings are easier to get stretched and if they're not “locked” and tight enough, it'll be hard to keep them in tune all the time.
Certainly there are more than one way to string a guitar. But I think the above videos contain some very good methods, and are enough to show the basic steps on how to string any guitar in a few easy, simple steps.
If you would like to experiment with this yourself, and maybe try to come up with your own method, then go ahead and try, but keep a spare set of strings near you in case something goes wrong and you break or ruin a string by mistake.
Again, remember to take care of your guitar and the strings, if you're going away for several days or more, consider storing your guitar inside a guitar case or a gig bag, and if you are leaving it hung on a guitar stand outside, then make sure your guitar is not vulnerable too much to the sun and dust, because these are the main factors that can affect a guitar and its strings in the long term, and make it lose some of its quality.
For more information or questions regarding guitar strings or how to string other types of guitars, feel free to contact me via the comments section below and say what you want.
I recommend bookmarking this article so every time you need to change your strings, you don't have to remember or start searching the internet again on how to do it. And also it contains important information regarding strings (with the other article I mentioned here) in general, the different types of strings, which's best to buy for your guitar and where, and more.
If you liked this article please let me know with a comment below, and share it with anyone who might need it.
Thank you and good luck!