Restring a Guitar

The First step in this restring a guitar lesson is to buy the correct strings for your guitar. There are acoustic guitars and electric guitars. For acoustic guitars you can have nylon or steel strings. The thickness of guitar strings which is measured in thousands of an inch, such as .013 being medium gauge. For beginners, make sure to use medium or light gauge strings; they will be easier on the hands.  There are different materials used to make your sound brighter as well depending on who makes the strings. There is Bronze, Phosphor Bronze, Nickel Plated, pure nickel, stainless steel, coated, non-coated.   Bronze strings are generally brighter than phosphor Bronze but Phosphor helps your strings from changing colors so quickly and has a warmer sound. Coated also helps your strings to stay healthier longer.  Talk with your local guitar shop to find the best strings for you and your guitar.

Here are some different manufacturers of strings:

Removing old guitar strings

It is not a good idea to remove all six strings at once because the sudden change of tension on the neck and bridge isn't good for the instrument.  It's recommended to change either the three treble (thinnest) strings followed by the three bass (thickest) strings.  Better yet, change strings one at a time, that's what many professional musicians do.

Clean your Guitar

While you have your strings removed it would be a good idea to clean your fret board. Check with your guitar manufacturer on the material to use. A soft cloth is a must, as you don’t want an abrasive material to scratch your guitar.

Putting on new strings

The strings are setup in the following order:

E – Thicker E string

A

D

G

B

E – Thinner E string

Tuning your guitar

The easiest way to tune your guitar is to buy a tuner at your local music store. They are anywhere from $20.00 for a basic tuner or $100.00 or more for a tuner you would use on stage. If you are new to replacing your string you may want to replace 1, 2 or 3 strings at a time. If you don’t have a tuner you can click here for the correct notes: 

E – You will need to find the correct tuning for the E string so you can tune the other strings from this reference. This E string should now be in tune.

A – play the 5th fret on the E string. Using your tuning pegs adjust the new A string to match the sound of the E string.

D - play the 5th fret on the A string. Using your tuning pegs adjust the new D string to match the sound of the E string.

G - play the 5th fret on the D string. Using your tuning pegs adjust the new G string to match the sound of the E string.

B - play the 4th fret on the G string. Using your tuning pegs adjust the new B string to match the sound of the E string.

E – play the 5th fret on the B string. Using your tuning pegs adjust the new E string to match the sound of the E string.

 

Why would you want to tune the above method versus using a tuner?

You want to train your ear so that you can hear the difference in sounds. That way you can tell easier if a string is out of tune.

When would you want to only use a tuner?

When you are playing out with other musicians or vocalists you will want to use a tuner. That way the two guitar sounds will match and the vocalist will be singing the song in the key they are comfortable with. You also want to use a tuner if you are recording in a studio.

 What if I am playing out with a piano that is not in tune?

Digital pianos stay in tune. You will not need to adjust if playing with one. 
If working with an acoustic piano that is out of tune you should tune to the piano versus the tuner.