Guitar Music Lessons – How To Change Guitar Strings September 13, 2010
At some point, all guitarists need to learn how to change the strings on their guitar. Sometimes you’ll be compelled to change one when a string snaps. But generally, you’ll simply want to change them, as strings lose their brightness and wear out.
Most Expert guitarists often change their strings before every gig. But in the end, it all boils down to a matter of personal preference. Something to keep in mind if you are using your guitar for a gig, is that your strings need a few hours of play to break in properly. During this time, your strings will go out of tune as they stretch so you’ll need to retune.
Anyway, here’s what you need to do:
Take out the old strings by detuning the machine heads until the tension becomes loose enough to allow you to pull each string away from the headstock.
Another quick method to remove the old strings would be to snip them using a pair of wire cutters. Be very careful if you need to do it this way.
How you go about installing your new strings will generally depend on the kind of guitar you have, as numerous guitars have somewhat different techniques.
Here is a little insider tip guitarists have been using for years to get more life from your steel strings once you have removed them: Boil them.
Putting a set of strings into a pan of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes will get rid of lots of the grimy build up and bring a new life back to what would otherwise be lifeless strings.
It will not carry on for very long, and you can’t get away with doing it as well many times, however it could be an effective temporary procedure.
Regardless of what kind of guitar you have, your strings require to be stretched after you have placed them on. When you first tune your guitar, put your hand under every string around the pickup region, pull the string a few centimeters away from the fretboard, then release it. If the pitch has dropped, re-tune and repeat the procedure. Maintain doing this until all the strings stay in tune.
On most electric guitars the strings are either secured at the bridge end by an independent tailpiece (just like most Gibson guitars), or passed through the body of the instrument from the back into an all-in-one bridge unit (like most fender style guitars)
At one end of each and every steel string, you’ll discover a tiny disc of metal around which one end of the string is wrapped. This really is known as the ball end.
Take the opposite end of the string and thread it through the fixture at the bridge.
Pull the string through till the ball end prevents you from pulling the string any more.
Most electric and steel-string guitars make use of a comparable system for securing strings at the machine head. The capstan to which the string is attached stands out vertically from the headstock. Strings can be passed through a hole in the side of the capstan.
The end is then passed around and under, trapping it in position when the machine head is tightened. Some capstans have vertical slots rather than holes. To use these, cut the string to length, and insert into the tip of the capstan. Then bend the string to one side and wind it around.
This leaves the string endings nice and tidy. Here is what you do next: Slowly turn the machine head for each string, increasing the tension until the string becomes appropriately tight.
To save yourself time and energy, you can use an inexpensive plastic string winder, which merely fits over the machine head permitting you to crank it along much more quickly.
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