Ultimate Guide To Changing Acoustic Guitar Strings

Guide To Changing Acoustic Strings

Guitar Lessons For Beginners

Many guitarists have a lot of questions when it comes to changing the strings on their acoustic guitar. In this lesson, Nate and Andrew will give you a bunch of tips for changing your guitar strings and also answer many of the most common string-related questions.

When should I change my strings?

There are a few ways you can tell if your strings need changing. If your strings look corroded or rusty, sound dull, feel rough or sticky, or they smell bad, then it's time to change them.

Some players can go longer than others. It'll all depend on your body chemistry. Some guitarists sweat more than others which will lead to a shorter life for your strings.

Should I take all my strings off at once?

There are some urban myths out there about keeping tension on the neck at all times. In reality, removing all the strings at once is perfectly fine for your guitar. And it gives you a great opportunity to clean and condition your fretboard as well.

There are numerous fretboard cleaners out there, but often a damp cloth will work wonders. Follow that up with a very thin layer of lemon-scented mineral oil to keep the fretboard wood hydrated and you're good to go. Keep in mind that this only needs to be down around twice a year depending on where in the world you live.

Which strings should I buy?

There are a ton of options for acoustic guitar strings out there. So it's pretty normal for there to be some confusion. Keep in mind, the brand, gauge, and material your strings are made of will all come down to personal preference. There's no "right" or "wrong" answer.

12 gauge are the most common acoustic guitar strings. You can also get 11 gauge if you prefer something lighter, or 13 gauge if you're looking for something heavier. String gauge affects both playability and tone, so try out some different things and find what works for you.

As far as materials go, you'll have two primary choices: phosphor bronze, and 80/20 bronze. Phosphor bronze is very balanced sounding and 80/20 bronze will sound a bit brighter.

How do I change my strings?

When it comes down to actually changing your strings, there are a few different methods. Specifically, when it comes to how you wind the string around the post.

The important things to take note of when changing the strings on your acoustic guitar are dealing with the bridge pins properly and making sure you've wrapped the string around the tuning peg post correctly. When you're putting the ball end into the bridge hole and inserting the pin, you need to make sure you pull on the string so it brings the ball past the tip of the pin. This seats the strings so that it won't slip while you're playing.

There are a few ways you can lock the string in when winding it around the post. One method involves doing one wrap over the hole, then the following wraps underneath. Another one is to "tie" the string for the first wrap so that it doesn't budge.

Any of these methods work, and simply winding it down the post without any locking technique will work as well. Just make sure the string comes off the inside of the post and that you get 2 or 3 full wraps around it and you'll be set.

How do I make my strings last longer?

Making your strings last longer is as simple as keeping them clean. Wash your hands before you sit down to play. You can also apply a string cleaner to your strings or just give them a quick wipe with a clean cloth.

Should I use coated strings?

Using coated strings comes down to preference. They cost more money, but you don't have to change them as often. They also sound different. Some players swear by them and others steer clear.

What do I do if I break a string?

Breaking a string can be kind of scary. But it happens to everyone and isn't something to be afraid of. Always keep an extra set of your preferred strings on hand. Breaking strings often indicates it's time to change your strings anyway.

Hopefully, you learned some things about changing your acoustic guitar strings in this lesson. Try it out for yourself. And be sure to keep a spare set of strings handy just in case something goes wrong.