You are here: HomeChange Guitar Strings icon

Guitar Shopper
Absolute Beginner
Developing Player
Music Theory
Knowledge Center
Other Help
What's New?

The best online guitar lessons site recently launched JamPlay For Bass Guitar. We spent two weeks playing through lessons, and now share our review of the new Jamplay For Bass Guitar review page.

What's Hot?

DR Yellow Neon Bass Guitar Strings

Option 5 FX Pedals, including the amazing Desination Rotation Single! For that great "Leslie" sound. So good, even Joe Walsh uses it!

Most Popular

What's everyone else reading?

Call 1-866-281-2789 PromoCode WEBSUCCESS20063

How To Change Guitar Strings


Why change guitar strings?

Strings wear out. They lose their tone, become hard to keep in tune, lose their sustain, and break.

How quickly this occurs varies, based on how you care for your guitar, the environment your instrument is exposed to, the quality of your strings, and how you use them. I cover more aspects or ensuring the longevity of your guitar and your strings on the Guitar Maintenance page. However, even with the best quality strings, with the best preventative maintenance, in the best environment, your strings will eventually need to be replaced.

Thankfully, new strings don't cost much and changing guitar strings is not that hard to do, once you understand how.

Many guitars come with a manual that describes how to change strings. If yours did not, you may find instructions on the manufacturer's web site. You may also find instructions on the web-sites of string manufacturers and re-sellers. I've listed a few very good resources below.

If you're unsure of how to change guitar strings, or have questions after looking at the instructions and reading this page, consider having someone show you the first time. Most instructors will change guitar strings for you during a lesson, and many music stores will change them for you for a small fee, just ask if you can watch.

General Tips About How To Change Guitar Strings

Here are a few tips I've picked up that make it easier to change guitar strings.


How To Change Acoustic Guitar Strings

The best written explanation I've found on how to change acoustic steel strings is a PDF file produced by Taylor Guitars. You can get the PDF file on the "New Improved" Taylor method of changing steel string by clicking here. Your browser should open a new window and offer to download a 714K PDF file with clear photo assisted instructions for changing the strings of your steel string acoustic guitar. You can adapt the instructions for most other acoustics. Taylor has a number of other helpful guitar maintenance articles on their web-site. Take a look!

Elixir has a nice write-up on how to change guitar strings on an acoustic, with text and photos. In addition, I recommend long-lasting coated strings. If you'd like to try a set, you can find coated strings from Elixir and D'Addario at Select Sounds LLC.

If you are like me, a picture is worth a thousand words. So a video must be priceless. Here is a very nice one from D'Addario:





How To Change Electric Guitar Strings

I have included two video demonstrations below. The first shows how to change the strings on an electric with strings that go through the body, such as the Fender Telecaster or Stratocaster. The second video covers guitars that have a stop-bar tailpeice, also known as a Tunomatic, which is found on many Gibson's.






How To Change Classical Guitar Strings

I have little experience with classical guitars. Even though I started on one myself I quickly moved to a steel string acoustic. Some of you may start out the same way, or you may be a true lover of the instrument.

I have not found many good written descriptions of changing classical strings on the web. Most lack pictures and do not include a clear description of how to tie strings off at the bridge. However, after a bit of searching, I found a very clear write up (with photos) at The Classical Guitarist.

Of course, for people like me, who prefer to see a how the written word translates into action, here is a nice video from our friends at D'Addario:



A Couple Cautions

The neck of your guitar is designed to hold back the tension of your strings. If you remove all the strings, there is nothing to balance out the force that pulls back on the neck. This has the potential to damage your guitar. The few minutes it usually takes to change strings have never caused problems for me, but I encourage you to never leave your guitar without strings unless you know how to relieve the stress of the truss rod.

Opinions vary on this point, so use common sense and check your owner's manual. Some say to never remove all the strings at the same time, others say it's OK to remove all strings at the same time... as long as you don't leave them off for more than a few minutes.

When I change guitar strings, I loosen each string, then cut and remove all of them. They come off easily and I then take a minute to clean the front of the guitar. Next, I begin restringing. I haven't experienced any problems with this approach. But... again... check the documentation that comes with your instrument and follow the warnings and advice given there.

SIDEBAR: An point of emphasis when you change guitar strings: For those of you who will remove all the strings, don't simply cut them. First, remove the tension by tuning down each string until it just touches the fretboard. Cutting any string that is tuned is asking for a nasty cut (when it flies loose). Cutting all the strings and allowing the tension of the neck to suddenly go slack is risking almost certain guitar damage.


Need Strings? Of Course You Do!

I always keep a few strings in my gig bag. This way I am ready for the random string break, and I never have the excuse of not having spare strings when the tone dies or tuning becomes difficult.

I encourage you to visit Select Sounds LLC for your string needs. This growing, family owned business offers a growing selection, very nice prices, and people who care. Check out the Specials page while you are there. You might find just the bargain you have been searching for.


Need A Guitar Strings Primer?

If you need to know more about guitar strings before you purchase a set, read our Guitar Strings Primer. That article examines cores and windings, lists common string materials and the tones each produces, explains bass guitar scale length, and demystifies string gauges. We think it will equip you to purchase the right set for you and your guitar. Read it here.




Musician's Friend Stupid Deal of the Day


Learn to Play: All the Tools You Need at Music123


Guitar category at