Tips for Replacing Guitar Strings

String Replacement Weeks at Rick Imus Music Studio run in August and January. SRW’s are our semi-annual reminders to replace your guitar strings while studying in Milton, Campbellville and Acton. You probably suspect the benefits:

a) improved tone

b) greater and more consistent volume

c) better intonation / preparation for a “setup,” which is an adjustment made to ensure the notes stay in tune up and down the fretboard

d) cleaner strings

e) a chance to try a new gauge and/or brand

f) a “pick-me-up” as a player

That said, you could take advantage of our promotional coupons and have our qualified staff replace those wires, or with a spirit of adventure, do it yourself.

Here are five tips for replacing your guitar strings:

  1. Safety first. Have a garbage basket handy for old string cuttings. Knock down the upturned string at the tuning posts after cutting. Wash your hands after spraying and wiping down the fingerboard.
  2. Organize the string order before installation. For three-to-a-side models, lay out your strings 1,2,3,6,5,4 so that you’re not working under an installed string. For Strat (six-to-a-side) models, install them 6,5,4,3,2,1.
  3. Tools speed things up. Use a string winder – they come in manual and powered.
  4. Write the date of the string replacement on the wrapper.
  5. Wrap to the inside. Install strings toward the middle of the headstock for three-to-a-side.

Types of guitars and related instruments have different timelines for string replacement. General schedule guidelines for students’ strings include:

Steel string acoustic guitar – 6 months (August, January)

Electric guitar – 6 months (August, January)

Nylon string / classical guitar – each year (August)

Ukulele – each year (August)

Electric bass – once a decade, or as required.

 

 

When you pick up your guitar after service, you can expect a “stretching out” period where the strings stabilize their pitches. New strings will have to be tuned up frequently for a bit after installation. Here some guidelines to help you be ready for your next performance or recording session:

Steel string acoustic – one day

Electric guitar – one or two days

Nylon string / classical guitar – one week

Ukulele – one week

Electric bass – one to two days

With diligent planning, you can enjoy playing a guitar that’s in tune with great tone.


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