Changing strings on a electric guitar can seem like an overwhelming task at first. After doing it for a couple of times you will start to get the hang of it, but patience is key.
Before you start changing strings there’s a few things you should know:
There are different types of guitar bridges:
- Tune-O-Matic (TOM)
- Fixed bridge
- Floating tremolo bridge
The process is generally the same not depending on the bridge, but some things may be different, like the tuning stability.
There’s also 2 different types of headstocks, a 3+3 and a 6 inline. This will change the process of putting on strings a bit.
So now that we know with what kind of bridge and headstock we are dealing with, it’s time to choose the strings. String choice is personal preference. I play in D Standard, Drop C so my usual go to are .10-52 Ernie Ball.
After choosing the strings it’s time to put them onto the guitar. I would recommend having a string winder tool to speed up the process, but you can wind the strings on with your fingers just fine as well.
Putting the strings on to the guitar
Order the strings in order and we will start from the bottom, wound, strings.
If your guitar has a string through design, you want to pass the strings through there. Otherwise pass the strings through the tail peace if using a TOM bridge (which in this case we are).
Make sure to put on strings by string, after passing the first one in, align the tuning head to face the neck.
When the tuning head is facing the neck, pass in the string. Now pull out enough of the string for it to be able to go around the tuning head on top clockwise. After getting it around the top hold the string with your index finger. With your middle finger hold up tension by grabbing the string with it.
Do this for the other 2 strings as well. When you have the 3 top strings left to do, start from the thinnest. The only difference now being that we aren’t turning the string clockwise, but rather counter-clockwise. This way all the strings are above the headstock and can easily be passed through the guitar nut.
After all the strings are done, leave the top of the strings dangling for a bit, first we need to tune the guitar.
Tuning the guitar
There are many ways to tune an electric guitar. You can do it using computer software, a tuning pedal or even phone apps.
Usually I tune my guitar with computer software, but the most accurate way of tuning a guitar is definitely a tuning pedal. Surprisingly phone apps do a pretty good job as well. I recommend the app from Fender.
When you get your guitar in tune make sure to tug the strings near your pickups. This will cause them to go out of tune but will make them stay more in tune later. Do this 3-5 times for each string.
That’s all, you now changed your strings and tuned up your guitar, it’s ready to be played.
Make sure to cut off the ends of the strings now, so that you don’t accidentally poke your eye out.