When changing strings

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
okdaysdays
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 3:12 am

restring

Post by okdaysdays » Wed Mar 21, 2007 1:48 am

Ok i need to know how to restring my guitar, my current strings are just dead. does anyone have any detailed information with good pictures you would lend me or can you help me in anyway possible please

Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:04 am

OK. Obviously, the first thing is to get the old strings off. Whether you change them one at a time or all at once is up to you, we won't even get into that aspect here.

You will need:

A pair of diagonal wire cutters or a pair of toenail clippers (I usually use toenail clippers), matches or a lighter (optional), some index cards or posterboard or some other kind of thin carboard, some Scotch Tape, a pegwinder is very handy but not absolutely necessary, and something to support the guitar and protect it's finish while you work. I made this:
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Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:08 am

Use some Index cards or posterboard to protect the top in front of and behind the bridge from "string burn" in case a string comes loose at the bridge while you're working. I made this from posterboard:
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Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:10 am

Loosen the string(s) and remove them. If you cut the string, make certain that all of the tension is removed before you cut the string, cut it near the headstock end and remove both pieces. My pegwinder is an attachment for a power screwdriver that you can buy from most music stores. I think I got mine from Guitar Center. It makes short work of removing and installing the strings:
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Last edited by Sasquatch51 on Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:17 am

Once you have removed the strings, you can take a soft clean cloth and wipe the surface of the guitar down if you want, then start installing the new strings. Different people install the strings in different orders...I just start with the 1st E and install them in order, 1 through 6. That allows me to lace the tag ends together at the tie block. To install the first string, push it through the hole at the tie block, at then bring the end of the string over the tie block and around the string, and wrap it 3 times as shown below:
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Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:19 am

It should look like this when you are finished:
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Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:23 am

OPTIONAL STEP:

Now, if you want, you can pull the end of the string over and measure about a half-inch past the next tie-block hole and cut the string off there. That will leave you enough string to melt a small ball onto the end of the string, leaving it long enough to just reach past the next tie-block hole. If you do decide to melt a ball on the end of the string, be careful not to touch the melted end with your fingers or allow it to touch the surface of the guitar (make sure the top is covered) for several seconds as it will be very hot. If you are not comfortable doing this with the string on the guitar, it can also be done before you install the string. :
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Last edited by Sasquatch51 on Sat Mar 24, 2007 4:57 am, edited 3 times in total.

Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:27 am

Now you will run the other end of the string through the hole in the roller, tie a loose overhand knot in it, pull all the slack out and hold light tension on it to keep the slack out and start winding the tuner to bring the string up to tension. Make sure the string winds over the top of the roller, not under it. Bring the strings up to pitch as you install them, and as you install each string, bring the previously installed ones up to pitch each time also. This seems to help the strings settle in:
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Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:33 am

Now just repeat the process with each additional string. If you want, you can lace the tag ends of the strings for additional security and a neater appearance:
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Last edited by Sasquatch51 on Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:36 am

Once the strings are up to pitch, clip the ends at the rollers:
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Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:39 am

The less slack you have in the string when you install it, and the tighter your loops at the tie-block, the quicker the strings will settle in. Resist the temptation to pull on the strings to "stretch" them. This can cause inconsistencies in the string diameter along the length of the string,resulting in intonation problems. Just let them settle in normally.

F (i Li) P

Post by F (i Li) P » Wed Mar 21, 2007 7:18 am

wow :shock: Sasqautch... a complete and very detailed tutorial... thank you for taking time to write this...

Kamil_D

Post by Kamil_D » Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:16 am

Wow, yet another approach then I have :-)
I'm not sure if it can happen in this one, but I would add a small notice:
When I start to wind up the tuner, I gently press on the string on the bridge. Especially the pure nylon string tend to slide out; if the string is already in high tension, it may happen that it beats quite hard to the top of the guitar. The finger there helps to avoid both the sliding and if it happens, the free end of the string will not hit the guitar soundboard.

Richard Judge

Post by Richard Judge » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:02 am

Thank you Sasquatch51 for such a comprehensive set of instruction.
I have only changed my strings twice and used the instructions from
http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/ ... trings.htm

Not as comprehensive as yours.

On this site the author does not recommend removing all the strings at the same time but changing them one at a time.
Don't remove all the strings at once. Instead, remove and install one string at a time. Removing all the strings traumatizes the neck and sound board. How? The strings exert a total force of 75 to 90 pounds of tension on the sound board and neck. If you release all the tension, the wood flexes. After reinstalling the strings it takes several hours for the sound board to flex back to optimal shape. Thus, you'll notice a lost of volume and tone until the sound board returns to normal.
Do others have thoughts on this?

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James Lister
Luthier
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Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:53 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK

Post by James Lister » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:15 am

knuckles wrote:Thank you Sasquatch51 for such a comprehensive set of instruction.
I have only changed my strings twice and used the instructions from
http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/ ... trings.htm

Not as comprehensive as yours.

On this site the author does not recommend removing all the strings at the same time but changing them one at a time.
Don't remove all the strings at once. Instead, remove and install one string at a time. Removing all the strings traumatizes the neck and sound board. How? The strings exert a total force of 75 to 90 pounds of tension on the sound board and neck. If you release all the tension, the wood flexes. After reinstalling the strings it takes several hours for the sound board to flex back to optimal shape. Thus, you'll notice a lost of volume and tone until the sound board returns to normal.
Do others have thoughts on this?
There have been a number of discussions on this, and I hope this isn't going to start another one guys! :roll:

Knuckles, do a search within this forum, and you'll find all the various opinions (and more) you could ever want! If you want a brief summary, look at the FAQ post in the Luthiers section.

James

P.S. Great description and pics Sasquatch - perhaps I should link to it from the FAQ?
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

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