Useful Tips

How to swap strings on a classic guitar


In the life of every guitarist comes a moment when you need to change strings on your instrument. And if for the majority this is a completely trivial task and does not require any special efforts, then for a beginner the string change turns into hours-long “dances with a tambourine”, and not everyone succeeds change strings the first time.

Why change strings at all? Over time, their sound becomes worse. And sometimes it happens that the strings are torn. Then you have to replace them. What happens to strings if they are not cleaned or changed?

That is why we decided to illuminate this article with the question: “how to change the strings on the guitar?". Here we will try to give the most complete instructions, as well as analyze all the possible complications that may arise during this simple operation.

What will be needed when replacing

So, to change the strings on an acoustic guitar, we need to prepare the following tools:

  • new strings (for my acoustic guitar my favorite are Elixir strings or Ernie Ball strings),
  • wipes
  • pliers or pliers
  • a device for winding strings (hands are quite suitable),
  • lemon oil (optional),
  • a small box or other container in which you will put small parts,
  • tuner.

We remove the old strings

First we need take off old strings from the pegs. Many people think that just cutting them off is enough, but there are a number of reasons not to do this.

First of allThick and metal strings will be extremely difficult to cut. I personally tried to cut the strings with various cutting devices, from kitchen and tourist knives to nippers. These attempts led only to the fact that the strings either were bent, or the knives and wire cutters stupidly deteriorated.

BUT second reason Do not cut strings is the possibility of deformation of the neck. We will not go into details, as the explanation of this phenomenon will take us a lot of time and requires some additional reasoning, so just take this fact on faith.

In general, we realized that strings are not worth cutting. Now let's see how to shoot them correctly. If you are a complete beginner, then for starters you should familiarize yourself with the structure of the guitar.

We begin by completely weakening them. After loosening, remove the strings from the pegs. It’s almost impossible to make mistakes in this operation, so don’t be afraid.

Now we need to free the strings from the stand. In almost all pop guitars, this process is the same — you pull the pins out of the stand and remove the strings from the deck. Pins - these are plastic rivets, vaguely reminiscent of mushrooms, which are inserted into the stand behind the lower nut. It is easy to find them, since the strings go just under them.

We take out the pliers or pliers and pull them out. Do this carefully, as you can scratch the guitar or damage the pin itself. Remove the pins in a box so as not to lose them.

With classical guitars, the situation is slightly different. If you have nylon strings with tips, then you just pull them out of the stand and that's it. If not, then they should first be untied or cut.


There are two types of strings for a classical guitar: ordinary (tie-on) and with tips (ball-end). There is no global difference between them, except for the fact that strings with tips are easier to install. Below we will consider the installation process of both types of strings.

While in the music store, pick up a quality set of normal tension nylon strings. Excellent kits are produced by D’Addario, Rotosound, Mr. Musician.


In no case do not buy a set of strings for an acoustic guitar! The tension of metal strings is too strong for the neck of a classical guitar that is not equipped with a reinforcing anchor. With 100% probability, such strings will ruin the instrument.

Having bought a new kit, remove the old strings. You can use nippers, or you can just twist the old kit. If you decide to twist the strings - get a special machine that will facilitate the winding process.

Cleaning the guitar from dirt

Great - we got the old strings. But before you start installing new ones, you should clean my guitar, since all sorts of dirt also negatively affects the sound. We take napkins and carefully wipe the deck. If you really want to, you can moisten them a little, but no more. Using the same method, wipe the back of the neck and its head. You can also read more about caring for your guitar.

Next comes fingerboard cleaning - a completely separate song. Lubricate our wipes with lemon oil and begin to wipe the bar. Particular attention should be paid to cleaning the frets, because there accumulates a huge amount of all kinds of dirt and dust. Wipe very carefully.

And so, when the guitar regained its marketable appearance, we can begin to install new strings.

New string installation

There are a lot of opinions regarding the order in which to put the strings. I start the installation with the sixth string and go in order, i.e. after the 6th install the 5th and so on.

Another debatable issue is how to wind a string around a peg. There are those who believe that it is not necessary to wind it in principle, but only need to insert a string into a peg and twist it. Others, on the contrary, argue that you must first wrap the string around the stake, and then twist. There is already a choice for you, but I consider the first method much easier for a beginner.

In any case, first you need to set new strings in stand. To do this, lower the tip of the string into the hole in the stand, and then install the pin in the same hole. After that, we pull the other end of the string until it stops, so that the tip locks in the pin. It is important here not to mix up the pins and to prevent the strings from getting tangled, so it makes sense to first fix the string in the stake before setting the next one.

When installing strings in pegs, it is very important not to confuse them. Stake numbering begins with the bottom in the right row, and ends with the bottom in the left row (provided that you hold the guitar with the top deck toward you and look at the head of the neck).

When fastening the string in the peg, try not to bend it, because otherwise it will burst in this place when you begin to pull it. If you decide to twist the strings on the peg before tightening, then the following can be considered the optimal twist pattern: 1 turn of the string above its tip, peeking from the peg, and 2 below it.

Tighten the strings gently. Do not try to tune the guitar immediately, as there is a risk that the strings from this will burst. Just pull each one lightly.

If the strings with a tip

If the new kit is equipped with special tips, then replacing the strings on a classical guitar will be a simple task. Pass each string through the hole in the holder, and then proceed to securing the strings in the pegs.

Tune the guitar after replacing the strings

And then everything is very simple. Take the tuner and start tuning the guitar. It makes sense to start with the 6th string, so you don't have to tune your guitar 300 times. When setting up do not twist sharply (this is especially true for thin strings), since there is a risk that the strings will burst due to too sharp tension.

After tuning, carefully place the guitar in the case and take it out after a couple of hours to adjust and check if the neck deflection has changed. We do this several times.

Done! We set the strings. I hope that after reading this article you have an idea that how to change the strings on the guitar.

How to pull strings on a guitar with metal strings

So, how to change the strings on the guitar? Consider this process step by step.

1. Weaken the pegs - we still rotate them until the string begins to sag freely. It is very convenient to use a special spinner for strings for this - its cost is cheap, and it helps great!

2. When the metal string is weakened, simply unwind the string, freeing the pegs from it.

3. We take out the plugs (pins) holding the string in the lower nut. Many do it in a barbaric way - with ordinary nippers or pliers, after which there are traces of this unsightly surgical intervention on traffic jams, and sometimes on the doorstep. It is better to use a special tool, which is much more convenient, and the traffic jams do not deteriorate.

4. When the cork is removed, we pull out a metal string from the hole in the lower nut with a ball (hammer) at the end.

5. When the guitar is left without strings, do not forget to look after it - wipe the dust in those places where the strings installed did not allow this, and also clean the fretboard and the body with special tools.

6. Now pull the new metal strings. The installation procedure can be advised as follows: first the 1st and 6th strings are pulled, then the 2nd and 5th, then the 3rd and 4th. This is convenient in that the pair of strings already installed does not interfere with the installation of the next pair.

We pass the ball of a new string into the hole and insert the stopper until it stops.

7. Pass the other end of the string into the hole of the spike and wrap the main part of the string around the axis of the spike so that the tip of the string remains under our turn.

We make the next turn with the help of a chop, wrapping the string already under the tip of the string. Thus, when tensioned, the tip of the string will be firmly fixed between our two turns.

The meaning of these actions is simple - the more turns of the string will be wound around the stake, the more often the guitar will be upset. Our task is to minimize the turns, but at the same time, there remains the possibility that, under tension, the string in the stake will not hold and will fly out. Therefore, we make a kind of knot that will allow us not to wind a large number of turns on the peg, and at the same time reliably hold the string on the peg.

If you still wind up a lot of turns on the peg, make sure that they do not overlap each other, but are located next to each other, like spirals in a spring.

Remember the direction of winding: the first three strings (thin) are wound clockwise, and the 4th, 5th and 6th strings are counterclockwise.

8. Pull the string on the guitar to about working condition, be sure to hold the cork with your free hand. If you don’t hold it, it can easily fly out when pulling a string. Pull the string slowly and smoothly, without jerking, otherwise it may burst. When pulling to an elastic state, stop and gently release the cork. Never pull the string! Better to pull than pull!

9. Repeat this operation for all other strings.

10. Take the wire cutters (or a special multifunctional tool) and carefully cut the ends of the metal strings at the pegs. Do not leave these creepy clusters of dangling strings on the head of the neck! It looks terrible, but this is not even the point, but the fact that with sharp ends you can easily injure a person nearby.

Pulling the strings on the guitar, tune them to the tuner or tuning fork. Be prepared for the fact that until the next day the system will float a little: the strings sit in their place, stretch, come into working condition. So every few hours, tune your guitar and everything will be all right!

In general, it takes about 15-20 minutes to replace metal strings on a guitar. And the question “how to change the strings on the guitar” should disappear by yourself.

Remove the old strings.

There are several ways to do this. Some people argue that the neck of the neck should remain energized and therefore replace one string at a time, while others say that removing all strings frees the neck of the neck well - choose for yourself.

  • Cut them. Take the scissors and cut all six strings (or just one). Cutting off the strings, you still have to remove small residues near the lower nut.

Relax them until they fall off. Although this will take some time, still this method is much safer, because pieces of guitar strings will not fly around the room. It is best to use a string winder, which will greatly speed up the whole process. If you don’t have one, just loosen the string (as you usually lower the pitch) until you can pull it out of the guitar.

How to string strings on a guitar with nylon strings

Now we will learn how to properly tension nylon strings. This is somewhat more complicated than replacing metal strings, but not so much that you cannot handle it. Go!

1. Remove the old nylon strings. Using a turntable or manually rotate the peg in the right direction until you can pull the tip of the string out of the hole in the peg. Some lazy guitarists, to facilitate the task, start by simply cutting the stretched strings with scissors, but string fragments and torn pieces flying over the guitar are potentially dangerous both for you and the guitar!

2. We take out the other end of the string from the lower nut, unraveling the loop knot.

3. After removing all the strings, wipe the guitar from dust - the head of the neck, the neck itself, the body of the guitar. With strings installed, doing this is inconvenient. You can use special guitar care products.

4. Stretch new strings. We will stretch nylon strings in the same order as metal ones: first the 1st and 6th, then the 2nd and 5th, then the 3rd and 4th. In this case, already installed strings will not stop us from pulling the next.

Consider the classic installation of nylon strings on the lower sill. Let's start with the sixth string. We pass it through the nut hole by 10-12 centimeters.

5. Make a loop - start the tip of the string under its main part.

6. Wrap the tip around the string and put it in a loop - a knot is obtained.

7. Bend the bulk of the nylon string to the guitar deck. If you do not, the tip of the string may slip out of the knot.

8. Pull the main part of the string and its tip strongly in different directions so that the knot is tightened.

9. Go to the second end of the string. Thread the tip of the string into the hole of the stake.

10. Bring the tip of the string up, making a half-turn around the stake.

11. Wrap the tip of the string around the main body of the string.

12. Rotating the peg, we stretch the nylon string. A few turns around the splice are enough - the tail of the string will be firmly pressed and will not pop out. Rotation should be made to the side when the string comes out to the nut from the top of the shaft.

13. We pass to the first string. We pass it through the nut hole by 10-12 centimeters.

14. Make a loop - start the tip of the string under its main part.

15. Wrap the tip around the string, not just once, but several. By the way, many do this with all strings - this is a purely personal matter.

16. Pull the main part of the string and its tip strongly in different directions so that the knot is tightened. Be sure to ensure that the tip of the string goes beyond the edge of the lower nut! Otherwise, it may pop out.

17. The second part of the string is pulled onto the peg similarly to the sixth string.

18. We pull the 5th and 4th string similarly to the 6th string, and the 2nd and 3rd string - similarly to the 1st.

19. The ends of the nylon strings are carefully cut.

In about twenty to thirty minutes you can handle it. Unlike metal strings, nylon strings shrink much longer - sometimes up to a week. You can advise you to immediately pull the strings a little higher in line than they should. They will weaken anyway. Remember to tighten the strings all the time during shrinkage.

Let's talk about some subtleties. Firstly, do not wind the turns to the end of the shaft - to the place where they can fall into the gap between the shaft and the piece of wood (red arrows). The string may break when pulled! Always leave space between the last turn and the shaft end.

Secondly, you should avoid a large kink of strings in the region of the upper nut (highlighted by a red line):

To do this, the direction of winding the string must be defined: the 1st and 6th strings - in the outer direction of the shaft, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th - in the inner direction of the shaft. In the photograph, the directions of the winding strings are shown by arrows. Of course, without a bend, it may not be possible to put the string, but our task is to make it minimal:

Another tip - many guitarists before installing smooth strings (without winding - from first to third) in the lower sill make an additional knot on the tip. This ensures that the tail does not slip out of the loop.

Some string sets are already sold with small bulges at the end. In this case, additional nodules can be omitted - the string will no longer pop out:

Sometimes manufacturers produce nylon strings with balls (hammers) at the end - the same as for metal strings. This allows you to simply stick the string through the hole without tying the knot on the lower nut. A good solution, but for some reason it has not yet received wide distribution.

Guitar Neck Edge

Scroll the stick until the hole appears on the front of the guitar. The string will be easier to pull if you see what you are doing.

Insert the string through the hole once. There are other methods where the string is pulled twice, but this method is much more complicated, and the first method works just as well.

Put it through the hole around the gate. A gate is a white plastic element around which you wind a string.

Вытяните часть струны, которую нужно провести под самой струной.

Проведите струну через отверстие над воротом.

Держите ослабленную струну и натягивайте ее так же, как если бы вы ее настраивали. Продолжайте натягивать, пока струна не будет настроена. Вы можете отпустить струны через некоторое время.

The use of a string winder will significantly speed up the whole process. If pulled carelessly, then the likelihood that the string can break.
Ask someone to show you how to do this for the first time.

If the strings are without tips

Replacing strings from a kit without lugs is more difficult. Insert the string into the hole in the bridge (holder) and leave a margin of 3-5 cm at the end. Such tails will be needed to tie the knot that will hold the string.

Take your time, insert the strings one at a time. An attempt to insert all six strings will immediately complicate the replacement: the strings will interfere and become tangled.


Take the left tail and wrap the string around you as if you were making a knot. Look at the image to see what needs to be done.

Wrap the string around you three to four times to make a characteristic pigtail. Do not braid the braid from the entire string allowance - we still need a small free tail.

Bass strings

Press the string against the deck as shown in the image. Grasp the tail and the rest of the string, and gently tighten the knot.

Before tightening other strings, make sure the knot is strong. An insufficiently strong knot will untie during string tension.

String tails

If you don’t want the replacement of strings on a classical guitar to turn into torture, do not do everything back to back. The remaining tails of the strings will hedge us during the tension. Without them, the knots can untie, and the strings pop out.

Upper strings

The holes for the strings in the ring mechanism are the same. Therefore, to secure the three upper strings, you need to pass them twice, in contrast to the bass strings.

Most likely, making a double knot without problems will turn out for 1-2 strings, but the third string will have to be fixed in the same way as bass ones. It all depends on the diameter of the strings.

Guitar tuning and string stretching

This completes the replacement of the strings on the classical guitar. It remains to configure the tool.

The tension and tuning of a new set on a classical guitar is associated with one important nuance - nylon strings continue to stretch for several days after tension. For this reason, the guitar will be constantly upset.


Do not bite off the extra ends of the strings until the kit is stretched.

You can minimize instrument breakdown by pulling strings. To do this, tune the string and then pull it away from the neck, as shown. After holding the string in this state for 5-10 seconds, release it and tune again.

Such a simple operation will accelerate the stretching of the strings. Nevertheless, do not expect that in this way in a few hours you will make the new kit confidently hold the system.

Final stage

After the strings are stretched, and the guitar will confidently hold the string, get rid of the extra ends of the strings at the bridge and at the pegs. Now that you know how to swap strings on a classic guitar. Despite the fact that the process differs from changing strings on other types of guitars, after several times replacing strings on a classical guitar will become a simple task.