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How to String an Electric Guitar

Whether your strings pop, or simply start sounding lifeless, you'll need to know how to change them.


  • : Never remove all six strings at the same time, which disrupts the balance of tension, making it necessary to reset the guitar's neck, or adjust the bridge.
  • Step 1: Remove the string Rotate the tuning peg to unwind the popped or old string, and extract it from the tuning peg. Using the wire cutters, snip off the crimped part of the string, throw it away, and slip the rest of the string off the guitar, being careful not to let the tip of the string scratch the finish. Throw the old string away.
  • TIP: Use a string winder to unwind the string quickly.
  • Step 2: Get the new string ready Remove and unravel the new string from your pack. Check the package to make sure you're using the correct gauge string.
  • Step 3: Line up the tuning peg with the neck Stand the guitar up on its end. Turn the tuning key so that the hole in the tuning peg is in line with the neck – not perpendicular to it.
  • Step 4: Thread the string Thread the tip of the nonball end of the string through the tailpiece, over the bridge (making sure it's in the proper groove in the bridge piece), up the neck, and over the nut. Anchor the string under the correct tree, if your guitar has them. Thread the end of the string through the hole of the tuning peg, from the top.
  • TIP: Some electric guitars require you to begin threading the string through the back of the guitar.
  • Step 5: Tighten the string Hold the string against the nut, leaving a few inches of slack. Turn the tuning key three to four times away from the headstock, allowing the slack end of the string to tighten. Do not tighten too much, which could cause the string to break.
  • Step 6: Snip the end Crimp the end of the string at a right angle away from the headstock, a half-inch from the tuning peg, and cut the string a half-inch past the crimp.
  • Step 7: Tune the string Tune the string, either by ear or by using a tuner.
  • TIP: "Bend" the string up and down on each fret as you're tuning to help break it in.
  • Step 8: Move on to the next string Once your string is in tune, cut any excess string and move on to the next one.
  • FACT: Did you know? Instruments resembling the guitar have existed for more than 4,000 years.

You Will Need

  • A guitar
  • Wire cutters
  • New strings
  • A string winder (optional)
  • A tuner (optional)

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