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How to Restring a Steel String Acoustic Guitar

Learn how to restring a steel string acoustic guitar in this Howcast video.


  • Step 1: When restringing a steel-string acoustic guitar, make sure you have the correct string for the one you’re replacing.
  • Step 2: Unlike nylon strings, steel strings have a distinct ends -- make sure the 'ball' end goes up the bridge pin with the channel facing toward the neck of the guitar. The other end of the string goes through the corresponding post’s hole.
  • TIP: When tightening the string, be careful not to overtighten.
  • Step 3: Once the string is in place, tune the guitar and cut off the excess string with wire cutters.


This is how you restring a steel string guitar. You've either broken the string or you've removed it. You went to the store and bought some extra strings, they come in these sleeves here, right? So I'm just making sure I have the appropriate string -- that's important.

So I have the fifth string, and that's the one that's missing -- one, two, three, four, five -- so I'm going to use that one. The string has two different ends to it, right? There's the ball-end, and there's the pointy side.

So I'm going to go ahead and put the ball-end into the bridge, right here into this little hole. And I have my bridge pin -- this what keeps it in place, that little taper, and it has a little channel that sets the string in place, right? So the channel has to face the guitar neck, going this way.

So I put the ball-end in, put that bridge pin in and then I kind of yank up to make sure it catches. And that's it! There, it's set, right?

So I bring it down this way, and the pointy side is to go into this little hole right in the post here.

And now, what I'm trying to do: I want to make them look like the other ones, you know? If you notice here, all of the other strings -- these pieces of string -- they're all coming to the inside of these posts, right? So if I start turning the wrong way, well, then I know because this piece is going to the wrong side. So okay, that's not the right way, so I'll go this way.

And that's it. I'm just winding it up here, and if you want you can use this little tool -- it's called a string winder, costs a dollar at the store, kind of saves your wrist from turning, and turning, and turning.

Now here, you have to be care because once this starts getting tight, if you over-tighten it, it's going to break, right? So you got to be careful and bring it slowly up, maybe play it a bit, you know? (Notes play)

Get that in tune, right away, if you want. And then you can use your string cutter, or wire cutter, and just cut off this little extra piece right here.

And that's it! That's as easy as it gets. This is how to string a steel-string acoustic guitar.

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