Useful Tips

How to change strings on an electric guitar


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In general, I quite often met complaints from guitarists that their guitars are quickly upset and do not keep in order.

Many sin on their inexpensive guitars and cheap accessories, not even suspecting that the guitar does not hold the system, not at all because of the accessories.

The thing is in the correct installation of strings on a guitar!

Replacing strings on a guitar is a trivial process only at first glance, and there are some tricks here.

At the very least, finding out how to properly set or swap strings on a guitar can make your life a lot easier.

After you secured the guitar string to the bridge, bring it to the head of the neck and pass it into the hole of the stake.

Leave a small margin in the string for winding onto the peg and pull the string slightly towards the head of the neck. Try not to pull the string back and forth - it can bend and break.

Bend the end of the string towards the center of the head of the neck, and pass it under the string.

While holding the string tension, wrap the strings around you, making a kind of “lock”. Try to keep the string in a taut position, this will prevent the string from being deformed and help it to be installed correctly.

Holding the string in tension, start twisting the peg. The string must clamp itself. The string should be wound down along the shaft of the shaft to increase its angle of inclination relative to the nut.

The final result:

Here is such a "lock" allows you to achieve that the guitar will be upset much less.

And one more tip, try to calculate the string length margin in such a way that there are no more than 2-3 turns around the pitch.

So now you know how to change the strings on the guitar. =)

UPD: Well, and visual videos:

We remove old strings from an electric guitar

Someone advises to bite the strings with wire cutters, someone twists the pegs, completely unwinding the string. I want to say that this is all utter stupidity. Old strings can be removed very quickly and simply, without resorting to the use of nippers (although later they will come in handy anyway). And do not twist the chopping until blue. I take off the old strings like this: I sit on a sofa or chair, put the guitar on the floor between my legs so that the pegs are at eye level. And with my left hand I slightly weaken the string, after the string weakened, with my right hand I simply pull off the turns remaining on the splitting ring. The whole process does not take more than a minute.

It is believed that in order to avoid curvature of the neck, strings must be removed in a certain order: sixth, first, fifth, second, fourth, third. I don’t know how justified it is, but my opinion is that it is easier to distort the neck of the instrument by improper storage of the instrument than by not observing the order in which the strings were removed. When replacing strings on a guitar, I advise you to remember this.

After all the strings from the pegs have been removed, they must be removed from the guitar deck. To do this, push the string inward until it appears on the back of the deck. On the back of the guitar, on the deck, there is a plate with holes, each hole gets its own string. And then just take the end that appears and pull it out. So do with each string.

Electric guitar cleaning

If you have a new guitar and before you change the strings, you did not play it, then you can skip this part and proceed immediately to the installation of new strings. If you have been playing the guitar for a long time, give this item a bit of your time.

After all the old strings are removed and lie to the side, inspect the guitar from top to bottom for physical defects. Pay attention to the condition of the frets, spikes, pickups and cars. If visually no defects are detected, you can proceed to cleaning the tool.

They sell a lot of guitar care cleaners, I didn’t have such a cleaner. I took the usual mr tool. Proper for furniture, diluted with water in a ratio of 1: 5. And with an ordinary sponge, he began to apply the cleaning agent on the surface of the deck and neck with light movements. Just do not forget to squeeze the sponge before rubbing the guitar, so as not to fill all the insides of your instrument. The sponge should be wet, not wet. With this tool you can clean the entire guitar from all sides.

Preventing the detergent from drying out, I took a soft, clean cloth and wiped the entire guitar dry. I advise you to pay special attention to the frets, as on a dark overlay dirt is poorly visible. Inspect your electric guitar again, this time, for excess detergent and its smudges. If everything is in order, you can proceed to the next step.

If your guitar has an unvarnished fretboard, such as rosewood, you can clean it with a drop of lemon oil.

Now let's start replacing the strings with Floyd Rose!

Unscrew the back cover of the tremolo springs. As a rule, it is mounted on 6 screws for a Phillips screwdriver.

Loosen the string locks with the hex head. A key of the appropriate size should be included with the guitar. If you do not have the original key, you need to get it. Choose a key of exactly the size that is needed since using a smaller key destroys the screws, and very soon you will need to replace them, and that’s money, as you know.

The fact is that there are metric hexagons, and there are inch, their sizes are slightly different and it’s sometimes difficult to determine which key is in front of you. The key must be in good condition and with sharp edges, a hexagon with knocked edges destroys the splines of the bolts and they quickly become worthless. Of course, it is desirable to have a spare key and spare screws, this is not such a big investment.

Remove the lock bolt completely and remove the lock pads. A loosened bolt is more convenient and faster to unscrew by inserting a long part of the key into the screw head.

Put all the bolts, screws and other small parts in a box, then you won’t have to look for them.

Remove the screws securing the tremolo springs by 5-10 revolutions so that the tremolo rises, but do not unscrew them at all. An ideal tool for this purpose is an elongated screwdriver, but in principle you can also do this with an ordinary short screwdriver.

Set all the micro-adjustments in the middle position, so that later you can adjust them both one way and the other. Do it right now, because then you will forget!

Loosen the peg of the first string (notes E) so that it is completely free, but does not come out of the hairpin.

Loosen the micro-adjustment lock with the hexagon of the required size, 1-2 turns should be enough. Do everything carefully so as not to damage the varnish on the guitar.

Remove the first string by pulling it upwards with your fingers. If you don’t want to go out, loosen the lock screw one more turn.

Tighten (slightly) back the lock screw. If you do not do this, the lock pads may fall out and you will look for them for a long time across the entire floor, -).

Remove the string from chopby unscrewing it and pulling it up. When making up the string, be careful that the string does not scratch the varnish on the head of the neck. The old string needs to be rolled up and thrown into the basket. Do not leave her so to speak “just in case”, it will come in handy. I assure you - it will not come in handy! Well, okay, he once left, -).

Similarly, remove all other strings, moving from the thinnest first string (s) to the thickest sixth string (MI).

If during this operation the bridge (aka “bridge”) sank as in the photo above and you lost access to the locking screws, then unscrew the screws that secure the tremolo spring a few more turns (we unscrewed them with a long screwdriver), the bridge will rise back up and you can continue to work.

Press the tremolo lever so that you lift the back up, place paper business cards or playing cards under the lock screws at the back. Insert so much that the bridge stands more or less parallel (horizontal) to the guitar deck.

Do not put a pencil, battery, or something similar under the bridge, as some “experts” recommend, in this way you can spoil the lacquer of your (and even worse someone else's) guitar. Playing cards are perfect for this purpose. If you are not an avid gambler and you do not have cards, then. buy a deck of 54 playing cards and cut it in half - and then you get a lining of the required size. Old shabby cards are better not to use, buy new ones.

I hope everything went smoothly and the strings from the guitar were removed.

Every time you change the strings, you must carefully clean the neck of the guitar for example with a clean, dry flannel cloth.

. as well as hard-to-reach spots on frets, for this we use a toothbrush

taking this opportunity to clean pickups and all hard-to-reach places

you can also use a brush with a wooden handle

Wow! One block for the clamp for the sixth string is missing! You probably forgot to tighten the locking screw back after removing the string. But I said!

Now you have to look for him. If it’s not on the table, then it’s lying somewhere on the floor. It looks like in the picture below. If you have large gaps in the floor, then be sure it is there. The best tool for finding a lost block on a carpet or for extracting it from a gap in a parquet I consider a magnet, the more, the better. If the block is gone forever, then you can buy it in a good music store or in a special service.

You should put the blocking block in the saddle exactly as I show in the picture, that is, the hole should be shifted down and look to the side opposite from the neck. After tightening, the tip of the locking screw should go into the hole of the block and secure it from falling out if the locking is slightly loosened. After installing the pads and tightening the locking screw, it is necessary to check whether everything was installed correctly.

Unpack the new strings.

Important! The strings on an electric guitar are set in a strictly defined sequence, which depends on the location of the pegs on the head of the neck. The first is a string whose spike is closer to the bridge, and so on as the spike moves away.

For example, if the pegs are on top of the head of the neck, then we begin to set the strings starting from the 6th (thickest) string. If the pegs are located below, then you need to start with the 1st (thinnest) string. If the spikes are located on both sides of the head of the neck, then first we put the strings from the 6th to the 4th, then from the 1st to the 3rd.

Standard strings for electric guitars have a small sleeve on one side, which makes it easy and quick to put them on guitars with a traditional bridge.

For guitar with a Floyd Rose bridge, these plugs are not needed, so cut them with side cutters (about 1cm). Do not cut the sleeves immediately from all strings, cut only with the one that you will put, this will help you not to get confused.

Loosen the sixth string (MI) bridge seat lock screw by 2-3 turns.

Insert the end of the string (the one from which you just cut the sleeve) into the "saddle" as I show in the picture. If the string does not want to enter, unscrew the lock screw one more turn. The string should enter the saddle at 5-6mm - you must be sure that it has entered all the way.

If you insert the string not deep enough (that is, not to the stop), then the string may pop out during tuning or during the game, and even injure your hands or face, so do it with due attention!

Holding the end of the string with one hand, tighten the lock screw with the other hand to the stop, tightening the string, as in a vice. You need to tighten it tight enough so that after the final tuning the string does not pop out, but do not abuse it, you need to know the measure in everything. The strength of a 10-year-old child is quite enough.

Insert the other end of the string into the hole of the stake and.

pull the string to the end. Measure out about 4 cm - this is approximately until the next split, if you have a neck with pegs on different sides. And so, measure and fix this distance with your fingers

Now pull the string back these 4 cm, still holding it with your fingers. Do not open your fingers and keep them in the same place all the time!

With the fingers of your other hand, grab the string on the other side of the hairpin.

You can release the string with your first hand, you don’t need to release the string with your second hand, continue to hold it.

With your free hand, start twisting the peg. All the time, hold the string in the hole of the stake (this can be done with one finger as in the picture). Along with the rotation, the end of the string will begin to bend. In the photo, the splitting pin turned around a quarter of a turn and the string bent at a right angle.

And now, the splice pin is rotated another quarter turn. Pick up the string with three fingers, and continue to hold the index at the base of the shaft stud with the index finger - this is done so that when winding the string is always in a tense state. So it will be easier and more convenient to wind it.

Continue to wind the string around the pin (hairpin) of the stake. When the pin is rotated somewhere 3/4 of a turn, you will have to decide how the free end of the string will go - under the stretched string or above it. Traditionally, at the first turn, the free end of the string is tucked under a stretched string, I recommend not to change the general traditions and tune the string in the same way.

Press the string down with your finger, so that the next turn goes under the string protruding from the pin.

Just like in the picture.

To keep the string better, keep it slightly taut

When the string is sufficiently stretched, thread it under the pressure bar and place it in the hole of the upper blocker

Pull the string a little more so that it does not have to be held by hand. It is not necessary to pull strongly, pull slightly so that it just does not hang.

Two or three turns of the string is enough to keep it firmly and not slip out of the hole of the pin.

Cut the free end of the string with pliers, leave a tail of 5 millimeters, this is enough. Carefully coated, take care of the varnish.

Make sure that the bridge is correctly installed, that the bridge has entered the recesses on the rods. If not, adjust the bridge by hand. Take out the business cards / cards from under the bridge for a moment and move it around to make sure that everything works as it should. Insert business cards / cards back under the bridge.

Similarly, you need to put all the other strings. From the side of the bridge you do everything in a similar way. There will be slight differences on the head side of the neck. To consolidate the material, we will discuss the most difficult steps again, although most of them will not differ in anything about what we have already done.

Fix the fifth string (A note) in the "saddle" of the bridge by analogy with the way the sixth string was installed, and skip the free end under the bar of the string holder.

. and pass it into the hole of the stake. When installing the remaining strings, do not forget to thread them under the bar of the string holder before putting it on a peg. However, if you forgot to do this, it is not necessary to remove the already installed strings, just unscrew the bar, put all the strings and screw the bar back.

If it suddenly turns out that the gap under the strap is too small and the strings are difficult to climb under the strap, simply unscrew it a few turns, and after installing all the strings, twist it back.

In general, the installation of the fifth string is completely similar to the installation of the sixth string, I post the photo without explanation:

Remember to cut the end of the string!

The installation of the fourth string is also no different from the installation of the fifth string, we follow the already worked out scheme. After installing the first three strings and trimming the ends, it will look something like this:

As the rest of the strings are pulled, at some point (no matter when), their tension will be so strong that the bridge will rise up and the inserted cards will fall out from under the locking screws. Nothing, do not worry, it should be so!
The bridge should be in a position similar to that in the picture (that is, slightly raised up). If you see that the bridge is too bulging up, then you need to fix it. Loosen the slightly stretched strings and the bridge will lower to the desired height. In extreme cases, loosen the screws securing the bridge springs a few turns.

We install the first string according to a scheme already familiar to us, there are no changes. The only thing you need to remember is the order in which the strings are installed, in our case (when the pegs are located on opposite sides of the head of the neck), the order will be as follows: start with the first, then the second, followed by the third string.

We wind the second, and then the third string

Strings without winding (1st, 2nd and 3rd) can be placed backward on the front, that is, without cutting the retaining sleeve. First, insert into the hole of the shaft, stretch under the clamping plate and at the end insert into the mount with the "saddle". But personally, it seems to me that this method does not simplify at all, but rather complicates the process of installing strings. But the choice is yours.

Another point regarding safety! Very sharp (like needles), the ends of the strings sticking out after trimming can injure your hands, and not the trimmed ends can injure your eyes, there have already been precedents. Be careful and extremely careful.

Можно вообще не обрезать струны (некоторым это даже нравится,-), но тогда они мешают в чехле и опять же могут быть опасны для наших глаз. Лично я предпочитаю время от времени уколоть палец, чем рисковать глазом.

Убедитесь что все струны прошли под прижимной планкой и правильно легли в топлок(top lock), а именно в предназначенные для струн канавки

также проверьте расположение струн на самом бридже

Понажимайте на рычаг чтобы убедиться что бридж хорошо подвешен на штоках

Переверните гитару и.

. into the gap between the sustain block and deck, insert the halves of playing cards we have already loved. It will be easier for you to do this if you use the tremolo lever, pulling it up.

There are so many cards to put so that the bridge (bridge) stands parallel to the guitar body

Make sure that the pressure bar is sufficiently pressing the strings in the guide holes of the top lock. The strings should lie on the edges of the top lock on both sides. In the photo, the clamping bar is too high and the strings do not completely fit to the top-lock seat.

If necessary, tighten the clamping plate with a screwdriver. But do not tighten it all the way, twist exactly as much as necessary so that the string lies in the holes of the top lock.

Now the strings fit as they should

We carry out the initial tuning of the guitar without using micro-tuning. The bridge is currently blocked by a deck of cards, so it will be completely stationary, and the setting should be quite high-quality.

Attention! At this point, it is necessary to verify that the guitar is building on the flagship. Perhaps you need to adjust the scale and do it better right now. How to do this is the topic of a separate article. If the guitar is tuned normally according to the flags, then you go to the next step.

Install the lock pads in the seats of the top lock. Tighten the screws a few turns so that the pads hold but do not fix the strings. The strings should still slide freely.

This is how the pressure pads should be installed:

But this is by no means impossible! In the photo below, the pads are installed in the transverse direction (they are rotated 90 degrees). Pay close attention to this!

Tune the sixth and fifth strings using only the pegs on the head of the neck and tighten the lock screw with a hex wrench. Tighten tightly, but carefully.

Check the tuning quality of the 5th and 6th strings, for this it is advisable to use a tuner, but if there is no tuner, then focus on your ears. If at the previous stages you did everything correctly, then the strings should build and keep the string well. Small deviations from perfect sound are possible, but they can be corrected with the help of micro-tuning.

The rest of the strings are similarly tuned.

Perform the final tuning of the guitar using micro-tuning, do this while holding the guitar in the playing position. If you did the previous steps correctly, then the correction should be (as the name says) minimal.

Put the guitar on your lap, but only so as not to touch the bridge and micro-tuning, and tighten the screws holding the tremolo springs by as much as.

so that you can freely, without the use of force, pull out our deck of playing cards.

Put the guitar on your knees and check how the 6th string is tuned. If the string sounds lower, slightly tighten the screws holding the tremolo springs; if the string sounds higher, slightly unscrew them. Try to tighten or unscrew both screws evenly. Thus, tune the 6th string, and then check the tuning of the remaining strings.

All strings should sound perfect. If they all sound a little too low or too high, then fix it in the same way as with the 6th string, that is, tightening / loosening the spring fixing screws. Do not use micro-tuning, try to achieve the best result only by adjusting the tension of the tremolo springs.

And only now you can make minimal adjustments with the help of micro-tuning, but if until now you did everything correctly, then there should not be such a need.

After all the manipulations done, you should have a guitar with new strings and a tuned bridge (Floyd Rose bridge) installed as it should, that is, by all the rules.

There is the final touch. It is necessary to screw in place the back cover of the tremolo springs. Tighten or not to decide for you.

Most professional guitarists, as a rule, do not install this cover to always have quick access to adjust the springs. If you want to join their number, then put the cover and screws in a safe place, because someday it can come in handy (for example, when selling a guitar).