How to String a Guitar


Putting strings on an acoustic guitar is a simple and easy task. The most common strings for a steel string acoustic guitar are phosphorous bronze, gauge 13 to 56. Any brand will do. In addition to a fresh set of strings, you'll need:

  • Wire Cutters
  • String Winder
  • Small Bowl
  • Guitar Tuner
Items you need to restring an acoustic guitar.

It's important to only remove one string at a time, replacing it with a new string before moving on. First start with the thickest string, the low E, referred to as String #6.

Lay the guitar in your lap with the head stock pointing to the left. The tuning peg closest to you on the inside is the low E. To loosen, attach the string winder to the tuning peg and turn clockwise until you can remove the string completely from the tuning peg.

Start with the low E string, String #6.
Jonathan Grossman

Next, use the notched side of string winder to carefully remove the corresponding bridge pin. Once the bridge pin pops out, set it aside in a small bowl so it doesn't roll away. Carefully remove the string from the bridge and discard.

Release String #6 from the Bridge Pin.
Jonathan Grossman

Unpack the new low E string and unwind it. Take the side with the metal nub and insert that in to the vacant hole in the bridge. Use the bridge pin to push the nub into the hole and lock it in place.

Put one end of string into the vacant bridge hole with bridge pin.
J Grossman

Twist the tuning peg until the receiving hole faces the bridge. Lay the string into the vacant nut groove and then slide the free end of the string through the tuning peg hole and pull it all the way through.

Pull string through tuning peg hole.
J Grossman

Hold the loose end of the string with your left hand. With your right hand grab the middle of the string, right above the 12th fret, and lift it up 4 to 5 inches above the guitar neck. As you pull, you'll need to allow the string to slowly come back through that tuning peg hole, creating slack in the string for tuning purposes.

Pull string 4-5 inches above 12th fret to create slack.
J Grossman

Crimp the string at the tuning peg at a right angle bending the string outward, away from the headstock.

Crimp string at right angle away from head stock.
J Grossman

With your left hand, put the string winder on the tuning peg and turn counterclockwise, tightening the string. Use your right index finger to hold the string in the nut groove.

Hold the string in nut groove.
J Grossman

Once the string is fairly tight without slack, use the wire cutters to cut the excess string at the tuning peg.

Cut any excess string.
J Grossman

With the string locked in at the bridge and wound around the tuning peg, gently pull it away from the neck at the 12th fret to slightly stretch it out. Use the guitar tuner to tune the string to low E.

Stretch out strings by gently pulling at 12th fret.
J Grossman

Repeat the same instructions for strings 5 and 4.

Once done with the low strings, flip the guitar in your lap so that the head stock is on the right. Repeat steps 1 through 9, doing one string at time.

Once all the strings are replaced, tune your guitar one more time. Replacing those old dead sounding strings can truly add some zing to your string so enjoy the new bright sound.

For strings #1, #2 and #3, flip the guitar in your lap so the head stock is facing right.
Jonathan Grossman

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