Restringing an Electric Guitar

Learning to restring a guitar is important.

Learning to change your guitar strings is a necessary part of becoming a guitar player. While it's definitely not the hardest thing to learn as a guitarist, restringing a guitar can be a little cumbersome and difficult if you haven't done it before. Following a step-by-step guide is the easiest way to pick up this valuable skill.

Materials Needed

In order to restring an electric guitar, you'll need the following:

  • New strings for the guitar
  • Wire cutters
  • A guitar tuner and a pair of pliers are optional but helpful

Plan to spend at least half an hour changing your strings. If you're doing this for the first time it may take even longer.

Steps to Restring an Electric Guitar

When restringing an electric guitar, work on only one string at a time. The following instructions, up to step seven, should be repeated for each string on the guitar. The heaviest gauge string should go in the "top" string location and the lightest at the bottom. When all of the strings have been replaced move on to the last step.

  1. Restringing an electric guitar step 1
    Using the string winders at the top of the guitar neck, loosen the string until it can be popped over the peghead. Unwind the string from the peghead when the tension is loose enough to completely remove the string from the peg.
  2. With the wire cutters, trim the curled portion of the string that was wound around the peghead.
  3. Restringing an electric guitar step 2
    Pull the string down through the base of the guitar at the bridge to remove it completely.
  4. The new string will have a wire end and a weighted end. Run the wire-only end through the bridge of the guitar until the weighted end stops you from pulling. Do this gently.
  5. Put the wire end through the hole in the peghead opposite the entry point. Pull up on the string a little to give it two or three inches of slack.
  6. Restringing an electric guitar step 3
    Spin the tuning peg for the corresponding peghead slowly, wrapping the wire around the peghead. Only tighten it enough so that the wire is taut, but not necessarily in proper tune.
  7. Cut off excess wire near the pegheads with the wire cutters.
  8. Tune the guitar. You will need to retune each string a number of different times as the strings stretch. This process can go on for days as the strings stretch out, so be prepared to consistently tune.

General Tips

Many beginner guitar players will wait until they have popped a string on their electric guitar before changing their strings. More seasoned players may enjoy testing out different types of strings and gauges. Whatever your personal preference for changing strings, it is always best to be prepared since the process can take a significant amount of time.

A common mistake many people fall into while restringing electric guitars is removing all of the strings at once. This can often cause damage to the neck of the guitar since it is used to holding a certain amount of tension.

Don't Be Afraid to Practice

Restringing your guitar may seem intimidating if you've never done it before, but once you get used to the process you'll become more comfortable with it. With a little practice you'll be stringing your electric guitar like a pro.

Restringing an Electric Guitar