Guitar Stringing Tips
How to string a guitar
1. Run the new guitar string between thumb and fingertip from end to end.If you feel any kinks or bends, especially in the area that will span the bridge saddle and nut, discard the string – it will probably not intonate well.
2. In most cases when a bridge is ‘floating’ (eg. Fender strat, Floyd Rose), or loose (e.g. archtops, Jazz guitars, semi-acoustic – Gibson, D’Angelico, etc.), it is best to replace one string at a time – i.e. remove the old string, then fit the new one and bring it up to tension. This prevents the bridge from falling off or coming loose, which can cause intonation change or worse!
3. Fewer turns around the post stabilise quicker, staying in tune longer than many turns – which look pretty, but have more tendency to stretch out and settle.
4.Tie strings round the posts so they can’t slip when tuning. After passing the string through the hole in the post, a simple way is to pull the end beyond the post, and thread it back under itself once (or twice for plain nylon). As it’s tightened, it clamps onto itself, locking and preventing slipping.
5. A half to one turn is sufficient for most guitars, but more may be needed to lower the angle and provide enough pressure on the nut. Fender Strats and Teles, (and similar guitars), with only one string retainer for the E and B, are the usual candidates for more windings.
6. Note that string retainers – also known as string trees – are fitted to pull the strings down behind the nut, to provide enough pressure to give a clear note, and stop the string from popping out of its groove. Apart from increasing friction, (particularly when using a tremolo system), they are often too low, which exacerbates the problems. Get your guitar tech to check it!
7. After a new set of strings is fitted, pull each string quite firmly to settle it quickly. This improves stabilisation speed by taking up the slack and stretching it a bit.
8. Tune up and play a few minutes. Re-check the tuning.
9. Classical guitar strings are mostly made of nylon, which stretches quite a lot at first, so they need re-tuning frequently. Steel strings maintain their pitch much quicker. Take this into account when re-stringing before a gig or recording session.