Musical Instrument Repairs and Electronics in Oswestry and the Marches
GUITAR DIY TIPS MENU
Restringing Your Guitar
- When you restring the instrument, thread the end of the string through the hole in the post of the machine head, then loop it back half a turn. pull it under the length of string between the post and the nut, then bend it up. When the string is tightened, this will "lock" the string and prevent slippage.
- Always ensure you have no more than two or three turns wrapped around the post of the machine head when the instrument is tuned to pitch, this will ensure that the slack is quickly taken up, and the tuning stabilises - if you have many turns, the tuning will take a long while to stabilise, and you will have to continually retune the instrument.
- When you restring your instrument, remove the old strings carefully (try not to "kink" them) and keep them in your guitar case in the packets that the new ones came in. If you break a string in the middle of a gig, the old one will tune up much faster (and stay in tune!), as it has already been fully stretched. Obviously, change the string for a new one when you get home!
- When you restring a classical (nylon strung) instrument, after threading the string through the hole on the bridge block, but before tying the knot in the string, hold the end of the string over a lighter flame for a second or so - not long enough for it to catch fire but enough to melt the end of the string so that it forms a small "ball". Please let it cool before touching it - molten nylon can give you a very painful burn (I speak from experience!). This will prevent the knot from pulling through. You only need to do this with the three plain strings - the wire windings on the bottom strings will stop these slipping.
- After fitting a string and tuning it to pitch, pre-stretch it by gripping it around the twelfth fret and pulling it up about four or five cm a few times, then retune it. Repeat this procedure a few times until the string stays in tune. Your tuning will now be much more stable.
- If your guitar is fitted with any kind of tremolo (particularly a sensitive "floating" unit), always change one string at a time and tune it back to pitch before removing the next one - failure to do this will turn an otherwise simple job into a nightmare (which is why luthiers always charge a bit extra for setups on these instruments!).
- If you play an instrument like a mandolin, banjo, or bouzouki etc that uses "loop end" strings and you are stuck for a replacement string, with a little care a normal "ball end" guitar string can be used by gently gripping the string in a pair of pliers, pressing down on the top of the loop of wire that is wrapped around the "ball", and working the ball out of the loop. This is a little fiddly, but it has saved the day for me on more than one occasion!