Guitars are some of the oldest and most common instruments in human history. The pleasant-sounding instrument is easy to learn, but difficult to master, which gives it an incredible range of sounds that it can create.
Of course, as with any instrument, maintenance is a key part of creating the perfect sound. From smaller maintenance tasks like re-tuning the strings, to larger tasks like replacing the face of the guitar, it can be quite a task to keep a guitar in tip-top shape.
One of the most common problems that guitar players face is wear and tear on their strings. Strings take up the majority of the force when the instrument is played, so it’s no surprise that occasionally those strings snap during play.
Still, having to restring your guitar can be incredibly annoying and significantly cuts into the time that you’d most likely prefer to be spent playing!
If you’re reading this now, you likely need to have your guitar restringed, and you may be fretting over the potential difficulty or the potentially high cost of the job.
To help ease your mind, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide so that you can know what to expect when you need to restring your guitar!
So How Much Does It Cost To Restring Your Guitar?
Worry not. The cost of restringing your guitar is relatively low and is very much affordable. There is no fixed price that all restringing jobs strive for, and they can vary slightly based on a number of smaller factors.
One factor that can affect the price of a restringing job is who is doing it for you. Restringing a guitar can be a relatively simple job, and with even just a basic amount of experience, you can do it all yourself.
This can save you a lot of money, as you won’t be paying extra for labor. However, if you are daunted by the process of restringing your guitar, and don’t want to risk doing the job improperly, you may want to opt to have someone do it for you.
Having a professional restring your guitar can range massively in terms of price. If the person doing the job is more renowned, you can expect to pay slightly more, as you will be paying for a premium service.
If they are less renowned, then it will cost slightly less. You should expect a restringing service to cost you anywhere between $20 and $50.
The other area of the task that causes the price to vary is the cost of the strings themselves. If you buy premium strings from a prestigious brand, they will cost more, and vice versa for more basic strings.
In order to ensure that you don’t pay too much for a guitar restring, you should think about what kind of strings you need.
If you want premium strings that cost more, you might want to consider restringing yourself in order to cut down on costs. If not, you can expect to pay in excess of $100 for the strings and the restringing job.
If you are planning to restring your guitar yourself for the first time, then it is worth doing so with cheaper strings, so that if you do the job incorrectly it won’t be a significant waste of money.
How Do You Restring a Guitar?
Restringing a guitar only takes a few steps, but each one should be followed properly in order to get the best results.
Restringing a guitar improperly can lead to unsatisfactory results that can leave your guitar sounding unusual, which you definitely don’t want!
Step 1 – Slacken Your Strings
To start, you will need to slowly take away the tension from your strings.
You can do this by slowly turning the tuning pegs until the strings become slack. Once the strings have become slack, you won’t risk accidentally snapping them while attempting to remove them.
From here, you can remove the ends of the strings from the pegs that hold them onto the head.
If you want, you can also cut the strings instead, but you should make sure that you have slackened the strings before you do, as cutting them while they are tense may cause them to whip around unsafely, which can lead to injury!
Step 2 – Remove the Bridge Pins
After the string has been removed from the top end or cut, you will need to remove it from the bridge pins which keep the strings in place evenly. To do this, you simply pop the strings out of the bridge and then unwind the pins.
There are specially designed tools made just for unwinding the bridge pins, so you should make sure to use them if you have access to them. The bridge pins retain a strong hold on the strings, by gripping the strings deep within the guitar itself.
In order to free your strings, you will need to pop the pins out. You should be careful when doing this, as the pins can be delicate and easy to snap. Replacing bridge pins can be costly, so do be careful!
Once the bridge pins have been removed, you can now relinquish their grip on the strings. Now you have successfully removed your old strings!
Step 3 – Preparing For Your New Strings
Before you go about adding your new strings, you may opt to give your guitar a good clean.
It might have been a long time since you’ve been able to access the nooks and crannies of your guitar, so it is worth taking advantage of this to clean it properly.
Once you are satisfied with your cleaning, then you can begin to start putting your strings in. Before you attempt to add any of your new strings to your guitar, you need to be sure that your strings are going into the right place.
Your new strings should have been packaged in the appropriate order, and many string suppliers choose to label the strings appropriately so that you can place them in the intended order.
Remove all packaging from your strings and lay them out in the order that you need to add them to the guitar.
Step 4 – Add the New Strings To Your Guitar
Now it’s time for the exciting part; adding your new strings! Start by grabbing your first string, and have the first bridge pin grip the end of the string securely.
From there, you need to insert the pin back into the bridge, and then guide the string back into the appropriate groove on the bridge.
Do this carefully for each string, until each one is securely in place. After this, you can begin to stretch out your strings towards the top of the guitar.
In order to ensure that your new strings stay firmly in place at the top of the guitar, you will want to guide them into the nut slots.
These are small grooves just under the head of the guitar, at the very top of the neck. Each string slides into one of these grooves. Stretch each string slowly up to the appropriate groove, and put it into position.
This next part might be a little bit difficult. From here, you need to thread each string into the appropriate tuning post. For example, the low E string needs to be threaded through the lowest tuning post on the left-hand side.
Once you have threaded the string through its associated post, you need to pull on it slightly and begin winding the post to increase the tension.
Make sure to do it slowly so that each winding of the string sits comfortably on the post, and won’t risk coming free during play.
Once you have done this with every string, simply cut off the excess from the string! Then you can simply tune the guitar as you usually would until it sounds just right. Congratulations! You’ve just restrung your guitar!
Is It Really Worth It To Restring Your Guitar?
If you think your guitar is beginning to sound unusual, or it is not creating the sounds you usually expect, it is well worth seeking to get the strings replaced.
Not only can it be easily done, but it will also save you a lot of money, as you won’t waste money by throwing a perfectly good guitar away. This thrifty behavior is also beneficial to the planet, as you are making the best of what you already have!
The feel of a new set of strings on a guitar is notable, and can also slightly improve your guitar playing!
How Often Should I Restring My Guitar?
Guitars are hardy instruments that can withstand quite a significant beating. You might have had the same strings for a very long time without them causing any problems.
However, this is not the case for most users, and most guitars will need to have their strings changed a few times over their lifespan.
Generally, you should aim to change the strings on your guitar at least once every 3 months. Others often suggest that you aim to only use strings for around 100 hours of playtime.
This is so that your guitar can always be sounding its best, and so that you don’t run the risk of having your strings snapping midway through a song, which can be frustrating and embarrassing in equal measure!
You might be breathing a sigh of relief by now. Restringing your guitar won’t cost you the earth, and you’ll soon be strumming your new strings in no time.
You can even save a massive amount of money by choosing to change your strings manually, which can be done easily by following our above guide!
If you are encountering problems with your guitar strings right now, don’t hesitate to find a quick solution, you’ll be very happy that you did!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long Do Guitar Strings Last If Not Played?
Guitar strings can survive a fair amount of time even when not in use. You should expect that, if you haven’t played your guitar for around 2 months, they would work just fine.
However, if you haven’t played your guitar in a few years, then your strings may have suffered some damage and may not sound right. Over time, when not in use, strings will also begin to lose their tension, and you will need to retune the whole instrument.
You might be wondering how strings can continue to degrade when they haven’t even been used. This happens because of the conditions of the area where the guitar is stored.
If you store your guitar in an area in your home that is humid or has a lot of moisture, your strings will likely rust, which causes them to weaken.
How Long Should Guitar Strings Stay In Tune?
Guitar strings will usually remain in tune for a good length of time. Tuning posts on guitars are very sturdy and are able to hold the strings in a firm position for a long time.
However, they will still move, though only slightly, when played. They should usually stay in place for at least a week during daily use.
Brand new strings may end up coming out of tune a lot easier. This is because they have to be ‘broken in’, to get used to the shape of your guitar, and how you play it. It may take about a week for your new strings to feel like they’ve settled.
Can You Replace Just One Guitar String?
Yes. If only one of your strings is causing you major trouble, you can choose to replace just that one string. Many string suppliers allow you to buy individual replacement strings.
However, many guitar players opt to change all of their strings when one string begins to be problematic. This is because, usually, when one string begins to cause trouble, the others are not too far behind.