6 Proven Steps: The Fastest Way to Re-String a Guitar

Though re-stringing a guitar may seem like a daunting and time-consuming process, there are several simple tricks for a fast and flawless transition. Whether you’re a guitar tech or simply an enthusiast, these six steps will make it a breeze to change strings.

how to re-string a guitar

1. Use a Neck Cradle

Placing a guitar in an upright position is essential for tuning peg access, and the aid of a neck cradle grants enormous convenience. When changing strings, it is necessary to lay the guitar on a flat surface and to lift the tuning pegs from any bottom surface. A neck cradle allows the guitar to rest in an upward position and provides quick access for detuning pegs.

2. Replace a String Winder with a Drill Bit Winder

String winders are great for guitar players, but may come as an inconvenience for guitar techs with time restraints. More advanced string winders now contain a built in string stretcher, which could shave down the effort and period spent stretching strings by hand. While a string winder is simple and cheap, a drill bit winder profoundly reduces the time spent on detuning and retuning strings. Drill bits can attach to any cordless screwdriver and its plated steel shaft gives the device longevity.

3. Clip and Re-String One by One

After using a drill bit to loosen up the strings, it’s time to remove the old strings. The more time the strings are off the guitar, the more chances there are for the neck to move and lose tension. Although clipping all the strings at once may seem the fastest, it’s not necessarily the smartest. By re-stringing one at a time, the guitar maintains the most tension. This will ultimately save time, as it doesn’t require as much time to retune the guitar.

4. Remove Unnecessary String Length

Clipping string length will ultimately trim re-winding time. When the string is in the tuning peg, measure about three pegs in length (or four fingers in width) and clip any excess length. Most new guitar players forget to clip the strings at the end, and waste time continuously spinning the pegs until the length disappears. With the use of a drill bit, re-winding the strings will be performed in seconds.

5. Stretching the Strings

A quick YouTube search of “How to Change Guitar Strings Fast” may show people changing strings at ridiculous paces, but there is always one major step the person forgets: properly stretching the strings. There is no point in speeding through changing strings if the person is going to waste 15 minutes monotonously tuning. Successful tuning is truly the fastest method of changing strings.

The degree to which the strings are stretched directly effects how often the guitar goes out of tune. The new string that is fed through the peg should not be tightened to the extreme, but should have just enough loose tension to pick up and stretch. There are three great places to stretch the string: the 3rd fret, the 12th fret and at the bridge. Spend a few minutes working in the strings. Don’t be too afraid to pull on the strings, they are created to withstand your strength and force.

6. Attaching a Clip-On Guitar Tuner

Rapid re-stringing perfection is not complete without a proper tuning job. Once all the strings are stretched in the key areas, the final step is attaching a guitar tuner to the headstock. Purchasing a clip-on tuner with a built-in microphone eliminates the need for a direct cable connection. Techs will find this feature most applicable.

Techs and players should look at re-stringing as an engaging challenge, rather than a tedious task. And while it may take some time to finalize your own process, the six steps outlined above will help get you started the right way.