How To Change Electric Guitar Strings

You need to know how to change electric guitar strings so that you can keep a fresh set on your guitar at all times. For acoustic players, this is easy, but if you have an electric guitar, there are some additional factors to consider and steps you must take.

  1. Decide on a gauge. Do you strum hard or pick softly? If the former sounds more like you, you want a heavier gauge. Ask the guy behind the counter at the music store for a pack of .010 or .011 strings. If you're a light strummer, .009 strings should be appropriate. Be sure to experiment with different brands until you can decide on one you like the most.
  2. Remove the old set of strings. You'll need to turn your tuners until all the strings you currently have on your guitar are free from the tuning pegs.
  3. Determine what kind of bridge you have. Unlike most acoustic guitars, electric guitars come with one of several different bridge styles. If you have a hard-rail (Gibson-style) bridge, you'll just slide the old strings out from the bottom of the bridge. If you have a tremolo (Fender-style) bridge, you'll need to push the strings out from the back of the guitar body.
  4. Put the new strings on your guitar. For tremolo bridges, take the largest string in your set and put it through the hole in the back of the body, pushing it through until it comes out of the other side. This string sits on the bottom—that is—it's the closest one to your face when you play the guitar. If your bridge is of the hard-rail variety, insert the same string through the bottom of the bridge (on the front of the body). Now, bring the string up along the fretboard, through the nut, and through the appropriate tuning peg. Leave several inches of slack, and bend the part of the string you just brought outside the tuning peg so that it is bent directly against the peg. With your string-winder, begin tightening the string. If you don't have a string-winder, you may use your hand. Only 2 to 3 complete wraps are needed. Repeat this process for the five remaining strings.
  5. Tune up. Use your pocket tuner, keyboard, or amazing ear to tune your guitar as desired. Beginners should be learning to tune by ear so as to better develop their musical abilities.

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