By knowing how to fix a guitar string in a hurry, you can salvage precious time wasted on stage by making people watch you panic over a missing string. Having to fix a broken guitar string is a part of playing guitar, so being ready when the time comes will make your life a little easier.
To fix a guitar string, you will need:
- A guitar
- A new string
- Disconnect the guitar from the amplifier. If your guitar is plugged in, either turn off your amp or disconnect the guitar. Don't work on your guitars while they are plugged in; it can be hazardous to the guitar and the amp.
- Remove the damaged string. There are two ways that guitar strings general become useless. They can come unwound, or they can have a clean break; either way, don't remove the old string by jerking it free. Unwind the string from the tuning peg, and then pull the string through the guitars bridge. If the string is a clean break, just remove each part from their respective ends of the guitar.
- Thread the new string. Run the new string through the guitar's bridge, over the saddles, and down to the guitar's headstock.
- Fix the string to the tuning peg. Pass the string through the hole in the guitars tuning peg. Wrap the string about a half of a turn around the tuning peg, this will keep the string in place while you tune. Leave enough room for the string to wrap around the tuning peg about three times. This will give the string enough tension to stay in tune without leaving enough room for overlapping, which will cause the string to move and fall out of tune while playing.
- Wind the new string. Tighten the string by using the the guitar's tuning key, while holding tension on the string with your other hand. Pin the string to the fretboard with your index finger, while holding the slack with your other fingers. Holding tension on the string will keep it from falling flat.
- Stretch the new string. Stretch the new string at every fret, up and down the fretboard. Fret each fret with one finger, and give the string a slight pull using your other hand.
- Tune the string. Tune your string. If you have a guitar tuner, use that. To tune the string by ear: fret the fifth fret of the string above the string you have just replaced, and strum the two together. If you have just changed the B string, then use the fourth fret of the G string as a tuning reference. Use the key on the guitars tuning machine to match the pitch of the new string to the string that is already in tune. The frequencies will level off when the strings are at the same pitch.
- Plug in the guitar, and enjoy. Plug your guitar back and you are ready to play. Newer strings will fall flat more often than old strings. Keep an ear on the tuning of the new string.
Now, you will be ready and able to fix broken guitar strings when they happen. Broken strings are an inevitability, but with practice, changing them will become less and less of an inconvenience.