Changing the strings on a classical guitar is similar to changing strings on other types of guitars, but keep in mind that classical guitars use nylon strings and not steel strings, so the process is a little bit different.
The guitar itself is also made a little differently, so it’s good to know exactly how to change the strings so it’s done properly. If your guitar has a buzzing sound or it’s impossible to keep it properly tuned, it is often because the strings need to be changed. For any guitar to sound good, it needs strings that aren’t worn out, and you can change them yourself if you know how.
How to Change Strings on a Classical Guitar?
Essentially, changing strings on a classical guitar involves three steps: removing the old strings, tying the new strings to the bridge, and attaching the strings to the neck. If you learn how to change the strings yourself, you can avoid having to pay the guitar store to do the job for you, and the more experience you get changing the strings, the more confident you’ll feel that you won’t have to rely on these stores to get the job done. If you’re going to be a guitar player, learning to change the strings is important, so the sooner you learn how to do this, the better.
Removing the Old Strings
To remove old strings on a classical guitar, you can unwind them one at a time or cut them off, but unwinding them is the best way to get the job done. Loosen the 6th string from the neck, which is the thickest string on the guitar. Loosen the string by hand until it slides out of the guitar. If you do cut the strings with scissors, make sure that you remove the small scrap parts around the bridge so that all of the pieces are completely out of the guitar.
Make sure that you untie the string at the bridge, then remove it. When it’s loose enough, undo the knot at the bridge by pushing the string back through the part where the knot was made, then pull the string back out of the hole so it is removed completely.
Once you get to this point, you can loosen up and remove the remaining strings. Go ahead and dispose of the strings because you won’t be able to reuse them in the future. You can even recycle them if you find a place that will do this for you. Just remember to use nylon strings because steel strings put too much pressure on the neck and may cause it to crack or bend.
Tying the New Strings to the Bridge
To start with, you’ll have to place the new 6th string through the right hole in the bridge. Push it through so that four to five inches of string sticks out towards the base of the guitar. If there is a rough end and a smooth end, use the smooth end to loop through the bridge. Loop it around once so it goes underneath the other half of the string.
Then tuck the string under the loop and pull it tight. While doing this, hold the string down against the soundboard so it isn’t sticking up. Remember that the tail of the string has to come down over the white lip before it is tightened so the knot will stay tight.
Pull the string from both sides to tighten it, and make sure the tail reaches down over the white lip before you tighten the knot. You’ll repeat the process with the 5th and 4th strings, but the last three strings are a little different. When doing the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st string, use the same process except tuck it under the loop three times instead of just once.
Make sure that you always tuck the strings under their respective loop two or three times, but put the string through the bridge as you did the first three strings. The 1st string can be looped through the hole twice before tucking it under the loop and tightening it because it is the thinnest string.
Attaching the Strings to the Neck
For the 6th string, turn the tuning peg until the hole is face up, so it’s easier to work with. You should run the new string through the hole vertically and thread it through once. Then, push the end of this string down through the corresponding hole on the neck. Run the string back through the gap just below the capstan (the white plastic part that you wind the string around).
Pull this string until there is four inches of slack right in the middle of the neck. Bring the string back through the loop just above the capstan, either once or twice.
Rotate the tuning peg to tighten the string. Keep winding this way until the string is in tune, then let go of the loose string. You can use a wire cutter to cut off excess string. Do the same thing for the remaining strings, one at a time. Just don’t tighten the strings so much that they snap. Once all of the strings are on the guitar, use a tuner to get it back in tune.
Conclusion – How to Change Strings on a Classical Guitar
The process described above may sound complicated, but once you do it just one time, it’ll make sense and become a lot easier to do. Restringing a guitar isn’t complicated; it’s just something that the average person doesn’t have to do, so it takes some practice.
If you keep in mind that only nylon strings should be used and you’re careful when stringing and tuning your classical guitar, you’ll be a pro at it before you know it. It starts by making sure that you’re familiar with all of the parts of the guitar itself, which makes the rest of the process a lot easier.
Removing and stringing guitars one string at a time is important because it makes the process easier. Cutting the strings to remove them is usually not recommended, especially for beginners. And once you complete this process a few times, you’ll understand why.
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