West County

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Guitar Maintenance 101

STORE Blog

Guitar Maintenance 101

by Steven

Week 1 – String changing

You would be amazed at what a difference a fresh set of strings will do for your acoustic or electric guitar, new strings = brighter more balanced tone, easier feel to your fingers and improved sustain overall.  In this weekly instalment, I will discuss basic guitar maintenance tips to keep your instrument in great playing condition.  Our first topic will be restringing your acoustic guitar, let’s get started.  

Tools needed:

  • string winder

  • wire cutter

  • tuner

  • fretboard cleaning/polishing cloth (Dunlop Formula 65 Polish and Cleaner) works great for rosewood, ebony or unfinished maple fretboards.

Removing old strings and cleaning our instrument:

To get started you will want to loosen the old string and clip with your wire cutter to remove. I like to remove all the string at once on an acoustic, this will make it much easier to clean the fret board and make any neck adjustments if necessary   (we will cover this topic in more detail in the next installment.) Just be sure to slowly detune one string at a time to make sure you do not cause any additional strain on the neck, if done properly you should not have any major issues.

Once all the strings are removed and we have completed all the necessary cleaning, we are ready to string up our guitar. There are many different ways to string a guitar so find what works for you. Below I will share with you some good beginner techniques and tips that will help you get more consistent results.

Tip 1: give the string a little bend about a ½ inch from the ball barring end before you put your bridge end pins back in, this with decrease the angle of the string over the bridge and lock your string in more firmly.

Tip 2: you only need around 2 full turns around the tuners, maybe 3 on the higher unwound strings, to get a sufficient hold; any more is not necessary and may cause tuning issues.

Tip 3: Whether you use the over under or knot approach, always remember to clip the access string off and bend down to avoid any sharp steel from cutting your fingers. Also on most acoustic you will want to wind the string towards the inside of the headstock this way when turning, a tuner left (counter clockwise),  should make the string go up in pitch.

Tip 4: Finally, always remember to stretch your strings a couple times after changing and bring back up to pitch, this will allow the string to set properly and your guitar will stay in tune much better.

For more detail and a step by step approach check out this video : http://www.daddario.com/DADMediaLibraryV2.Page?ActiveID=3770&MediaId=33&MediaName=How_to_Restring_an_Acoustic_Guitar.