Changing the strings on your guitar can be a daunting task as a new guitarist. Over the years most people develop their own routine and/or pick up tips from other guitarists. But it’s hard to know if what you’re doing is correct or an old wive’s tale. In the following video David Doll who is billed as a “Martin Guitar Craftsman” shows you the process that C.F. Martin uses to string of all it’s new guitars. So the next time you restring your guitar, you can do it with a little more confidence. I’ve transcribed some of the “how to” and tips information below the video.
How to Restring a Guitar
- Find a clean flat surface like a table to use as your work area. Place something soft on the surface for the guitar to rest on.
- You don’t have to remove the strings one at a time. It’s okay to remove all of the strings. Which also makes it easier to wipe down the fretboard, change a battery, etc.
- When adding the new string, have the ball end of the string with the curved edges running vertically (see picture). The better fit with the groove of the bridge pin cuts down on extraneous vibrations and noise.
- Pull up on the string as you push the bridge pin down into place
- Position the holes of the tuning machine so that they face down the neck
- To judge the amount of lag to leave in the string, pull the string to roughly the opposite side of the neck
- Pull the excess string under the string, towards the neck, and then out. Pull it tight and then wrap it back over the string. You can then pinch the string at the excess point. This process helps keep the string securely in place.
- While winding the strings, keep tension on the string by holding it securely in the nut slot.
- Clip the string as close to the tuning machine as possible
- Once you get the guitar close to pitch, stretch the strings by pulling straight up on them
- You may have a loose fit (sometimes happens with older guitars) with the ball end of the string and the bridge pin. The Martin Marquis strings have a cloth winding at the end that may produce a snugger fit.