Perfect Method of Changing guitar strings.
In my decade of guitar playing experience (not bragging, just trying to explain you something!) I got efficient in something which is related to guitar playing; the most important part of guitar assembly, yet the most overlooked factor nevertheless, is changing the string(s).
Now I know that most of you guys will be like “Yeah like it’s the most complicated thing in the world eh? Pffft... Changing the strings!” No it’s not the most COMPLICATED thing in the world, but yea there are some things which can complicate the process. Counter Productive? Well, it takes time and effort but gives your guitar strings a longer life and of course to your guitar too while giving you a great deal of satisfaction when you play, a clean, fresh bright sounding guitar. Plus, you save money which you hand out for something you can do at the comfort of your home.
Removing old strings
With a string winder, and starting from the low E string, unwind the string, until you are able to loosen it from the hole in the machine head. Work across the guitar repeating this method. This will put the smallest amount of pressure on your neck and body. Do not plainly cut the strings using wire cutter. This manner is dangerous, and gives an unexpected stress release within the guitar neck. It also makes for twice the sum of wire to dispose of. then, carefully pull out each string’s peg, keeping track of which peg, came from which string. Wrap up each string back into a circle, and lock loop with one end. Try to make the circle small enough to fit into the envelope that your new strings will be disconnected from. In this way, everything is nice and neat, and there is less change of damage.
Polishing and conditioning your neck
Now use your guitar polish, and clean your instrument, especially around the sound hole. This is also the time to decide, weather your fret board needs conditioning or not. There are many good polishes and fret board conditioners on the market. Personally, I like to remove any dirt and grease that has built up behind the frets. I find that trying to remove all traces of build up is needless and can lead to damage the neck. Harsh chemicals will dry out the wood, and water tends to swell the wood. So, just use a clean cloth and gently remove most of the grease, using the fret board conditioner. Leaving a little grease behind isn’t going to hurt anything. If you get to aggressive and trying to remove all of it, you may do more harm than good.
Installing new strings
Get a lead pencil. Before replacing your strings, take the sharp lead pencil, and rub the lead into the string slots on the top nut. This will put in a little graphite, and help to release uneven tension when you tune the guitar. Your guitar will stay in tune better.
Starting with the bass E string, place the end ball back into the saddle, and adjust the slot in the peg to fit the string. Press the peg all the way down while placing a little tension on the string, with the other hand. You are trying to find the end of your string ball, while pressing the peg into the hole. Take the other end, being careful, wind it around the machine head’s pole 2-3 times, rotating counter clock wise, on the bass side and clock wise on the treble side. After placing the end of the wire through the hole, pull it tight. Now, begin twisting the machine head, placing more stress on the string. No string should be entangled with another. Check to see that the 2-3 windings are holding, and look correctly. Do this with all 6 strings. Using a tuner, slowly bring the bass string up to full note tension. Do this with all 6 strings. Don’t waste your time trying to tune each string. Relative pitch will work for now. If your G string is a wrapped, be slow to bring it up to tone. It contains the thinnest core wire within the set and is the easiest to break. Worry about the G string, and then the top E string. Bring all of your strings up to tune, working your way from the bass to the treble. Use a good pair of small wire cutters, cut off the excess wire.
Pre-stretching your strings
Your new strings will not stay in tune, until they have had time to stretch out. If you don’t plan to play, tune it up, and leave it for a day or two, re-tuning when you have a chance. I have rarely done this, as I usually want to start playing. Additionally, I want my guitar to stay in tune, without constantly retuning… Here is a way, to help remove most of the built in slippage from your strings. Care must be taken, or you will break strings. As the strings become thinner, you must use less pressure. With your guitar fully tuned to E, place it horizontally on a padded table top, and/or your lap with the bass string adjacent to you. Grasp the bass E string with both hands. The wire should be between your four fingers and your thumbs. Hands spread apart, with approx. a half an inch space between your two thumbs, start bending the string. Pull with your fingers, while bending in the opposite direction. Do this moving up and down the neck. You are working the bindings. You should be very careful bending your G string, especially if it has an outer wrapping. This is the string, which will always break first, until you learn this technique. Turn your guitar around now, and do the same thing in the opposite direction, starting from high E to low E. Once you have learned this technique, you will be likely use it, as it makes a huge difference in the time it takes to keep your guitar in tune. It might be wise, to purchase an extra single G and E string. In the beginning, your G, B, and high E, are the strings that break most frequently.
So, That’s it!