#1: How to change strings on a Gibson style guitar.

You’d be amazed at how much controversy this causes – and over the years, having set up hundreds of guitars there are a few things that I’ve learned.

The aims of restringing the guitar are simple.

1. To do it as quickly and easily as possible.

2. To ensure that the string stays in tune for as long as possible.

3. To ensure enough downward pressure at the nut so that the string stays in it’s nut groove.

In order to do this I’ve found the following procedure best.


1. Leave so much excess string that the string overlaps on top of itself – this can cause slippage and tuning problems as the layers of strings slip about on top of each other as tension changes not only during tuning but also during playing.  You’re aiming for 2-3 turns of string – one over and 1-2 under the string, all in touch with the capstan.  MORE IS NOT BETTER!

2. Leave the excess strings in gangly loops at the headstock – it just looks tacky and will potentially scratch your guitar when you put it in its case/gigbag.

3. Some people advocate a loop on the unwound strings that passes through the capstan and traps the excess string, tension therefore pulls this into a knot.  This is great for avoiding slippage, but I’ve pricked myself more times than I care to remember trying to remove the strings that have been tied in this manner.  It would be a nightmare to do this in a “gig” situation.  I find the “over-under” practice of trapping the string more than adequate, and far quicker and much less painful to change. – Funnily enough just after I’d written this I got this guitar in on the workbench… Everything that could be wrong with restringing in one package…. 🙂



Useful tips:

  1. Don’t try and re-use old strings – it’s a false economy – the string will have “kinks” where it’s been in the capstan, nut and bridge – these are points of weakness and will result in string breakage.
  2. Buy a string winder – These are my most used piece of equipment and save RSI in your wrist 🙂  They also make changing the strings much quicker. – Have a look at the ones that I sell, they’re only a couple of quid and you will never look back – HERE!

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