Picture of Replacing a String on a Guitar
These instructions are general for replacing a broken or worn string on a guitar. These instructions are general guidelines and variations exist. With practice, personal preferences will develop and help make the process faster and unique to your instrument. The main variations in all guitars are seen in the way the tremlo is set up, mainly in the saddle and the bridge. The guitar pictured here is a Gibson Les Paul.

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Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Guitar you are Working with

Parts: Start at the bottom of the guitar:

Saddle: where the string rests and is held in place

Bridge: string is positioned and sits in its own slot to ensure adequate spacing among all the strings

Electric pickups: magnetic pickups that translate the strings vibration into the correct sound

Peg and tuner: At the head of the guitar, you will find the pegs and the tuners. The tuners are the six knobs on the ends of the pegs that, when turned, tighten or loosen the string. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with which pegs and tuners go with which strings.

Step 2: Remove the Broken String

Picture of Remove the Broken String
Many factors contribute to breaking a string. It varies hugely among who is playing the instrument and how long the string has been on the instrument and in use. The bottom line though, is that you still have a broken string and it must be fixed.

In order to remove the string, first you must pull the string out through the bottom of the saddle. You will notice an eyelet at the end of the string which will help you grasp the string when removing it.

Step 3: Unwinding the String

Picture of Unwinding the String
Move to the top of the guitar and either unwind the string around the peg or by using the tuner. This is more easily completed by simply unwinding the string from around the peg because it is already broken. However, if you just want to put a new string on your instrument and replace an intact string, using the tuner is a much better option. This is because the string has tension that does not exist when it has broken.
rockadio1014 years ago
i love the adio sticker it is sick and good instuctable i realy needed this couse my string broke thanks ps NICE STICKER IM ABSESED WITH ADIO
h3dru5h4 years ago
Well done and thought out instructable.
btw i change the strings on my Les Paul and Flying V one at a time, to maintain tension on the stop bar tailpiece. I never have problems with intonation or string action, after changing strings.
iamtoats4 years ago
Why put a sticker on suck a nice guitar? Even worse, why put an upside down sticker on suck a nice guitar!?
berky934 years ago
really, you should never just replace one string. If one breaks, you should replace them all. Besides, nothing feels better than playing a guitar that has six fresh strings
rblee berky934 years ago
Also, replace the strings one at a time - Don't remove them all then put on the new ones.

The combined tension of the strings will normally be at least 150lbs, depending on the strings you choose, and can be a lot more. Big changes in tension are supposed to be bad for the neck, though I've never noticed this, probably because I've never done it.

Good instructable - Nice pictures.
berky93 rblee4 years ago
I replace all of my strings at a time and have never noticed any problems. Maybe lower-quality guitars with less stable truss rods will have more noticeable effects
rblee berky934 years ago
For what it's worth, I've seen that advice in a number of places, and it's also suggested by the guys at the place that does our guitars. They actually reckon you should check the fretboard for straightness after re-stringing if you have had to remove all the strings. They made a point of demonstrating the flatness of the fretboard to my wife when she picked up an acoustic they lowered the action on recently. That said, they also reckon you should do this if you change the string weights significantly, so maybe they're perfectionists, or obsessed.

You'll also find it on Washburn's site, for instance, and I wasn't aware that their guitars are poor quality.

Maybe it's just the difference between an acoustic and a big chunk of solid wood like a strat? They do feel indestructible.

It's standard practice on violins, cellos, etc., but that's more likely to be because the bridge falls off and is a little tricky to set up. I hate tuning my son's violin. No gearing and grotty old tapered pegs shoved into holes? Urgh!
newb rblee4 years ago
I change all my strings at once on my bc rich and my strat like the only guitar's i've heard had major problems with that are Les Paul's. That's why i change one at a time on mine but also after i change my strings i set up my guitar basically set the action again adjust the bridge and truss rod kind of a pain but feels great playing a newly set up guitar with new strings.
rblee newb4 years ago
If it works for you then go for it. Ain't no rules that can't be broken :)