You got your guitar. You start learning chords on your quest of becoming a rock legend. Visions of Stairway to Heaven are buzzing through your ears when...dink...your string snaps in two. Not to worry, young shredder, this instructional guide to stringing your guitar will get you back on your feet in no time by following these four easy steps.
Step 1: Know Your Guitar
Before unraveling those broken or rusty strings, get used to the mechanics of your instrument before unwinding the strings. Inspect the neck and tuning pegs before proceeding, making sure there is nothing wrong before you tune.
Step 2: Get Some Strings and Clean That Axe
Every guitarist will tell you that Fender strings are the best or Dunlop strings are the best. For this demonstration, I'm using Ernie Ball regulars. There are different types of sets of strings, which is based off the thickness of each set. A slimmer set allows for more bending and picking while a thicker string lends itself to be more durable. Try out different sizes to figure out which is best for you.
Once you have the strings, you're probably going to want to put them on. WRONG! Clean that puppy first. Not only will your guitar shine as you race up and down the neck doing elaborate Jimmy Hendrix solos, it is also good to keep it clean and free of rust and debris.
Step 3: Keep Your Strings in Order
Probably the worst feeling in the world is stringing your guitar and realizing that you mixed up the strings. Each string has its own package sleeve with the gauge number listed on the front. The higher the number, the thicker the gauge. If you are using standard tuning, use the photo as a reference point.
Step 4: It's Time to String
With your strings in order, feed the tip of the string through the hole in the bridge. Once you feed the string, make sure the string stays in the groove of the guitar nut. Once at the tuning peg, feed the string through the hole of the tuning peg.
And here in lies the tricky part. Too much slack and you have a birds nest on your tuning peg. Here, you run the risk of the string slipping and falling out of tune. Too little slack and your string falls out of tune or pulls out of the peg completely when under tension. This is something that will take time to get just right.
Once you're confident in the amount of slack you have, take the point of the string and bend it at a 90 degree angle. Use your pointer finger to press down on the side of the hole where you inserted your string. Applying pressure allows for the string to stay in place. Begin to turn the tuning peg until the string is somewhat taught. Repeat this step for the next five strings.
It is best to wait and tune at the end of stringing your guitar. As you begin to tune, pull and stretch the strings with your fingers. By loosening the strings, it won't be as prone to fall out of tune. You will need to retune the strings as you play, but this is normal.