Classical Guitars: When and how to change your strings

  • Strings will need replacing from time to time. How long does a string last? Well, there are two main factors; the amount of use and the amount of sweat left on the strings by your hands. There are many methods and tricks for changing strings but the most important thing to remember is to do it properly as it affects the tuning and sound a lot. 

    If the individual notes start to sound strange or you get weird vibrations when you play it is time to change your strings.


    The first thing to pay attention to is whether you have nylon or steel strings. Make sure you keep your old string packaging so you know what string to order.


    To remove the string, you can cut them one by one or use the tuning pegs to unwind them. If you are cutting them, make sure you are careful that the string does not whip your hands or face, slacken the string before cutting.


    Modern strings are fitted with a braid at the end to help fit them. If the strings you have bought do not have a braid you will have to bend the end of the string at a right angle and leave a centimeter spare before cutting. To fit them, we recommend using a special guitar key. Wherever you buy your guitar strings you will be able to buy a key. The great thing is, strings may snap but you will only ever need one key.


    With the string tensed you will need to wrap it around the tuning peg at least twice. You may be tempted to wrap the string as many times as it will fit around the tuning peg to make it more stable. We do not recommend that you do this.


    The more layers of string you have, the more difficult the guitar will be to tune and it may affect the sound. It is always better to leave the strings a bit longer than you need as you will have a margin of error. If you cut the string too short, you will need to use a completely new string.


    Replacing strings is something you will get better at over the years. It is an essential skill of the guitar player to be able to take care of their guitar, know when to change strings, how to change them, and how to tune them to their liking.


    If you are unsure how to change your strings it is better to go to a professional for the first few times.