D'Addario Core: How to Restring a Hardtail Electric Guitar

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Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: D'Addario Core Presents - Restringing a Hardtail Electric Guitar]

Rob Cunningham: So I'm here today with Doug Redler, the author of the Guitarist's Guide to Maintenance & Repair, and also the guitar tech to a couple pretty big stars-

Doug Redler: Big stars. Yeah.

Rob Cunningham: ... like Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes or Slash.

Rob Cunningham: You brought this awesome guitar. Can you tell us about it?

Doug Redler: Yep. This is my personal guitar. This is my rust guitar. I take it everywhere I go with me.

Rob Cunningham: All right. So tell us a little bit about this guitar and what we're going to do today.

Parts of the guitar

Doug Redler: We're basically, we're just going to put strings on it. I've had it out for a while. It's due. They're all rusty. It's not playing in tune. So I'll show you the parts of the guitar. First is your input jack where your cable goes, tone control, volume control, pickup selector, three-way, your bridge plate, these are your saddles where the strings goes over, is your bridge pickup, your neck pickup, the neck, the frets, the nut, the string tree, and the tuners.

Rob Cunningham: So where do we start to change the strings on this guy?

Removing the old strings

Doug Redler: First thing, we've got to secure on the D'Addario Headstand. Going to take our D'Addario Winder, and we're going to take all the strings off at one time.

Rob Cunningham: So now that we loosened up the strings, what's the next step?

Doug Redler: Okay. The strings are nice and slack. Now, make sure they're loose enough. You don't want it to spring back in your face. Going to take the string with your left hand, with your right hand in the clipper. Just going to cut each string. On this, on this Telecaster-style guitar, the strings are strung through the body. So it's from the back of the guitar that we've put the strings through. Take them out from there.

Rob Cunningham: Now, we just got to remove them from the other side?

Doug Redler: This is a slotted headstock, so the strings come right out of here.

Rob Cunningham: All right. So we got the strings off. What's next?

Installing the new strings

Doug Redler: Ready to string it up, and since it's my guitar, I'm going to put on my favorite strings, these new D'Addario, NYXLs, 10 gauge, I like to use. On this style of guitar, the strings are strung through the body. So the first step is you have to put the string in from the back of the guitar. Take the string. Put it through the hole, and it comes out the bridge plate. You're going to pull it tight. So we're going to do that with all six strings.

Rob Cunningham: All right.

Doug Redler: Okay. We put all the strings through the body, through the bridge plate, over the saddle, and we're ready to finish the job. So we're going to count one, two, and about right in between the D and the G. Going to take our clippers, cut it right there, and that'll give us the exact measurement we need. Next step, we're just going to take the string. We're going to put it right in the slot, push it all the way down, bend it, wrap it around, make it nice and tight. Take a string winder, counterclockwise. There's one, and there's two, nice even wraps towards the center of your guitar.

Rob Cunningham: And that's it.

Doug Redler: That's it, that simple. They go on easy. They come off easy, and we just got to repeat that for the remaining strings-

Rob Cunningham: Five more?

Doug Redler: ... and we're done. This style of guitar and most Fender-style guitars use a string tree. Applies pressure so the strings don't pop out of the B and the E tuners.

Tuning the guitar

Rob Cunningham: So let's tune this thing up [on-screen text reads: Clip-On Headstock Tuner].

Doug Redler: Okay. We're pretty close.

Rob Cunningham: Now, once we're in tune, we start playing this?

Doug Redler: We're going to give it a good stretching. We're going to work the strings in a bit, break them in. We're going to stretch it a couple of times.

Rob Cunningham: Why is this so important to do?

Doug Redler: Because if you took the guitar right away without stretching it and started playing, it'll go right out of tune. The strings need to break in.

Rob Cunningham: All right. I think we can take it from here, and then I'm going to steal this guitar from you.

Doug Redler: Good luck.

Rob Cunningham: Catch you later, Doug.



Doug Redler

Guitar Tech and Author