D'Addario Core: How to Restring an Acoustic Guitar

youtube EUpEqimZyMM


Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: D'Addario Core Presents Restringing an Acoustic Guitar]

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

Doug Redler: Big stars, yeah.

Rob Cunningham: With Rich Robinson, The Black Crowes, Slash.

Doug Redler: Yes, sir.

Rob Cunningham: I'm so glad to have you here. I got you here to change strings of my acoustic. First, what are the parts of this guitar?

Doug Redler: This is a Dreadnought guitar. It's a D 28. You have the bridge, you have the bridge pins, which hold the strings in place. This little piece is the saddle, which the strings go over, the fretboard, the neck. You have the metal frets. Don't forget the sound hole, the tuners, and your nut.

Remove the old strings

Rob Cunningham: How do we get the strings off the guitar?

Doug Redler: First thing we do, we take our D'Addario Pro Winder and just start loosening them. On this guitar, we're going to take all strings off at one time. We're going to loosen them all and cut them and take them all off. There's no type of tremolo system on here, so you don't have to worry about doing any damage to the guitar.

You go about into the sound hole and clip them. Take them-

Rob Cunningham: But you have to make sure you loosen them up before you cut them.

Doug Redler: ... all off. Yeah, nice and loose. You don't want it springing back in your face. You want to pay attention to what you're doing. Hold this bit of the string while you're cutting them.

Rob Cunningham: Okay.

Doug Redler: There we go. So when you're taking the strings out on this end, this is coming out very easily. Sometimes it gets a little tight under there. You can push the string down and pull it out. Put the bridge pins back in the place they were in. So you got all the bridge pins back in place where they started. Go to the headstock, simply unwind them right through the hole.

There's some sharp ends on it. You don't want to poke yourself in the eye, You don't want to poke your fingers while you're doing this. It does hurt. Now we're ready-

Install the new strings

Rob Cunningham: To put some new strings on.

Doug Redler: ... to string her up again.

Rob Cunningham: All right, so what's... Where do we start?

Doug Redler: Okay, we're going to put the Phosphor Bronze Strings on them, which I really like.

Rob Cunningham: Now, does it make a difference what order you go in or...

Doug Redler: I always like to start with the wound strings first, so closest to me. So I always like to give it a good bend on there because we want to get the string under the bridge plate. I give it a little bit of a bend around my thumb.

Pull out the bridge pin. You're going to stick it in the bridge. Take your bridge pin and push it through. Pins are nice and tight. Take your string and put it through the tuner hole. We come around the post nice and tight, putting it underneath and tying it over. This is called the locking system and it keeps the string really tight.

We're going to go counterclockwise.

Rob Cunningham: How many wraps should we expect?

Doug Redler: Well, besides looking bad, you don't want the string to wrap around itself. You want it to just go right down on the post nice and clean. So I like to do about three or four wraps on each one.

Rob Cunningham: And having just one or half a wrap isn't good either, right?

Doug Redler: That's no good. That's not good, it could slip. And too many wraps is bad too. You don't want it to touch the metal down here on the headstock.

Rob Cunningham: All right.

Doug Redler: And we'll do the same thing with the rest of the strings. Press the string down and cut them as close to the post as possible. We are almost ready to play.

Rob Cunningham: I want to play this thing.

Doug Redler: That close. So we're going to get our D'Addario Headstock Tuner. We're going to tune up the pitch, see how we did.

Rob Cunningham: All right, so we're in tune. Can we play this guitar now?

Doug Redler: Nope.

Rob Cunningham: What have we got to do?

Doug Redler: What have we got to do? We got to stretch those strings. Go up and down on the strings. Nice and tight. A little more gentle on these Squier unwound strings. You don't want those to break. And we're going to tune up to pitch. Get it in the green on our tuner.

So once the guitar's stable and in tune after a couple of good stretchings, you're ready to go-

Rob Cunningham: I'm ready to go sing Kumbaya by the campfire.

Doug Redler: ... sing and play. You're ready to play. They're going to love you.

Rob Cunningham: I can't wait. Thanks, Doug. Great.

Doug Redler: Thanks, Rob.



Doug Redler

Guitar Tech and Author