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String Change (caution graphic content )


drathbun

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I was setting up to do a string change on my SWD today. I thought I'd photo document it since there are always questions about string winding around tuner posts, ball ends slipping and bridge pins popping out. This is how I do strings changes after having taken what I consider the best parts of many other experts opinions. As always YMMV! eusa_whistle.gif

 

First I take the old strings off. I take all of them at once so I can access the battery compartment, clean the fretboard and that dusty spot under the strings in front of the bridge and polish the frets. The strings aren't off long enough to disturb the neck relief so don't distress! :-$ Also, I never cut the strings off! Too much pressure released all at once and the possibility of eye damage! I take them off by tuning down until slack, remove the bridge pin and pull out the ball end, then uncurl the string from the post making sure I don't scratch the headstock.

 

Once the strings are off, I take a wad of 0000 steel wool and lightly buff the finger board lengthwise. If there is built up grime on the fingerboard, a little circular movement in that area with the steel wool and then a brush lengthwise to get rid of any scratch pattern will take care of it. If you do this do your electric guitar's fretboard, remember to cover your pickups with a cloth or they'll be covered in tiny pieces of steel wool. Also, NEVER do this on a maple board... only rosewood and ebony. (If you have an Esteban, it is painted so don't do it!)

 

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I really like the D'Addario/PlanetWaves fret polishing cloths. Although I don't like their little cardboard template that comes with the kit. I made my own template from an old plastic card (my Vegas player's club card 8-[ ). I used my Dremel tool to carve the right slot into it. A light buffing on all the frets makes them shine. About twice a year (fall and spring) I'll put a drop of boiled linseed oil on the fretboard at this point.

 

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While I've got the strings off, I'll check on the voltage of the battery for my active pickup. I lay a cloth over the top of the guitar and pull the battery out of the pocket and check it with the meter.

 

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Looks good! No change necessary! Time to put the strings on.

 

I start from the low E. I put a kink in the string using my thumbnail about 1/2" from the ball end.

 

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Then I insert the string into the bridge hole with the kink facing the headstock.

 

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Then once the pin is in all the way, I hold it down and pull the string up until the ball end is firmly seated under the bridge plate. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STEP to keep your bridge pins from flying across the room later.

 

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Next pull the string through the tuner post so it goes straight across the tuner post for the A string. If you clip the string here, you will get a full 2 1/2 wraps around the tuner post. If you have taller posts, add a little more string past the A post. For each string, pull the string through and clip it at the same place over the next tuner up the headstock. When you get to the D string, and you have a 3 per side headstock, you'll not have a tuner post there. Just visualize where then next tuner would be IF it were there. Again YMMV and every guitar is different, but I've found this to be an amazingly simple way to figure how much string to cut. This idea is from Roger McGuinn and saves oodles of time when restringing a Rickenbacker 12 string!

 

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Next turn the tuner so the hole is at 90 degrees from where it was to start. Slide the string through the hole until only the amount of string you want is showing outside the hole. I usually leave about 1/4". Then pull the string in away from the fretboard to make a kink there.

 

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While pulling it away from the fretboard and keeping tension on the string, check that the bridge pin hasn't started to pop out (your ball end wasn't tight was it?), if it is, push it back down. Then start winding the tuner tight. I use a string winder drill attachment (lowest torque and go SLOWWW).

 

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When the string comes around the first revolution, slow down and make sure the string goes RIGHT under the part of the string poking out. Then continue turning until the string gets close to the fretboard. At that point, place the string in the nut slot, press your index finger down on the string in the nut slot and pull up on the string with the rest of your fingers to maintain tension (keep that ball end secure!). Tune to pitch.

 

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Done!

 

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Once all strings are to pitch. Stabilize the neck and pull straight up on each string between the 14th fret and the soundhole. This will stretch the string, stabilize the ball end seating and make tuning a lot easier. Tune to pitch again.

 

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Put the old strings (I don't keep the non-wound ones) in the packet from the new box and store it in your case in case of breaks.

 

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Great advice' date=' I am new to acoustics, what do you use to get the bridge pins out [/quote']

 

Most string winders have a little notch in them which slides under the bridge pins. You just rock it back slightly and the pin pops out.

 

Even the little cheapies have them:

 

StringWinder.jpg

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Nice job... I do pretty much the same thing on my guitars. I would add that when using Steel Wool on the fretboard of your acoustic with a pickup in it, do the same thing as with the electrics... I cover the sound hole with a cloth to make sure steel wool pieces don't get attached to any magnetic pup's I have in there.

 

Nice photos by the way!

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