How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners

How to change Acoustic guitar strings

How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings

When do you want to change your guitar strings? If they sound dull or look dirty this would be a good reason to change the strings. Further more if you break a string you can either replace the broken string or depending on how old the strings are replace them all with new acoustic guitar strings. So let’s look at how to put new acoustic strings on a guitar.

To do the job of replacing the guitar strings you will need some tools. They are as follows: String winder, wire clippers, and new guitar strings. If you don’t already own these items you can find them here at YourGuitarGuide.com Store.

On an acoustic guitar you will not want to remove and replace all the guitar strings at once. You want to keep tension on the neck. So the best way to replace the guitar strings is to replace them two at a time. First of all start with the low E string which goes to the guitar string peg closest to you on the headstock.

How to replace the guitar strings on an acoustic guitar

      Winding Guitar Strings With Tool

Take the string winder attach it to the tuning peg. Start unwinding the E string. Next unwind the string at the guitar pegs next to the E, which is the A string. Loosen the A string.

How to remove bridge pins

So now that the bottom two guitar strings are loose. Take the string clippers and cut them right above the sound hole one at a time. Now you can start unwinding the guitar strings from the guitar pegs. First unwind the E string and then unwind the A string from the peg. Being care full not to stab yourself with the end of the guitar strings wind them up into a circle for easy disposal of the cut strings.


On the end of the guitar strings winder tool is a cutout. What this cut out is used for is to remove the pins that holds the string end at the bridge of the guitar. Some people use other items to remove the pins from the bridge. The end result could result in scratching the bridge, so I recommend getting a guitar string winder.

Take the guitar strings winder and remove the pins at the bridge to remove the other end of the strings that you just cut at the sound hole. It is important when you remove the post to keep them in order. They need to go back into the same hole that they were removed from.

Installing New Guitar Strings on Guitar

guitar strings pegs that hold guitar strings

              Acoustic Guitar String Pegs

Now take your new set of guitar strings and one at a time install back into the post hole. The string packages have listed on them usually color coded and also the size or dimension of the strings are clearly marked for easy installation.

Start with the low E string you will notice there is a ball at the end of the string and that goes into the pin hole first. There is a notch on the end of the pin that goes with the string. The string goes into the hole first and be sure that the cut out faces the string. Push the pin into the hole and while pushing the pin pull on the string to be sure that it is tight. Just let it hang out of the way while you work on the next string.

Take the New A string out of the package and put it into the second pin hole. Remember when installing the pin to make sure the notch in the post is facing the string. Push the pin in and pull the string to make sure it’s tight. Now were ready to attach the strings to the headstock.

Attaching Guitar Strings at the Headstock

attaching guitar strings at the machine head

Starting with the E string pre-cut the string. Measure the string to one and a half guitar pegs lengths. Then cut the string. Be careful sometime when you pull the string to measure it, it pops out at the bridge, this is normal just push it back in. When threading the string into the machine head or peg. Start from the center or middle and put the string through so the end of the string is facing away from the headstock.

measure the guitar strings one and a half machine head lengths and cut

     Cutting New Acoustic Guitar Strings

Just leave a little bit of the string sticking out of the peg. Hold the string down onto the guitar, when you wind the string start at the top and work your way down and finish at the bottom of the peg. Attach the string winder to the peg and start winding. Hold the long part of the string to guide it to stay towards the top of the peg and work down the peg while winding the string.

At this point don’t worry about tuning the strings, just get enough tension on the strings and go to the next string. Measure the A String length to one and a half machine heads from the machine head you want to use. For example this string would be past the last peg half of the length of the distance between two pegs. Using the wire clippers cut the string.

Take the string and from the center or middle of the headstock thread the string into the second peg. The end of the string should stick out of the end of the peg hole. Press the other end of the string into the hole at the bridge, making sure it’s tight.

holding the guitar strings to guide when winding

Guide Guitar Strings around Guitar Pegs

Use the string winder to wind the string, remember to hold the string to guide it down the peg starting at the top. Slowly let the string wind round the peg letting the string windings line up around one another top to bottom.

The other side of the head stock

Now let’s take the G string and B string and loosen them at the head stock using the string winder. Second use the wire clippers and cut the strings at the sound hole. Remove the strings at the machine heads. Third step, take the string winder tool and loosen the G string and then the B string. Don’t forget to keep the pins separate remembering what hole in the bridge they came out of.

Take a new G string and put the ball end into the hole at the bridge and putting the pin into the hole making sure the groove in the post is facing the string. Push the pin into the hole and pull on the string locking it into place. Do the same with the B string.

Take the G string and holding it tight measure one and a half machine head lengths, and cut the string, using the string clippers. Next put the string into the last tuning peg at the top of the headstock. Insert the string from the middle outward so the string will just stick out of the machine head.

Next hold the string down and start winding in the opposite direction as the last three strings. Making sure you wind from the top to the bottom. Also make sure the strings are not winding on top of each other. Turning the peg towards you raises the pitch. Follow the same steps for the B string and the high E string.

Now that all the new guitar strings are installed we want to tighten the strings up to pitch and start playing.  See this article on how to tune a guitar.