How to cut guitar strings without wire cutter? 

Looking to change your guitar strings but don’t have a wire cutter? No worries!

Even without the traditional tools, you can still tackle this task like a pro. In this article, we’ll show you some clever and straightforward techniques to cut guitar strings without wire cutters.

From improvisation to resourcefulness, you’ll learn how to handle this maintenance challenge with ease. Get ready to master the art of string changing without the need for specialized tools.

Different ways to cut your guitar strings without wire cutters

There are different ways to cut your guitar strings without wire cutters, and we’ve created a helpful list of suggestions that we’ve used ourselves over time.

Cut the guitar strings with pliers

Pliers are very similar to wire cutters but can be used for more things. You can use them to grab, twist, press, loop the strings, etc.

If the pliers aren’t sharp enough to cut the string, you can grip it with them and bend it back and forth until it breaks.

There are many types of pliers, but I prefer using smaller ones made of hardened or stainless steel.

best tools for cutting guitar

Cut the guitar strings with scissors

Scissors are an easy solution if they are strong and sharp enough to cut through the string.

Although they will likely work for you, we should warn you that they are not the best choice. Even if you manage to cut the string, you’ll probably have to buy a new pair of scissors afterward.

Homemade scissors made for paper or cloth may not help you at all, and you’ll ruin them by trying to cut the hard string with them. As a result, your strings will remain uncut, and you will no longer have scissors.

Cut the guitar strings with nail clippers

The nail clippers are surely present in every home. While it’s not the best option for cutting your guitar strings, it’s still one if you don’t have another tool at hand.

Even if it fails to cut the string, you can use the toenail clippers to hold it and bend it until it breaks the string.

Note that, as with the scissors, you will most likely need a new nail clipper after cutting the strings.

Cut the guitar strings using two coins

Cut the guitar strings using two coins – that’s a creative solution if you don’t have any other tools. It’s easy to do – grip the string firmly between two coins and start bending it until it breaks.

Try trimming the string with your fingers

Try trimming the string with your fingers as a last resort. This can be done by wrapping the string around the post 3-4 times, having it up to pitch, then bending it back and forth until the string breaks.

Do you really need guitar string cutters?

cut guitar strings without wire

The guitar string cutters are handy tools, but you don’t really need to own one. As you have already read above, you will manage perfectly without them.

We just can’t talk about cutting guitar strings without mentioning the guitar string cutters.

It is great to have these on hand because this is the most suitable tool for cutting guitar strings.

They do the same job as wire cutters but are also suited for cutting heavier gauge strings as well as bass guitar strings.

They are also more comfortable to work with because they fit the hand perfectly. Some even come with a built-in bridge pit puller and peg winder.

Step-by-step guide on cutting guitar strings

Follow this Step-by-step guide on cutting guitar strings to save time and money:

  • Begin by loosening the strings. If you try to cut the string while it is still tuned, you risk hurting yourself.
  • Use the tool you have to cut the string close to the soundhole.
  • If you have to cut just one string, you can stop here. But if you have to change the whole set of strings, do it by two strings at a time. If you restring all the strings at once, you’ll relieve the neck from the tension, which can cause wood wrap.
  • After the strings are cut, unwind the bridge pins and remove the strings.
  • Unwind the strings from the tuner and remove the rest of them.

After restringing your guitar, you can clean it and install the new strings. Don’t forget to tune them.


If you are a guitar player, at one point or another, you will need to cut strings.

In a perfect case, you will be prepared with the necessary tools. But if the situation doesn’t allow this, be brave and creative. Try our suggestions or come up with new ways to cut strings.

In any case, be careful because it’s not pleasant to get a string stuck in your hand. We know it from personal experience…


Can you cut guitar strings with a knife?

You can practically cut the strings with a knife, but we don’t recommend it. The knife must be very sharp to work, making cutting the strings dangerous. It can slip and cut you or injure the fretboard or the headstock.

Using a pocket knife is more acceptable if you still have no other option. But instead of cutting the string, it is better to use it to bend the string until it breaks.

How far should I cut my guitar strings?

When you cut your guitar string, you should leave about a quarter of an inch (or about 6 millimeters) of string beyond the tuning post. This small but significant allowance will help keep the strings securely in place and prevent them from slipping out during play.

Read more:

How to fix a broken guitar string?

How to change acoustic guitar strings?

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