Every guitarist knows how important strings are to a good performance, but no matter how well they are maintained, there comes a point when they need to be replaced.
Changing strings always seems complicated to beginners, but when you follow the exact steps, everything happens with ease.
The way of restringing depends mainly on the type of guitar. If you have a classical or flamenco guitar, we’ve put together a complete guide on how to change your instrument’s strings and everything else you need to know about maintaining nylon strings.
What tools do you need for changing classical guitar strings?
Before getting to business, you must ensure you have all the required tools. To be honest – tools sound too serious.
What you really need are standard items found in every home. They are:
- Small scissors or nail clippers
- Soft cloth
- Flat surface
If you are more advanced and already have restringing tools, you can use the following:
- string winder
- neck cradle or headstand
And don’t forget the most important: new strings!
Let’s get started!
Follow these steps to restring your classical guitar
Remove the old strings
There are different ways to remove the old strings. Some people recommend removing one string at a time and after putting the new one on, moving on to the next one. Others say to replace the treble strings first and then the bass strings.
We advise you to research the manufacturer’s requirements or consult your technician.
Whichever way you choose, they all have something in common: to remove the strings, you must first tune them down.
Do this for each string separately until they are loose enough to be unwound with fingers on the headstock and bridge.
Clean the guitar
Well, this is optional, but we highly suggest not skipping this step.
When the strings are gone, you can reach places that collect dust and are generally difficult to clean.
And it takes no time at all. Simply run a soft cloth over the fretboard and bridge where dirt accumulates.
If you wish, you can use guitar oils. Just be cautious not to get it on the guitar’s body, as it may damage the finish.
Also, wait a minute for the oil to dry before putting on the new strings, and make sure it’s not too oily.
Put the nylon treble strings
The treble strings are high E string, B, and G strings.
Insert the string through the bridge
Begin by inserting one end of the new 1st E string into the first-string hole in the bridge and leave extra string through the hole.
Then, use that extra string to wrap it around itself 2-3 times in a figure-8 pattern. Do this clockwise if you are facing the guitar. The wraps lie flat on the top of the bridge when the string’s tail must be tucked on the backside.
Insert the string through the headstock
Place a finger on the wraps at the top of the bridge, and pull the rest of the string with the other hand. Insert the other end of the string into the first hole of the headstock and pull slightly to stretch it.
Wrap it the same way you do for the bridge but make the tail points in the opposite direction of the wraps. This only applies to the E string. For B and G strings, the tail should point toward the outside of the headstock.
Repeat the process for B and G strings but make sure that each string tail gets secured by the following string. That means that the string tail needs to rest on top of the next string to be secured by it.
Tune each string after you place it
Tuning the string as soon as you put it on helps it adapt to the tension more quickly. Every time you put on a new string, go back to tune the previous ones as well.
Put the nylon bass strings
Placing the bass strings is even easier. They are placed similarly but do not have to be wound around themselves as many times. One time is enough.
The nylon material from which the treble strings are made is more slippery and therefore has to be wound more times.
Again tune every string after placing it.
Cut the remaining strings
Finally, you must cut the excess strings using small scissors or nail clippers.
This is a simple but important step because the long strings can cause a buzz.
This happens when the longer strings rattle against the guitar’s body when playing, creating an unpleasant sound.
And that was the 5 steps to restring an acoustic guitar with nylon strings.
Now we will recall how to care for new strings.
How to make your nylon strings last longer?
The good thing about nylon strings is that they cannot catch rust and corrode over time. To keep them healthy for a longer time, it’s best not to store them fully tuned for a long time because they will lose tension.
Also, they must be properly installed, and the bridge doesn’t have sharp edges.
How often will you need to change your classical guitar strings?
It mainly depends on the time spent playing your instrument.
- if you play more than three hours a day, you should change the strings at least once a month
- if you only play for an hour or two – the strings can change every two to three months
- for less than an hour of playing a day, change the strings every four months
How do you know when to change nylon strings?
- the guitar sounds dull and doesn’t resonate
- the strings cannot stay in tune
- the strings feel stiff
- the strings have lost their original color or have stains
- the strings look dirty
- you haven’t changed the strings for more than six months
Can I put steel strings on a classical guitar?
You shouldn’t put steel strings on a classical guitar – you’ll not get the perfect sound you expected, and it can seriously damage your guitar. The classical guitars do not have truss rods to protect their necks from the increased tension of steel strings.
How do you string a classical guitar with ball end strings?
The method is the same as we place steel strings with a ball end. The ball rests on the furthest hole in the bridge. The string is looped around the bridge and then passed through the hole in the ball, so it is on the opposite side.
What strings do professional classical guitarists use?
Every musician has their preferences for guitar strings. The most popular nylon strings are:
- Hannabach 815 LT Classic Guitar Strings.
- Savarez 540R Classical Guitar Strings.
- D’Addario EJ49 Pro-Arte Black.
- D’Addario Pro-Arte EJ43, Light Tension.
- D’Addario EJ27N Student Guitar Strings.
- D’Addario EJ45TT ProArte DynaCore with Titanium Trebles.
Even if it seems complicated at first, don’t get frustrated. With more practice and patience, you’ll even start enjoing changing strings on your classical or flamenco guitar.
Gary has been in love with music since he was a child. His passion is guitars and everything related to them. He is the founder of
Riff-Mag and can’t wait to share his knowledge with you.