Guitar Basics – Changing Your Guitar Strings – Headstock

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Guitar Basics – Changing Your Guitar Strings – Headstock

Guitar Basics – Changing Your Guitar Strings – Headstock

Guitar Basics – How to Correctly Attach Your Strings to the Headstock When You Are Changing Your Strings

The Head of the Guitar

This is one major area that is overlooked by beginner guitar students when they are changing guitar strings. Read this part carefully.

Direction of the Winding

One of the most important guitar tips I can offer is how to have the windings on the guitar tuners going in the proper direction. This is basic guitar information but until it is pointed out, strings are frequently wound backwards.

It is very important to wind the strings on the head of the guitar as shown. This keeps the strings in line along the neck and it provides consistency in tuning.

Notice how the strings are wound on the 6 in-line tuners (figures – 1 & 5). They are all on the same side of the tuner’s post. They all wind over the top and to the right. On the 3 and 3 tuners (figures – 2, 3 & 6) all of the strings are wound over the top and towards the center. Even the 12-string with its 6 and 6 tuners (figure – 4) are wound over the top and towards the middle. There are no exceptions.

For the classical guitar (figure – 7) the strings wind on top of the posts and stay approximately in a straight line.

Some Helpful Tools:

Wire cutters, needle-nose pliers and a string winder (available at music stores).




Always use acoustic guitar strings on an acoustic guitar and electric strings on an electric. Only the plain strings are interchangeable between an acoustic guitar and an electric. Never put steel strings on a classical guitar. You will break the neck.

It is best to change only one string at a time to keep the any moving parts such as the bridge in place. However, if you need to remove all of the strings it will not damage the guitar.

Winding the Strings On The Post Using The String Locking System.

Use this procedure to lock your string into place. This prevents slippage and your guitar will stay in tune much better. You only need to wind the string around the post 2½ to 3 times on the wound strings and 3½ to 4 on the plain strings. Any more than this will lead to tuning problems.

In order to get the correct number of windings you’ll need to allow approximately 1½” of slack before you begin to wind the strings.

One of the easiest ways to get the correct amount of slack is to cradle the string in your fingers while having your middle finger extended.

Look at the photo at the bottom left. With your right hand, touch the fretboard around the 12th fret with your middle finger. With your left hand, grip the string at the tuner that the string is being inserted into at the head of the guitar. Bend the string to mark where you’ll be inserting the string to.

This works every time.


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