How to Change Strings on the Acoustic or Electric Guitar

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Being able to change your guitar strings is essential. It’s kind of like a driver being able to change a flat tire. Many newer players are hesitant to do this because they think they are going to break a string or put out an eye, but there is nothing to be afraid of. All you need is a little experience and a few important tips.

First off, how do you know which strings to buy and put on your guitar? Well… it depends. Generally speaking, acoustic guitars come stock with 12 gauge strings. The gauge of a set of strings is measured by the thickness of the high E string. There are loads of options out there, but pretty much any set of strings you can get at a reputable music store will be fine. Phosphor bronze acoustic strings are a little warmer and airier sounding while 80/20 bronze strings are a little brighter sounding. Coated strings will be more expensive, but they will last longer.

Electric guitars generally come with 9 or 10 gauge strings. Fender style guitars usually use 9 gauge strings, and Gibson style guitars usually use 10 gauge strings. There are more options in the types of metals for electric guitar strings, but the standard is nickel-plated steel. I’d suggest you go with that if you don’t know where to start. Over time you will develop your own taste for the type and brand of strings you like.

Below are a few tips for your first time changing guitar strings. Other than these tips, the best advice I have for you is to just jump in and start to practice actually changing strings. You might also want to buy a few extra sets of strings just in case you break one while getting used to this process.

1 - Use a string winder. It will make your life much easier. 2 - Make sure to put the string on the exact way you took it off. Be sure to wrap the string the same direction around the post. 3 - Put at least two wraps worth of string around each post to ensure that it has enough grip to stay in place. The first wrap should go over the top of the loose end of the string, and all subsequent wraps should go under the loose end of the string. 4 - Once you have the string on, make sure to stretch it out a little bit to make sure it’s seated and stable.


If you need to get the basics of playing the guitar down, you should go through the Guitar Foundations course here. You can also invest in the accompanying Ebook here. Let us know how things are going for you and if you have any questions by leaving a comment below.

Need advice on what strings, picks, accessories, or gear to use? Check out our list of recommended products here.

Please note, this blog may contain affiliate links and ads, please read my full disclosure here.

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