Learning to restring an electric guitar can be daunting, but with a bit of experience can be easily accomplished. Restringing on your own will save time and money, and will help you become comfortable with your instrument, and learn how all the parts work together. Restringing a Fender Squier guitar is the same as any other guitar. If your Squier has a floating tremolo bridge, the only difference is that the string bridge ball-end anchor and insertion points are on the underside of the guitar, rather than on top.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Blanket or towel
- Small, rigid cardboard box or foam block
- Peg winder
- Wire cutter
- Needle-nose pliers
- Tuner, pitch pipe, or "E" tuning fork
Place the guitar on a flat, padded surface, such as a table covered with a blanket or towel.
Elevate the neck by placing a small rigid cardboard box or foam block underneath the neck, right below the nut.
Look at the strings and make note of how they are installed. Notice the uniform wraps around the machine head posts, and the direction in which they are wound.
Loosen the 6th string (low "E," which is the thickest string) by placing a peg winder on the corresponding tuning peg and turning clockwise until the windings are visibly loose.
Unwrap the windings by hand and pull the string out of the machine head hole.
Push the string out through the tailpiece, which is either on the top or the underside of the guitar, depending on model and bridge configuration. You may wish to snip the string halfway with wire cutters to facilitate easier removal, as the winding end of the string may be difficult to pull through the bridge hole, but this is optional.
Thread the new string through the vacated bridge hole, and pull it all the way through.
Wrap the string around the machine head several times, and insert the tip into the machine head hole. This method of prewrapping eliminates the guesswork from some other string slackening methods, and ensures that a suitable number of wraps is present to prevent string slippage.
Pull the string through the hole fully by grasping the end near the machine head hole with needle-nose pliers and pulling. While holding on with the pliers, secure the string by bending it upward at a 90-degree angle.
Insert the peg winder onto the tuning key and bring the string up to pitch by turning the peg counterclockwise. As you are turning, hold the string with your thumb and forefinger, applying light pressure to stretch the string, and to keep windings in neat order with no overlap. Performing this stretching and tuning operation several times will help break in and stabilise string tension.
Repeat steps 3 through 10 for additional strings.
Stretch and tune all strings with a tuner, pitch pipe or tuning fork, two to three more times, to stabilise tension and achieve proper tuning.
Tips and warnings
- It is generally good practice to remove and change one string at a time. Leaving the guitar unstrung for an extended period may affect neck tension.
- Strings should be changed when they start to sound dull, or if visible rust or dark discolouration is present.
- Increase string life by washing and drying your hands before playing, and by wiping strings with a clean, dry cloth after each session.
- Always loosen strings before cutting. Snipping a metal wire under tension can cause injury, and may affect the guitar's neck tension.
- Always use some sort of tuning pitch device to avoid snapping strings because of high tuning. Strings are under high tension, and can snap under higher than normal tuning loads.
- Use caution when removing strings, as the sharp end can cause serious eye damage, punctures and cuts to face, fingers and hands, and do not allow bystanders to get too close.
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