How to String a Gibson Les Paul

Written by joshua kling
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How to String a Gibson Les Paul
The Les Paul is a legendary instrument. (vintage 5 image by Alfred Koch from

All guitars need to have their strings replaced eventually. Strings corrode and wear with use, and old strings can change the tone of your Les Paul. String changes also provide you with an opportunity to clean the frets and bridge. You should maintain your Les Paul by performing regular string changes. The bridge and saddle of your Les Paul are held in place by string tension; change only one string at a time.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wire cutters
  • New strings

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  1. 1

    Turn the tuning key for the largest string clockwise so that the string loosens. Once slack, cut the end of the string with wire cutters and pull it out through the back of the bridge. Remove the remaining string from the tuning post.

  2. 2

    Push the new string through the hole that was occupied by the previous string until you can grip it on the other side, then pull it all the way through. Make sure the ball on the end of the string is firmly seated.

  3. 3

    Turn the tuning key until the hole in the tuning post is pointing toward the bridge. Run the string through the machine head, pull it tight and create a bend in the string by pinching it 1 to 2 inches from the end.

  4. 4

    Pull the string back through until the bend reaches the tuning post, then start turning the tuning key counterclockwise to tighten the string. The first wrap around the tuning post must go over the loose portion of the string after the bend. Make sure the string is properly aligning with the grooves in the bridge and nut while tightening.

  5. 5

    Repeat the steps for each string. The tuning keys for the last three strings are on the other side of the headstock; turn them the opposite direction for loosening and tightening.

  6. 6

    Trim the loose ends of the strings with a wire cutter, then tune the guitar.

Tips and warnings

  • Gibson recommends that wound strings wrap around the tuning post two or three times and unwound strings wrap around at least five times.

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