New Year, Time to Re-String!

Good day riff legends, we have arrived.

Congratulations on dodging the pandemerrific hazards of the cursed 2021, you have reached the next level, 2022!

The future of this year’s guitar dominance is in your capable hands. To which end I must now ask myself:

What is the most broached subject I have come across in the last year?

After a moment of reflection, I have to state it’s not what I expected.

"How do I properly restring a classical (nylon string) guitar?"

I really feel a lot of people psych themselves out when it comes to this common practice, as it takes a few more steps than a steel string acoustic or electric guitar to do. But with a little practise you will never sweat this ever again. Let’s get it on peeps.

Before we continue this step-by-step stylee I just want to give this crystal-clear warning:

Do not. Under any circumstance. Use steel or electric strings on your classical guitar. It was never designed to take those stresses long term. You will damage your instrument should you disregard this warning.

Also, yes you can get nylon strings with ball ends to save time, but you still need to know proper technique at the headstock so check it.

Step 1 Get your S#!t Together.

Set up a little uncluttered space, get your fresh strings, wire cutters and pliers, string winders, cleaning cloths and solutions, and headrests if ya got ‘em. Basically, prep your workspace so you’re ready to go.

Step 2. De-string and Clean the Thing.

Take your time and carefully remove the old strings and use this opportunity to properly clean up the instrument pre restring. Filth belongs in your gain pedals not your fretboard, so get polishing.

Step 3. Loop Your Strings at the Bridge.

If you can do a basic tie this will be a synch. I normally start with the thickest (6th) string. Pass the string through its saddle hole from top to bottom, take about an inch-and-a-half length of string from the bottom then loop it back over the top from right side to left. Then pass the string under itself in a loop. Do this a minimum twice but three times is optimal.

If done in the correct direction the string end should be facing the centre of the guitar so remember to reverse the direction of the knot loop on the higher 3 strings so all ends face toward centre. To finish, hold both ends and pull tight. Beautiful.

That’s the "hard" bit, so now the easy part.

Step 4. Wind on the Strings at the Headstock.

The rule to this is to always wind the string toward the outside of the headstock. Pass the string through the tuner hole leaving enough slack for around 3 revolutions of the string barrel. Pull the string end back over to the entry point and hook the string around itself away from the centre. Then wind the string over the end till its taut to hold it in place.


Step 5. Tune, Stretch, and Snip.

The final ordeal. Tune dem bad stringy bois up, then give them a gentle pull. Tune again and repeat till it starts holding tune. It’s normal for nylon strings to go out a lot as they stretch and conform to their new tension. Just play and retune as necessary, then to finish up, snip the excess string ends. Then it’s classical shred time.

See how easy that is? Like tying your shoelace. Just take it slow and remember practice makes perfect.

Or if you can't be stuffed, get down to the shop and I'll sort it out in a flash!

As always friends, stay safe and riff hard!

Chris Re-Animator.

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