Sven's Guitar Zone

Stringing A Guitar

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Actually stringing a guitar is pretty easy. There are just a few things to know about it to get good results, that means a guitar that stays in tune.

First you have to keep in mind that each string that is in tune exerts a force of 45 to 135 Newton on the neck. That's about 10 to 30 lbs or 4.5 to 13.5kg (which are actually no force units). That's more than 530 Newton (about 44kg/97lbs) for a set of .010s or 665 Newton (68kg/150lbs) for a set of .012s.

This is the wrong way to wind up the string on the tuning post. After tuning the guitar there is always a slip, so for a certain time, the guitar will get out of tune, no matter if it's strung right or wrong, but if it's not strung right, that period of time will last forever.

This is the right way to string a guitar. The windings on the tuning posts are parallel and tight. This reduces the slip and the guitar will better stay in tune.

Pulling the string while winding it up might improve the result even more. The string is wound up with a certain tension, which reduces the slip a bit, too.

After the string is threaded through the tuning post, it has to be bent in a right angle at an appropriate length of the string and firmly pulled under the other end of string and bent again.

To stay in tune, the string has to be wound at least once around the tuning post. Some more windings aren't bad anyway.

It might be hard to estimate the right length for thicker strings (E and maybe A). Kepp in mind that approximately three times the diameter of the tuning post will result in one winding. When you pull the string trough the post so that is it straight, bend it in a distance of about 4 to 5 times the diameter.

This will result in about two windings around the post which works even with a set of .013s strings.

When tuning the new set of strings for the first time, just keep in mind that due to the high force the strings exerts on the neck and the bridge, the neck will be slightly bend forward, a whammy bar bridge will be pulled towards the neck too. Thus tuning a string higher will put more tension on thus string and release the tension on other strings.

This is why it doesn't make much sense to tune the strings very accurately with a tuner. It's better to tune them pretty roughly (actually a bit higher than the desired pitch) twice or three times and then start tuning them accurately.

Stringing a guitar with this methods has proved to be pretty good. My guitars stay pretty good in tune even after a 20 hour flight.

How often you have to change strings depends on much you play. Wiping the strings helps to increase the time the strings are good. If you play a lot, you might have to string yer guitar every month. If you don't play every day the strings might last even two or three months. IMHO, new strings are the best effect.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 22. February 2006