So it’s time to restring your guitar. Some people are intimidated by this concept, and unnecessarily so. When all is said and done, it’s really not that hard. It takes a half hour or less, requires little in the way of mechanical skill and there aren’t too many pitfalls that can make the process unsuccessful. This article is not intended to be a tutorial on how to restring a guitar, however it is intended to introduce you to a couple of tools that might make the process a little bit easier for you.
When you restring your guitar, one of the most important tools you will need is a guitar tuner. Once you have actually installed your new strings, you have to tune them before you can play. There are a number of styles and types of tuners out there, some more difficult to use than others. You will want to find one that can pick up ambient sound, and not one that you must plug into. If you have a regular acoustic guitar that doesn’t have electronics, you won’t be able to use a tuner that doesn’t tune using ambient sound.
A good guitar tuner will have some kind of visual output. That is to say, there will be some sort of display that tells you what note you are trying to tune to, and whether you are sharp or flat. One of our favorites, the Snark SN-8 has a nice visual output and clips onto your guitar. You can also clip it on your music stand, a table, or anywhere else that it is conveniently visable. Each time you play a string, it will display a note and tell you how close you are to that note. All you have to do is watch the tuner and tune your string accordingly. It takes all the guess work out of it!
A final consideration is size. Small is good, because you can tuck it in a pocket or compartment in your guitar case. They make tuners in the form of guitar pedals, and while these are certainly good for those of us who play on stage, they don’t really suit the average guitarist very well.
Guitar String Winder
This tool is a surprisingly inexpensive and surprisingly handy little tool that can help save a lot of time when restringing your guitar. It works for both acoustic and electric guitars and usually only costs a few bucks, unless you want to get spendy and get an electronic one. The electric ones don’t really justify the cost, because the mechanical string winders do a good enough job.
So why is a string winder useful? It’s simple. Most machine heads, also known as tuners, take 14 to 16 full turns from your hand to spin the post one time. If you wrap your guitar strings two or three times around the posts(there are varying schools of thought on how many times you should wrap and in the end it is a matter of personal preference) you might have to spin the machine head up to 48 turns with your hand.
A string winder speeds this process, because it allows you to place the tool over the machine head and spin without having to readjust your grip each time. Using one of these devices, you can wind and unwind a string in a matter of 10 to 15 seconds. One of our favorites is the Planet Waves Pro Winder which is comfortable to use and also has a built in string cutting feature. Using this tool will allow you to avoid getting out your wire cutters to cut the string after you’ve wound it. It is definitely a handy one to have around.