classical guitar sound hole
Improperly changing your classical guitar strings can damage the instrument.

The Hard Baroquer is a home musician that has pursued music as a hobby for nearly 20 years. An intermediate guitarist, beginner bassist and even sometimes dabbling on the harmonica, he is always learning something. In his free time, he runs The Hard Baroquer blog.

By The Hard Baroquer

Changing guitar strings is an essential part of being a player of the instrument, whether you’re an electric guitarist, acoustic guitarist or a classical guitarist. In this post, we’ll focus on the classical guitar as changing string in the correct manner is important part of the maintenance of your instrument.

How often should classical guitar strings be changed?

The frequency of your string changes will vary based on how much you play. However, if you perform, then change strings 10 days before recital in order to allow your new strings time to settle in and to give you maximum resonance, volume and sustain during the recital.

How are classical guitar strings changed?

Changing classical guitar strings is a simple process involving tying each string to the bridge and to its tuning axle. But doing so in a way that protects your guitar over a long period of time requires a little bit more care. Here’s how to change strings while protecting your classical guitar’s life:

  • Protect the bridge: Place something to protect the bridge from being scratched by sharp, rogue strings that have been removed.
  • Release tension slowly: If you are removing your string one at a time, do so in a way that doesn’t release tension on the neck in a sudden manner; remove the most extreme strings (one at a time) first, and then move inward. This keeps a tension evenly dispersed in the neck, which is slowly released. If you prefer to remove all strings at once, that is also fine, but loosen them slowly, then remove.
  • Removing strings can be done by pulling strings out of their respective holes by hand, or you may choose to do so with wire cutters. Either is fine, although it may make sense to keep a set of older strings as backup. When pulling string out by hand, take care to not be too aggressive, to protect the guitar from being damaged by the strings.
  • When attaching new strings, tie the new strings to bridge, but not so tightly that the strings begin to cut into the wood. When attaching the strings to the tuning machine, simply twist tuner to wind the string. The tension of tuning the guitar will hold the string in place.
  • Don’t over tighten new strings – let them adjust to their new tension naturally and tune them regularly.
  • Cut excess string for neatness and to avoid the strings scratching your guitar body.

Re-stringing your guitar is an activity you’ll undertake with regularity, so it’s really worth doing it in a way that protects your instrument over the long-term.