There is no hard and fast rule as to how often players should change electric guitar strings. It simply comes down to personal taste and to the sound that is required. New guitar strings sound that bit brighter than older ones which have picked up debris over time, usually from skin and dust. Some professional guitarists will change electric guitar strings before every performance which could mean every night on a tour. For novice guitarists, there is certainly no need to switch strings that often, but after a month or two of continual playing, strings will be well beyond their best. In addition, players need to replace strings once in a while when one of them breaks.
Changing Electric Guitar Strings
Most electric guitars have similar systems for securing their strings in place near to the bridge and nearly all of them have the same machine head mechanism for each string at the headstock. Therefore, when a musician has learned how to change electric guitar strings on one model of guitar, they can usually do it on all of them.
Remove the Guitar’s Old Strings
Before changing the strings on an electric guitar, it is necessary to remove the old ones. A string which has snapped is usually relatively easy to remove. The bottom of the string, which has a small metal ball wound onto the end of the string, will slip away from the bridge under gravity. Alternatively, use a pair of pliers to help it loose. Some electric guitars, such as a Fender Telecaster, secure the string’s ball at the back, via a little access hole. Tipping the guitar is often all that is needed to remove it.
At the other end of the string, the machine head - which is used to tune the string - will usually have the remaining part of a snapped string wound around it. Simply grab the string and unravel it until it can be removed.
If the string has not snapped, simply turn the machine head in the direction that will flatten the pitch of the string. Continue to do this until the string is completely loose and can be removed from the machine head. Then pull the string away from the guitar at other end - where it is secured by its ball - to remove it.
Select the Right String
Once a string has been removed, it is important to use the right sized string to replace it. Guitar strings are usually sold in packs of six in various gauges. There is a low E string, which is positioned closest to the player’s head when they are looking at it with the guitar in playing position. Working from the low E towards the floor, the next five strings are named A, D, G, B and E once more. The top or high E, the B string and the G string are usually unwound, but the others are wound. Some guitarists use wound G strings but this is not common for electric guitarists who use a standard or light gauge set of strings.
Fitting New Electric Guitar Strings
Feed the tip of the string through its securing hole, usually located behind the bridge and accessed either from the back or the front of the guitar. Carefully slide the string down until the ball at the base rests in approximately the right place. Now feed the tip of the string through the hole in the corresponding machine head and pull it through until the string is in place, but remains a little loose.
Now tighten the machine head with a few turns. A well-fitted string will be wrapped around the machine head about three times in total, so ensure enough slack is left in the string to do this. As the string is tightened, take care to make sure it sits over the bridge correctly and in the correct groove of the nut. This is the section of the guitar between the fret board and the headstock. Continue to tighten the string until it reaches the desired pitch and use an electronic guitar tuner to help, if necessary.
How to Buy Electric Guitar Strings on eBay
To find electric guitar strings, search for ‘electric guitar strings’ using the search bar and then navigate to eBay’s ‘Instrument Accessories’ section. This will help buyers to find strings that are designed for electric guitars rather than steel-strung acoustic guitars and those which are made from nylon. For players who want a certain brand of strings, such as Ernie Ball or D’Addario, it is possible to select sellers with just those products by using the brand filter on the left hand side of the screen. Before proceeding, buyers should always check a seller’s ratings. Sellers of electric guitar strings on eBay should have a good reputation before buyers choose to use them.
Changing electric guitar strings is a simple process and easy to learn. With thousands of choices for electronic guitar strings and accessories, eBay makes it even easier.