This lesson is all about changing your guitar strings. Learn how, why, and when to change them from Steve Eulberg.
Taught by Steve Eulberg in Basic Guitar with Steve Eulberg seriesLength: 37:00Difficulty: 0.5 of 5
There are several common symptoms that indicate that your stings need to be changed. Here are the most common indications:B. How Often Should I Change My Strings?
1. The strings feel uncomfortable as a result of excessive build-up of dirt on the strings. Over time, the natural oil and dirt generated by your fingers builds up on the strings.
2. If the guitar is not staying in tune, it is definitely time to change the strings. A guitar with fresh strings should stay in tune for roughly an hour regardless of how often you bend your strings. If you notice that a string instantly goes out of tune after bending a string, the string either needs to be changed, or it was installed improperly.
3. The bottoms of the strings flatten and blacken from repetitious contact with the frets. Once the strings decrease in mass, their tone diminishes significantly as well.
4. Tone becomes significantly less bright when strings are corroded and in need of a change. Tone is the best indicator of when the strings need changing. Your ears should be familiar with what your guitar should sound like. Old strings loose their brightness and volume. In general, guitar strings begin to sound like rubber bands when they are at the end of their life. 5.Wound strings begin to unravel slightly from contact with frets. This causes a severe drop in tone quality as well as limited playability.
This depends entirely upon the individual. There is no standard life expectancy for a set of guitar strings. Touring professionals have guitar techs that change their strings prior to every single performance. Strings are changed on every guitar including instruments used as backups. Strings are changed on back up guitars regardless of whether they were played at the previous gig! For most of you however, strings will not need to be changed this frequently. To make a long story short, the amount of time you spend practicing and performing is directly proportional to how often you will need to change your strings. If you notice one of the symptoms listed in “Section A,” it is most likely time to put on a fresh set. One other factor also determines how often your strings will need to be replaced. Some people’s hands sweat more than others do. If you have sweaty hands, your strings will need to be replaced more frequently.C. Types of Strings
Note: Although there is no set time interval for changing strings, they should ALWAYS be changed prior to a performance or recording session. This is especially true if you do not perform or record very often. Since people do not have many opportunities to hear/ see you perform, you want to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to create the best performance possible. This includes changing your strings prior to every gig.
1. Acoustic StringsD. Tools Needed for Changing Stringsa. Bronze or Brass-Bronze is much softer than steel. As a result, the tone of Bronze strings is not quite as loud and harmonically rich. However, these strings are ideal for fingerpickers that frequently use a capo. Bronze strings tend to stay intonated better when a capo is being used.2. String Size or “Gauge”
b. Steel-Produces a louder, more harmonically rich tone than bronze. c. Nylon-Nylon produces a softer and rounder sound than both steel and bronze. Classical guitars are strung with nylon.Gauge refers to the size of the string in millimeters. String Gauge effects your overall playing in three different ways.3. Brand of String
a. String gauge affects your tone in a big way. A higher string gauge may increase overall sustain and volume. Remember, more mass=more volume.
b. Gauge affects the action and setup of your guitar. When switching to a different string gauge, a professional must perform a new setup. Due to the change in tension placed on the neck, the truss rod will probably need to be adjusted as well.
c. Gauge also affects comfortability while playing. Larger strings put more pressure on the tips of the fingers. This will require a development of harder calluses. More importantly though, gauge effects one’s ability to perform certain techniques such as vibrato and bending. Quite simply, larger strings are harder too bend.
Here are some typical gauges used by professionals. They are organized by genre.Blues: heavy strings-usually 11 gauge+
Rock: light strings-usually 9’s or 10’s. (Players that tune down a full step or more usually choose 11’s.)
Country: heavy strings-11’s+Contrary to what endorsement advertisements may lead you to believe, the brand of string you choose is of very little importance. Many popular brands are owned by the same company. For example, Fender owns several of the major string companies. In terms of electric guitar strings, there is only one brand to be avoided: Snarling Dogs. D’Addario offers the best string for a reasonable price. DR strings are typically the most expensive, but they offer the greatest tone and durability.
1. Needle nose pliers are needed to cut the strings. Nail clippers are the best cutting implement for nylon strings.E. How to Change Strings
2. A string winder serves many important functions in relation to changing strings. A winder will save you at least 10 minutes when installing new strings. A winder enables you to turn the tuning pegs much faster than with your hands alone. Also, most winders have a groove cut into the head. This groove is designed to pry up the bridge pins. Bridge pins hold the string in place by securing the ball on the end of the string. As Steve mentions, changing strings can be a relaxing, meditative process before a gig. You do not want to ruin this peaceful time with unnecessary frustration.
1. Loosen each string with the winder. Do not remove the strings yet.Chapter 2: (7:01) Putting Strings Back On 5. Insert the ball end of the new string into the bridge saddle. Insert the pin into the saddle. Make sure that the pin is secure.
Note: Steve removes all of the strings at once. Removing all of the strings at once enables you to clean every part of the guitar in one easy step. However, the guitar will require more work to keep the strings in tune. Strings provide a specific level of tension on the neck, which the guitar becomes accustomed to. If you remove all of the strings at once, all of this tension is removed. If you take all of the strings off at once, you also run the risk of having the bridge fall off. Consequently, one string should be removed at a time. After the old string is removed, the new string should be put on before moving down to the next string.
2.Once a string is loosened, clean the area of fretboard underneath it with a soft cloth. 3M makes a soft scrubbing surface that is ideal for this application. DO NOT USE STEEL WOOL! Steel wool can potentially damage the surface of the fingerboard. Also, it breaks apart and leaves annoying pieces across the fingerboard.
3. Polish the body and headstock to preserve the finish. We recommend Martin or Gibson guitar polish. In addition to enhancing the appearance of your guitar, polish adds needed moisture to the finish. This is quite important, especially if you live in a cool, dry climate like Steve does.
4. Unwind the string all the way with the winder. Pry up the bridge pin with the end of the winder. Remove the string.
1. Using the string winder, loosen and remove the old string.Note: It is quite helpful to tune every string up a full step and leave them there for about an hour. Then, tune them down to standard pitch. This stretches the strings in a more efficient manner. With this method, you will have a much easier time keeping your strings in tune.
2. Take out the new string. If there is a leader on it, cut it off. The leader is the short, frayed portion on the end of the string.
3. Pull the new string through the bridge. Leave approximately 3-4 inches of string sticking out of the end of the bridge. This length of string will be used to loop the string. Take this portion and wrap it under the section of string on the other side of the bridge. Create two loops for bass strings and three for the treble strings. Watch Steve perform this step of the process to see exactly how this should be done.
4. Slide the other end of the string through the hole in the tuning post.
5. Wind on the entire string.
6. Tune and stretch the strings.
Phase 1 Acoustic Lessons with Steve Eulberg is a great place to begin your journey as a guitarist. With over 30 years of playing experience, Steve appreciates the importance of beginning your guitar training the correct way - no bad habits! These lessons are not just for acoustic players. Electric guitarists will receive the same benefits from this lesson series.
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About Steve Eulberg
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An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences.
He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.
Born and raised in the German-heritage town of Pemberville, Ohio, Steve was exposed to a variety of music in his home. Early piano lessons were followed by trumpet in school band, and he became self-taught on ukelele and guitar and harmonica. Mandolin was added at Capital University where, while majoring in History, he studied Ear Training, Voice and took Arranging lessons from the Conservatory of Music.
While at college, he first heard hammered and mountain dulcimers, building his first mountain dulcimer just before his final year. Seminary training took him the west side of Denver where he built his first hammered dulcimer. With these instruments, he was able to give voice to the Scottish, English and Irish traditions to which he is also heir.
Following marriage in 1985 to Connie Winter-Eulberg he settled in Kansas City, Missouri. There he worked cross-culturally in a church of African-Americans, Latinos and European Americans, with music being a primary organizing tool. He moved with his family in 1997 to be nestled beside the Rocky Mountains in Fort Coillins, Colorado.
Founder of Owl Mountain Music, Inc. he teaches and performs extensively in Colorado and Wyoming with tours across the US and the UK. He delights in introducing the â€œsweet musicâ€ of dulcimers to people in diverse settings and in addition to his own recordings, has included dulcimers in a variety of session work for other musicians.
In 2000 he was commissioned to create a choral composition featuring dulcimers for the Rainbow Chorus in Fort Collins. It was recorded in the same year (BEGINNINGS). He is currently at work on a commissioned symphony that will feature hammered dulcimer and Australian didjeridu.
Eulberg passionately believes that music crosses cultural and language barriers because music builds community. Influenced by a variety of ethnic styles, his music weaves vital lyric with rap, rock, folk, gospel and blues. Audiences of all ages respond well to his presentation and to his warm sense of humor.
Steve is a member of Local 1000 (AFM), The Folk Alliance, BMI and BWAAG (Better World Artists and Activist's Guild).
Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.
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