Chapter 1: (01:20) Intro Music
Can you guess how Jim Deeming gets such a sweet sound out of his Gibson? Fresh strings definitely help! In the scenes that follow, Jim explains how to change the strings on a steel string acoustic and a classical guitar.
Chapter 2: (01:14) Introduction to Changing Strings
Some of the following information is taken from lesson 14 of Steve Eulberg's Phase 1 Lesson series. Please visit this lesson for more information about changing strings.
A. How Do I Know When to Change My Strings?
There are several common symptoms that indicate that your stings need to be changed. Here are the most common indications:
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.
Playing a guitar with dead strings can kill your inspiration. On the other hand, playing with fresh strings can have the opposite effect. You may find yourself taking the guitar out of the case more.
5.Wound strings begin to unravel slightly from contact with frets. This causes a severe drop in tone quality as well as limited playability.
B. How Often Should I Change My Strings?
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.
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.
C. Types of Strings
1. Acoustic Strings
a. Bronze or Brass-Bronze is much softer than steel. Most acoustic guitars are strung with bronze.
b. Steel-Produces a loud, bright tone. Electric guitars are strung with steel.
c. Nylon-Nylon produces a softer and rounder sound than both steel and bronze. Classical guitars are strung with nylon.
2. String Size or "Gauge"
Gauge refers to the size of the string in millimeters. String gauge effects your overall playing in three different ways.
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+
3. Brand of String
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.
D. Tools Needed for Changing Strings
1. Needle nose pliers are needed to cut the strings. Nail clippers are the best cutting implement for nylon strings.
E. Review of Guitar Anatomy
Before removing the strings on his acoustic, Jim reviews some key parts involved in this process. The strings attach to the guitar at both ends. The bridge pins hold the strings in place at the bridge. The tuning pegs anchor the strings to the other end of the guitar. The strings are guided to the tuning pegs by the nut. For a string to function properly, it must be installed properly at both locations.
Chapter 3: (01:47) Removing the Strings
Many students are intimidated by the string changing process the first time that they do it. It gets easier and less frustrating each time that you do it. Most people are afraid of breaking strings. This could happen. Consequently, buy a few packs of strings the first time that you must change your strings. That way, you'll have extras in case you do break a string. If you don't break any strings, you'll have these strings ready for the next time you must change a set of strings.
Removing Old Strings
1. Loosen each string at the tuning peg. Detach the string from the tuning peg.
Jim 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 slightly 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.
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. Pry up the bridge pin. Remove the string from the bridge.
Chapter 4: (07:32) Putting Strings On
When installing new strings, it doesn't matter which string you start with. Jim prefers to start with the first string.
First, insert the bead head of the string into the hole where the bridge pin was. Then, put the bridge pin back in place. The bridge pin has a grooved slide. The bead head should rest up against the back of this grooved slide. The groove should point directly towards the nut. The string comes out of the hole from this groove. Before you push the bridge pin all the way down in, pull up on the string so that it is taught against the inner top of the bridge pin.
Next, pull the other end of the string towards the tuning pegs. Then, pinch the string down through the nut. The string always goes through the hole in the tuning peg from the inside of the guitar. Consequently, the top three strings are wound in different directions from the bottom three. If you have a guitar that features six tuners on one side of the headstock, all of the strings will be wrapped in the same direction.
Turn the peg so that the hole is pointing a specific direction. The hole should be pointing inwards at roughly a 45o angle (about 7 o'clock). Refer to Jim's marker board drawing for a clear example.
After the string is threaded through the tuning pin, the string must be wrapped under itself to ensure that it will not slip out of place. As soon as the string comes through the hole, pull the string outwards away from the guitar. Then tuck the string underneath itself. Watch Jim very closely at 03:53 with the quality of the video set to high for a clear demonstration of this process. Once the string is tucked underneath itself, bend the slack of the string so that it is pointing directly upwards towards the ceiling. Then, tune the string to pitch.
Cut off the excess string coming from the tuning peg. Be careful! The ends of strings are very sharp.
Chapter 5: (03:30) Putting on the Low E / 6th String
Jim demonstrates the process of installing a string once again. This time around, he installs the sixth string since it is bigger and easier to see. Also, this string is connected to a tuner on the opposite side of the headstock.
Remember to pull the string as tight as possible before locking the bridge pin in place. Once the string is properly secured with the bridge pin, take the string up through the middle of the headstock. The tuning pin must point from 11 o'clock to 5 o'clock. After pulling the string through the pin, bend the string to the outside and wrap it underneath itself. Bend the remaining portion of string up towards the ceiling. Watch Jim at about 02:45 as he demonstrates this step. Then, tune the string close to pitch. Cut off the extra string coming out of the tuning peg.
Chapter 6: (05:11) Removing Extra Slack
If you don't stretch your strings out, you'll fight to keep your guitar in tune over the next several days. The strings are still settling in when you first install them. Soon after installation, the strings wiggle loose at the bridge and tuning pegs. Also, the string stretches to some degree across its entire length. To combat these problems, lightly pull on each string. This process will remove any excess slack across the length of the string. Stretch the strings until they no longer go flat after being stretched. Be careful not to stretch the treble strings too much! You will snap them if you are not careful!
Chapter 7: (01:53) Clipping off the Extra String
Leaving extra string hanging out of the tuning peg may look cool, but it can cause some unwanted buzz from the strings. Only leave half an inch of string hanging out. Use a pair of wire cutters or needle nose pliers to trim off the excess. When trimming nylon strings, nail clippers work the best.
Chapter 8: (01:23) Final Thoughts on Steel String Acoustic Strings
Changing strings is a tedious, yet very worthwhile process. Remember that how often you change your strings depends on individual circumstances. How often do you play? How long are your practice sessions. Do you have oily or dry hands? All of these factors determine how often strings need to be changed.
Chapter 9: (02:21) String Changing on Nylon / Classical Guitars
The process of stringing a classical guitar is quite similar to stringing a steel string acoustic. However, there are a few notable differences. One key difference is the way the tuners face. Nylon string guitars have tuners that point directly back towards you when you are holding the guitar in the playing position. Steel string guitars feature tuners that point down towards the floor and up towards the ceiling.
Chapter 10: (08:29) Replacing the Strings
1. Loosen and remove the old string.
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. After tying the knot, there needs to be enough string left over to tuck it underneath the knot of the adjacent string.Watch Jim perform this step of the process to see exactly how this should be done.
4. Refer to Jim's marker board for indication of how the tuning peg should be positioned before pulling the string through. Go over the top of the pin and pull the string back through the hole.
5. Similar to installing a steel string, a nylon string must be looped underneath itself. This will ensure that the string is locked securely in place. Tuck the string under itself. Then, pull out to the outside, away from the headstock. Once again, watch Jim closely with the video player set to "high quality" for a demonstration of this process.
6. Tune and stretch the strings.
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.
7. Remove any excess string extending from the saddle or the tuning peg.
Chapter 11: (02:58) Finishing up the Last Two Strings
The high E string must be tied backwards to the bridge so that it can be looped underneath the second string. Consequently, the second string holds onto the tail of both the first and third strings. Make sure that these two strings are stacked on top of one another and not side to side. Otherwise, they will slip and both strings will go out of tune.
Chapter 12: (03:35) Finishing Up Nylon String Guitar + Lesson Final Thoughts
Jim provides a close-up look at the strings wrapped around the tuning pegs. Hopefully this will provide you with a clear view of how the string is wrapped underneath itself. The string is pinched against the round part of the tuning peg rather than the hole.
Once the strings are installed, perform the stretching process. The stretching process is even more important with nylon strings. Nylon takes much longer than steel to settle into place. Consequently, more time must be spent during the stretching process.
The D string is prone to breakage on some classical guitars. Therefore, tune this string about a half step flat before you put the guitar back in the case.
Remember that all guitars are individuals. Different strings work better with different guitars. Experiment with a variety of string brands and types to find the string that you like the best.
Video Subtitles / Captions
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Instructor Jim Deeming plays.
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Instructor Jim Deeming plays.
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Hi. I'm Jim Deeming.
Instructor for JamPlay.com.
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I'm going to talk to you today about putting new strings on your guitar.
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A lot of students especially when they are new to the guitar can be intimidated by the process
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and wait for someone else to do it for them or it just never gets done.
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There is really no reason to be that afraid of the job it's not hard to do and it's really worth doing.
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Playing a guitar with dead strings certainly takes that life out of it and a lot of the fun out of it.
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So what I want to do is show you how easy this can be and maybe eliminate a couple common mistakes that are made
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when people put strings on the guitar.
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First I am going to talk about or review if you have already seen this where strings are anchored and what it looks like.
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The tuning mechanisms are up here in the head of the guitar.
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We have tuning pegs that where they actually tie off.
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Everything runs through the nut on the guitar and on the opposite end we are anchored here on the saddle behind the bridge.
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What we will be doing is focusing on how to get these connections solid and what we can do to eliminate slipping and going out of tune.
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First thing we want to do is take the old strings off.
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While I am doing this I want to talk to you a little bit about a tool you have probably seen in a guitar store or maybe you own one.
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It's a little crank, a little plastic crank that fits over the tuning pegs and lets you spin the dickens out of those things.
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I'm not a big advocate of using that because it causes a very bad habit and that is for to people to think in order to get their money's worth
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They need to use the whole string as delivered by the factory and that's not the case.
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As I said before one of the things we want to do is avoid slipping or stretching the other strings as much as possible.
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When you have a lot of extra string wound around the pegs it takes a lot of time for that to stretch out.
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So the easiest solution is just to not have it in the first place.
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What you are going to see in my stringing process here in a little bit is that we're going to leave almost no slack at all up on the tuning pegs
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and I'll show you how that's done.
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One other note.
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A common question some people have is should I take all the strings off all at once or string them one at a time to avoid stressing the neck.
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In most cases it's really not an issue you can do whichever way you prefer.
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I like to take them off all at once on a normal basis because that gives me a chance to do some house cleaning underneath the strings
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with a guitar polish and a good dust cloth.
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I'll begin taking all of these off and rejoin you in a minute when we're ready to start tying new ones on.
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Ok. Hopefully you've used the crank for the last time getting the hundred yards of string off of your tuning pegs.
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I've got all six of them detached from the head now.
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Now we will take a look at the saddle and the bridge pins.
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These simply lift out and on a steel string acoustic what you'll see is usually a bead head on the end.
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In a bit I am going to talk about the differences between a steel string and a nylon .
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Particularly on the bridge is where they differ but the technique I am going to teach you for tying off the strings on the head.
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The principles apply to either nylon or steel string guitars and works regardless of what size strings you use etcetera.
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This is a pretty universal technique.
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Ok. We are done with these and one editorial comment if you're ever tempted to donate your old strings to new students
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don't do that to them, spend the extra five dollars and send them a new set.
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Actually once you begin using this technique there won't be enough string leftover to send to them anyway.
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Let's get started with putting a new string on.
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For no particular reason I start with the first string, the smallest one.
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The order you do this in is not critical.
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The bead head goes back down in this hole where your bridge pin was and then one thing to pay attention to is your bridge pin will typically have
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a grooved slack in it and that's where the string is going to come out of the hole alongside the bridge pin.
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So what we will do is put the bead head in there and the pin in alongside of it
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and then before you punch that in somewhat tight begin to bring the slack back out of that string.
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You want the head to come out as far as it's going to before you lock it in place because we want this slack out before we go any further.
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We don't want that coming in later after we're trying to tune up.
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Then coming up to the head of the guitar I like to pinch the string down in the nut
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and I've done something here that I want to point out and that's the position of this pin before we start threading the string into the pin.
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What I want you to see is that I've turned these pins so that the hole inside the pin is facing a specific direction.
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Basically from about a one o'clock to a seven o'clock position and then what I'm very specifically going to do is bring the strings up the center of
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the head everything is going to cascade up through between the pins and then work toward the outside of the head after they've gone past the pin.
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So it'd be like a waterfall effect coming up the middle, going around and coming back down through the pins at an angle.
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A close up of that is right here and this is an example for the right side of the guitar.
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The string will come up and angle back just a little bit through that hole and there's a very good reason why we're doing that.
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I'll attempt to draw this for you.
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After we do this, after we thread the hole we're going to come around like this and go through the hole and then we're going to come around another
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half turn and tuck that string right underneath the entry of the string and that's it.
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We are not going to do a lot of winding or anything else.
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There is only going to be one half of a twist there and what that looks like up close is bringing the string here holding the tension out and from the
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inside coming around back through the hole, grabbing it, grabbing it again and by the way this works on all six strings.
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Some people are concerned the smaller strings are harder to hold onto and that they tend to slip more.
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When you see how this locks into place you will realize why the size of the string doesn't matter.
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So there's the beginning of what I would call the "S" turn, we're coming down through there, pull the slack right out of it, you don't need anymore
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than what it takes to get to the hole.
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Now we'll come back around the outside of the guitar or the outside of the head.
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I like to come in underneath when I tuck under the string and pull the rest of the slack out of the string there
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and then take a deliberate bend out or up from this perspective.
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What we are doing when we do this is the main part of the string is now laying on top of a very small part of string that's already gone through the
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hole that locks it in place and you don't need multiple winds to achieve that lock.
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As I begin to crank the string down it lays down on it's own tail harder and harder and it will not slip.
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Now one other note.
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Something I want you to think about when you're laying strings on here that will not only help your guitar stay in tune better
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but it will also minimize string buzz.
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Looking at the guitar flat like this the string needs to ride very close to the fret board all along the guitar.
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What you want to have happen is at the nut the string needs to at least some amount take a bend down from this perspective
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or back if you are holding the guitar this way.
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The idea being that at the bridge you want some minimal amount of angle.
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What can happen is if the string comes across the nut and then flies straight out to a peg then you can imagine
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the string will have a tendency to buzz in the groove of the nut.
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We don't want that.
So it eliminates buzz and it helps just a little bit to lock in your tuning.
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This is a drawing of the same view of the guitar that I was just talking about.
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This would be the neck and your frets would be along here and this is the pin that we've just threaded the string through the hole on
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and what you really want to see is for the string to come along the surface of the neck, hit the nut
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and then rather than go out straight it needs to angle down to the pin.
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Now some of this is limited by how your guitar is made.
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If the guitar is made with a very shallow angle then it's going to be up to you to make sure that when you come out of that hole
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you wind that string underneath and get a bend.
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This is another reason why to not wrap a lot of string around here because it takes away some of the control where the string is tied on here.
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So that's the idea.
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We want to bend the string a little and hopefully that's at a downward angle to the head and don't worry about these wavy lines this is common
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with Esteban guitars but that's ok, I'm sure you probably have a better guitar but this is what we want to accomplish with the strings.
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Ok. I am going to show you this again with the sixth string because it's larger and you can see it better.
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I won't drag you through tying all six strings but I want to do it a couple times so you have the process down.
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Once again we start with the pin at the bridge and saddle and this is where it actually is a little bit trickier to get done what I showed you earlier.
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When you put the head or the end of the string in and you start to push that pin down make sure that the slot is riding alongside the string
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and pretty soon you will get to the point to where you can feel the bead kind of separate from the pin and you can pull it up and down in that hole.
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What you want is that string all the way back out as far as it can go before you lock the pin in place.
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That bead is not resting against the pin.
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The bead is resting in a little pocket behind the saddle.
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The pins only job is to hold that string in the little groove it's not up to the pin to hold the thousand pound pressure on the string
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it's just merely a locking mechanism to hold it in place.
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If you get that slack out now and pull it tight it will save you tuning problems later.
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Going up here again and placing your finger on the nut and you're going to hold it until we can start cranking.
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We have once again the pin has the hole.
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Now we're on the opposite side of the clock and we're at 11 o'clock to 5 o'clock and I want to come from the inside of the pins,
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around the top and then thread back down through that hole and come underneath it and if that folds over it's ok just flip it back in place.
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The idea is we want to get to the point to where it's in place and we've taken as much of the slack out of it as we can.
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You may have to fiddle with it just a little bit to get that done.
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It doesn't have to be tight that's not the goal.
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The goal is just to minimize the number of turns on the peg.
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Now we're going to do our "S" turn again and come back around the outside of the pin and that's where we're actually bending the string.
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Come underneath the main part of the string fix our tuck, again leaving no slack and then a deliberate bend out coming from underneath the string
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so that when you start cranking on the string that first bend of the string lays down on top of itself and locks it in place.
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The easiest way to think about it is an "S" bend with a tuck underneath to lock it.
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Now we can take the rest of the slack out and begin to get close to tuning pitch but we're not going to go all the way up.
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I'm going to go ahead and put the other four strings on and then we will talk about the next step.
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I've gone ahead and put the remaining strings in this guitar and followed the exact same procedure we've already discussed.
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There's one thing I want to point out as I'm bringing these up to tension to further help in terms of keeping a bend on it which you might find
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if you have a shallow angle here.
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In order to help achieve that bend what you can do is lay a finger on top of the string as you're tightening it up
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and what that will do is help tuck it under other winds of the string.
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Even though I've pulled all of the slack out and attempted to minimize it, it will be pretty typical to have at least one turn around the peg.
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So if your string return can go under the wind that you've got that's just a little more pressure downward to help achieve the nut bend that I talked about.
00:55.326 --> 01:05.973
We're getting close now to tuning the guitar but there is something we're going to do pretty critical before we actually come to tune the guitar.
01:05.973 --> 01:14.495
If you listen to this it won't sound very good but I've got the strings starting to vibrate and make noise but they are not tight yet.
01:14.495 --> 01:17.281
This is the place where we are going to park and take another step.
01:17.281 --> 01:21.460
This step is to attempt to take most of the stretch out of the strings.
01:21.460 --> 01:27.499
The reason why when you string a guitar and then for the next few days you're fighting tuning
01:27.499 --> 01:30.680
is because the strings are still settling into their position.
01:30.680 --> 01:32.537
That happens three places.
01:32.537 --> 01:37.948
That happens here like we've talked about on the bridge pin we want that good and settled.
01:37.948 --> 01:45.261
It can happen on the tuning peg. Especially if you have a bunch of winds and even with a minimal amount there is still some settling that happens.
01:45.261 --> 01:51.368
Also the string stretches to some degree along it's entire length.
01:51.368 --> 01:59.286
The one thing we can do to minimize the amount of time that it takes to get to that settle is to go ahead and manually do that stretch.
01:59.286 --> 02:05.762
This might look a little aggressive but I don't think you can hurt the guitar unless you attack it like a gorilla.
02:05.762 --> 02:13.424
What we are going to do is lift the string up a little bit from the center you can begin to apply a reasonable amount of pressure
02:13.424 --> 02:18.138
and that will begin to settle both ends just a little bit.
02:18.138 --> 02:26.543
Now we're going to work this string in short little sections all along it's length and I'll actually just bend it like this between thumb and fingers.
02:26.543 --> 02:30.026
Put a little bit of stretch along it's full length.
02:30.026 --> 02:36.156
I do this on all guitars but this is especially critical on a nylon string guitar.
02:36.156 --> 02:39.035
The strings definitely tend to stretch more.
02:39.035 --> 02:44.097
Again, repeating with all strings.
02:44.097 --> 02:48.787
This is the beginning of getting the settling done.
02:48.787 --> 02:56.170
There's one other trick we'll do when we get closer to tuning that should take the last edge off.
02:56.170 --> 03:00.373
On the fifth string now.
03:00.373 --> 03:07.803
You will feel this as you do it to. You will feel a little stretch coming out of the string and a little bit of settling.
03:07.803 --> 03:11.843
There is the last one.
03:11.843 --> 03:15.791
Now to demonstrate I'll work on this big sixth string here on the bottom.
03:15.791 --> 03:18.507
We will bring this string up close to pitch.
03:18.507 --> 03:27.121
Now stretch it again and listen to this.
03:27.121 --> 03:38.429
Let's do the stretch again, a little bit more.
03:38.429 --> 03:45.356
I don't know if you can hear that but it dropped pitch again.
03:45.356 --> 03:48.490
We want that string to stop doing that.
03:48.490 --> 03:54.133
It is actually easier on the sixth and fifth string, the bigger ones.
03:54.133 --> 03:57.941
We're probably very close already.
03:57.941 --> 04:02.355
04:02.355 --> 04:04.375
Let's do a small string now.
04:04.375 --> 04:16.937
We'll get it up close and then let's do a little bit of a stretch.
04:16.937 --> 04:22.904
Be careful on this one. Especially if you're running light strings because you can snap these ones if you're too aggressive.
04:22.904 --> 04:28.523
A little bit along each section and then one final tug.
04:28.523 --> 04:31.263
Listen to how much that lost.
04:31.263 --> 04:37.114
You don't want that going on while you're performing.
04:37.114 --> 04:44.057
A little bit more.
04:44.057 --> 04:49.931
Less of a drop that time.
04:49.931 --> 04:53.576
04:53.576 --> 04:56.690
We can get away with just one last stretch.
04:56.690 --> 05:05.049
Almost none and I would call that good for now and finish the rest of it at tune and we're probably good.
05:05.049 --> 05:11.341
I'm going to repeat this process for the middle four strings and then I will have some final comments for you.
00:00.000 --> 00:10.865
Ok. We've got six brand new strings on our guitar and it's ready to sound happy.
00:10.865 --> 00:12.885
We have a couple more things to accomplish.
00:12.885 --> 00:19.758
If you like you can go ahead and twirl these and have a nice big loop.
00:19.758 --> 00:26.166
I don't like to do that because first of all I don't like the way it looks but more importantly it still buzzes up here
00:26.166 --> 00:31.437
and we don't need that when we are trying to sound good so we will cut them off.
00:31.437 --> 00:35.547
This is a bit of a personal preference and you can do what you like here.
00:35.547 --> 00:43.720
I like to get within less than a half of an inch of slack up here and cut everything off.
00:43.720 --> 00:53.101
A regular pair of wire cutters is best.
00:53.101 --> 01:05.105
Once you've done this there is a very important step to take care of on steel string guitars it's not so critical on an acoustic nylon string.
01:05.105 --> 01:09.934
This tip right here especially on your first and second strings is sharp as a needle.
01:09.934 --> 01:20.940
Take needle nose plyers and grab about the last quarter even eighth of an inch and give it about a ninety degree bend or more if you like.
01:20.940 --> 01:28.185
I bend it back toward the face of the guitar that gets it out of the way and if you bump it, it'll save you some trouble.
01:28.185 --> 01:35.406
There's a technique that I use called a "B" bend which is where I'm reaching back behind the nut and bending the string up.
01:35.406 --> 01:42.859
It's bad news if you've got a little needle sticking out of that first string and you reach up there in a hurry and grab it, that hurts.
01:42.859 --> 01:48.246
I'm always very careful to cut those off and put a little bend into the end of them.
01:48.246 --> 01:53.331
I'll go ahead and take care of the rest of these and then we'll have some final notes on tuning.
00:00.000 --> 00:08.520
We are done.
00:08.520 --> 00:12.653
We have nicely tied off and cut the strings up here.
00:12.653 --> 00:21.685
There's not a lot of slack or a lot of winds to let the tuning move and we've got bright sounding brand new strings ready to go, ready to play.
00:21.685 --> 00:25.748
If you want to reiterate that it's worth doing this fairly often.
00:25.748 --> 00:34.455
How often is an individual choice and depends on what kind of strings you buy, the chemical make up of your hands, how much you do or don't
00:34.455 --> 00:37.683
put oil on the strings and how often you play.
00:37.683 --> 00:46.878
I'm not rigid about this but I would say on average I change strings after about eight to twelve hours of playing on a given set.
00:46.878 --> 00:50.989
There are certainly some guitar players that are more fanatical about that.
00:50.989 --> 00:55.586
Tommy Emmanuel for example changes strings before every show.
00:55.586 --> 01:00.091
Literally minutes before he walks on stage he is doing what I just showed you to do.
01:00.091 --> 01:09.843
It sounds really good and it's also proof that what I'm talking about here is a good locking mechanism for strings that won't move, they'll stay in tune.
01:09.843 --> 01:19.571
Now I'm going to switch guitars to a nylon string and we won't repeat this whole process but I want to explain the difference in each end
01:19.571 --> 01:20.918
and how they tie off.
01:20.918 --> 01:22.799
The rest of the principles are the same.
00:00.000 --> 00:13.442
Now we are going to look at some differences on what I just showed you on the steel string guitar and on a nylon string guitar.
00:13.442 --> 00:18.899
This is a nylon string guitar. It may be a little different than typical classicals you are use to seeing.
00:18.899 --> 00:22.405
It's a solid body.
It's actually an electric classical.
00:22.405 --> 00:25.539
The principles are still the same in terms of putting strings on.
00:25.539 --> 00:31.273
Most importantly we want to look at the head and the saddle.
00:31.273 --> 00:40.683
The difference on the head on the nylon string guitar is that the pins that the string winds around run this direction rather than sticking up
00:40.683 --> 00:46.349
perpendicular to the guitar so as you're cranking you're actually rolling a pin this way.
00:46.349 --> 00:54.499
What that looks like from the side the string is going to come over the top and then curl around this way around a pin.
00:54.499 --> 00:55.961
As we discussed before.
00:55.961 --> 01:02.022
Before we start threading strings through here one of the things we're going to pay attention to is the angle of the hole in that pin.
01:02.022 --> 01:04.970
That's the reason for the diagram on the board.
01:04.970 --> 01:18.043
What we will be doing is bringing the string across the nut again, it angles down, we're going to go over the top of the pin and then come back
01:18.043 --> 01:26.657
around underneath and then again when we get there we will bring this back around in the "S" bend and tuck.
01:26.657 --> 01:30.372
Same principle. We're going to get one half turn underneath there.
01:30.372 --> 01:36.200
The string is going to lock itself down and we will start turning.
01:36.200 --> 01:45.163
You will see because nylon strings stretch more than steel do you'll notice that it looks like I have an average of two winds all the way around the pin.
01:45.163 --> 01:51.850
I am still applying these the same but because of the stretch there is a little bit of extra string that ends up on this end.
01:51.850 --> 02:00.975
The other difference is down on the bridge and saddle and that is basically usually on a nylon string or classical guitar
02:00.975 --> 02:03.343
the strings are effectively tied off.
02:03.343 --> 02:07.755
I'm going to show you the knot that I use and what I do.
02:07.755 --> 02:15.301
There are probably simpler knots that will function but I like the way this looks and it ties off nice and neat and does not allow any slip.
02:15.301 --> 02:17.437
I'll break that down for you when we get there.
02:17.437 --> 02:21.454
First thing I'm going to do is take these strings off and we'll be right back.
00:00.000 --> 00:11.329
I've removed the old strings and we are ready to start putting new ones on.
00:11.329 --> 00:20.779
It's fairly common on classical or nylon strings guitars that your threading this end of the string through a little hole and then tying a knot.
00:20.779 --> 00:22.985
So that's what I'll be showing you on this guitar.
00:22.985 --> 00:31.948
The string comes in over the bridge and on into that hole and then we need to find some way to tie this off so it doesn't slip.
00:31.948 --> 00:41.259
What I like to do and it requires a little bit of extra work but I think it's worth the time is to leave after the knot that I'll show you,
00:41.259 --> 00:46.576
leave a little bit of the tail of the string long enough that it will lay under the next string.
00:46.576 --> 00:53.797
That way each successive string that you add is clamping down on the previous one and that works really well.
00:53.797 --> 00:59.091
However that leaves us with a little magic to pull down here on the last two strings.
00:59.091 --> 01:02.783
They need to hold each other down so we will do two at a time when we get to there.
01:02.783 --> 01:04.501
Let's begin with the knot.
01:04.501 --> 01:13.742
After you've gone through the hole you can bring the string back around this way and tuck it underneath itself like that.
01:13.742 --> 01:16.807
Basically a simple half hitch.
01:16.807 --> 01:30.884
The goal here if possible is for this tail of the string to go over the bend in this saddle before the rest of the string weighs down on it.
01:30.884 --> 01:35.969
Let me see if I can get an example of that and then we will do a close up so you can see what I mean.
01:35.969 --> 01:38.708
Here is an example of what not to do.
01:38.708 --> 01:48.646
If they cross up here and on the flat part there is no grab and it will slip but by bending over that shoulder first and then clamping down
01:48.646 --> 01:53.383
it adds a tremendous amount of locking or clamping pressure on that string.
01:53.383 --> 02:01.765
You can see that I've left almost an inch of tail on this just to give you a visual of where the next hole is.
02:01.765 --> 02:10.960
It's coming out right about there so the next string will grab plenty of the top string and they will hold each other.
02:10.960 --> 02:20.479
We've got the first string on and now we'll go up here an anchor it similar to what we did on the steel string and that is to take all the slack out.
02:20.479 --> 02:30.440
We are doing the same job so you need to rotate your thinking ninety degrees and we're going to go over the top of the pin
02:30.440 --> 02:38.010
and then through the hole that is angled back up and toward the nut.
02:38.010 --> 02:53.241
The reason I am so particular about the angle of that hole is because I need just enough of the string laying on the pin before we start so it'll pinch it.
02:53.241 --> 03:02.738
If I have it too far forward the string would come out of the hole, go around and then there wouldn't be a start for the pinch.
03:02.738 --> 03:15.671
So by backing it off a little bit at this angle you can see that there's a contact point that's going to happen right here at the tuck
03:15.671 --> 03:20.361
and that string will lay down on it and won't let it slip back into the hole.
03:20.361 --> 03:24.703
That's why I am focused on the angle of the pins before we start.
03:24.703 --> 03:35.361
So we've gone through and then we're actually going to go to the back of the guitar to complete the "S" turn around the pin.
03:35.361 --> 03:40.933
Then we'll bring it out through this hole and this is our tuck.
03:40.933 --> 03:44.927
I like to go toward the outside of the guitar in this case.
03:44.927 --> 03:48.828
That's not particularly important it's more of a personal preference.
03:48.828 --> 03:50.221
Here we go.
03:50.221 --> 04:02.875
We've gone a little bit under that string we're taking all of the slack out and we'll do a close up view of what 'm doing here before I start cranking.
04:02.875 --> 04:08.674
04:08.674 --> 04:17.126
What's happening here is the string is going over the top of the pin, through it, behind and then tucking up here.
04:17.126 --> 04:24.347
This part of the string is now laying on top of the tail on the pin and that's the lock.
04:24.347 --> 04:31.568
As I begin to turn and this winds the pin back to begin tightening the string.
04:31.568 --> 04:36.537
It's already locked and will not come loose even though I've got less than a half turn.
04:36.537 --> 04:42.899
Dispelling the myth that you've got to have several turns in order for it to hang on.
04:42.899 --> 04:49.911
That actually has the opposite effect and creates too many problems and does not help anymore on holding the string tight.
04:49.911 --> 04:58.038
Now we will repeat the process again for the next string and I'll show you how I do the tuck on the bridge side.
04:58.038 --> 05:01.799
We need the next size string down.
05:01.799 --> 05:06.582
This is the fifth string.
05:06.582 --> 05:10.971
One other note by the way on classical strings.
05:10.971 --> 05:17.319
Most manufacturers do this on their strings.
05:17.319 --> 05:25.260
On one end you'll find that the winding on the wound strings, the winding loosens up.
05:25.260 --> 05:39.099
That makes that string much more flexible and floppy and a lot of people use that to make it easier to tie the knot on the bridge end of the guitar.
05:39.099 --> 05:45.136
I specifically don't do that and the reason why is because it's been my experience that it's a weak part of the string
05:45.136 --> 05:47.272
and we want to cut the weak part off.
05:47.272 --> 05:56.931
I use tight wound all the way from end to end and I don't believe it makes it more difficult to tie the knot and we eliminate breakage.
05:56.931 --> 06:05.429
I think that nylon guitar strings are far more prone to string breakage anyway and anything we can do to eliminate that helps us.
06:05.429 --> 06:16.180
Now we are going to go through the tunnel in the saddle here and now what you want to do is be sure that you are coming underneath the tail
06:16.180 --> 06:17.596
of the previous string.
06:17.596 --> 06:21.718
That's going to cause the string to get caught in the knot.
06:21.718 --> 06:26.779
We are now adding here the same kind of knot around and coming underneath.
06:26.779 --> 06:29.798
One tuck under here is plenty.
06:29.798 --> 06:37.530
It's looks a little fancier maybe and if you like it you can actually do a double or a triple if you'd like to see a nice spiral right there.
06:37.530 --> 06:45.447
I don't think it contributes anything to the anchoring of the string other than it looks pretty and everybody likes pretty guitars.
06:45.447 --> 06:57.243
Once again focus on getting the tail over this sharp bend in the saddle before you tighten that down.
06:57.243 --> 07:02.792
Now we are beginning to get a cascading knot down here that you'll see.
07:02.792 --> 07:06.554
This strings tail is laying under this one.
07:06.554 --> 07:11.476
This strings tail is now laying next to the next hole waiting to also be anchored.
07:11.476 --> 07:14.773
All of the strings are helping each other out and that's a good thing.
07:14.773 --> 07:18.604
Now we will repeat this process again.
07:18.604 --> 07:23.248
Over the top and I'll go a little bit faster this time.
07:23.248 --> 07:32.884
It's actually a fairly quick procedure and I want you to believe that because I want you to change strings a lot more often.
07:32.884 --> 07:41.800
Guitars with dead strings are not fun to play, not fun to listen to and I think they actually are discouraging to students.
07:41.800 --> 07:49.137
When you pick up a guitar with new strings on it you instantly know it has more life and a much better sound.
07:49.137 --> 07:58.634
Many low quality guitars have probably been sold in a pawn shop over nothing more than someone probably putting new strings on it
07:58.634 --> 08:00.607
and making it sound spiffy for a few days.
08:00.607 --> 08:10.661
Alright we are tucked under, we pull it out a little bit to accentuate that bend and the lock, just pull it up a little bit, it's hanging on
08:10.661 --> 08:16.675
and we start the crank and it's already locked and it's not coming off.
08:16.675 --> 08:21.738
We've got two on and I'm going to go ahead and add the next ones
08:21.738 --> 08:26.243
but I will be back to show you the last two and show you how we get those to tie to each other.
08:26.243 --> 08:28.913
It's just a little variation from what we've already been doing.
00:00.000 --> 00:08.473
Ok. Four strings are on.
00:08.473 --> 00:13.930
I've saved the last two to show you because there is a little bit of a difference here in how we tie them off.
00:13.930 --> 00:18.295
Once again I am going through the tunnel, underneath the previous string
00:18.295 --> 00:24.239
and I'm ready to begin tying a knot but I'm going to go ahead and start the last string at the same time.
00:24.239 --> 00:30.601
What we want to end up with is both of these strings tucked under each other.
00:30.601 --> 00:32.505
The way I get that done is this.
00:32.505 --> 00:43.906
You start with the second string, the slightly larger one, get it's knot ready to go and the same tail down on the end that you want to tuck underneath
00:43.906 --> 00:51.150
the first string and you begin to tighten it up but you cannot take all the slack out yet because it's not quite ready.
00:51.150 --> 00:54.424
Get it close.
00:54.424 --> 01:02.225
Ideally tight enough to where it will sit there without us having to hang on to it very much.
01:02.225 --> 01:10.143
Sometimes this goes well and sometimes it can be a little tricky so let's see what we can do here.
01:10.143 --> 01:25.003
Now tie the same knot in the first string and don't forget we want to grab the second string in the first strings knot.
01:25.003 --> 01:31.087
The difference is going to be when I tie this knot I am going to go around the string the opposite direction
01:31.087 --> 01:36.055
because I want it's tail pointing up toward the second string.
01:36.055 --> 01:45.807
Now comes the surgery.
01:45.807 --> 02:00.900
I'm going to thread this one back up through the same hole and the knot of the previous string that we've been hitting everywhere else.
02:00.900 --> 02:12.486
One fundamental difference here is that the second string in it's knot is it's actually holding on to the tail of both the third and the first string.
02:12.486 --> 02:15.505
It's a little tricky to get that all laid in there.
02:15.505 --> 02:23.515
Remember again, get over the sharp point of the saddle before you pull the slack out and pull it tight.
02:23.515 --> 02:26.510
It's easiest to just work them together like this.
02:26.510 --> 02:30.550
Pull them a little bit snug and there we have it.
02:30.550 --> 02:38.464
You can see the close up here and see every string is tucked under a neighbor including the string on the end that came back up
02:38.464 --> 02:39.741
underneath number two.
02:39.741 --> 02:41.900
Number two is holding two strings.
02:41.900 --> 02:48.866
The procedure for tying off up at the top is the same but since you are doing two at a time make sure you do not twist them
02:48.866 --> 02:52.442
because that will make your guitar sound like a snare drum.
02:52.442 --> 02:57.504
I'll go ahead and tie these off and be back for some final comments.
00:00.000 --> 00:15.987
I want to give you a good close up view of the locking knot on the nylon string guitar if you look at this peg right here for string number two it just
00:15.987 --> 00:22.009
so happens that the knot is right here on the top and you can see it really well.
00:22.009 --> 00:32.411
You can see that the tail that I've cut off is actually tucked under one layer of the string and rather than being pinched over the hole it is being
00:32.411 --> 00:38.123
pinched against the round side of the pin and that's all the lock that it needs to be able to hold it down.
00:38.123 --> 00:46.017
That's what we are after when we thread through the hole at a certain angle, tie that little "S" turn and then tuck.
00:46.017 --> 00:47.434
That's what we're after.
00:47.434 --> 00:49.454
So now we've strung a nylon string guitar.
00:49.454 --> 01:00.413
Once again the stretching process applies here and is actually more important and a little bit more work than it is on a steel string guitar.
01:00.413 --> 01:05.916
Classical strings stretch more and take a little bit more settling in to do
01:05.916 --> 01:14.112
but if you follow this procedure you should have it ninety nine percent within the first few minutes after putting the strings on.
01:14.112 --> 01:18.199
After playing just a lit bit they'll settle in and should be ready to go.
01:18.199 --> 01:27.533
You really should be able to replace a broken string and walk out on stage and perform without too many embarrassing tuning struggles.
01:27.533 --> 01:30.784
One other note about a classical guitar.
01:30.784 --> 01:35.653
It is fairly common when you put a classical guitar away for a little while
01:35.653 --> 01:45.207
The guitar is just sitting there and the D string will just break.
01:45.207 --> 01:52.103
For some reason it's the nature of about the size of the string and the fact that it's a wound string it is prone to do that.
01:52.103 --> 02:00.694
A very simple solution for that if you are having that problem is before you put the guitar away, tune it down a couple of cranks to take a little
02:00.694 --> 02:05.199
pressure off and that string will last as long as the rest of the strings on your guitar.
02:05.199 --> 02:16.297
Also, when you are picking strings and this applies to both nylon and steel string guitars be aware of the fact that your guitar is an individual
02:16.297 --> 02:19.316
and it may like or dislike some sets of strings.
02:19.316 --> 02:23.704
There are different manufacturers, different sizes and different coatings.
02:23.704 --> 02:32.388
Some people like what we would call a wound third string, a clear nylon or an unwound steel third string.
02:32.388 --> 02:39.354
I like a wound string I think it's got a little bit brighter of a tone but on some guitars that may tend to have a buzzing problem.
02:39.354 --> 02:47.620
Plan on experimenting with different manufacturers, different types of strings and see which one is best for your guitar.
02:47.620 --> 02:51.428
This also goes in combination with how your guitar is setup.
02:51.428 --> 02:58.254
If you are playing bluegrass, heavy strumming, you will want the heavier gauge strings as many of them wound as possible.
02:58.254 --> 03:07.147
If you're playing finger style or classical and you need a light touch you will be tending toward the lighter or thinner gauge strings and when you do
03:07.147 --> 03:14.182
that very often going to lighter gauge strings you will find pretty quickly that there's a limit before you start to have problems with buzzing.
03:14.182 --> 03:16.504
Don't be afraid to experiment.
03:16.504 --> 03:20.730
Don't throw your guitar away just because one set of strings causes you problems.
03:20.730 --> 03:26.140
Make an effort to try different sizes and see if you can find something that will work for you.
03:26.140 --> 03:35.010
I hope this has been informative to you and especially hope it encourages you to change strings more often and enjoy playing your guitar better.
03:35.010 --> 03:36.031
Thank you very much.