There’s more than one way to string a guitar, and I won’t delve too far into my personal method, but there are some important things to keep in mind to make sure your guitar keeps working as it should. When putting the ball end in the bridge-pin hole, make sure to bend it forward a tad so the end of the pin doesn’t snag the ball end and pull it down into the guitar and away from the bridge plate. Ignoring this can cause premature bridge-plate wear and tuning stability issues. I like to end up with three winds of string around the post, one over and two under. That way the string won’t climb too far up or down the post. Finally, after your new strings are on, give them all a good stretch by grabbing them one by one and twisting them side-to-side. This will seat the string balls against the bridge plate while taking up slack in the winds around the gear post, resulting in very little to no break-in time on a steel-string guitar.
If you are restringing a nylon-string guitar, place an old credit card behind the bridge to protect the top from slipping strings. If your knot isn’t secure, the string can slip out of the bridge and literally whip a hole in the finish. Ouch! I’ve seen this on countless guitars, and it’s easy to prevent.
Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar July 2013
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