How to Restring a Classical Guitar – Exposed in 5 Simple Steps

by Alex Winnerman  - November 8, 2023

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I am an ardent believer in the fact that every guitarist must know how to restring a classical guitar among other things. 

Trust me, I've been there before and understand how daunting it can seem having to handle this by yourself.

But don't worry; through thorough research and trials on my guitar, I've mastered an easy-to-follow procedure that ensures a smooth restringing process.

Let's dive into this step-by-step guide to help you restore the sweet sound of your instrument in no time - because every musician deserves perfectly strung strings!

Key Takeaways

  • Detune the strings of your classical guitar before starting the restringing process to relieve tension and prevent damage.
  • Use wire cutters to carefully remove the old strings near the guitar's bridge, one at a time.

  • Attach the new strings securely to the bridge and tuning keys by tying them properly and winding them up with tension.

  • Make final adjustments in string tension using a tuner and trim excess string length for proper intonation.

Tools and Materials Needed for Restringing a Classical Guitar

Before diving into changing guitar strings, we'll need to get a few essentials. Here is what you will require:

  1. A new set of classical guitar strings: Go ahead and buy your preferred brand. Or consider trying out a recommendation from your fellow musicians or instructor.
  2. Wire cutters: You'll need these to trim the excess string after restringing.
  3. String winder: This makes removing and winding the new strings much smoother.
  4. Tuner: To ensure that each newly installed string is correctly tuned.
  5. A soft, clean cloth: For wiping down the guitar before and after the restringing process to remove any dust or grime.

Restring a guitar

How To Restring A Classical Guitar - A Step-by-Step Guide.

Here is the summary of how to restring a classical guitar:

  • Start by detuning the strings and cutting off the old ones to restring a classical guitar.
  • Then, attach the new strings to the bridge and thread them through the tuning keys.
  • Make sure to create loops and tie knots properly for secure stringing.
  • Finally, make any necessary adjustments in tension and trim excess strings for a clean finish.

Now, let's elaborate on the steps further:

1. Detuning the strings

To begin restringing your classical guitar, detuning the strings is the first step.

This helps relieve the tension on the old strings and makes it easier to remove them.

Start by turning the tuning keys counterclockwise to lower the pitch of each string.

Take your time with this step, as rushing could cause damage to your guitar or harm its neck.

Make sure all of the strings are properly detuned before moving on to the next step in restringing your classical guitar.

2. Cutting the old strings

To begin restringing your classical guitar, it's essential to start by cutting the old strings.

Use a pair of wire cutters or string snips to cut each string near the guitar's bridge carefully.

Make sure to hold onto the loose end of the string as you cut so it doesn't ping back and potentially cause injury.

By cutting the old strings first, you'll be able to remove them one at a time without losing tension in the neck of your guitar.

3. Attaching the new strings to the bridge

I carefully tie one end of the new string to the bridge of my classical guitar.

Making sure it's secure, I thread the other end through the hole in the tuning key and begin winding it up.

As I turn the tuning key, I keep tension on the string for a tight fit.

This process is repeated for each string until they are all securely attached to both the bridge and tuning keys.

By following these steps, I can ensure that my classical guitar is ready to be played with its fresh set of strings.

4. Stringing the new strings to the tuning keys

To complete the restringing process, it's time to string the new strings onto the tuning keys.

Start by threading each string through its corresponding hole on the tuning key.

Then, pull the string tight and begin winding it around the post in a clockwise direction.

Keep winding until you reach your desired tension, making sure not to overlap or cross over any of the windings.

Once you're satisfied with the tension, use wire cutters to trim off any excess string protruding from the tuning key post.

Repeat these steps for all remaining strings, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure proper intonation and tone.

Properly attaching the new strings to the tuning keys is crucial for achieving optimal sound and playability on your classical guitar.

5. Final adjustments and trimming of excess strings

After stringing the new strings to the tuning keys, you must make some final adjustments to ensure they are properly 'tensioned.'

Use a tuner to check the pitch of each string and make any necessary tweaks by turning the tuning keys.

Taking your time with this step is essential, as it will significantly affect your guitar's intonation and overall sound.

Once you're satisfied with the tuning, it's time to trim off any excess string length.

Using wire cutters or scissors, carefully snip off the extra string close to where it emerges from the tuning key or tie block corner.

Be careful not to cut too close, as leaving a small tail can help prevent slippage later.

How To Restring A Classical Guitar - The Tips and Tricks

To ensure optimal string tension and tuning, it is important to stretch the new strings before installing them on your classical guitar.

This can be done by gently pulling each string away from the fretboard and applying light pressure until you hear a slight plucking sound.

Repeat this process a few times for each string before attaching them to the bridge and tuning keys.

Proper string tension and tuning

Proper string tension and tuning are essential for achieving optimal sound quality on a classical guitar.

It's important to ensure that each string is tightened to the correct level of tension, as this affects the pitch and intonation of the instrument.

By following the step-by-step guide in this article, beginners can easily learn how to restring a classical guitar and achieve the right amount of tension and tuning for each string.

Remember, you can produce beautiful melodies with your classical guitar by maintaining proper string tension and tuning.

Stretching the strings

To ensure that your classical guitar stays in tune and produces the best sound, it's important to stretch the new strings after installing them.

This helps to minimize tuning issues and keep the strings stable.

To stretch the strings, gently pull them away from the fretboard while pressing down on each string at multiple points along its length.

Repeat this process a few times for each string until they feel more flexible and less likely to slip out of tune.

Remember, stretching the strings is essential in restringing your classical guitar for optimal ease in playing the instrument and tone.

Cleaning and maintenance

Maintaining a clean and well-maintained classical guitar is essential for both its longevity and sound quality.

Regular cleaning helps remove dirt, dust, and oils that can accumulate on the instrument's body, strings, and fretboard.

To keep your guitar in tip-top condition, I recommend using a soft cloth or microfiber towel to wipe down the body after each use gently.

Use a  mild soap solution to remove stubborn stains for spot cleaning.

Additionally, it's crucial to regularly check the tuning pegs, bridge, and frets for any signs of wear or damage.

If you notice any issues during your inspection, it's best to consult with a professional luthier for repairs or adjustments.


As I've stated from the beginning, learning how to restring a classical guitar doesn't have to be intimidating to you, if you can play the instrument. A good player should also be a good 'fixer"!

This step-by-step guide helps you to easily change your guitar strings and keep your instrument sounding its best.

Remember to take your time and pay attention to proper string tension and tuning for optimal results. Happy playing!

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FAQs  - On How To Restring a classical Guitar

1. How often should I restring my classical guitar?

It is recommended to restring your classical guitar every 3-6 months or when the strings start to lose their tone and clarity.

2. What tools do I need to restring a classical guitar?

You will need a set of new strings, wire cutters, a string winder, and a bridge pin puller (optional) to restring your classical guitar.

3. Can I use any type of strings for my classical guitar?

No, using nylon or synthetic strings specifically designed for classical guitars is important. Steel or electric guitar strings are not suitable for a classical guitar.

4. How long does it take to restring a classical guitar?

Restringing a classical guitar can generally be done within 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your experience level and familiarity with the process.

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Alex Winnerman

Meet Alex Winnerman, a seasoned music director and mentor, dedicated to guiding aspiring artists, recommending top-quality instruments, and mastering the intricacies of studio engineering. With a wealth of expertise, his online coaching sessions are readily available for those eager to embark on a musical journey. Married and eternally youthful at heart, Alex's mission is to make music resonate in the lives of others.

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