How to strings and tie a classical guitar
A guide to changing or replacing the strings on your classical or nylon string acoustic guitar. Classical and flamenco guitars have six strings, the three bass strings look like wound metal, they have a nylon core and a thin copper wire wrapped around the outside. The treble strings are a clear nylon composite material. Classical guitars need to have their strings changed regularly to get the best projection, tone, and playability. These days there are two types of tie blocks (on the bridge), a six-hole bridge and a twelve-hole bridge, we’ll look at both.
Quick tips before you begin
- Don’t take off all your strings at once – If you take off all your strings you can’t copy how they were previously tied when you re-string the guitar. Also, the saddle (the white bone or plastic in the bridge) is held in place by the strings so that can fall out if you take off all the strings.
- Change all of the strings (not just a broken one) – Strings ‘go dead’ when they loose their elasticity and get worn down by use. If you break a string it’s best to change all six.
- Re-string often – Beginner students can just replace the strings twice a year but more advanced guitarists should change them before each concert or as often as affordable.
- Protect your guitar – Have a cloth or thick paper to protect the top of your guitar as the tips of the strings can damage the finish or even the wood.
What Strings or Gear Do You Need?
You’ll need some nail clippers or wire cutters to clip the string ends. Of course, you’ll also need strings. I’d recommend D’Addario Pro Arte normal tension strings as a basic choice for beginners (or hard tension for intermediates) but you can see my review of classical guitar strings to see what I prefer. Make sure you use nylon classical guitar strings, not steel strings. The tension used for steel-string guitars is much higher and can damage your classical guitar. Also remember that nylon classical guitar strings do not have ball-ends, that is, balls attachments on the end of the strings. Classical guitar strings require that you tie a self-fastening knot of sorts.
How to change classical guitar strings on a 6 hole bridge
Here’s a few videos on how to restring nylon guitar guitars with a basic 6-hole bridge. There are various ways to tie nylon strings on a guitar but if you are a beginner just choose one and go for it as they all work just fine.
Here is a video by the great Matthew Hinsley via Guitar Curriculum on their Youtube.
Here’s a video on how to put strings on a classical guitar by our friends over at the high quality site: Classical Guitar Corner. This is probably the best video in terms of comprehension.
Here’s how to restring a classical guitar from Cordoba Guitars, I like the big demo with wood and rope.
How to tie guitar strings via String by Mail. Do not use an electric tuning drill, never even bring a drill into the same room as your guitar. Ever.
Another good link:
- Check out this article on how to string a classical guitar by Sweetwater. It has cool animated gifs of each step.
How to change classical guitar strings on a 12 hole bridge
How to tie classical guitar strings on a 12 hole bridge via Erez Perelman. FYI, I really don’t think you need to do an extra knot on the treble strings except maybe the 1st string. Some high tension strings it might be necessary for string 1 and 2. That said, you can air on the safe side if you want.
Here’s a picture of my tieblock on my Douglas Scott 12 hole bridge.
Step by Step Gifs – How to replace classical guitar strings
Check out these cool gifs from this great article on Sweetwater.