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Old 10-12-2010, 01:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Changing strings tomorrow, need advice

Ok, so I broke the high E string while tuning tonight. Stinkin' electric tuner kept saying I was around the 3G tone instead of the 1E I was going for.

Regardless, it broke, and now it needs replacing.

I'm looking into different strings, and I've been doing some research. My strat has 9 gauge on it already, .009-.042. I'm considering grabbing some Dean Markley Blue Steel strings, .009-.042 or .009-.046.

I have never done this before.

Would the .042 strings cause my action to be off, etc?

Also, can I take all the strings off at once or will it screw up the neck?
Is it difficult to change strings? What are some things I need to look for, avoid, etc?

Would you prefer Dean Markley, Ernie Ball, D'addario, etc? Why?

I need all the info I can get as I have not done this before.

Thanks.

HX

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Old 10-12-2010, 01:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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http://guitar.about.com/od/beginners...ge_strings.htm
http://video.search.yahoo.com/search...guitar+strings
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Old 10-12-2010, 02:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That link recommends changing one string at a time. But what about a bridge change where all the strings come off?
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Old 10-12-2010, 02:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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A lot of people say not to take all of them off at one time. I currently have all of mine off (doing some mods to the guitar) and I am not worried. If you think about it, they built the guitar with the strings off so what harm could really be done.

Of course, I wouldn't cut all 6 strings off at one time (meaning ever single string in under 1 second) but I can't see a problem with backing the strings off at the tuner and then cutting them.

FWIW, I always tune by ear and then do the fine adjustment with a real electric tuner. It could keep you from snapping strings by mistake.
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I buy extra first strings at the music store. I break them so often that I keep spares around. Individual strings cost USA $ 1. I've been experimenting with steel fishing wire:

http://www.americanfishingwire.com/toothproof.asp
about 30 feet or 9.2 meters # 02 size (0.011 inch diameter) price tag USA $ 1.39

http://www.malinco.com/fishing-hardwire.html
42 feet, # 2 size 0,011 inch diameter price tag USA $ 1.79

I have not found the # 1 size in stores. # 1 size is 0.010 inch diameter.

These wires work OK for guitar strings on both acoustic and electric guitars but you have to tie some kind of end to the string. I tie a knot in the end of the string with some 50 pound test nylon fishing line and it works.

0.011 inch diameter is a little too thick for electric guitar but OK of acoustic guitar.

I bought some heavier gauge fishing wire to test for other strings. I just wonder what it sounds like.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I use 10s myself, but 9s work too.

I always take off three, first lower the pitch till they are loose and then cut them, leaving the others on tight. Don't know why, just how I do it.

The increase in gauge might mess with your intonation, will have to check it afterwards.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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plenty of youtube vids on the subject. watch a couple, that's how i informed myself. I personally unloosen all the strings and cut them at the first fret with a wire cutter. This gives plenty on both ends to work with while taking them off. I guess you could do it at the other end like at the middle PU so you would have less to feed out the block (note to self try this next change ). I then restring it outside in e,e,a,b,g,d, no particular reason, just my way I guess it my old engine mechanic days of pattern tightening head bolts.
The trickiest part of the whole restring (for me at least) making sure you have the right amount of string for the wraps around the tuners and proper stretching of the string as you tune, also make sure the ball end of the string is well seated in the block.

ps: fender bullets for me
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I usually remove all of mine at the same time to give it a good cleaning and have never had a problem in 35 years.I have left strings off for months and at times even years. (SQUIER P-Bass) And a 42 -46 shouldnt give you any problems
The only time that I ever take 1 string off at a time is when Im doing a Floyd Rose.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My rule for string length is go the distance to the next tuner . If you are putting on the A string, pull the string tight to the D string tuner post and cut there. It depends on the size of the tuners but after doing it once you can make minor adjustments. Sometimes I go up to 1 1/2 tuners. you should never need more than 2 wraps and I even use 1 1/2 wraps quite frequently. More wraps doesnt mean better tuning. it is worse. It will cause it to bind and slip
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Not to argue, but I have read that 3 or 4 wraps under the hole on a 6/side headstock helps improve the tuning stability by making the string lower after it breaks over the nut. Just something I've read. Of course string trees accomplish the same thing. I try to get 3 - 4 wraps on each post. I used to wrap the first wrap over the end and then under for the rest, but that seems to leave too much room for string to slip over time.

Whatever you do, do it neatly. No strings crossing or overlapping themselves, imo.

I have changed one at a time and have also cut all 6, one right after the other, and noticed no ill effects. On my necks, I take them all off so I can clean around the frets real well. ON rosewood necks, I also take time to oil the fretboard.

I also take the strings up a full step or so to help stretch them out initially. Not so much as to snap a string, but the high e up to an f or F#. I also "pop" them to help them settle in better. Works for me. With floating trem it also takes a while to get the initial tune correct. So don;t be surprised if you get it all tuned up and it's still not in tune. THe other strings will change as you put tension on the neck and the floating trem, if your gtr is set up that way.

Good luck - don't let it be intimidating. Ya gotta learn. And get one of those $4 string winders when you buy strings. Makes it a world easier. And doesn't hurt to get an extra high e string, or a whole other pack, just for insurance. I've only broken e strings though to this point.

Wash hands before playing and wipe strings down afterwards to cut down on the sludgy stuff that builds up over time. Keeps strings slick, ready to play.

Randy
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:33 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Dunlop has a new line of strings out that comes with a spare E string. Comes in darned handy.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:37 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyvawn View Post
I usually remove all of mine at the same time to give it a good cleaning and have never had a problem in 35 years.I have left strings off for months and at times even years. (SQUIER P-Bass) And a 42 -46 shouldnt give you any problems
The only time that I ever take 1 string off at a time is when Im doing a Floyd Rose.
+1 I have always removed all strings and restrung top to bottom, I just snug 'em up untill all are on. depending on the amount of springs on your trem the intonation issue should not be affected by a larger guage, but if you float your trem it could, slightly. I have only seen one guitar in my life with a warped neck from having the strings off and it was a cheap acoustic that had been left unstrung for years.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:44 AM   #13 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=66musicmaster;24453]Not to argue, but I have read that 3 or 4 wraps under the hole on a 6/side headstock helps improve the tuning stability by making the string lower after it breaks over the nut. Just something I've read. Of course string trees accomplish the same thing. I try to get 3 - 4 wraps on each post. I used to wrap the first wrap over the end and then under for the rest, but that seems to leave too much room for string to slip over time

Everyone does it their own way. I also wrap the first on top then the 2nd on the bottom. Its just what I have done for 20+ years. I was told that helps to lock the string or pinch it to prevent slippage. It works for me.
I also know a guy that wraps the string all the way to the bottom of the post. He said that way he doesnt need trees .

Hell, after 35 years I still mess up once in a while.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:29 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I also tightened my trem block last night to get it more flush to the body of the guitar. I know this caused extra tension, and probably threw the guitar so out of tune that it's possible the extra tension helped force the break.

What are the potential issues with tightening the trem block vs. keeping it looser?
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:50 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horax View Post
I also tightened my trem block last night to get it more flush to the body of the guitar. I know this caused extra tension, and probably threw the guitar so out of tune that it's possible the extra tension helped force the break.

What are the potential issues with tightening the trem block vs. keeping it looser?
It will affect your action and possibly the intonation, the action is easy enough to adjust with the saddle adjjustment screws. Intonation is a little more difficult ut it probably wouldn't be affected much anyway. And I guess you learned the "Loosen your strings" before you make adjusments lesson.
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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On a string-through guitar I loosen all 6 and cut them near the middle,clean the guitar and put the new strings on.Flip it over start all 6 through,flip it back and hook 'em up startin' with the 6th..I wrap about 4 wraps on the bigger strings and more on the smaller ones.Over the top with the 1st wrap and under for the rest.The string is locked and cannot slip.Bring it up close to in tune then stretch 'em by pulling up at the middle..I keep doing this until the string holds near tune.Then I often tune a 1/2 step high and let it set for a day,and playing it.I don't experience slippage or breaking..Been doin' that way for a long time,works fine for me..
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:48 PM   #17 (permalink)
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When buying sets ofstings i like to buy three sets at a time. that way when individual strings break you can usually cobble together a new set. I like the idea of Dunlop with the extra 1st string in their sets, great idea.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:17 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I don't mind cutting off all the strings at one time, i use this to get a nice clean cut.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I don't mind cutting off all the strings at one time, i use this to get a nice clean cut.
UH HUH!!! Yer offen yer meds agin,ain'tcha?
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:04 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Ahhh.. who needs meds. thay kill my creative ability. But thay do stop the voices in my head.
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