How Much Does It Cost To Restring A Guitar

How Much Does It Cost To Restring a Guitar? Unstringing the Mystery

You’ve played your heart out, and the sweet melodies from your trusty guitar have been the soundtrack to countless memories. But suddenly, a broken string disrupts your flow. Or perhaps the old, rusty strings just don’t resonate as they once did.

Every guitar enthusiast faces this dilemma sooner or later: to restring or not to restring? And of course, how much does it cost to restring a guitar?

How Much Does It Cost To Restring A Guitar

DIY Vs. Professional Restringing

When it comes to swapping out those guitar strings, you have two main options: restring it yourself or take it to a professional.

The DIY Route

Let’s break down the cost if you choose to roll up your sleeves and get those fingers working.

Guitar strings can be a steal or a splurge. Whether it’s for an electric guitar or an acoustic, a set of strings can range from $5 to $30 – or maybe even more. Some prefer premium acoustic guitar strings for that warm and vibrant tone, while others stick to budget-friendly strings, especially if they’re changing them frequently or have just gotten started playing the guitar.

Essential Tools

String Winder – This is a small handheld tool that fits over a guitar’s tuning pegs. Its primary purpose is to help you wind and unwind the strings quickly, making the changing process faster and reducing finger fatigue.

String Cutters – These are specialized pliers meant for cutting guitar strings. They ensure a clean cut without fraying the string’s end, which can be important for both safety and appearance. Always be cautious, as the sharp ends of cut strings can cause injury!

Bridge Pin Puller (For Acoustic Guitars) – This tool assists in removing the bridge pins that hold the strings in place on the guitar’s bridge. It’s essential to ensure you don’t damage the pins when you restring a guitar.

String Posts – These are the parts on the headstock of your guitar where the strings wrap around. Ensuring they are in good condition will make restringing easier and tuning more stable.

String Gauges – While not a “tool,” knowing your preferred string gauge helps ensure the playability and tone you’re looking for. Lighter gauges are easier to play, while heavier ones produce a fuller tone.

Neck Cradle – When restringing, this tool can help by holding the guitar neck steady. While it’s not strictly necessary, it can be quite useful, especially for beginners.

Here’s a hot tip for you: the initial investment in a string winder and string cutters pays off in the long run. And if you’re contemplating changing your strings, consider checking out the best guitar tuners. After all, new strings need to be in tune!

A Comprehensive Guide to Stringing Your Own Guitar

How Much Does It Cost To Restring A Guitar

Every guitar player, from the passionate novice to the touring professional, will eventually come face-to-face with a guitar that needs restringing. Whether it’s because of a rogue broken string or simply the wear and tear of playing, knowing how to change your guitar strings is a vital skill.

Step 1: Gather Your Essential Tools

To kick things off, you’ll need the right tools for the job. We’ve already mentioned all the tools you need above, but to refresh your memory, ensure you have a string winder, string cutters, a bridge pin puller, and a neck cradle. You should be able to find everything you need and more from your local music store. Or, if there isn’t one nearby, search for all the equipment you need online.

Step 2: Prepare Your Guitar

Lay your guitar flat on a sturdy surface. If you don’t have a neck cradle, you can use a soft cloth or a towel to prop up the neck. This is essential for protecting your guitar. The last thing you need is to have purchased a new set of strings for a broken musical instrument.

Step 3: Remove Old Strings

Using your string winder (or your hands if you’re patient), unwind each string until slack. Then, you can remove the strings from the tuning pegs. For acoustic guitars, use the bridge pin puller to carefully remove the bridge pins and free the strings from the bridge.

Tip: Some guitarists like to change one string at a time, especially when it comes to electric guitars, to maintain tension on the neck.

Step 4: Clean and Inspect Your Guitar

With the strings off, it’s an excellent opportunity to clean your fretboard. Use a soft cloth and, if necessary, a guitar-friendly cleaner. Check for any wear or damage, especially around the bridge and string posts.

Step 5: Restringing

How you restring a guitar and how much it costs will depend on whether you have an acoustic or an electric instrument.

Acoustic Guitar:

  • Insert the string’s ball end into the bridge hole.
  • Place the bridge pin in the hole with the groove facing the string, pushing it firmly.
  • Pull the string upwards until you feel the ball end sit snugly against the bridge pin.

Electric Guitar:

  • Feed the string through the tailpiece or bridge, depending on your guitar’s design.

Both Guitars:

  • Pull the string taut and thread it through the tuning peg, leaving a little slack (about 2-3 inches) for winding.
  • Start turning the tuning peg, ensuring the string wraps neatly around the peg. Using the string winder can speed this up!
  • As you wind, maintain tension with your other hand to ensure the string seats correctly.

Step 6: Stretch and Tune

Strings need to stretch a bit to maintain tuning. Gently tug each string up and down the fretboard with your fingers. Now, using your favorite tuner, tune each string to pitch. If you don’t have a tuner on hand, you can always download an app on your phone to help you tune your guitar.

Step 7: Trim the Excess

Once all strings are in place and tuned, use your string cutters to trim the excess string from the tuning pegs.

How Much Does It Cost To Restring A Guitar

Step 8: Play and Enjoy!

With your guitar restrung, play a few chords and melodies to let the strings settle. You might need to retune a couple of times until the strings fully stabilize.

Final Note: Restringing your guitar can feel daunting initially, but with practice, it becomes a straightforward maintenance task. Moreover, fresh strings breathe new life into your instrument, enhancing the tone and overall playing guitar experience. So, embrace the process and the beautiful sounds that follow!

Going Pro

If the thought of handling new strings intimidates you, don’t fret. Many opt for a professional to do the job. The price of guitar restringing services can vary depending on music stores. Guitar Center charges around $20 for their skilled hands to work on your instrument. When you also take the cost of new guitar strings, you’re looking at a total of around $25 to $50.

Now, let’s say you’re not interested in regular strings. Perhaps you’ve been eyeing some expensive strings for that specialty guitar of yours. Premium or specialty strings do come with a heftier price tag. But remember, you get what you pay for, and high-quality strings can significantly enhance your playing experience.

Why Strings Matter

It’s tempting to dismiss the importance of guitar strings. However, seasoned players understand that it’s not just about avoiding a broken string. The type and string gauge you choose can dramatically impact your playing style and sound. Delving into the best electric guitar brands and their recommendations can be enlightening when it comes to choosing your new set of strings.

From string durability to tonal quality, the guitar pedals you use or even the genre of music you’re into plays into the string equation. That’s why revisiting those old strings and investing in a new set of strings can be a game-changer for your musical journey.

The Art of Choosing the Right Strings

The right set of strings not only complements your guitar but also becomes an extension of your musical voice. While every musician’s journey to finding the perfect strings is personal, understanding the basics can significantly simplify the process.

Material Matters

Steel vs. Nylon:

The battle between steel and nylon strings has echoed through guitar shops and music halls for generations. While the choice is subjective, the differences in sound and feel are substantial.

Steel Strings: Dominating the realm of acoustic models, especially those used in rock, blues, country, and folk, steel strings are known for their bright, resonant, and loud sound. Their clear tone and volume make them a favorite for performers. Additionally, the tension of steel strings is higher, giving them a distinct feel under the fingers. However, note that steel strings can be tough on a beginner’s fingertips until calluses form.

Nylon Strings: Step into the world of classical music, flamenco, or bossa nova, and nylon strings reign supreme. These strings are the heart of classical guitars, producing a soft, warm, and mellow tone. Because they’re less tense, nylon strings are often recommended for beginners due to their gentle feel. They also lack the metallic “twang” of steel, creating a smoother and more rounded sound.

Bronze Strings: These types of strings are both affordable and durable. They offer a tonal warmth and a brightness that’s suitable to all genres of music. So, if you’re a complete beginner, need to change your strings often, or want to lower the cost, this might be your best bet.

How Much Does It Cost To Restring A Guitar

Coated vs. Non-Coated:

Choosing between coated and non-coated is like choosing between a raincoat and a favorite old jacket. Both have their place:

Coated Strings: Think of these as the raincoat. They have a protective layer that defends against the usual suspects: moisture, dirt, sweat, and oils from the player’s fingers. This protective shield significantly prolongs the string’s life, making them ideal for guitar players who don’t want to change strings often. However, some purists argue that the coating, while prolonging life, can slightly dampen the string’s vibrancy and brightness.

Non-Coated Strings: The old jacket. They might not last as long, but there’s an authenticity to them. They offer a raw, unfiltered sound that many guitarists swear by. They’re often brighter and more resonant than their coated counterparts. However, they are more susceptible to wear and tear from the elements, meaning they’ll need replacing more frequently.

The art of choosing the right strings lies in understanding the materials and their properties and aligning them with your musical genre, playing style, and personal preferences. Whether you’re strumming away on steel or serenading with nylon, the right strings can elevate your playing experience to new heights.

How Much does it Cost To Restring A Guitar

Common Mistakes When Changing Strings

Changing guitar strings might seem like a straightforward task for many seasoned guitarists. Yet, it’s more nuanced than simply threading a string through a hole. There’s a learning curve, especially for beginners, often filled with snapped strings, tuning troubles, and occasional frustrations. To save you from some of these hassles, let’s navigate the common pitfalls when restringing a guitar.


There’s a bit of a Goldilocks scenario when tightening guitar strings: not too loose, not too tight—just right.

The Perils: Tightening a string beyond its intended pitch can cause it to snap. It’s not only a disappointing end to a brand-new string but also a potential hazard. When a string snaps, it can cause injury or damage your guitar’s finish.

The Right Pitch: Always tune your guitar string by string using a reliable guitar tuner. This ensures you hit the right note without over-stressing the string. Remember, gradually tightening and regularly checking the pitch is the key.

Winding Too Much Slack

While ensuring the string is secure is essential, winding an excessive amount around the tuning peg can be counterproductive.

The Issue: Too many windings can create an unstable grip on the string, making it more susceptible to slipping out of tune. Additionally, it can also make future restringing tasks cumbersome.

The Sweet Spot: Aim for about 2-3 neat, tight windings around the tuning peg for most strings. This provides a secure grip without overcomplicating the winding.

Not Stretching New Strings

It might seem odd, but new strings need a little ‘break-in’ time. Think of them like a new pair of shoes that need some wearing in to feel comfortable.

Why It’s Essential: Strings naturally stretch as they’re played. If you don’t manually stretch them a bit after installing, you might find yourself continuously retuning during your first few sessions. This can be frustrating, especially during live performances.

The Solution: After restringing and tuning, gently tug each string up and down along the fretboard (ensuring you support the string with your other hand). This helps to stabilize them. Retune, play a bit and repeat the process until they maintain their tuning more consistently.

String changing is as much an art as it is a technical task. Avoiding these common pitfalls ensures not only the longevity of your strings but also a more enjoyable playing experience. Whether you’re a beginner or have been strumming the guitar for years, it’s always good to remind yourself of these essential tips to keep your guitar sounding its best.

How Much Does It Cost To Restring A Guitar

Parting Notes: How Much Does it Cost to Restring a Guitar?

Restringing is not just a chore—it’s an integral part of maintaining your instrument and ensuring its longevity. While the cost can vary depending on whether you’re taking the DIY route or entrusting your beloved instrument to a professional, the feeling of strumming on fresh strings is priceless. If you’re going pro at your nearest guitar shop, expect to pay for the time taken and the new strings. If you decide to tackle all your strings yourself, you won’t just have to purchase strings – you’ll also need all the tools to be able to do so. A complete beginner might risk string breakage when they restring a guitar for the first time, so that’s something to consider, too.

So, whether you’re an acoustic aficionado or an electric enthusiast, or whether you’re hunting for a new acoustic guitar or contemplating a guitar center trade-in, remember: those strings matter. Invest in them, look after your guitar, and the music will look after you.