Sooner or later and for every guitarist, the time will come when the strings need changing. In the beginning, this can be an exciting job but get pretty awkward and fiddly. As such, I’ve put together a few tips that will hopefully make the process a little smoother and less painful. This blog is focussed on changing the strings of a classical or Spanish guitar. If you need to swap out the strings of your steel-string acoustic and need a few tips, then you might want to check out a different blog.


  • Most guitarists will go for a set of ‘normal tension’ strings. For now, there’s no need to focus on the precise thickness of each string.
  • Classical guitar strings are almost always made of nylon and some are wound with metal.
  • Always make sure you’re using a set of strings that have been made specifically for the classical guitar. This is because strings made for different guitars have a higher tension and this will only damage your instrument in the long run.

Video: Changing Classical Guitar Strings

Removing the Old Strings

  • Wind the tuning peg down, in the direction that makes the string more loose. This can be done by hand or by using a useful little tool called a string winder.
  • Once there’s a lot of slack in the string, cut it in the middle, then pull the ends from the bridge and tuning mechanisms of the machine heads.

Install the New Strings

Get yourself a set of fresh strings and follow the steps below to install each of them. It’s best to start with the two outermost strings (the thickest and the thinnest), then work towards the middle until all of the strings are installed. This ensures that the tension is never too high, so that it doesn’t put the top panel of wood of your guitar under too much stress.

Thread one end of the string through the corresponding hole in the bridge.How to Change the Strings of your Classical Guitar
Then, tie a knot in the end, making sure to wrap the end twice before tightening the knot. You can see what this looks like in the following four photos.
How to Change the Strings of your Classical Guitar
How to Change the Strings of your Classical Guitar
How to Change the Strings of your Classical Guitar
How to Change the Strings of your Classical Guitar
Hold the other end of the string where it reaches the corresponding tuning mechanism at the headstock then, making sure not to pull it too tight, make a bend in the string around two inches above the tuning mechanism. This gives enough slack to wind the string a few times. Now thread the string through the hole of the tuning mechanism and follow the steps seen in the images below to make sure that the string is securely tucked under itself and doesn’t come loose when the tuning peg is wound. Again, there needs to be enough length in the string so it can be wound around the mechanism several times.
How to Change the Strings of your Classical Guitar
How to Change the Strings of your Classical Guitar
Once your string is tucked under itself, turn the tuning peg away from you to tighten the string and secure it. You can now wind the peg further until the string the slack is taken up and the string is in place.


  •  While tightening the string when it’s still loose, hold it down just under the string nut (at the first fret), so that it sits nicely as its tightened.
  • Make sure that the string stays in the corresponding groove of the string nut as it’s tightened. The tip above should help take care of this.
  • Make sure you’re not pulling too hard on the string. Just hold the string at a tension so it sits happily in the groove of the nut.

Once You’re Done

1. Tune up your guitar! Just like when you were installing the strings, tune the two outermost strings first then work your way to the middle.
2. Since new strings need to stretch out (otherwise they drop out of tune more regularly as the string stretches while you play), press down on a single string with your thumb while lightly pulling on it, as seen in the photo below. Repeat this for each string.
3. Re-tune your guitar.
How to Change the Strings of your Classical Guitar
It’s a good idea to repeat this process again just to make sure your strings are comfortably stretched and won’t fall out of tune too quickly. Once done, any extra lengths of string sticking out of the bridge can now be trimmed. Don’t trim too much off though! Make sure to leave approximately half a centimetre so that the string won’t come lose over time.

Handige links:

» Buyer’s Guide – How Do I Choose The Right Classical Guitar?
» Blog – How To Tune Your Guitar
» Guitar Strings
» String Winders
» Classical Guitars
» Classical Guitar Strings

2 responses
  1. David Cole says:


    The tuning pegs on my Yamaha G 230 (which is at least 42 years old I must add add) feel very stiff to turn and the strings never stay in tune even though I have stretched them a lot?

    I have restrung them in the usual way.

    Thank you for your advice.

    • Hi David,

      It sounds like the best thing to do is replace the machine heads. But what can also solve the problem is rubbing the end of a pencil through the grooves of the nut. The graphite lubricates the grooves and stops the strings getting stuck. Hope this helps!

      Marnix | Bax Music

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