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Re-Stringing Questions

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JoeHempel
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I'm about to re-string my classical guitar, whoever put the strings on it from the store did a poor job, and their ball ends, one string is even wound incorrectly.

I keep hearing different things about taking all the strings off, doing it one at a time, which one to change first when doing them one at a time, it's all confusing.

I would prefer to take them all off if it won't effect the guitar, that way I can clean the fret board and such, on this and my acoustic.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Also looking for good diagrams on how to string it correctly, never strung one before, and would love to learn to tie it.

Thanks!

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rparker
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I would prefer to take them all off if it won't effect the guitar, that way I can clean the fret board and such, on this and my acoustic.

I do it this way all the time. I know you're not supposed to do so, but it's the only time these things get a real thorough cleaning. Why we're not supposed to do so is something I don't know. I knew, but forgot.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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JoeHempel
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I've heard it had something to do with releasing all the tension and them putting it all back on, but I also heard that it's an "old wives tale" so to speak.

Thanks, I just thought I'd ask before I did that this weekend.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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Glee
 Glee
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My Guild owners manual said to restring one at a time
due to the tention the strings put on the neck.
hope this helps

Tim


   
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NoteBoat
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Well, it's not exactly an old wives' tale, but that doesn't mean it's true for all (or even most) guitars.

Some guitars - usually arch-top guitars - have a floating bridge, one that isn't mounted to the top. Instead, it's held on by string tension. If you have one of these guitars, you have to change the strings one at a time... otherwise your bridge falls off, and it's a real pain getting it back in the right place. If you're off just a hair, your intonation will be off, and it won't play in tune.

Back in the day (1940s?) these guitars were pretty common. And since changing one string at a time won't hurt any guitar, that led to the general advice. But there are advantages to changing all the strings at once, since you can get everything cleaned up easily. I change all my strings at the same time on all my guitars except one - the arch top with the floating bridge.

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Ricochet
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It is an old wives' tale about it hurting the neck.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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NoteBoat
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Oh, and here's a good tutorial on restringing classical guitars.

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notes_norton
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Since "they" recommend that you loosen the string tension before you ship the guitar, or before you store it for a long time I figure either (1) the above is bad advice or (2) it doesn't matter if you take the strings off all at once.

If anybody knows the definitive answer on all of the above, please add to this post.

I've had my Gibson ES-330 since the late '70s and my wife has had here classical Alvarez (with reinforced neck) for longer than that. So far, no noticeable damage has happened to either guitar. We have other, newer guitars and they are all fine as well.

We always change the strings by removing all of them, cleaning up the guitar, oiling the fretboard when needed (not too often) and putting the new strings on. I play music for a living, so the stings on my Casino and her Parker get changed once a month. The 330, Alvarez and others get changed less frequently.

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Sin City Sid
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I change all the strings at one time on every guitar I own/work on, regardless of the bridge. Won't hurt a thing.


   
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JoeHempel
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thanks for the help guys, I appreciate it! I'll be doing that this weekend to see if that clears up my "not keeping in tune" issue. It stays in tune whle playing, but after about 3 hours it's out of tune. Plus when I go to different tunings and go back, the tuning pegs creak, if it doesn't fix it, then I'm taking it back, it's less than a month old

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gnease
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as it's a classical, you will experience a pretty fair amount of new string stretching and detuning for a while -- esp if you do not do a rigorous pre-stretch of the new strings during installation.

the "one-string-at-time" replacement method is good for noobies, who often realize they didn't really pay attention to how the strings were installed or are dealing with a guitar having a floating archtop bridge (as Tom mentions) or a floating trem/bridge (which will fall off the pivots sans strings) or a stop bar tail and/or Tune-o-Matic bridge (which can fall off and inflict serious finish "road wear," the second major cause of noobie suicides after the F and Bb barre chords).

the "one-string-at-time" instructions from Guild could be for a couple reasons: to help noobies get it right -- including tuning (hidden agenda) or to prevent the need for the neck to "settle" after tension changes. it's not going to damage the neck or anything else to take all the strings off an acoustic guitar. however, some neck designs are more finicky, and take greater time to settle after tension changes. same will be true after those guitar undergo relief (truss rod) adjustments.

-=tension & release=-


   
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lue42
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I am kind of concerned that you said that there are ball end strings on a classical guitar... to the best of my knowledge, they don't make nylon ball end strings. That says to me that there are regular acoustic strings on it... which can be a very bad thing - classical guitars are not meant to be able to hold the tension of regular (non-nylon) guitar strings. I may be wrong that they aren't available.

As far as re-stringing... my experience is this. When I have restrung all the strings at one, it takes a few days of playing and stretching out the strings to get it to stay in tune. When I change them one at a time, that doesn't happen - so what does that say? Is releasing all the tension at once doing something to the neck? I don't know. I restring one at a time now because of this.

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NoteBoat
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lue, they make ball end nylon strings. They're a little hard to find, but I know of at least one shop that stocks them - and they were pretty popular in the 1960s on "folk" guitars.

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Vic Lewis VL
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I'm a firm advocate of changing one string at a time. I don't know the mathematics, but when you think you have six strings under tension, all trying to pull the neck of your guitar down to the bridge - I don't know the stress factors involved, but it's always seemed logical to me that if you take all the strings off at the same time, there's going to be - all of a sudden - a hell of a lot less tension. Whether it'll hurt the neck or not, I don't know - but I'm not taking any chances with my guitars.

As for cleaning - taking one string off at a time, there's plenty of room for you to get under that particular space and clean under that string.....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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gnease
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I do pretend to understand the mechanics, Vic. it won't hurt a healthy guitar. having strings on the guitar is far more stressful than not -- and I am considering the internal stress and strain of the truss rod system (where they exist). rapid changes in stress can be risky for or damaging to some guitars -- thinking pre-war Martins where the remaining strings now may actually be helping to hold the guitar together ... and guitars with floating trems, bridges and similar. but as far as rapid changes go, the only way to "all of a sudden" dramatically change the string tension is to snip off a bunch of them all off at once (or cut the neck :wink: ). most people aren't doing that, but are proceeding with one-at-a-time de-stringing even when removing all six of them. that's a reasonably gradual change.

Wanna talk excessive stress on the neck? then read the latest Guitar Player cover story on Brad Paisley. there's a bit in there about his Tele trem technique.

OTOH, you aren't going to hurt anything doing it your way -- you'll just never see your guitar totally nekkid.

-=tension & release=-


   
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