Changing Strings General Tips and Ideas

Changing Strings – Nylon Acoustics (‘Classical’ Guitar)

Its essential to know the correct way to string a guitar, and avoid string slipping and tuning issues. This post looks at the nylon strung ‘classical’ guitar.

As with all guitars, not just nylon guitars, you should normally attach the string to the bridge first.

Attaching the Bass Strings to the Bridge

The following method of attaching the strings should only be used to attach the bass (wound) strings to the bridge. Since the bass strings have a rough surface, there is enough friction for this method to be effective. On the other hand the treble strings are very smooth and so will not hold well using this method. The correct method for attaching the trebles strings is described below.

1) Pass the string over the saddle and through the hole on the bridge.

Step 1

2) Loop the string end back under itself.

Step 2

3) Run the string back down toward the hole and pass the string back under itself.

Step 3 (Basic)

4) Ensure that the string locks itself against the bridge as in the figure above. The figure below shows a common mistake where the string end is not locked in place. This will cause tuning problems.

Step 3 (Wrong)

Attaching the Treble Strings to the Bridge

The method for attaching treble strings is the same as the method for bass strings, but uses and extra twist. Since the treble strings are smooth, and ‘frictionless’, they will tend to slip if you don’t put in the extra twist.

First we start out the same as before…

Step 1

… and again loop the string underneath

Step 2

Now run the string back under itself again…

Step 3

…and then back over the top

Step 4

Finish off like before – run the string down against the hole locking the string under itself.

Step 5

Pull tight.

Step 6

Attaching the Strings to the String Posts

Before you begin, turn the peg so that one end of the hole in the string post is facing toward the nut.

Now pass the string through and pull it up, and back over the string post.

Step 1b

Just like how we attached the string to the bridge, you should now pass the back around and under itself…

Step 2b

…and then under itself again.

Step 3b

Pull tight…

Step 4b

…and start winding.

Step 5b

When you’re winding the string on you might like to put an extra wrap over the string tail. This is especially useful on the thin E string as this is the string that is generally most likely to slip.

Step 6b

And thats it!

P.S.Don’t forget to rub pencil ‘lead’ into the nut slots for lubrication.

2 replies on “Changing Strings – Nylon Acoustics (‘Classical’ Guitar)”

Thank you very much for such a clear and understandable instruction on how to change a classical guitar string the real way! I know that this can not be an easy task to demonstrate although at first thought it may seem so. Question… Alternate tunings on a classical guitar, as far as string duration ,damaging the neck,etc. What are your thoughts ?

Hi Mark,

Glad you liked the post.

Actually in a few weeks I hope to do a post on alternate tunings, and I’ll address all those things – and more – in the post. Unfortunately I’m behind on a number of site things (missing mp3s and the continuation of the modes series) but after I’ve caught up I’ll get on to alternate tunings.

In the meantime you may find the D’addario tension guide useful – it tells you what tension you’ll want for any tuning.



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