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string a wrap-around bridge
The first thing we need to do is remove the old strings. Start off by loosening each string until it’s slack. Then simply cut off the strings. Remove the strings from the headstock. Remove the wrap around bridge. Take out each string.
Now is a good time to clean up your instrument- you can reach all those inaccessible spots the strings were covering.
If you have a rosewood fingerboard, you can also apply some “guitar-grade” lemon oil. Rosewood is a porous wood and it can start to dull and crack over time if left unchecked. A bit of Lemon oil will rehydrate it and help clean it. Just apply a generous amount on the fingerboard and let it seep in. Wipe off any excess.
Put on the new strings. Start with your Low E and make sure the strings are oriented correctly. Put the bridge back on so that it makes contact with the posts. Start with the Low E string and wrap it over the saddle (the position the string sits on) and pull it taut up to your Low E tuner.
Now measure 1 post up. Make a right angle bend, aiming in towards the key. This helps us measure the correct string length. Feed the string through to your bend and start tightening. You can use your fingers to guide the string into a descending coil around the post. Stop when you feel tension. Check to make sure you’re in the nut slot and on the saddle. *Remember, you can always loosen and reposition a string.
If everything looks good, you can go ahead and cut the excess off. Cut close to the post but MAKE SURE YOU DON’T CUT THE STRING ITSELF!!!
Let’s try the A string. Pull it taut to its tuner. Now measure 1 post up. Make a right angle bend, aiming in towards the key. Feed the string through to the bend and start tightening. Guide the string into a descending coil around the post. Cut the string close to the post.
When we come to the D string on a “3+3” type guitar (3 tuners per side of the headstock), we need to measure a little differently because we ran out of posts. Pull the string taut over its post. Now pinch it to mark its distance. Move your pinched “marker” to any other post and measure 1 post and make your right angle bend. Now just feed the string through to the bend and start tightening. Guide the string into a descending coil around the post.” Do the same for the G string. Finish putting on the rest of the strings.
It takes a little a little time for the strings to lose their elasticity, but we can help them along by stretching them. Fret notes from low to high on each string and give a tug every time you change position. If you do this after tuning a few times it will really help the strings break in faster.