Breaking in new guitar strings


After putting new strings on your guitar, do you ever notice that they go out of tune easily for a while after? You’d think that after all of your careful preparation and time that you put into it, that you shouldn’t have to worry about tuning it for a long time to come? WRONG! You have to break them in.

What I do religiously after putting strings on is this.

(1) Put the guitar on your lap.

(2) Place any finger you want to use on your left hand, (I use my index) directly on the nut (the white piece between the top of the neck and head of the guitar) of the guitar that corresponds to which string you are replacing. I want you to put pressure on that direct spot. This will stop the string from moving anywhere while you are doing the next part.

(3) With your right hand, grab the string that you are working on and pull the string up and down. Remember to keep your finger down tightly on the nut. What this is doing is, by pulling upwards and downwards on the strings, it tightens or pulls the strings on the tuning head closer together thus making them less likely to move or slip in the future.

Note: When strings slip or loosen up the guitar goes out of tune. The exact tension of the strings determines how they vibrate and at what frequency. The vibration is the note you want. Think about how a sign way works, if your not sure or want to know more look up more details.

This is important when re-stringing while playing live because without doing this before you start playing again, the string will become more and more out of tune every time you hit or bend the string, thus making you sound like a fool. You don’t want that do you?

Keep on Jammin’

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  1. ross gordon says

    very well explained. i just did a very similar instructional post, but i think i like your better :)

  2. says

    I thank you sir!

    Your site really rocks Sir Ross! Great look and not too crowded! I got to spend some serious time on there when I get a moment, really I will.

    Did you see the one on youtube about restringing? Not bad at all.

    It’s odd you say that. Normally I cannot explain to my wife how I got from work to home (just an example here) without it sounding like I am talking Klingon to her. I gotta show her this one!

    Keep on Jammin’

  3. Blues Licks says

    One more thing: Be sure to tune those strings when you are done yanking on those strings…especially if you are playing live!

  4. Jon says

    I figured I would add my two cents since I’ve been playing for 22 years and teach guitar. After winding up your strings, don’t tune them up completely at first. Leave just a little bit of slack. Gently pull on each string at about the midpoint of the string. Do this a few times. Do this individually for every string. Then tune the guitar as usual. Then of course tune it again a couple of times and you should be good to go.