The steps I follow whenever I'm replacing guitar strings come from a diverse set of advices that I got in person, online or whatever, and I never asked any professional about them.

I do it like this:

  • Begin replacing the strings from 1st to 6th.
  • Do one string at a time.
  • Tune all the strings every time you replace a new string

I've always believed this would help preserve stuff like neck tension, action, and all the other fine details. I have a Firebird, with a Tune-o-matic and stopbar, so maybe taking all this precaution doesn't make sense if it's not a floating bridge...

Is there a widely accepted method for replacing the guitar strings?

  • To clarify: I don't think there's much value to retuning the other 5 strings after each replacement if you're in the process of replacing the full set. Bring each new string up to approximate pitch before replacing the next one. You'll likely go thru a couple cycles of retuning the 6 new strings as they stretch out. Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 11:32

2 Answers 2


There are many extra little variances depending on the type of guitar and the tech involved.

What type of guitar are you using? Until then I'll give a list of some extras to consider, especially if you're changing string gagues.

On an Electric guitar

  • Adjust the Intonation You need to check that you get the same note at the 12th fret and on an open string. If they're out of tune then you need to adjust the intonation so that they're in tune.

On a floating bridge(ibanez)

  • Once tuned, adjust the bridge spring tension to align the bridge, retune and repeat until you have nightmares
  • roughly tune with the main pegs, lock, then use the micro-tuners for fine tuning.

If you have a floating bridge let me know, because they deserve a long answer in themselves!!!

I found a video for acoustic. I think you pretty much have all the basic steps for that, but I may be wrong!

I've always believed this would help preserve stuff like neck tension, action, and all the other fine details. Does this make any sense? I have it from a luthiers shop that the guitar neck is extremely strong. Before you get to any kind of tension that would do damage you'd more likely snap the tuning pegs off the head!

As far as action goes, I don't think that has a massive effect when changing strings because action is to do with how high the strings are from the body. I guess heavier gague strings will be slightly closer to the neck which may cause a fret buzz, but apart from that I've never had an issue that I can remember.

Is there a widely accepted method for replacing the guitar strings? Yes, and you've pretty much described it :)

Hope that helps!

  • Nice to know I've not been inadvertedly damaging my guitar all these years! I've amended the question to specify what type of guitar I was talking about.
    – Gabe
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 15:59

In general, I pull all the strings off, then put them on from bass to treble. Combined string tension for metal-string guitars is something like my body weight, so I don't think that the tension issues people bring up are anything but snake oil. Seriously, you can hit a stage diver with a Tele and still be in tune. Guitars are not as fragile as many people make out.

I also get ballpark -- up to the point where the string can be plucked and make noise -- then go on to the next, saving tuning to pitch until every string is on. Seeing how getting the A to pitch can lead the low E to go flat, the tuning process is iterative enough that tuning all the way before taking on the next string is a bit futile.

I'm also a hard-tail guy who has only changed strings on a Floyd Rose guitar once, and yeah, it's a different beast.

There's a third set of instruments, such as archtops with floating bridges like my mandolin and Johnny Ramone's Mosrite, which are held together by string tension. For those, you want to do half the strings at a time, to keep things from falling apart on you.

But if you have a system that works for you, and you're happy with it, keep at it.

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