There comes a time in a person's life when they sit down and think..."gee, it's about time I changed the strings on my guitar". This very thought has crossed my mind a few times, and so finally I got around to doing something about it. Yep, I got new strings! However, for those people who decide to do a similar thing, I think I should post my experiences, to save you from repeating my problems. So here goes:
- Wear gloves. Or, at least some type of finger protection. Or, keep your fingers well away from the ends of the strings (this last bit might be hard, especially as you're changing them...). Anyway, the guitar strings that I and many guitars use are Steel, coated with Nickel, and pointy at the end => Useful if you want a syringe, but be careful.
- If the strings aren't coming out, don't take a screwdriver to your guitar and take it apart, hoping to find out what's wrong. This could lead to lost screws and a screwed guitar - luckily, i managed to miss that part. Instead, just use a bigger string to force it out.
- Don't try to tune a string to the right pitch straight away...this may cause serious breakage of said string. Now, this *did* happen. Instead, tune to a somewhat flatter note, and let it rest for 30 mins or so before trying to tighten any more.
- In case you skipped step 3, of if a new string just broke on you, never fear, your $16 can be salvaged! If you're lucky, the string will break near the tuning peg, so you'll still have a reasonable length left. What you do now is pick another string which lies in a closer tuning peg, and swap the pegs these strings are connected to. Of course, keep the strings in their normal place on the fretboard, but beyond fret zero you can cross them over, for a funky effect :p. It makes it feel weird when tuning, but it works!
- On the topic of weird tuning, make sure all the strings are fastened in the same direction - clockwise or anticlockwise, it probably doesn't make much difference, just pick *one* and use that for all strings. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason I decided to use the opposite direction for my A string, so when trying to tune UP it tunes DOWN and vice-versa. Confusing, but at least it still sounds ok.
- Unless you really like the urban / grunge / unkempt look of ends of strings pointing all over the place, i'd recommend you cut what's left of your strings down to size, "before you poke someone's eye out with that thing" :p It might not look as nice, but at least you'll still be able to see it ;)