How to Re-String a Fender Electric Guitar

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How to Re-String a Fender Electric Guitar
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How to Re-String a Fender Electric Guitar

Founded by Leo Fender, the Fender Instrument Manufacturing Company offered the first, mass-produced, solid-body electric guitar. Although not the first to manufacture electric guitars, Fender was arguably the most commercially successful.
Although the company was sold to CBS in 1965, the Fender branded instruments are still coveted by musicians – although the pre-CBS era series are, by some, considered superior to the later models.
A hollow-body example would be the Starcaster, which retained the bolt-on Fender neck, albeit with a completely different headstock.
The core models of electric guitars produced by Fender are the Telecaster, Stratocaster, Jazz Master, Jaguar, and Mustang. To restring these electric Fender guitars, it is important to follow a few rules:

Only remove one string at a time.

Removing more than one string at a time will unbalance the string tension and neck tension, potentially damaging the 'memory' of the wood and displacing the metal truss rod that is located on the neck of the instrument.

Never cut the strings to remove them.

Although a string break cannot be prevented, do make sure not to cut a string before replacing it as it will 'snap' in released tension and may injure the person changing the string or anyone standing nearby. Instead, unwind the string with by way of the machine head and bolt until it is very loose.

Remember that the small circular metal nut on the end of the string goes at the bridge end of the instrument.

Settle the nut at the bridge, feed the string along the body and fingerboard then slide the string through the hole in the bolt at the machine head, leaving roughly five or six inches loose on the other side.

Keep up the tension.

Manipulate both sides of the string against the bolt so it bends and stays in place. Then turn the machine head to tighten the string, all the while keeping up the tension by pulling on the string near the bridge.

Stretch the string before finishing.

By running a finger under the string from bridge to machine head before fully tightening, the string will be ever so slightly stretched and will be less likely to slip out of tune so soon after changing.

Turn them all the same way.

Although it does not matter which way the machine heads are turned – either clockwise or anti clockwise – it is important to turn them all in the same direction in order that the string tension is normalised across the headstock and neck of the instrument.

As well the perennially popular Telecaster and Stratocaster electric guitar, Fender also produced a world renowned electric bass guitar – the Precision. Both the Precision and Jazz Bass models are generally considered to be the standard by which other makes and brands are measured.
With an electric bass in particular, the player will notice that the sound dulls and the strings become brassy. Oxidisation and stiffening are cues to change these strings, a process which follows the same route as the electric guitar.
Acoustic models, however, do not always include a classic Fender headstock, but instead may boast a more traditional dual aspect mirror construction. In this case, changing the strings requires a slightly different approach:

The turning action will correlate to the position of the string.

As with electric instrument strings, do not cut the string but instead loosen the machine posts to aid removal. It is important to remember that if the string leads to the left side of the head it will need to be turned clockwise to loosen. As would therefore be expected, if the string leads to the right side of the head, the machine head will need to be turned anti clockwise to loosen the string. In order to check that the machine head is being turned in the right direction, pluck the string and listen for the pitch to lower with every turn.

Do not simply pull at the string to remove it.

Make sure that the string is unwrapped fully before pulling it off the post and away from the machine head in order to prevent and snap-back damage to the instrument or person changing the strings.

Snip off the damaged end.

In order to make it possible to slide the string more easily through the bridge, use pliers or wire cutters to cut off the tangled end that was previously wrapped around the tuning post. Now it should be simple to pull the string completely away from the guitar, freeing the nut from the bridge, without damaging or scratching any part of the wood or body.

Replace with the correct string.

Although it is possible to buy individual strings, it may be more effective to purchase a complete set in one pack. In set packs the strings may be individually wrapped but – if not – the easiest way to judge the pitch required is to consider that the lower the pitch, the thicker the string. The strings on a standard six string instrument will run, from lowest to highest, E A D G B E.

Make sure the string nut is secure.

Once the string is fed through the bridge, pull the string taught so that the nut locks into place.

Leave ample slack to allow proper placement.

A string should be wrapped around a post at least twice, so ensure that, after the string has been fed through the machine post, there is enough string free to do so. Fender suggests that this is the optimum amount of slack to properly set the string so, if re-stringing a Fender model, perhaps it is best to make this allowance.

Crimp the string.

In order to allow proper placement of the strings and prevent unnecessary slipping, crimp the string at the hole and wrap it around itself. This should fasten the string securely and allow effective tightening and tuning.

Remember to turn in the correct direction.

Don't forget: strings on the left hand side of the guitar head should be tightened in an anti-clockwise direction and strings on the right should be tightened clockwise.

Cut off excess string.

After completing the tuning process pull the string gently to seat the winding on the post, and then trim any excess string that extends past the headstock.

How to Buy Strings for a Fender Electric Guitar on eBay

To buy electric guitar parts, first go to the eBay homepage, opening the All Categories tab, then scroll down the page until you see Musical Instruments, click on the tab and then select Accessories. Further filters will then become available, so either select Strings, whereupon all available listings will be displayed, or use the bar at the top of any eBay page and key in "guitar strings" to bring up the list of available items.


Fender was arguably the most commercially successful seller of electric guitars, offering the first mass-produced hollow-body instrument.
A pre-1965 Fender branded instrument is, by some, considered more collectible and structurally superior to the CBS-era models.
The core models of electric guitars produced by Fender are the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazz Master, Jaguar and Mustang, although the Fender Starcaster is an unusual hollow-body design that incorporates the traditional Fender bolt-on neck.
Re-stringing electric guitars or electric basses requires a careful string-by-string method in order to prevent loss of wood 'memory' or to avoid any potential damage the neck or headstock by unbalancing the tension and electric bass strings will become brassy and dull when they are nearing the end of their lifespan.
Acoustic instruments may not necessarily have a traditionally recognised Fender headstock, but may instead have a mirror construction head that requires a different method of tuning.
Although removing and replacing the strings for either model will be very similar, a mirror construction headstock instrument will be tuned according to specific directions dictated by the side of the head that the strings lead to.

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