North Miami Guitar Lessons | Tips on Changing Acoustic Guitar Strings

North Miami guitar lessons veteran Dyce Kimura here! Today I’m doing a very in-depth video on acoustic guitar maintenance and how to change strings and how to tune them up from scratch and stretch them out – at least the way I like to do them. I’m playing my Martin HD 35 for this video. It’s in tuned and these strings are about a week old. I like to change my strings about once a week. And I know that might be shocking to some of you, but I do play a lot of guitar; usually about 8 hours a day while giving North Miami guitar lessons. I don’t play acoustic 8 hours a day, but I’ll play acoustic may be about 2 hours a day 5, 6 days a week. Here are my strings now, so let’s just take a look at these strings. We’re just going to study them before we cut them off. These are the old strings. Notice how much of the string I have on every peg. So I have actually all of the string I can possibly fit on every peg.

North Miami Guitar Lessons

Dyce Kimura Guitar Teacher

And today I’m going to talk to you a lot about string maintenance and guitar maintenance and also the reasons why pros use certain techniques to stay in tune. Also some tips I’ve learned over my 30 years of playing while giving North Miami guitar lessons. So before you just cut off your strings study them. If they’ve been put on correctly they should all be going outside in on this side and they all should be going from top to bottom. What does that mean? If I just let the camera focus here; do you see how all these string lines are going from top to bottom like this. They are going from top to bottom and so the string is coming out from the bottom and they are all neatly wound underneath each other and they are going all this way. So if I look at the guitar all these strings from the bottom are curving outside in and all the strings on the top are curving outside in and so both of them are turned in opposite directions, so I just want to explain all that to you beginners out there.

 

North Miami Guitar Lessons Tips

So before I cut these strings off I’m going to want to loosen them, because you don’t want to basically just cut off strings that are high tension you could actually damage the wood on your neck. So you can use one of these guys, this is called a string winder and I’m going to use this to loosen. If you listen you can hear how it just got really slack. You’ve got to listen to the way you’re playing it; play the string and it should go down in pitch. So your goal is to make it the strings go down in pitch. And then here is your next one. I’m just going to loosen them all at this point. Go ahead and do the same on your end if you are watching. I often teach how to do this during my North Miami guitar lessons. So at this point I’ve loosened the strings on my acoustic and they are all loose and now I can cut them off. So I’m going to cut them off one at a time and I’m going to use my pliers – these are string cutters, these are actually wire cutters, but let’s me just to make sure I’m in focus here. So I just cut them over the sound hole basically and you just to grab a wire and cut it and you just keep moving down. Notice I’m putting my hand right here over the strings so they don’t fly all over the place, this is just so that I can easily clean up later. I’m going to cut the wire, keep cutting. If you haven’t cut yet – by the way, I tell people that are really struggling with how to put on strings, if you haven’t cut them off yet I tell people to cut one string off at a time and change the string and copy the exact same way that you saw the string was on. If you had a professional put strings on and you’re trying to learn how to do it one thing you could do is just cut them off one at that time not all – sorry, maybe I shouldn’t have said that before I went ahead and cut mine off, but I’m going to teach you how to do it from scratch anyway and I often cover this in my North Miami guitar lessons.

So I got the strings here in my hand so you can see; these are all the loose strings and I’m just going to pull them off one at a time. So I’m uncoiling them and that’s how I do it. I just take it and I kind of reverse coil whatever direction it was going in and that’s how I extract a string. Feel free to do the same. Strings are very sharp and annoying they can cut you and scratch you and scratch you and scrape you like it just did to me actually, so you want to be really careful. I take all my strings and I will bundle them up like this all the wire ends are all facing the same direction and just hold on to that and I’ll show you what to do with that after.

Next I’m going to take off the strings over here, this is called the bridge of the guitar and these are called pegs. But what I’m going to do is use basically a needle nose plier and pull these suckers out. You can pull them out with your finger like I just did, but I tend to like to use the pliers. They can tend to get in there pretty deep, actually. Some of these pegs, these are called string pegs, are going to be either made of plastic or – actually, some of mine are actually made of wood on my other acoustic. I have a Taylor 814 and they are all made of wood like a matching set and this Martin is a 1999 that got used some of them are plastic and some of them are wood, so maybe the previous owner lost a few and just replaced them with plastic. I use it all the time in my North Miami guitar lessons. Personally, I haven’t noticed any difference with using plastic or wood, but I tend to prefer the plastic, believe it or not, because the plastic is a little more malleable than the wood; the wood tends to be pretty resolute and there’s not a lot of give. So as I cram the string down to restring the next one that becomes an issue as you’re going to see in a few minutes when I restring.

So now I have all the strings and you see that I have all the ball bearings of the strings right next to the crimpy stuff; you don’t have to do this, this is just my own little invention here. Notice these are the cut strings and then I have the rest of the link here and you have them all like in a neat little package here and I’m going to just take them and curl them up like this and wrap them and wrap them again. I will teach you this technique in your North Miami guitar lessons. Now I’m going to grab all the short and long ones together and wrap them and wrap them again and wrap them again. So basically, I have now, a wrapped up nicely little package of strings that I can just throw in the garbage. Your mom or your housemates are going to be very thankful that they’re not cutting their hands open when they take out the trash having strings dangle all over the place, which is exactly what used to happen to me and that adds more sentiment for you, more fuel to the fire of why Junior should just turn the guitar down and take up ballet or something not as offensive. So if you’re already going through that with your parents, be kind and wrap your strings up and maybe they won’t get so annoyed with your guitar playing like they did with mine.

So not to be a neat freak, but I’m going to dust my guitar. This is the only time I can really dust off my guitar. And there is a lot of dust that accumulates here and also garbage that accumulates on the fret board and also the strings. And that the only time you can really dust your guitar is when you take the strings off. And it looks pretty bad when you have a dusty guitar, it makes you look like an amateur, believe it or not, it’s like if have a dusty instrument it’s like you don’t really play that much. If you bring a dusty guitar to North Miami guitar lessons I will definitely comment on it. So even if that’s the case with you I encourage you to just take this opportunity and get a rag and just wipe it off and you can dust all the way in here too between the individual tuning pegs.

So there are a few products that some people try to sell you over at the music store like lemon oil. I have some lemon oil here; I’m using Stringfellow lemon oil or guitar wax and they sell that to you to clean your guitar, it’s really not necessary please don’t get sucked in to buying a bunch of crap. Lemon oil can be good if your guitar is really dirty and sometimes I use it to clean the fret board using it sparingly, but usually when I need to clean the fret board I’ll use a pick to scrape. If there is like a big chunk I’ll scrape it with a pick and then I’ll use some very, very fine steel wool and I’ll just steel wool the fret board and you can also to get just the dirt and grime. And you say, “Well, what kind of dirt and grime get build up?” You’ll be surprised how much dirt and grime I’ve seen during North Miami guitar lessons. So when you play guitar every day, all day like I play 8 hours a day 5 or 6 days a week; so there’s all this sweat and oil that comes off of your hand that gets on the fret board and that sweat and oil attracts dirt and the dirt just builds up grime. So you’ve got this oily, sweaty, dirty grime stuff and it’s also shavings from strings and rust shavings; it depends on the last time you shaved your string and how aggressively you play and all these other issues. But basically, there is a bunch of crap that gets accumulated on your fret board. And this is just hygiene; it’s really nasty when I go to play someone’s guitar there is just a whole bunch of bio filth on there. So if that’s you, check your fret board.

So that’s how you clean your guitar. I’ve seen people get really aggressive with oiling the wood on their guitar, kind of a lot like they would be oiling furniture or something and I want to discourage you from doing that. Please don’t oil your guitar, because you thought it was a good idea just like your granddaddy oiled his wooden chair or something. Wood on guitar sounds better when they are dry; unless you’re living in an extreme exception like in the state of Utah or Nevada and Montana where it can get very, very dry and it becomes a problem, then you can oil down and you can let it sit for a day and then you wipe it off and buff it out. But like for me, I live in Miami in the Fort Lauderdale area in South Florida and it’s very, very humid and believe me the wood doesn’t need any oil. So if you have a natural amount of humidity or something – unless you are in very, very exception dry places I can’t imagine you need to oil the wood on your guitar. You want your guitar to resonate and the dry wood resonates better than wet wood, hopefully that’s obvious.

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North Miami Guitar Lessons

North Miami Guitar Lessons

So anyway, basic maintenance, if you want to clean the fret board you can use the steel wool or you can scrape the gunk off there. If you’ve got gunk building up you can just take a guitar pick and then this is just a very fine steel wool that you can just scrape it and you can also polish your fret with steel wool and that really helps your playing experience and make them smooth as butter. If I see it during your North Miami guitar lessons I will mention it. So if you’ve got to like friction on your fret, maybe you will experience that from bending a note and if you polish them and spend 2 hours polishing all your frets that will make it really nice. One more maintenance step is you can actually use brasso and brasso your frets, but if you’re going to do that make sure you protect the wood. You probably have ebony or rosewood if it’s an acoustic and if it’s electric you have rosewood or ebony or maple. But you want to protect that wood, so you’re going to put strips of masking tape and then only expose the fret and then buffer the brasso. If that seems like a lot of work for you then just stick with the steel wool and buff it, it’s probably better that way.

So let’s get into the putting on of the strings. I’m going to put on these strings – I’m going on a new set, but before I do that I’m just going to straighten out all these holes on my tuning pegs. So you see here’s the tuning peg and I’m just going to straighten them so the hole goes straight down. So I want it straight and you’ll see why later, just trust me on this and this is going to make your life easier. So just go ahead and straighten out all your tuning pegs so they are all facing straight. So now that they are all straight – you can look for yourself, hopefully you can see that – see how the holes are straight up that way I can just run the strings straight in. I’m going to put my strings on. You will notice I’m wearing a D’Addario T-shirt that’s just a coincidence this is not a commercial for D’Addario, but I do happen to love the D’Addario acoustic guitar stringsand I often use them in my North Miami guitar lessons. I use 12s to 53. I used to use 13s, but then I found that 12s gave me a little more flexibility to play some more chops, but 13s give you more volume. So what kind of strings should you use? It depends on what kind of player you are, but the more articulate you are the more you are going to want to use 12. I believe Eric Clapton also use 12s to 53, actually, he uses Martin’s strings so he may be 12 to 54. So if you want to leave a comment below – I’m sure all the Clapton police are out there – and remind me, but I believe he uses Martin’s, Foster Brown, acoustic string gauge 12 to 54, correct me if I’m wrong please.

Anyway, so I really like these D’Addarios. I did another video on strings, I did a review of the Martin acoustic lifespan you can see it on my channel and I covered strings in depth. But I just want to see about strings; most string are D’Addarios, I would see like 90%. Actually, now that there are a few new string makers on the market like Clear tone and Elixir maybe it’s down to like 80%, but a large chunk of the pie of string makers are D’Addarios and they come in different packaging like Dean Markley’s and Blue Steel and all these other brands and I believe even Ernie Ball is actually D’Addario, they are just packaged differently. So D’Addario is a massive conglomerate for strings and once you’ve realized that you just want to go to the source and get them. It’s good enough for acoustic, I use D’Addario 12s and for electric I was GHS Boomer 10s during my North Miami guitar lessons. But anyway, I use just a standard set, I used to be really fancy on my own sets, but that was a big waste of energy I realized because they knew what they were doing. This is a set; I buy these by the case off Amazon, it’s like 40 bucks for a pack of 10 it’s like 4 dollars and I do not like coated strings at all. Elixirs, I hate them; all you elixir fans out there, sorry, no offense if you are an avid elixir fan please comment and tell me why, but I go to that in very great detail about why I don’t prefer coated strings in my other video I did on the Martin acoustic lifespan review. But a lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m a full-time Pro and I changed my strings once a week. So if you’re not changing your strings once a week maybe you should go with elixirs or if you have never tried D’Addario try them out and compare them and make your own video I’d love to see it.

Anyway, this is the pack D’Addarios. I also like the fact that what they do is they color code the ball on the strings. Like I said in the beginning this is not a commercial for D’Addario even though I’m wearing the shirt; this by accident, folks, purely I actually wear this around the house today, but D’Addario it is. So now, we’ve color-coded these strings; if you look on the packaging it will tell you that the gold ball is the 6th string and the red ball is the 5th string. They’re going to come clustered together like this and this is kind of the same way that I put these strings away; if you can see how I put them away they come in the same way, so I kind of got inspired by doing that from the way that they are packaged. So you’re just going to unwrap them. Be really careful not to crimp your string by accident just be very ginger about unwrapping them and let them naturally unwrap. By the way, I want to teach a trick that an old Pro in Japan taught me one time and I can share with you during North Miami guitar lessons.. How do you know you have a good string? You just saw me unwrap the string; I haven’t done anything to this string and you notice the string if I back up – it’s mostly straight, but it has a little bit of curve to it. So if you take the string and you just hold it by the ball and then you hold it with your fingers and you just zip line through the string one time all the way through and then if it hangs mostly straight with a slight curve it’s acceptable then it’s a good string, as you can see this is a good string If you do that one time and it’s still kind of wound up and kinky and it’s retained its memory from being curled up in the package, then that is not a good string. So that’s one way you could tell right away how good your string quality is.

So what I did, let me just show you what’s going on here , the 6th string now that we took the strings off – by the way, I’ve got to give you some vocabulary here if you’re a beginner. This is the 6th string and that this is the 1st string, so if I count from the bottom it’s 1,2,3,4,5,6 or from the top 6,5,4,3,2,1. I’m going to refer it by those numbers and they are also referred by those numbers on the packaging as you can see here where it says the caliber of the strings and this is the 1st string and 2nd string… Anyway, this is pretty much industry standard to call them, 6,5,4,3,2,1. So I start with the fattest string that’s what I like to do and I’m going to put it on. What I’m going to do as you can see I’m going to take this peg here; I will just pull it off with my fingers and this is the peg and you can see how the peg has kind of a groove in it. And in that groove you’re going to slide the string. So just take the string like this and I’m going to take the peg and I’m going to slide it into the groove. So now it’s going to look something like this. Anyway, it’s a little bit displaced right now, but it will fix itself when you shove it into the hole. So I’m still put it into the same hole that it came out a, where the peg came out of, it goes right there. And then I pushed the 6th string in and then I’m going to push the peg down with my thumb and I make the groove facing this way. So the groove is facing this way, the string is coming out of the bridge and now I’m going to pull up and push down at the same time. I just pulled it snug so that this ball is all the way flushed to back end of the guitar; on the inside of the guitar that’s what’s going on. You’re going to have another opportunity later to make sure that it’s double flushed.

Now I’m going to take the next ball and I’m going to put it in, this is the A string which is the 5th string, which is the second fastest string. I’m going to put it in the bridge slot, I’m going to push it down with my thumb and pull it up. Again, make sure that whole peg is facing towards the neck, this is the neck. Now I’m going to continue to unwind these strings; they are color-coded and so the next string is the black string on the D’Addario set which is going to be the 4th string which is going to be the third thickest string, again, I’m going to put it right there into the groove and I’m going to slide it in. It looks like this peg is wooden; I want to push and pull like so. Like I said, I have some wooden ones and some plastic ones. I prefer the plastic ones, believe it or not; obviously, the wooden ones are better quality they are hand carved and everything, but the plastic ones they have more give to them, they are more malleable and that allows me to get a tighter grip in there, but the wooden ones seem to be kind of hard to work with sometimes they pop out of the bridge. If you have any experience with that please comments below and let me know if there’s any difference in the resonance between the wood and the plastic. We can discuss it in our North Miami guitar lessons. You would think that the wood is always going to be better than plastic, but I’m not necessarily sure about the case.

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So here is the last one, this is the 1st string it goes in – by the way, your acoustic guitar, the strings are the only variable that can change on an acoustic guitar, so it’s very important that you learn to change your strings. It’s very important that you maintain your strings it’s the only thing that can change. We cover this in depth in the North Miami guitar lessons. The electric guitars you can change the pickups, you can change the strings, you can change the paddle, the cables, the amps, the speakers, that tubes, the settings, you can change the settings on the pedal, the volume, change your guitar pick, you can change your pickup selector all the stuff you can do to change your sound, but acoustic all you can do to revitalize your sound is change your strings. If you’re a beginner you should probably change your strings like once every 2 months, if you play every day. If you’re advanced you should change your strings anywhere from once a month to once a week. If you’re a pro then you don’t need me to tell you, because you’re a pro, but at one point I would change my strings like every 3 days but this is when I use the gig every night constantly. Actually, at one point I would change them every day, but I was a little obsessed maybe you don’t need to do that. Anyway, so hopefully you’re obsessed – if you get good at playing guitar you’re going to be obsessed. Now I have the strings, they are all kind of loose and they are all in my hand here, but all 6 are on the bridge and you’ve got to make sure you put the right thickness in the right slot because now it’s about to get to the real you’re going to be winding these strings up.

So I’m holding them here and I’m just going to let them fall on the floor and make sure they stay placed in those pegs. So I’m going to make you just take a look at what’s going on the floor, basically, that’s what’s going on and I’m going to focus most of the camera work now on this head stack because that’s where I’m going to wind these strings. Take the 6th string or the fattest string and just do it very carefully so you don’t pull out the peg on the bridge. Now, we already straightened out all these holes in these tuning pegs, so now it’s going to get a lot easier. So what you’re going to do is you’re going to take this and wire this through this hole here and you’re going to pull this straight. So now the string is completely straight. So now what you want to do is you’re going to calculate how much string you want to put on this peg and I’m going to give you a few details and some pointers here. Now, believe it or not you want to put as much as the strings as you can on the peg and I teach this during my North Miami guitar lessons. I say believe it or not, because when I was a kid learning to play growing up I was taught differently; I was taught actually only put 2 1/2 wines per string and I’ve since change after talking to some techs and learning about resonance and tuning stability and also the angle that a string hits into the nut.

And so basically, you want this steepest possible angle from the string to the nut and that’s going to give you the most resonance or the most sustained. In other words, if you want to transfer all the energy and the vibration off the string to be as maximum as possible as it transfers into the nut and into the bridge. So there’s not a whole lot you can do about the bridge you have to take it to a tech and they have to set that bridge up, but this, you can adjust, you adjusted by how many raps you put on the string. There is so much you can learn about guitar setups in North Miami guitar lessons. Now if you put too much of the string on it’s going to double over on its self and you’re going to have 2 layers of strings wrapped on top of each other and that going to look terrible, it’s going to look totally sloppy and gross and also it’s going to be inconsistent with your tuning. In other words, the amount you move the tuning peg will be disproportionate if you have too much of the strings on. If you don’t know what that means don’t worry about it, but some of you might know. So what you want to do is just to get one wrap all the way down and get as much of the string on as you can. Of the 6th string, this is something that you’re going to have to learn like with your body; I usually just take like 3 fingers and I use that to measure the distance of the amount of strings that I’m going to put on the head set. So I just take 3 fingers and measure that distance; just like you might say to a bartender gave me 3 fingers of scotch, this is 3 fingers of the 6 string and I’m going to put that on there. You see the string here is bent and then I’m going to crimp it. So now I crimp the string and there it is, so you see all the slack that I have. I learned to crimp it like that during some North Miami guitar lessons. All the slack is actually now it’s crimped and it’s 3 fingers, so with 3 fingers it’s straight from here to here and here from the hand. So that’s how much I’m anticipating putting on the peg. When I put on the peg I’m going to make sure that to hold the string down and keep it actually held as close to the tuning peg as possible so that I have total control of the string and I want the string to go underneath every wind. Just like we analysed the guitar just before we cut the strings off all the strings winding was going from the outside in and from top to bottom, so I have to re-create that now and wind it the correct way outside in and top to bottom. In order to be top to bottom, every wind that you do what has to be underneath the last one. In order for it to be outside in it literally has to be wrapping this way and so if you start wrapping and you’re wrapping the wrong way no big deal just catch yourself and turn the other way. So every wrap has to go underneath the last one and it’s going underneath very nicely and I’m going to let you see that. I cover this in depth in my North Miami guitar lessons. You see that, as I wrap it and as I’m increasing tension I’m going to want to reach down and I’m going to want to put my thumb on this peg right here so it doesn’t come loose, and this is a while I’m increasing tension. So make sure you have the string on the right slot on the bridge and I’ve got my thumb here holding it and I’m just going to keep winding it. You can hear it just moving up in pitch. Good. So that’s one down, 5 more to go. Now if we look at the string carefully notice I have as much string as possible on that peg and the wind is going from outside of the guitar into the middle of the guitar, that’s what I mean by outside in, top to bottom; meaning that it’s going from top to bottom, from the top of the peg all the way to the base from the outside to the in and also make sure that you’re on the correct slot there. If you want to add a little extra friction just to stay into better you can take a number 2 pencil and just draw on the nut and you can draw it on the bridge as well; if you want to just minimize friction and stay in tuned a little graphite from the number 2 pencil will do the trick.

So now I’ve put the 5th string on; same as before, this is totally straight. I’m going to now pull it back for 3 fingers. So I’m going to show you on the cameras here, I’m going to take out like 3 fingers I’m going to put it back and I’m going to measure 3 and even just a little more than 3, because the 5th string is a little bit thinner than the 6 string. And then I’m going to check this out, I’m going to crimp it; you see me just to wrapping it around and I crimped it. You see how it’s crimped, I like that. You don’t have to do that, but it really makes your life easier if you do it, because then even if the string slides around you remember the exact where it suppose to go. Take my winder and hold it with the base of my thumb and I hold it up with my first finger and then I just wind it outside in top to bottom and that’s pretty much how you do it, it’s pretty hard work. Now, as it gets tighter I’m going to reach down with my finger I’m going to put it on the peg; I showed you that before, so I don’t feel I need to show you again.

Let’s take a look at my work. Now, the truth is at any point in time I can – I have not cut this string yet, so I can actually unwind and to redo it if I want. I often find this necessary while teaching this skill to a student in my North Miami guitar lessons. It makes it a little more difficult when you unwind it. Once you wound it on a metal string it has memory and that metal starts to want to curl, but in theory it can be fixed. So a lot of time with my students I’ll teach them how to change strings and then I’ll say put the strings on on the day of your lesson, like, right before your guitar lesson do it at your house and come to see me and don’t cut the strings off and if I need to fix anything I’ll fix it without wasting the set. So you can not cut them and just make triple sure that they are ready to go.

What I’m going to do now is I’m going to show you a trick that I like to use. Now, I would say don’t try this at home because I am a pro, but I actually use a power drill when I change strings, and I use this in my North Miami guitar lessons. I have gotten some flak about the power drill, some people online have seen me do it and they’re like, “you know, you’re going to wear out your string gears in a couple of years,” and I would wholeheartedly agree with those people because I probably am wearing out my string gears if I use the power drill on it, but it doesn’t bother me. These parts cost me 60 dollars to change all 6 of them if I want and it saves me lots and lots of time, because I change strings constantly. I’ve never actually had any winders wear out except the locking turners on my Les Paul. I tend to not like locking tuners on any of my guitars; I have several guitars that have locking tuners, but every opportunity I get I change them to be the old school style; I’m just old school like that. But anyway, so if you’re afraid of damaging your guitar winding heads I would say don’t worry about it I’ve been using this particular Black and Decker drill since 2002 and I’ve never really hurt my string heads. But in case you’re wondering what kind of head I’m using; I’m using a head – I just came off, what is this? Dean Markley makes it and Dean Markley is owned by D’Addario if you are paying attention, this turbo tube. I think it used to be part of like a winder kit; it was together like it was with a winder. I separated it one day back then I said, “oh wow, it’s a drill,” and I just stuck it in and I just realized it was a drill and so that’s pretty cool. I am using a quarter, drill but I think Ernie Ball makes a power drill. Ernie Ball is also under D’Addario if you’re paying attention. I explain this in depth in my North Miami guitar lessons.

So I’m going to put the 4th string on and at this point it’s going to go a little bit faster because I’ve been very thorough in explaining things so I’m just going to use the power drill now. If it’s your first time changing strings or even your first 20 or 30 times I don’t recommend you use the power drill, because it’s good to go slow, but for the sake of this video I’m going to rip through it. Now I’m just going to reach down and push the peg. Be very careful not to over wind. A lot of people break strings when they’re trying to put them on or when they are trying to tune and they over wind. So how do you know you wounded enough? Well, if you change your strings one at a time and that’s one way to kind of stay in tuned or you can start with a tuner. It’s really a feel thing though with me; I pretty much memorized how much tension a guitar is when it’s in tuned. I think that’s pretty hard to do if you’re a beginner. So if that’s the case ask a friend or you can contact me; I teach on Skype I can teach you the stuff online or just keep trying. Strings cost $4 a pack if you get them by the case; just keep trying until you learn. It took me a long time to learn how to change strings and you saw how fast I put that on, it is that fast. Not to brag, but I can change strings, cut off the old ones, put on new ones and get them all tuned up and stretched out in under 10 minute flat on an average acoustic. And I do that all the time for my students. My goal with my students is to get them to learn how to change their own strings, because I always say I’m not a strings salesman, I am giving North Miami guitar lessons. I’m not trying to be like a professional string changer and I want you to do it yourself instead.

So these strings are done – we’re not done yet so don’t tune out. I have some very important tips to share with you. If you noticed how much of the string is on it; it looks like about 5 winds there, and4 1/2 of there and 3 1/2 or 4 there and 7 or 8 here and I can’t even count those but it’s got to be at least 10 on these smaller ones. So outside in, top to bottom; they are all consistent and this is looking great. So these are my strings. Now what I need to do; if you’re totally, totally satisfied with the strings, which I am at this point totally satisfied with the way my strings are looking; you can cut them off and try to cut them as close as you can. By the way, you should cut them as close as you can because they will totally rip and tear in your skin and cut you open and it will be brutal. But let me teach you a little trick that I learned during North Miami guitar lessons. What you can do is if you want you can use an old fishing technique to actually just kind of break the string if you just wind it like that – and look! It broke off without cutting and it makes an absolutely seamless cut on the guitar where there is no way you can cut yourself. So let me show you a close up. So it’s right here on the 5th string. It takes a few extra seconds, but if you have small kids – if you ever just grab the guitar by the headset it can cut your hand right open and you will learn never to do that again. I know from my – I have a bunch of kids and for my son’s guitar I do that fishing technique and break them off one by one so that he won’t cut himself. Even though one time he did cut himself and then after that he never grabbed it there again, so he learned his lesson.

Anyway, I’m using a tuner, this is a Snark tuner. I post a link below the video where you can buy this tuner and also a link where you can get these strings by the case. And also if you like this guitar, this is a Martin HD 35 I’ll play a little bit at the end of the video, but I’ll put a link below where you can buy this too. So I’m just going to tune this up – I have it set to vibe on the side switch and I’m going to just show you what it looks like so this is D sharp and I want it to be E. This is not a video on how to tune, I’ll deal with that later, but I just want to show you real quick; go to A. Now you have to discern when tune what octave you’re on, that’s what makes it hard; so that’s going to have to be a separate video. I cover this during my North Miami guitar lessons. If you don’t know what to do just go to your local music store and say, “hey, tune my guitar please,” and they shouldn’t charge you anything just to tune it. So now it sounds a little sour, but we’re not done yet it’s in general in tune. I’m going to take my pick and I’m going to hold it nice and tight with 3 fingers. This is not how you normally play with a holding pick, but what we’re about to do – and you’re just going to get close to the bridge and strum real hard [Strums guitar] and then you’re going to get close to the nut and strum in front of the nut and behind the nut [Strums guitar]. That’s really important in order to stay in tune, because your strings they are covered with these little teeth and the friction in tightening the string up as settled the string in a certain way but it may not be fully elongated and all stretched out. So by shaking it up you actually rattle it and getting it all settled in. That might been your experience if you ever – now, what I’m doing is I’m stretching it, I’m actually taking my fingers and putting it under the string and I’m going to push down and pull up at the same time. I’m just going to push and pull about 1/8 of an inch. Every string individually, I’m just going to push and pull, but that’s what I was talking about shaking up the strings. If you have ever may be had somebody hand you a guitar that was tuned during North Miami guitar lessons and they have been playing it for a while and you played it hard and then all of a sudden it went way out of tune and you’re going, “man, what just happened?” Now, what we need to do is retune this guitar. So by the way, you wondered what just happened. Well, what happened was you played it hard and it shook up some of those grooves and notches where the friction had a stuck, but you hit it with harder friction and it shook it up and that’s how we got that in tune. So I just do that right off the bat and that save me a lot of grief later.

So now you heard I was in tuned and now look how much we’re out of tune. The string used to be in tuned, it was A and now it’s G sharp, so here we go and this one was D and that’s a whole half step off. I’m not going to worry about getting it too exact, because I’m actually going to stretch it a second time. So I’m going to stretch it a second time like so; usually 2 times a charm for me for North Miami guitar lessons unless I’m right about to go on stage then I’ll do it a third time on all 6 strings. You’ve got to be careful about going onstage, because you’ve got those spotlights on stage that’s are really bright and hot and they heat up your guitar strings and that throws you out of tune as well. So there’s a couple of factors that makes you go out of tune live; it’s not always just the brand-new strings, sometimes it’s the heat of the stage. And of course, on stage you’re playing way more intensive than you are playing at home. As a matter of fact, I’ve heard it said that basically a brand-new set of strings only last like 45 minutes of live playing; not that they break after 45 minutes, but the life is gone and how do you know the life is gone from your strings? Well, you will learn there is a certain sound, a brilliance, a resonance; you can hear this brilliant [playing guitar].

So a brand-new set of strings is going to sound buzzier and brassier than an old dead set, because the new brassiness, the new wounds, they’re brand-new and so they are fully shaped and they’re going to be buzzing against the frets. So after you played the strings were about 3 days, if you play aggressively for 3 days all the ringing and buzzing actually wears out the string by the frets and they get kind of duller and instead of being fully shaped around they get kind of a little bit more smaller and duller, but that actually lessens the buzzing. So a brand-new set, if I play gently [playing guitar], but if I played hard you’re going to hear a lot of buzzing [playing guitar]. So this guitar sounds really good [playing guitar], but you can hear some of the brightness or brass in it, so the buzziness of brand-new strings [playing guitar]; so that’s what I’m talking about. As you play, it wears down, it gets more gentle.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got for you today. A little bit about guitar maintenance and also how to change your strings in depth from my perspective of North Miami guitar lessons. And make sure to comment, subscribe, like the video, share it if you dig it, share it with your friends it doesn’t take long to learn me. Definitely ask any questions you want; you know me, comment and I will log in and answer everything I can as best as I can. So great to hear from you, so make sure you say hello or drop me a like or anything. I’ll see you on the next video, appreciate you watching.