Changing strings on .strandberg* instruments
All guitars need new strings every now and then. Changing strings on a .strandberg* is only marginally different from conventional instruments as long as a few important things are considered. Please follow these steps and your beloved guitar or bass will soon be re-stringed and ready for action.
The tools needed
The need for the right tools is undeniable when performing maintenance. It's perfectly fine to use tools other than those supplied with your guitar, but always use keys and wrenches of the correct sizes to avoid damage and excess wear on hardware parts. These are the things you'll need when changing strings on a .strandberg':
Small Flat Head Screwdriver - Used to adjust the height of the saddles and guiding the new strings through the tuners.
6mm T Wrench / 13mm Socket Wrench - Used for quick and easy tuning of the new strings. Using your fingers works well too but it's slower.
3mm Allen Wrench - Used for tightening and loosening the string lock screws and the headstock.
String Clippers - Any pair of wire cutters will do, but strings are hard, and choose ones designed for "piano wire" to avoid dents in the cutter's edges.
Always change one string at a time to keep the overall tension on the neck and bridge as stable as possible. This is especially important with floating tremolo bridges as these are able to shift quite dramatically with changes in tension which can lead to a longer-than-necessary tuning procedure when the new strings are mounted. Please follow these steps and everything will be fine:
- Tune the old string down to slack using the 6mm T Wrench (Guitar) / 13mm Socket Wrench (Bass)
- Loosen the string lock at the headstock using the 3mm Allen Wrench (Guitar/Bass)
- Remove the old string
- in case the tuning bolt has fallen of the tuner in the process - Screw it back on approximately 2 full turns before attaching the new string. If the tuning bolt is unable to catch the threads, pull it out of the tuner body with your nails or a pair of small pliers.
- Mount the new string through the tuner - Use a small flat-head screwdriver for string guidance at the bridge if necessary.
- Put the new string through the hole of the headstock string lock in a straight fashion - Make sure that the protection disc inside the lock is properly seated underneath the string where the safest option is to remove the locking screw completely for visual confirmation. The protection disc is only necessary for the plain strings and optional for the others.
- Pull the string tight and lock it - Don't overtighten the locking screw! It may give the impression of added tuning stability but only puts excess stress on the headstock wood. Please use the long side of the Allen wrench to avoid the use of unnecessary force. The reason for pulling the string tight before locking it has to do with tuning range and stability. The exception is if you're planning on adjusting intonation. In such cases, a little preserved slack on the string will be needed to allow for the tuner to be moved. When intonation adjustments are done, repeat steps 1-7.
- Tune the string to pitch - Do this before moving on to the next string to preserve tension and avoid a time-consuming tuning procedure.
The tuning bolt fell off the tuner. Don't worry, go to step 6 above.
Pull the threaded plunger out before re-attaching the tuning bolt.
Use the long side of the Wrench to avoid excessive torque.
Make sure that the new string is mounted in a straight fashion with the protective disc seated underneath it.
- Don't cut the strings at the headstock before all of them are changed, tuned to pitch, and all adjustments are made - You may need this portion of the string to pull it tight and reseat it in the locks.
- Make sure that all the strings rest firmly on the zero-fret - The open string will otherwise buzz and make other unwanted sounds. This is especially important when changing string gauges as the nut slots may not be wide enough to accommodate the new strings. This means that the slots sometimes need widening to ensure proper functionality.
- If the tuning is unstable with gliding pitch - Return to step 6 above.
- If one or more strings sound unusual in any way - There can be several reasons for this to happen. The neck may need to be adjusted (https://strandbergguitars.com/how-to-adjust-the-truss-rod-of-your-strandberg-guitar/), the pickups may be adjusted to close to the strings (https://strandbergguitars.com/how-to-master-the-electronics-in-your-strandberg-part-2-guitar-pickups/), or the string itself may have manufacturing flaws.
- A note about unusual-sounding heavier gauge strings - Heavier strings usually mean stiffer strings. Stiffer strings may require you to press them down at the zero-fret and bridge to avoid them leaving the attachment points in a "bow". Such a bow may lead to unfavorable relative string height and resonance.
- If the action/playing experience is different after the change - All strings are different and adjustments of the neck and bridge may be necessary (https://strandbergguitars.com/how-to-adjust-the-truss-rod-of-your-strandberg-guitar/, https://strandbergguitars.com/how-to-setup-and-use-the-strandberg-egs-series-5-tremolo-system/)
Make sure that all the strings are firmly seated on the zero-fret.
Bend the strings down to avoid a "bow" at the zero-fret...
... and at the bridge.