This is a short and simple guide that illustrates a quick way to change your bass strings. Once you have done it you will not forget how to do it.
Step 1. Examine the headstock on your bass
Pay attention to the way the strings come out of the grooves in the nut at the top of the neck and the direction in which they go around the pegs. This is very important for the tone. It should be wound on the pegs no less than 2 times, but no more than will fit on the peg without overlapping.
Step 2. Loosen the first string from the peg until the wrapped part begins to lose tension
You can remove all the strings in one go and attach the new ones or you can do it one by one. Some people prefer to change one by one because it prevents changes in neck tension. Other people remove all the strings periodically to clean the fretboard more easily. But that is optional.
Step 3. Once the string is slack, pull it off the peg
It will have a double on the end that is inside the peg.
Step 4. Pull the strings out of the bridge or body depending on how you play your bass
Sometimes it is difficult to hold the end of the rope to remove it, to solve this you can start by pushing the rope and then pulling it.
Step 5. Wipe the exposed part of your bass neck with a clean towel or soft cloth
There are many treatments available with which you can clean your bass, choose your preferred one.
Step 6. Check if the old string has the correct number of turns on the peg, use it as a template to cut the new string
If not, you can still use it as a length guide to cut the new string.
Step 7. Pull the new string of the same gauge through the bridge frame the same way you pulled it out
Be careful not to damage the finish of the bass. Pull the string all the way across the bridge before placing it over the capo.
Step 8. Thread the string through the guides, being careful not to damage the strings
The strings that are wound fine bend more easily than one might imagine.
Step 9. Tension the rope, tighten it if desired but it is not necessary to apply tension
Wrap it around the dowel until about an inch remains.
Step 10. Examine the turns of the peg; they should not overlap, if they should not roll evenly
You can correct it if necessary.
Step 11. Bend the tip and direct it toward the center of the peg
Make sure you don't stick the tip in before winding it if possible, this could kink the string and decrease the integrity of the string and the quality of the sound.
Step 12. Hold the tip on the peg and turn it until it begins to tighten and adjust it until it is almost in tune; when all the strings are in place you can tune it well
The peg should have the string wound at least twice, but not so many times that they overlap. The new string should be attached to the bass just like the old one.
Step 13. Attach the rest of the strings following the steps above
Step 14. Tune your bass and play music
- Always unwind your strings never cut them. Loosen the string before removing it.
- Try different brands of strings until you find the right ones for your style and budget; the pitch can vary drastically with the variety of strings.
- Always start with the first or last string. Never start in the middle.
- Never try to adjust the bridge unless you know what you are doing, otherwise you will have to take it to have the tone restored.
- Count how many times the string is wound on the peg. If it is less than two, you should extend the strings an inch or two. Compare your strings to see if you will need them to be longer.
- Make sure your strings are the correct length. Compare the new ones one by one with the old ones.
- If you want to extend the life of your strings, keep the bass in a case, or buy coated strings. Exposed strings rust faster and lose tone sooner.
- If you have a single rail bridge, the easiest way to remove the ball at the end of the string is to place the string perpendicular to the body, push it in, slide it to the bottom of the bridge, then gently pull it. The base of the bridge can be raised a bit but hold it. Hold it gently when you pull on the string or give it a little shake until it loosens. Otherwise you will damage it so that it will be useless.
- Experiment with different types of winding and compositions like nickel or steel. Flat wound strings will give you a more traditional bass sound and are usually used on fretless basses; and those with round wound have a brighter sound and are used more on fretted basses.
- Use a pencil to put some graphite in each groove on the strings. Graphite is very slippery and will allow the string to slide more easily up and down in the groove and avoid having trouble tuning the bass.
- All strings stretch over time. They get thinner when stretched and this is one reason why the sound changes. New strings stretch fast initially because they have never been under tension. After replacing your strings, it is normal to have to re-tune your bass after playing it a bit.
- Strings should normally be changed every month, depending on how you use them. Coated strings will last longer.
- Be careful not to damage your bass capo or you will have to use a wikihow article to replace it!
- Never tighten the string until it breaks to remove it from the bass, of course it will save a bit of time, but since the strings on a bass are so thick it is possible that the neck will break in two. It could also happen that the bridge comes loose and hits you in the face.
- Make sure to buy strings of the proper scale and length. If you're not sure what length is right, look up information on the internet or ask the person who sells them to you at the store what length is right for your bass.
- Don't alter the truss unless you know what you're doing. You could break the neck of your bass.
- Using round strings on a fretless bass can form grooves and damage the neck over time, it is best to use flat strings.
- Be careful when removing the strings. It is possible and probable that you puyes.
- Cutting the strings will put a strange tension on the neck.
- Due to the amount of tension the bass neck normally has, do not remove the strings in one go, this can severely damage the neck components.