12-string guitars are known for producing a thick, ringing sound. However, even the best 12-string guitar needs to be restrung on a regular basis. Even if you are an experienced guitarist, you may not know how to string a 12-string guitar due to the additional six strings. At first, it might appear overwhelming. Nonetheless, once you learn how to do it, it will be a matter of minutes in the future.
A properly strung guitar will prevent future performance problems. Wonder how is a 12-string guitar strung? This blog post will help you find it without outside help and any specific skills. So keep on reading!
When Should a 12-String Guitar be Strung?
Some professional guitarists change the strings after each performance to keep the sound as clear and resonant as possible. However, an average player doesn’t need to do that. The strings’ serving period depends on how often you play and how you maintain the instrument. String material and manufacturer are also important considerations. Average strings without a special coating have a lifespan of 2 to 3 months without deterioration in sound characteristics. Coated strings will last you 4 to 6 months.
Here are some clear signs that it’s time to restringing a 12-string guitar:
- Strings became darker or changed their color. Regardless of the material and coating, the strings will darken over time. This happens due to the dirt getting into the gaps between the turns of the winding and metal oxidation. The high-quality strings are made of metals that react favorably with oxygen. As a result, a dark coating forms on the strings (on copper or other cheap strings, the coating may turn green), changing their vibration amplitude.
- It becomes harder and harder to tune the strings. You started to notice that you couldn’t tune your guitar in the right way even with the help of a tuner, and the strings don’t stay in tune for a long time. This happens because of dirt and metal oxidation. Due to that, the strings lose their elasticity and acoustic properties. If new strings are easy to tune and they keep tune for a long time, tuning old ones can be quite problematic as they keep getting out of tune after almost every playing session.
- The sound has deteriorated. This is, probably, the most obvious signal that it is time to restring a 12-string guitar. The sound becomes “muddy,” and it appears that some extraneous noise is being added to the notes. You also may hear the sound of metallic clang and rattle.
- It became more difficult and less convenient to play the guitar. As a rule, when strings are used for a long time, they lose their smoothness, and it becomes more difficult for your fingers to slide over them. Moreover, your fingertips may hurt after playing the guitar.
What Order Do the Strings Go On a 12-string Guitar?
A standard 12-string guitar string order is the following:
How to Restring a 12-String Guitar
Step 1. Removing the old strings
The first thing that you need to do is take the old set of strings off.
- Get the strings out of the tuning post. The quickest way to do so is to use a mechanical or a hand crank string winder. However, if you don’t have any of these specific tools, you can do this by hand. Loosen each string by turning the tuning pegs clockwise and pulling the end of the string out of the tuning post.
- Remove the bridge pins. If you’re looking for instructions on how to string a 12-string acoustic guitar, this information is for you since electric guitars don’t have bridge pins. If you don’t have a bridge pin removal tool, you can use regular wire cutters or even your fingers. Just pull the bridge pins out. So now, the strings are out of the guitar.
Step 2. Securing the new strings
- Reinstall the bridge pins. So now, when the guitar is ready for new strings, you can start stringing a 12-string guitar. The first thing that you need to do is reinstall the bridge pins. Make sure that they are level.
- Start from the low E string (the thickest one). It should be placed in the first bridge pin hole on the back row. The bridge pin should be rolled into the ball end. Reinsert the bridge pin to secure the string into place. Make sure that it’s locked in place.
- Install the matching E octave string. It should be placed into the first hole in the front row. Make sure that it’s secured reliably.
- Repeat with the remaining strings. The second pair is a and A, the third is d and D, the fourth is g and G, and the fifth is b and B.
- Wrap the strings around the tuning posts. The holes on the posts should be angled towards the nut. Put the string through the hole. Then, go from the outside over the inside of the headstock. Pull the string tight against the post and go over the top. Make sure that the string is securely fastened. Do the same with all the other strings.
- Use pliers to cut off the excess string.
Hi everyone! I’m Thomas Moody, also known as Guitarzan.