A Step-by-Step Guide to Changing Strings on Your String Instrument

Changing the strings is an important maintenance for your string instrument. Over time as you play on a set of strings, the wear and tear on the strings can cause vibrant tones to diminish, and be less responsive.  Worn-out strings can diminish an instrument’s sound.

Adopt the practice of regular string maintenance. Strings last on average 150-200 playing hours depending on how much you are practicing and performing. Day Violins recommends replacing your strings every 6-8 months, but no less than once per year!

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to change your strings. Remember, Day Violins offers this service for all our Strings to Scroll Maintenance plans!

Step-by-Step Guide to Changing Strings

1. Gather Your Tools: Ensure you have the following items
  • new strings, 
  • a peg winder ( If you have mechanical pegs)
  • a soft cloth.
2. Loosen the Old Strings:

Start by placing a cloth under the tailpiece. This will keep from having the tailpiece scratch the top of the violin once you loosen each string.

Please remember to do one string at a time! If you loosen all the strings at once, the tension that was on the top of the violin because of the bridge and strings can potentially loosen the soundpost inside your violin causing it to fall over. If this does happen, don’t panic. Visit your local violin shop to have a luthier put it back up properly. Do not play your violin or bring the new strings up to full tension without your soundpost set up properly. This can potentially cause damage to your instrument.

For those with mechanical pegs, using a peg winder is a must. This helps move the process along quicker than just doing it by hand. Plus your hand won’t get tired from all the turning. Remember to turn the pegs in the correct direction to loosen – clockwise for lower strings and counter-clockwise for higher strings.

–>Again, remember to do one string at a time!

3. Remove the Old Strings:

Carefully unwind and remove the old strings.

I cannot say it enough…one string at a time, please!

Before you put each new string on, take this opportunity to inspect your fingerboard. If needed, you can lightly use some steel wool on the fingerboard to clean any excess dirt or buildup. This can help to create a smooth surface. Do not use the steel wool on the violin finish, only the fingerboard. 

4. Inspect the Bridge:

Verify that the bridge is in its correct position and hasn’t moved as you loosen each string one at a time. (If you are doing it correctly changing one string at a time, the bridge should not move.)

To help the strings move smoothly, you can take out a sharp pencil and put some graphite on the groove of the bridge and nut to help with this. If your bridge has shifted don’t panic, always use two hands and delicately place your fingers on either side of the bridge and move it into the correct position with small careful movements.

One thing to watch for is the bridge position pulling forward. If you see this remember to use two hands to gently pull the bridge back into place.

5. Install New Strings:

Begin by attaching the ball end of the string to the tailpiece. Guide the other end the string into the peg hole, winding it neatly around the peg in the pegbox. As you look at the hole you want to carefully start by doing one winding in the inside of the peg hole. Then do the rest of the winding on the other side of the hole. This will lessen the chance of the peg slipping out of the hole as you bring it up to tension. 

6. Tune Up:

Gradually tighten each string, using a tuner to ensure accurate pitch if you need it. Tune up slowly, allowing the strings to settle and preventing excess tension on the string. If you tune it up too quickly you risk breaking the string.

Did You Know That Strings Need Time Settle?

Don’t be alarmed if your new strings go out of tune a lot as you start playing. This is normal. It usually takes a few hours to a day for your new strings to settle in. Continue to make any necessary adjustments with the pegs and fine-tune using your tuner if needed. Once everything is perfect, let the music flow!

Let Day Violins Help Maintain Your Instrument

Changing strings is a fundamental instrument repair. Let us help you keep your violin, viola, cello, or bass playing at its optimum level. Your instrument will thank you!




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Welcome new parents!

Welcome new parents

Welcome to the wonderful world of string instruments! As a brand new parent, you probably have a lot of questions!  We want you to walk away from this experience knowing that you have the right instrument and accessories to help your student succeed.

Rest assured that Day Violins has the highest quality of customer service and a generous referral credit rental program for upgrading your instrument as your child grows and improves in their musical abilities.  

We are so excited to take this journey with you.  

With that in mind, we know that some of the most pressing questions for our beginning parents are:

Rest assured that Day Violins has the highest quality of customer service and a generous referral credit rental program for upgrading your instrument as your child grows and improves in their musical abilities.  

We are so excited to take this journey with you.