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Changing Strings on Mandolin in 4 Easy Steps


Changing Strings On Mandolin in 4 Easy Steps


One of the simple pleasures in life is a fresh set of strings on a good mandolin. If you’re unsure about how to best change your strings, read on to learn how in four easy steps.

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Organize Your Materials

The first thing you’ll want to do is to organize all of your materials. Find a clean workspace with a table or flat surface and place the new strings in a pile. Leave a space next to these for your used strings.


Next, grab your string winder (if available) and a pair of wire cutters. You can also grab an electronic tuner or tuning fork, although you can tune based on the pitch of the old strings as well.


Before you begin: Don’t remove all the strings at once. Changing strings one at a time allows the tension to remain on the neck of the mandolin so you don’t have to adjust the action as much after finishing. This also gives you a reference point from which you can tune the new strings as you secure them individually.


Removing Strings


Now it’s time to remove your old strings. Turn the machine head of the first G string clockwise to loosen the string. Once loosened, you can remove the loop end of the string at the tailpiece and the other end at the tuning machine. Next, roll up the used string and place it in the old string pile. You’ll repeat this as you switch out each string.


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Securing New Strings

To secure your new strings, raise the tailpiece cover to expose the metal hooks and ball ends of the strings. Next, carefully unwind the fresh string and secure the loop end to the hook located on the tailpiece.

Place the straight end of the new string through the corresponding tuning peg on the headstock, and crimp the string in the opposite direction of the turn. Give a few turns to tighten and secure the string at the tuning peg.


Now that the string is secured at both ends, keep tension on the string by using one of your right hand fingers to pull the string upwards, releasing slack from the line. There should be a few inches of space between the fretboard and the finger lifting the string. Tighten the string until the space disappears, and as it does, make sure to set it in the corresponding slot in the nut.


Continue this process in the following pattern: Replace both G strings (one at a time), then the E strings, followed by the D and finally the A strings.


You’re almost done! The final step is stretching the strings and tuning them up to standard pitch.


Tuning and Stretching


If you followed the previous steps, your mandolin should be close to standard pitch. If you want to be exact you’ll need to use either a tuning fork or a digital tuner.


At this point, you should stretch the strings by pulling them towards the ceiling about halfway up the fretboard. When properly secured at both ends, the strings will typically settle into their new tuning after 2-3 series of stretching and re-tuning.



Now that you’ve got some quick and easy tips for restringing your mandolin, it’s time to get back to picking! Good luck!


Not a member of Mike Marshall's Mandolin School yet? Get free lessons here!


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