How to Restring a Les Paul

By George N. Root III

Things Needed

  • Set of new strings
  • Wire cutters
  • Dry towel
  • Flat table

A Les Paul style guitar is one of the easier versions to restring. Unlike the Stratocaster, the Les Paul has everything you need easily accessible on the top of the guitar. Changing the strings is a quick process, and tuning new strings on a Les Paul is somewhat easier than a Stratocaster as well. This is mostly because the floating bridge on a Stratocaster allows more movement in your strings than the stationary bridge on a standard Les Paul.

Loosen all of the strings slowly starting at the low-E and working your way, in order, to the high-E. You only need to loosen them to the point where they are no longer creating tension between the end piece and the tuning pegs.

Cut all the strings down the middle with a pair of wire cutters and then carefully remove the string pieces from the guitar. Be careful that the bridge end piece does not fall off and scratch the finish on your guitar.

Wipe down your guitar with a dry towel. Wipe the front and back of the body, the entire neck, the headstock and wipe off the bridge end piece as well.

Lay the guitar carefully on a flat table and put the bridge end piece back into place.

Insert the low-E string through its corresponding hole on the bridge end piece and run it all the way to its corresponding tuning peg.

Insert the string through the hole in the tuning peg until the slack in the string allows you to pull the string only one inch from the guitar body.

Turn the tuning peg counter-clockwise with one hand, and with the other hand press down on the string so that it winds below the hole in the tuning peg. Keep turning until the string creates tension.

Put the high-E string in place next using the same method.

Alternate back and forth between low strings and high strings until all strings are in place.

Tune the low-E string.

With your pointer finger and your thumb, gently pull on the low-E string three or four times.

Re-tune the low-E string and then repeat the pulling step. Keep doing this until the low E-string remains in tune after you pull on it.

Repeat the tuning steps for the rest of the strings.

Clip the string excess from the tuning pegs with wire cutters. Leave one-half inch of string on each tuning peg.

Tip

When you are pulling on the strings you are stretching them out so that your Les Paul will stay in tune once you are done restringing it. If a string slips a little when you are pulling on it, just re-tune it and repeat the pulling step until the string stays in tune.

About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.