Restringing a guitar is something that every guitarist regularly deals with.
Generally, restringing a guitar costs somewhere between $5-30 for a full restring. Replacing the strings yourself is usually the cheapest option, as most string sets are priced between $5 to $15. Going to a shop to get a restring often costs about $15 to $30 depending on where you get it done, what strings are used, and how much setting up it takes.
Prices always differ from place to place and from method to method, so for those who are in the dark about it all, this guide will teach you what you need to know.
The art of restringing a guitar yourself
Restringing a guitar yourself is the cheapest way to do it, and it’s also surprisingly simple and easy to do most of the time.
The cost effectively only comes from the type of strings you use. The most popular strings are that of brands such as D’Addario, Ernie Ball, and DR Strings. Those strings are very common and easy to find. A regular 6 string set generally runs you about $6 a pack. 7-, or 8-string sets often cost around $10-15 depending on the gauge. Thicker gauge strings take more material and thus cost more.
Another factor in string price is the complexity of the set. A regular 9-42 or 10-46 sets are very common and are manufactured in very large numbers. More complicated sets such as the 9.5-44 are less popular, and thus are manufactured in smaller quantities, which ramps up the price per unit. This usually only comes down to a dollar or two per pack, but it can add up over a certain number of sets purchased.
The last factor that often determines the price of the pack of strings is if the strings are coated or not. Coated strings have a layer of thin plastic material that forms a dirt barrier. This makes the strings last longer and play smoother. Some people also say that it changes the tone ever so slightly, but this won’t be a big deal in a full chain. Elixir strings are the most popular brand of coated strings, and usually cost between 10-15$ a pack. This price is significantly higher than the regular uncoated strings, but the longevity and ease of play of coated strings makes up for it for many players.
Buying in bulk is the best way to get the most strings for money. Ernie Ball and D’Addario both sell premade 3- and 10-packs for those who know what strings they love and want to save some cash. The total price of these bundles often saves multiple dollars per pack in the larger sets. This is the most cost-effective solution in the long run.
Handing it off to the professionals – Getting it restrung for you
Restringing a guitar can be a tedious process, and many beginners often don’t feel confident enough to do it themselves. This is a valid reason for getting it done by someone else.
Most guitar shops have a restringing service. Many of them even let you watch while they work on your instrument so you can see how it’s done. Getting it restrung this way often costs between 15-30$. You usually pay for both the strings and the labour.
The price varies depending on what strings you get the guitar fitted with, like I mentioned in the previous section, as well as where you get it done and how much work it takes to restring a guitar.
Badly set up instruments take more work to get in playing condition, and restringing services can often be combined with full setups. Floating tremolo bridges like the Floyd Rose or the Ibanez Edge take more work to restring, as the bridge is more complicated, and includes more steps (though some people just block these off to save the hassle). This can ramp up the cost of the service. This also holds true for guitars with more than 6 strings, as a string change takes more time and work.
If you get it restrung at a shop, make sure you get a guaranteed price beforehand, so that you don’t end up with unexpected costs. But generally, a regular restaurant will cost you no more than 30$. The price varies enormously depending on the method and the resources you choose to restring it with.
Conclusion – Cheapest and most effective option?
The most cost-effective solution is to learn to restring it yourself, which is very simple and there’s great tutorials online that show a comprehensive step-by-step approach to restringing. But if you’re not confident enough to do it yourself, or you just don’t wanna bother with it (understandable if your guitar has a difficult to work with bridge) getting it done by a professional might be worth the money.
It’s always a great idea to look at your budget and your needs/skills. Want to save some cash and are up for trying it yourself? Go for it! Unsure, and willing to spend some extra coin on a professionally done job? Same story!
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