How to Change Bass Strings

finger strumming a bass guitar string

How to Change Bass Strings

How to Restring a Bass Guitar

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • You should change your bass guitar strings if they are damaged or if you notice a diminished sound quality from your instrument.
  • Ease the tension of your strings before cutting them loose.
  • Start with the E-string and install one string at a time. 
  • Tune your bass after all strings are installed.

Even if you have the best bass guitar, you’ll eventually need to replace your strings. Of course, the frequency with which you install brand-new strings largely depends on the type of bass player you are. Regardless, how to change bass strings is something every player needs to know. So, stay tuned if you want to learn how to restring a bass guitar.

Tips for Restringing an Electric Bass Guitar

Choosing the right strings is essential in setting up a bass guitar. The instrument’s sound and tonal response largely depend on the type of strings you use, so you want to select a set that complements your playing style. For example, if you want a deeper sounding bass, the strings are an important component, like the size of your bass guitar.

Every aspect of a set of strings affects how they’ll sound on your instrument. Thinner strings offer more sizzle on the top-end, while heavier strings are more booming. Lastly, ensure that you can tune a bass guitar before installing a different set of strings.

Like other stringed instruments, bass guitar strings are made with different materials, such as nickel-wrapped steel or simply nickel or steel. Some strings are coated strings to mitigate the effects of hand oils and sweat, fighting against the dead sound of dirty strings. Both of these things can affect how the strings sound. In addition, consider cleaning your bass after your remove your strings, or paint the bass to give it a new look.

Once you’ve selected your strings, however, it’s time to install them.

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Time Required: 30 minutes
  • Total Steps: 12
  • Tools Needed: String cutter, New electric bass strings, bass tuner

Step 1 – Detune the guitar to ease the tension on the neck. Loose strings are easier to manage, and this ensures that you do not injure yourself or others on the next step.

Step 2 – Use your string cutter to snip all of the bass strings near the pickup.

Step 3 – Take each string off its tuning post one at a time, and dispose of the old strings.

Step 4 – Remove the bottom half of the strings from the bridge assembly or the bass body. 

Step 5 – Now that your bass strings are off, clean the bass body and fretboard.

Step 6 – Remove your new bass strings from their package and identify each string with the packaging or the color of the ball end. 

Step 7 – Starting with the thickest string (the E string), run your string through the appropriate hole on the bridge assembly and up to the tuning post so that it’s properly positioned along the bridge saddle and nut guides.

Step 8 – Measure an additional inch or two from the tuning post and clip off the rest with the string cutters.

Step 9 – Stick the top of the string in the tuning post and bend it to fit along the top groove of the tuning post.

Step 10 – Turn the tuning key to increase the tension on the string while keeping your right hand on the string near the ball end.

Step 11 – Repeat steps 7 through 10 until you’ve installed all the strings.

Step 12 – Once all the strings are in place, tune your bass guitar.

How to Change Bass Strings FAQs

How often should you change strings?

Change your bass guitar strings when you experience bass tuning issues or notice a reduction in sound quality. You can also change your entire string set if you want a different sound. Many professional players change their strings every 6-8 weeks if they play daily, while casual players can get by with once every six months.

Does boiling bass strings actually work?

Boiling electric bass strings is a decent option for cleaning the dirt and gunk from uncoated strings, thus extending their life without paying for a new set. After wiping them dry, you will have clean guitar strings that should partially restore the balanced tone of your instrument, though they won’t sound the same as if they were new. It’s also good to remember that this method will not fix damaged, dented, or malformed strings.

What notes are the four strings on a bass?

The normal tuning for an electric bass guitar is E-A-D-G. 

Stats

Released in 1965, the Fender Bass V is considered the first five-string bass guitar on the market. (Source)

Tips & Warnings

Tip

Strings heavily affect your bass guitar’s tone, so ensure that you get the right kind for your playstyle.

Warning

Never cut your strings without first detuning the instrument to ease the tension. Otherwise, you risk hurting yourself or others as the string springs apart.

 

Sources:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0003682X9593949I

https://144notes.org/bass-guitar/

https://www.fender.com/en-US/electric-basses/?dc

https://omeka-s.grinnell.edu/s/MusicalInstruments/item/1835

Coby McKinley
[email protected]
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