Changing out the strings on your guitar is really easy. For the first few string changes, you might take your guitar to the shop, but after this lesson you will be saving time and gas money. You should change your strings about every month or when they start losing tone and getting dark looking. The more you play, the more often you should change them. Let's cover what strings are good and how to replace them.
The main difference in strings is the gage. The gage is how big the strings are and is rated by the size of the highest string, the high E string. A regular gage for all guitarists is .09, which means "nine hundredths" of an inch. If you stick with standard tuning, then this gage should be great for you.
If you want a thicker sound, .10’s are a tad bigger and will produce the desired result. These are great if you use drop D or just want to thicken your sound for heavier playing.
Moving up, .11’s and up are for tuning low. The bigger string will keep tension better with lower tuning and not feel like a big rubber band on your guitar.
There are different setups for bridges and tuning pegs so your steps may vary a little bit. Just make sure you are threading and tightening the new string to the same position as the old one. This guide will follow the popular Strat setup with a whammy bar and tuners on one side of the headstock. Strings are often times threaded from the back of the body through to the front. Your guitar may also thread the strings through the bridge. Make sure to examine your guitar's bridge so you know how the strings go through it.
After the bridge, the strings lay over the fretboard and through the nut. The nut is pretty self explanatory: it has 6 notches, one for each string. Make sure you put the 6th string in the 6th notch, etc.
After the nut, thread the strings through the hole in the tuning peg. Some guitars require you to cut the string first, put it down into the peg, and then start winding. Others just have a hole through the peg. Leave a little slack in the low E string so you can get a few wraps around the peg. Maybe put your finger between the nut and the string, pull it taught, and then mark that place and start winding.
Note which direction you wind; for the sake of convenience, you should wind all the pegs the same direction so that you can tune them easily without starting in the wrong direction. The more wraps you have, the more the strings will stretch; the less you have, the easier it will be to tune your new strings the first few hours. GLI recommends at least one full wrapping at the minimum, but 2 or 3 is a great number of wraps. Just make sure you don’t have so many wraps that there is no room left on the peg.
Tighten the string until it is in tune. Use your ear until it gets tight, and then tune with a tuner the rest of the way. DON’T TRIM THEM. When your strings are in tune, play them for about 10 mins, bending them occasionally. New strings will stretch out and be hard to keep in tune for the first few hours. After you stretch and re-tune a few times, THEN can you trim them with a pair of wire cutters.