How To Change Your Cuatro Strings

Course: How To Change Your Cuatro Strings



The first step to change the strings of a Musical instrument is to remove the old strings. For this, you’ll need to un tune your instrument by turning the pegs counter clockwise. Once the strings loose all tension, you can proceed to remove them from the head and bridge of the musical instrument.

We recommend you to clean the instrument parts with some humidified towels. It is very rare to have the opportunity of accessing all parts of the instrument, so take advantage of this and clean with a towel all the fretboard, the hole and other typically difficult to reach parts.

By now, you’ll have to open the package with the newer strings. These new strings are identified, and you’ll have to respect the order indicated in the package. For example, if you’re retuning a Cuatro, you’ll need to respect the order of the strings following the notes A, D, F#, B. Each string will have one of these letters indicated in the package so you can easily identify them.

Plug each one of the string in the head holes and bridge holes, respecting the intended order. Be careful of not confusing the strings, given that some of them are ticker and if you misplace these into a position that requires a note of higher frequency, it will snap once you’re trying to tune the instrument.

Once all strings have been placed, start adding tension to them. You can achieve this by turning the pegs clock-wise. Once you feel the strings are tense, you can start tuning each one of them until they reach the desired musical note.

Some students believe their instruments are damaged because they tune new strings and find out they are out of tune right afterwards. Be advise that new strings tend to get out of tune very fast. The first day it will be almost impossible to keep the musical instrument tuned, and for the next 3 to 5 days you’ll have to tune it each time you want to play a song. After a week, the strings will hold position and stay tuned for longer periods of time.

For how long the new strings should last?

Typically, a new set of strings would be good for about 6 months to 1 year. It really depends of the type of musician you are. For example, when we’re on the road, playing constantly in stage and practicing almost every day, the strings would not even last that longer. But when we are at home, no concerts, just regular daily practice, a new set of strings normally last longer.

For most students, practicing at home, if you do practice daily and with some intensity, maybe 6 months is a good reference. But if you rarely touch the instrument, the strings should last at least a year.

How to know when the strings are due for change?

No matter how much you practice or use your instrument, it is still good to check on the physical aspect of the strings. If you notice that the strings are not round, but flat, in the soundboard area, this could be an indication that the strings are due for change. Also, if the instrument starts editing a high frequency sound when played, this is also an indication that there’s something wrong. Start by replacing the strings with new ones and then play for a few weeks to see if the hissing sound goes away.

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