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The Taylor Way

Changing nylon strings differs considerably from the process used for steel-string guitars, and there are right and wrong ways to do it. Never fear — the procedure isn’t rocket science, and you don’t need to be a sailor with advanced knot-tying skills.

Let’s start with the basics. Classical and flamenco guitars are strung with nylon strings that tie onto the bridge. This ancient system originally was designed for “gut” strings, and there are a number of ways to tie them, some more effective than others.

Here at Taylor, we have developed an effective protocol for this simple but often misunderstood procedure. For best results, it’s important to understand how the strings hold onto the bridge. The strings are looped around themselves, and the final loop must pass “around the corner” of the back of the bridge. Now, let’s outline the process in simple steps.

1. The Finished Look

Here’s an example of a properly strung bridge. The string ends are looped under to create a finished look.

2. Protect the Top

Before putting on your new strings, we suggest that you place a Post-it® note on top of the guitar, behind the bridge, to prevent possible damage to the top while changing the strings. Nylon strings often have one end loosely wound for greater flexibility. This is the end that ties onto the bridge. Leave about three inches of string sticking out behind the bridge.

3. Loop

Loop the free end under the string (from the treble side) just behind the saddle, and pull it back toward the end of the guitar, creating a bend in the string.

4. Pass

Pass the free end under the loop, below the back corner of the bridge, creating a second bend in the string.

5. Hold

Hold the free end down so it won’t climb up over the corner, and pull the string tight to lock it in place. Leave approximately one inch of string pulled tight behind the bridge.

6. Pass

Pass the free end of the string toward the peghead, all the way through the tuner hole, from the top down, leaving a little slack. Make sure the top side of the tuner hole is pointed at a slight upward angle, toward the peghead.

7. Loop

Loop the free end of the string up and around the top of the tuner roller and pass it under itself.

8. Hold

Hold a little tension on the string with your upright right fist (to create the correct amount of slack) as you pull the loop tight against the roller with your left hand. The bend should be in the top of the tuner hole to lock the string in position.

9. Tighten

Tighten the string, winding it toward the outside of the rollers, over the tail of the string. Guide the string so that it is neatly coiled and doesn’t rub on the edges of the peghead. Tune to pitch. For best tuning, use a maximum of 4-6 wraps, and then snip the excess string end.

10. Pull

Pull the A (5th) string into position.

11. Loop

11. Loop the free end of the A string over the untrimmed end of the low E string to hold it neatly in position.

12. Loop

12. Loop the free end under the string just behind the saddle and pull it back toward the end of the guitar, creating a bend in the string, as in Step 3.

13. Snip

13. Snip the excess from the 6th (E) string, making sure the remainder of the string is a little shorter than the distance to the next hole. Next, put on the 4th (D) string, using the same method as with the 6th and 5th strings.

14. Treble Strings

The slippery treble strings require a bit more care to keep them tight, but the technique is essentially the same. You can insert the string either way through the holes in the bridge. The high E (treble) string has an additional loop to avoid slippage. Begin by looping the string under itself.

15. Loop

Loop the string under itself a second time.

16. Pass

Make sure the free end passes under the string below the corner of the bridge when you pull it tight. It will come loose if you don’t keep one end below the corner.

17. Snip

As with the other strings, stick the high E string through the hole in the tuner, then lock, tighten, and snip, as in Steps 6-9.

18. Trim

After tuning to pitch, trim the excess from the B and high-E strings.

Finished Bridge
A view of the strings from behind the peghead.

After changing strings, use your thumbs and forefingers to gently stretch each string across its entire length. Tune the string to pitch and repeat the stretching procedure two or three times.

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