Which End of the Classical Guitar String Goes Where?

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You have acquired a fresh set of classical guitar strings, yet you’re uncertain about which end connects where. I’m here to help you in understanding the structure of the strings, determining the correct ends, and learning how to connect them appropriately.

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This deceptively simple question is the bedrock of ensuring your instrument sings with clarity, resonance, and harmony. In this article, we unravel the mystery behind the proper placement of classical guitar strings, drawing a clear distinction between the loop end and the tie end to guarantee that your guitar not only stays in tune but also expresses the full range of its acoustic potential.

Whether you’re restringing your beloved instrument for the first time or looking to refine your technique, understanding this fundamental aspect will elevate your musical performance and enhance the longevity of your guitar. Prepare to dive into the heart of classical guitar maintenance, as we guide you string by string through the process that serves as the prelude to every beautiful melody.

Be sure to check out my top classical guitar picks if you’re in the market for a new instrument.

Which End of a Classical Guitar String Goes Where?

With traditional classical guitar strings, you’ll see there’s a normal end (it doesn’t look any different from the rest of the string) and a floppy end (the outer winding is expanded to allow you to tie a knot).

So, which end goes where? Here’s the gist:

  • Use the normal end to tie the string around the tie block of the bridge.
  • Use the floppy end to tie in a knot around the tuning peg at the headstock.

But wait, that’s not all…

My Favorite Way To String a Classical Guitar

The best way to string a classical guitar actually doesn’t use the floppy portion for a knot at all. I’ll try explaining in words, but check out the video from Cordoba at the top of this page to see exactly what I’m talking about:

Specifically at the headstock, the video shows the following steps:

  1. Have the string tied at the bridge already
  2. Thread the string downward through the tuning peg
  3. Bring it back toward the body and up around the peg
  4. Thread the loose end under the loop you just made (thread it toward the outside of the guitar)
  5. Synch the loop on the peg until there’s just a little slack in the guitar string
  6. Tune the peg to wrap the string around it and tighten it

With this technique, you pull the slack out of the string before you begin tightening it. This way, the floppy end just hangs off and you can cut it later. I really like using this method because it reduces the number of times you have to turn the tuning peg to bring the string up to tension.

When doing the B and little E strings, I’ll thread the end through the loop (step 4) but toward the middle of the guitar so the tight string goes over the loose end and secures it more.

Understanding the Anatomy of a Classical Guitar String

Every part of a classical guitar string plays a crucial role in the sound it creates. The materials used for the strings are highly influential. Popular choices include nylon, silver-plated copper, and clear fluorocarbon – each with unique tonal characteristics. For example, nylon strings generate a warm, rich sound, while clear fluorocarbon strings produce a brighter tone.

The thickness of the strings, known as string gauges, also impacts the sound and playability. Lighter gauges are ideal for quick fingerpicking due to their ease of play, but they may not provide the volume and resonance of heavier gauges. In contrast, heavier gauges necessitate more finger pressure but result in a louder, more robust sound.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Restringing a Classical Guitar

Restringing a classical guitar as a beginner requires patience and attention to detail. It’s essential to verify your work to avoid blunders like excessively not having a secure string at the bridge.

The repercussions of incorrect winding can be twofold – not just risking damage to your guitar, but also undermining sound quality. It’s critical to correctly wind your strings around the tuning pegs, ensuring the optimal tension and alignment. Utilizing a winder can make things faster, for sure, but you don’t need one if you use the method from the video above.

Conclusion: Which End of the Classical Guitar String Goes Where?

To wrap up, you use the normal end to tie around the bridge and the floppy end to tie around the tuning peg. But if you use the technique from the video, you’ll end up cutting the floppy part off anyway.

Further Reading