How to restring a guitar fitted with vintage style open slot tuners

I know a few guitarists who have a tech restring their guitars for them. These people are not stupid or lazy. They are quite happy to restring some of their guitars themselves. But they fear the open slot variety of tuner, worried by the technique required to bind the string to the tuning post. But it’s not difficult.

The key to mastering the technique is to ensure that:

  • you keep good tension on the string, by pressing the string down against the headstock with your thumb or finger, as you wind the tuner and begin to wrap the string
  • as the string winds round the post, each wind runs below the other so that the string gets progressively closer to the base of the post – this ensures a good break angle at the nut.

Below is a video I found on YouTube which demonstrates the technique. I don’t recommend removing all your strings at once when you restring your guitar, as shown in the video, because you’ll probably have to adjust your truss rod to re-set your neck if you do. If your guitar has a trem, you’ll probably have to adjust that too if you remove all the strings. I change mine one at a time.

Here is another video demonstrating a variation on the technique above. In this video, the strings are wrapped around the tuning post a couple of times by hand before winding with the tuner. If you do this, don’t forget that you are twisting the string each time you wrap and lift the string over the top of the post. So make sure the other end of the string can move freely at the bridge and that there is enough slack so that the string can untwist itself before you begin to wind the tuner.

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