Have you snapped a guitar string at home? Do you have the guitar strings but lack the tools or knowledge of cutting guitar strings? Do you live too far away from your closest guitar store to do anything about it?
Well you are in luck, for today we will be running through a few things you might have lying around the house that can otherwise do the job of cutting guitar strings, as well as how you can best assess for yourself where exactly to cut the guitar strings in relation to the scale length.
How to Know Where to Cut
Though this wall vary from guitar to guitar, I can impart a little wisdom passed down to me by my old guitar tutor back in high school.
If restringing a Fender guitar, the machine heads are likely to be the same, and at a similar distance apart. If you make sure that the end of the guitar string is cut so as two be parallel to a machine head two along, real or imaginary, then it should always fit the bill.
I have used this little trick every time I tune a guitar, and have been able to do so without fail. If you do not own a Fender guitar, then chances are you can also translate this simple logic to other types of headstock and machine head.
1. Nail Clippers
Every guitarist will at some point come to this problem of how to cut guitar strings without a string cutter around the house, and if you do not live near a guitar store this problem can be rendered twice as real.
Thankfully, those nail clippers used to do what it says on the tin, you can also use to cut guitar strings, eschewing the need for wire cutters altogether.
When I put new strings on my Fender Jazzmaster I make sure to cut a two tuning peg distance between the desired tuning peg and the end of the string.
Now, this is almost cheating since pliers especially are wire cutters, but we figure that you are likely to have a pair of these lying around the house that can be put to good use.
If you make the guitar strings stretch, you should not find it difficult to cut the string at the right length if you follow the proper guidance on how to string a guitar.
As a last resort, you can always use a pair of scissors, though these certainly are not going to fly if you are cutting bass strings, the string tension and the thickness simply overpowering the scissors, unless of course they are industrial strength or something.
I remember making this mistake very early on as a teenager learning the guitar, not even knowing how to wind up the excess string nor what to do with the new guitar string. I would have been glad to have a resource like this that made it a little clearer.
4. String Cutters
If all else fails, you can simply be patient and order a wire cutter online. Those that are specifically designed for cutting excess guitar strings are relatively inexpensive if bought from a place like Amazon wholesale, and you are rarely going to have to replace them, unless of course you change your strings as much as you actually ought to!
So, there you have it! Hopefully you are now feeling much more comfortable and better equipped to restring your guitar, having found a utensil from around the house that you can use for cutting guitar strings.
Now you know why forethought and planning is so important, though, so as to avoid these moments of angst in future, when you need guitar string cutters the most.
FAQs Cutting Guitar Strings
The best bet for cutting guitar strings is to use a pair of string cutters, though you can just as easily use something else you might have lying around that you surmise can do the job. The first port of call would be something like nail clippers or pliers, cutters that are specifically designed for heavier duty cutting. Scissors, as a last resort, can do the trick, though ought to be avoided if it can be helped.
Some guitarists, you will have noticed, leave the ends of their strings uncut, so that their headstock looks like a hard industrial scene with billowing steel string smokestacks. I assume this is to look cooler, as though the guitarist in question could not care less and / or is lazy enough to leave it like that. It is, however, my own understanding that it is actually easier to cut the guitar strings before stringing them round and round, for there is no longer a massive whorl of string getting in the way of the tuning fingers.
The best bet for shortening guitar strings so that they fit the guitar’s scale length is to cut them into length using a pair of string cutters, though you can just as easily use something else you might have lying around that you surmise can do the job. The first port of call would be something like nail clippers or pliers, cutters that are specifically designed for heavier duty cutting. Scissors, as a last resort, can do the trick, though ought to be avoided if it can be helped, lest you do some damage to your utensils.