How To Cut Guitar Strings (4 Steps)

When restringing your guitar, one of the most essential steps is cutting the strings to the correct length. But how to cut guitar strings without damaging your instrument or yourself?

Here, we’ll walk you through the process of cutting guitar strings. From choosing the right tools to ensuring a clean cut, we’ll cover all the essential tips and tricks you need to know. 

So, whether you’re a beginner guitarist or a seasoned player looking for a refresher, read on to learn how to cut guitar strings like a pro.


How To Cut Guitar Strings?

There is a specific way to do certain things. To perform any task, you should have the appropriate tools. Using the tools mentioned below, you can cut the strings. By doing so, you will avoid worrying about the possibility of damage during the cutting process. Following the acquisition of these tools, you must follow these steps:

Step 1

Cut the strings carefully. The strings on the guitar will be tight. Avoid direct cutting. Loosen it first, then proceed. With the potential energy stored in the strings, the tightened strings can cause injury when cut. When tuning these strings, do not cut them. 

Step 2

You can now cut the strings once you loosen them. Avoid cutting the strings near the bridge and nut. You can suffer devastating consequences if you share your edge in this way. You will have problems removing strings cut near the bridge and nut.

Removing the strings if you cut them near the soundhole with the wire cutter will be easier. Follow the instructions mentioned earlier if you want to remove a single string. The next step is to remove the strings if you wish to do so.

Step 3

According to expert advice, a string should be cut two at a time. A string cutter may have intimidating results if he cuts all strings simultaneously. Cut or remove the strings at once, and the wood of your guitar will warp, leaving you bewildered and downcast. Two strings can be cut and removed at once! To clean the fretboard, use cotton balls soaked in lemon oil. You can use other oil to clean the fretboard.

Step 4

Attention to the notch at the bottom of the string winder is essential. Bridge pins are removed with this tool. After removing the bridge pins, you can dispose of and coil the guitar strings. To maintain the good health of your machine head, uncoil the strings manually. The machine head’s health will not be wasted.

The ball end of your strings should then be inserted after this. The new strings should be settled once the unwanted or worn-out strings have been cut so that you can use your guitar like before.

The tuning of your strings will be complex once all the adjustments have been made. Don’t worry about it! Eventually, you can tune the newly inserted strings after some adjustments.

Best tool for cutting guitar strings

It’s essential to cut guitar strings, so let’s learn how to do it now that we know why. The next step is trimming the extra length after your new strings have been installed and tuned. The first consideration is what to use to cut them. Here are some tools we recommend.

Guitar String Cutters

With a pair of specialized cutters, guitar strings can be cut easily. Several guitar string-cutting tools are available on the market. They can make the job incredibly simple. Many string sets also include a winder to make string installation easier. Guitar players should have these in their cases as they are the best choice.

You can buy these cutters when purchasing strings at most music stores. In this way, you’ll be able to complete the job quickly and only need one tool. Furthermore, they are affordable, so there is no reason not to own a pair.

Cutting Pliers

You can also use side cutters if you need access to string cutters. The type of cutting pliers in any home workshop is prevalent. Ensure that they are sharp and capable of cutting through string.

Have you got an old pair of side cutters lying around? Before cutting your guitar strings, test them on a spare piece. It will ensure they are sharp enough to do the job without damaging the strings.


You can also use a regular pair of scissors in a pinch. Although this could be better, it will do in a bit. There are some scissors that will not work since they are too flimsy.

The strings should be easily cut with a pair of heavy-duty kitchen scissors. The gauge determines the size.

This method should be used with extreme caution! You can easily cause personal injury or damage the strings. A low-quality scissors or thick strings may also damage the scissors. The only time we recommend this is when there are no other options.

Nail Clippers

You can use nail clippers as a last resort. The nail clippers and strings are easily damaged this way, so we don’t recommend it. If you have nothing else, it will work in a pinch.

Ensure you use the larger clippers, not the smaller ones for fingernails. Guitar strings can not be cut with the smaller ones. Alternatively, you can place them between the blades.

Pocket Knife

You may also find that a pocket knife has a helpful tool built into it. Guitar strings can be cut using the scissors on some pocket knives. The job can also be easily accomplished with a pair of cutting pliers that come with some knives.

If the knife is sharp enough, you can break the string across it by repeatedly bending it. Be careful not to cut yourself!

Should You Cut Guitar Strings?

You should not cut dead strings if you want to remove them. Cutting your strings when clipping the excess string stuck out of the tuning posts is only a good idea. It’s also important not to cut old strings, especially if they are fully tuned and under tension. 

If you start snapping the strings, the sudden loss of tension can damage the guitar’s neck, or the strings will whip you with force instead. Because the tension exerted on the neck shouldn’t fluctuate too much, you should remove them one at a time.

It is better to loosen the tension of your strings slowly and unwind them off the tuning post instead of cutting them. If your strings are partially dead, you can reuse them this way.

Use pliers to tuck the excess under the strings so that they won’t poke you or cut you when you’re playing if you don’t want to miss the strings after putting on a new set.

Why Should You Cut Guitar Strings?

The purpose of cutting guitar strings is twofold. In the first place, safety is of utmost importance. Strings that need to be cut will flop around as you play your guitar. You can potentially injure your eyes and fingers as a result.

Manufacturers provide this extra length on purpose. It’s to ensure their strings fit every guitar. The guitarists are expected to trim the strings once they have been installed.

It is also essential to cut guitar strings for performance reasons. The extra length of the string could make it harder to play the instrument. Some guitar players leave the strings uncut.

However, this will only distract you from playing. It could also interfere with the fretboard and become an obstruction. Beginners will want to be as comfortable and focused as possible to master this instrument. Furthermore, putting your guitar in the case makes it much more difficult.

Where to cut guitar strings?

If you are cutting the excess string after changing your guitar strings, I recommend cutting it as close to the tuning post as possible – at most, leaving a 14-inch space.

Tune a guitar can be difficult if too much excess string is left over. Keeping the strings out of your hands is also a good idea since they are quite pointy. Make sure you remove as much excess as you can without catching the string winding.

Ensure you don’t accidentally cut any string winding around the post when you miss your strings. You will then have to install a new string if your entire string comes unwound.

You may not even want to cut your strings! Tom Morello, for instance, doesn’t cut the strings at the top of the headstock. This is an aesthetic choice that leans toward a punk-rock image. You don’t have to cut your strings if you don’t want to.

I went through a phase where I didn’t cut my strings. My guitar case’s lining was damaged by strings that dug into it. Furthermore, they got in the way when turning – and I felt like they might poke me! The cool factor may only sometimes be the most practical!

When changing your guitar strings, you should cut them around the 12th fret if you’re cutting them off. There will be plenty of string left to push through your bridge (especially if you have a guitar with a through-body like a Stratocaster). Before cutting off your guitar’s strings, loosen them fully.

When Should You Cut Your Guitar Strings?

Many people like to cut their old strings before replacing them with new ones because it is quick and easy. To reduce tension, you should first loosen your guitar strings. The sudden loss of tension isn’t perfect for the guitar, and it might cause some shifting if you cut them while they’re tuned.

Furthermore, most people with fixed bridges can snip all the strings at once by finding a place in the middle. Those with Floyd Roses and similar bridge types should replace each string one at a time to prevent them from moving too much or sinking completely. Maintaining some tension on the bridge as you change each string is easier when you do it one at a time.

So, you can easily unwind the loosened strings from the tuning pegs and slip the other side through the electric guitar bridge. You can remove the bridge pins from acoustic guitars by lifting them. Start coiling and continue reading once you have released your old strings.

How To Remove Guitar Strings Without Tools?

You don’t need any tools to remove your strings since you don’t have to cut them. After unwinding the tuning peg, you need to release the tension on the string, and then you can unwind it from the post once the string is loose.

Changing strings may require a tool when removing the bridge pins from the bridge to remove the other end of the guitar. Remove the string from the lower portion of the bridge by undoing the knot. You may need pliers or a string winder to remove the bridge pins from your guitar if you can’t use your fingers.

Some guitarists believe you should change the strings one by one, while others say the guitar can handle the change in tension. To be safe, I constantly shift each string one at a time.

Final Words On How To Cut Guitar Strings

Cutting guitar strings is a simple yet essential skill for any guitarist. You can easily trim your guitar strings to the desired length by following the proper technique and using the right tools. 

Remember always to exercise caution when working with sharp objects and take your time to ensure a clean cut. Whether you’re restringing your guitar or need to trim excess string, knowing how to cut guitar strings will help keep your instrument in top shape and allow you to play quickly. So grab your wire cutters and start snipping those strings like a pro!


Can You Cut Nylon Strings?

Yes. You can cut nylon strings with scissors or with a nail clipper.

Can You Cut Yourself On Guitar Strings?

Yes, of course! If guitar strings are not handled properly, they can cause injury to your fingers. Strings with exposed ends, sharp frets, broken strings, or unmaintained guitars may cause cuts and abrasions.

Why Do Guitar Players Leave Strings Uncut?

Most players find it incredible to leave the extra string material on the tuners. To prevent injuries, they usually coil the strings. It is also considered time-consuming by some players. The extra length of a string will usually not be cut if a string breaks at a gig.

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