Changing strings one at a time

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Camel_spit, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. Hey all,

    I recently read a "proper" account of how to change strings on a bass or guitar, and it mentioned that it was a good idea to change one string at a time, so as not to put undue strain on the neck with drastically changing tension.

    I was wondering just how important this is?

    I've changed strings once each on guitar and bass, and both times I took the whole old set off, gave the neck a good clean, then put the new set on. It seemed fine. But I've recently bought a new bass, really nice, and I obviously don't want to do anything that's going to be harmful to it. So if I change one string at a time, am I going to do damage?

    Thanks in advance. :)
  2. The Reff

    The Reff

    Feb 11, 2004
    The tension of the neck will be better preserved if you change the strings one at a time, but as long as you're only going to clean the neck and fretboard up I don't see a problem. Just don't leave it without the strings overnight.
  3. I do it one at a time as well... there are going to be plenty of replies that will say otherwise, no biggie, do what you do. You can still clean the fingerboard either way.

    If you're doing a major cleaning, sure take the whole set off...but yeah, not for prolonged periods unless you slack the trussrod.
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I do it one at a time...or if I do it in 2's I take off the 1st & 3rd or 2nd and 4th. keeping somewhat uniform tension on the neck. For cleaning the fret board, I'd think about taking off 2 strings, doin one side then the other two.
  5. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    never just cut them off your bass. always down tune until the first one is limp, cut it off, and replace it.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have always taken all of the strings off of my basses when changing strings. Occasionally, if I am soaking the strings overnight in denatured alcohol, I will leave the bass with no strings for up to 24 hours. Never had a problem.
  7. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    Depends on your neck. If you've got a graphite neck, don't worry about it. If you've got a Geddy Lee, be warned. Also depends a bit on neck-thru verses bolt-on. One of the biggest things really is to not just cut them all off without detuning. I know so many stupid people that do this. It's a travesty.

  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have had all of the strings off of my Geddy Lee at least a dozen times since I bought it. And the neck has not moved a millimeter.
  9. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    Really? I've heard so many warnings about Geddy necks being fragile to changing strings all together.
  10. I've had them all off for up to 24 hours as well. A neck isn't going to warp like crazy the minute the tension is off of it, it's wood not rubber. That said, if you're really worried about it just do one or two strings at a time it's no big deal.
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    There have been a few reports of problems with Geddy necks. But there are several people on this board who own a Geddy and have owned it for quite a while(mine is almost 3 years old) and never had a single problem with the neck. I personally know of 2 examples which were posted on Talkbass, and at least a dozen people who own one with no problems. So it isn't an urban legend, but it appears to be almost as unlikely as neck problems on other basses.

    After all, Warwick used to make their necks from wenge, which is legendary for stability, and there have been wenge neck Warwicks with issues.

    Graphite necks are even more legendary for their supposed stability, and yet we have all heard stories of Modulus neck that were either twisted or warped.
  12. Always one at a time for me.
  13. Rav


    Dec 29, 2004
    Aurora, IL
    hmm, I seem to remember an article fender published once that said if your going to store your bass for long periods of time without playing it to de-string it to prevent the neck from warping.

    Maybe someone needs to ask a professional luthier about this since it seems contradictory to the only replace 1 string at a time and never leave de-stringed overnight theorys.

    I'll see if I can find the article and post a link.


  14. I have always been concerned that doing one side at a time would put undue tension on one side causing an eventual twist in the neck. I am for one string at a time or doing all at once so I can clean the fretboard.