If you play a guitar or any kind of stringed instrument, you will know a time will come when those strings will need replacing. This is especially true for guitar players. And often a far more frequent occurrence than for other stringed instruments.
Reasons include the fact that guitarists tend to play their instrument every day, often will leave it outside its case, and generally, expose their guitar to the elements more. These all contribute to guitar strings becoming corroded, loose, and worn-out. Therefore, the strings don’t sound as good as they once did and are more likely to break.
Once your guitar strings reach a certain point of use and abuse, it’s time for a restring. So, how much does it cost to restring a guitar? The answer depends on several factors that I will go over in this article.
What Type of Guitar?
This is the first consideration that goes into determining how much you can expect to pay to restring a guitar. The three main types of guitar are Classical, Acoustic, and Electric. I am not going to nitpick on Acoustic-Electric or Semi-Hollow-Body distinctions.
That’s because an acoustic-electric guitar will normally use steel strings, just like a traditional acoustic guitar. A semi-hollow-body guitar will normally use nickel-plated strings, the same as any solid-body electric guitar. And Classical guitars will use Nylon strings, which are only used on Classical-style guitars.
It’s important to remember these differences when it comes time to restring your guitar. Don’t get the wrong strings.
The average price for a set of guitar strings ranges from $5 to $30. Of course, that range reflects differences in what materials are used to make the strings, how they are made, and the gauge or weight. As a general rule, the higher the string gauge, the higher the price.
Generally speaking, a set of guitar strings at a higher price point means better quality materials and craftsmanship. However, premium guitar strings are usually reserved for professionals when they perform live or for use when recording in a studio.
Paying a professional
The cost of paying a professional to restring your guitar is between $25 and $50, including the price of the strings. However, stringing a guitar is a relatively easy process, so it’s well worth doing it yourself.
How Much Does it Cost to Restring a Guitar at Guitar Center?
Well, Guitar Center charges about $20 to restring a guitar, plus you will need to buy strings, which will be, as mentioned, between $5 and $30. Therefore, the restringing cost at Guitar Center should be around $25 to $50. If it’s an unusual guitar, such as having extra strings or a special string type, they will probably charge an extra fee of around $10.
For the Average Guitar Player
A set for strings at between $5 and $12 will work just fine. However, I wouldn’t recommend going for guitar strings that cost under $5. These are not going to last very long, nor are they going to sound very nice. Furthermore, they might even snap as you try tuning them up. You may think you’re saving a buck or two, but, in the long run, you’re not.
That said, I am talking about buying strings from your local guitar shop. If you order guitar strings online, you’ll save yourself some money and will find quality strings for under $5, but only slightly under.
Why Do Some Guitar Strings Cost More?
Within the average guitar string price range, there is one factor that will always increase the cost. And that is a protective coating on the strings.
Guitar string coatings
Typically the string is coated with some kind of polymer. This reduces corrosion due to sweat and debris, thereby extending the life of the strings. The two primary types of coating are Nanoweb and Polyweb.
The former is an exceptionally thin layer of coating, but incredibly strong, hence the name “nano.” These kinds of guitar strings sound very much like uncoated guitar strings. The latter is a thicker coating that significantly increases the lifespan of the strings. The downside is the thick coating tends to dampen the higher frequencies.
Additionally, you will find Acoustic, Electric, and Classical guitar strings that offer some kind of protective coating. And in each case, there will be a difference in price between coated and uncoated strings. Furthermore, you can expect that strings with a protective coating will start around $15 and go up from there.
Other Factors that Affect the Price
Aside from whether the guitar strings you choose have a protective coating or not, the construction materials also affect the price. The most important being the string core.
Acoustic guitar strings
The core is typically steel plated with either brass, bronze, 80/20 bronze (80% copper and 20% zinc), and Phosphorus Bronze. In general, the prices follow the order of the core material. Brass is the cheapest, and Phosphorus Bronze is the most expensive.
But the price difference is rather small. You can see for yourself by comparing the D’Addario EJ11 80/20 Bronze Light Gauge Acoustic Guitar Strings with the D’Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze Light Gauge Acoustic Guitar Strings.
Electric guitar strings
Similar to acoustic guitar strings, but different. You will find plain stainless steel cores with either nickel-plated or nickel wound steel cores, and pure nickel cores.
You will find pure nickel wrap strings cost more than nickel-plated steel wrap or stainless steel wrap strings. But again, the difference is minimal, as you can see for yourself with these options.
- Pure Nickel Wrap – Ernie Ball Classic Pure Nickel Regular Slinky Set.
- Nickel-Plated Steel Wrap – Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Electric Guitar Strings.
- Stainless Steel Wrap – Ernie Ball Stainless Steel Regular Slinky.
Another factor that can affect the price is the type of steel in the core. Guitar string cores that use US Steel will cost more. Likewise, steel from Germany and Japan are right up there.
China and India both produce more steel than any of these countries. But, they have not reached the same level of quality. However, because of the readily available supply of Chinese and Indian steel, many guitar string makers opt to use them.
Classical guitar strings
These are a little different. The low E, the A, and the D strings are pure nylon, black nylon, clear nylon, or Gut. But, the G, B, and high E strings are silver-plated nylon or gold-plated nylon. In reality, it’s not actual gold; it’s the same 80/20 Bronze as used in acoustic guitar strings.
As you can probably guess, the silver-plated nylon strings cost more than the gold-plated ones. Additionally, black nylon costs more than clear nylon. And Gut strings will cost more than nylon if you can even find them.
Want to Get Started Restringing Your Guitar?
You should have a pretty good answer to the question, “How much does it cost to restring a guitar?” But you probably want to get some of the best strings for when you sit done to restring your guitar.
So, here are some of the best acoustic, electric, and classical guitar strings you can buy, all from a highly-respected string manufacturer, D’Addario.
- D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
- D’Addario EXL110-3D Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings
- D’Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical Guitar Strings
Looking for Some Great Guitar Gear?
Then check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Nylon Strings, the Best Electric Guitar Strings, the Best Guitar Strings, the Best Guitar Tool Kits, the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings, and the Best Clip-On Guitar Tuners you can buy in 2021.
Also, have a look at our detailed reviews of the Best Guitar Cables, the Best Guitar Stands, the Best Finger Picks, the Best Grover Tuners, the Best Guitar Humidifiers, the Best Guitar Strap Lock, and the Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups currently on the market.
How Much Does It Cost To Restring A Guitar – Final Thoughts
You should now have a better idea about the cost as well as the options you have when it comes to restringing a guitar.
If you are a DIY type, then ensure you have all the tools you might need. Make sure the strings you choose are made for your type of guitar and that they deliver the sound and tone you want.
Until next time, let your music play.