Guitar 911: How to Fix a Broken Guitar String

(Image credit: Joe Becker)

Today, I'm going to show you how to repair a broken guitar string.

This can't be done in all instances; it's dependent on the string breaking above the nut. But if it happens and you're in a jam, I've got you covered.

I discovered (possibly invented?) this trick out of necessity when I was about 10. I was constantly playing and experimenting with guitars, and when you start out, as inevitably happens to everyone, you break strings. But when you're 10 and you have no money and no car, and your parents are tied up and you really need to play, you start researching other options.

This came up very recently with a student of mine (Hi, Jaime Atadero!). Her lesson for the day was to learn how to re-string her guitar. When I teach this, I always string one while the student observes, then I have the student do the next ones while I supervise. And BAM! She broke a string above the nut. To fix this, I showed her this old trick.

Basically, using two pairs of pliers, replicate the wrapping you normally find around the ball end of the string, using the end of the old string in order to make an extension (see the photo above). Sorry for the quality of the image; it was actually taken during the aforementioned lesson. One pair of pliers holds the wrap you start as you twist to make a nice solid wind, while the other pair of pliers is what's used to twist the extension (two pairs of pliers twisting in opposite directions).

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