Whether you are a guitar virtuoso or learning the ropes on how to play guitar, one thing you need to do occasionally is to restring your guitar. You see, the more you play your guitar, the more your wires wear out, and that means you have to replace them to keep the quality of sound up there.
And yes, the final part of this revamp is cutting the extra bits of wires at the end of your tuning keys once you replace them. It’s a straightforward thing with a wire cutter. But without one, finding an alternative way to perform the job cleanly can be a hurdle.
In this article, we will be sharing everything you need to know about cutting your guitar wires without wire cutters. But before we get there, is it necessary in the first place? Well, we have that and more lined up herein!
Should You Cut Your Guitar Strings?
Yes, cutting your guitar strings is necessary. Trimming the excess bits of wires will keep your guitar looking neat, make your playing more enjoyable, and protect your eyes from the sharp wires.
Perhaps you have seen several guitarists leaving their wires uncut after restringing their guitar and wondered why. Well, each may have their reason or two for doing that. But generally, not trimming guitar strings doesn’t have any technical backing.
In fact, there are many reasons as to why you should always cut the string ends. For instance, the very wires can easily poke you in the eyes. Of course, no one knows how far the repercussions could go.
Again, the hanging wires look sloppy. Hence, if you love being neat, you certainly won’t be comfortable playing your guitar with all those wires hanging on one side of your musical instrument.
Sometimes the wires can even make a rattling sound which you could find irritating or even affect the overall sound quality of your tunes. In other words, there are several reasons why cutting your guitar string ends is necessary.
5 Easy Ways To Cut Guitar Strings Without Wire Cutters
Although a wire cutter is the standard tool for cutting your guitar strings, we still have several other easy ways that work just fine for the job. As such, if you don’t have a wire cutter or misplaced the one you had, think of using one of these ways.
1. String Cutter
One of the alternative ways of cutting your guitar strings without wires is using a string cutter. In fact, this should be the first thing to come into your mind even before you think about reaching a wire cutter.
A string cutter does what it says – cutting strings and wires of all sorts of musical instruments, including guitars. It is easy to use and readily available. Just walk into your local music store and ask for one!
One advantage of a string cutter over most alternative options is that you can’t damage the tool by using it for cutting the ends of your new guitar strings. It’s meant for that kind of job and should therefore last for long with heavy use on the task.
2. 3-in-1 Guitar Rest Tool
You can also consider using the multifunctional guitar rest tool. It’s one of the tools that will come in handy more occasionally in your guitar operations. You can use the tool as a string cutter, winder, and pin puller.
In fact, considering the high versatility, it’s one tool we highly recommend for every guitarist. It will make all those sorts of jobs a whole lot easier and is even convenient to bring along wherever you go.
But one thing to know – the multifunctional design may make it a bit complex to use, especially for the new guitarists with limited knowledge of the instrument. But once you get the hang of it, the 3-in-1 guitar rest tool will make your music life easier.
You might have noticed that some tools tend to disappear when you need them most and then resurface afterward when you no longer need them direly. But the next time that happens to your wire cutter, no need to worry or spend more time than you can afford to trace its whereabouts.
As much as you have a pair of standard pliers at your disposal, you can do just about anything you could accomplish with your wire cutter, including cutting the string ends of your guitar.
Almost all needle-nosed pliers and standard pliers have a wire cutter. It’s the part of the pliers with a sharp edge next to the pipe grip. If you have several pliers in your toolbox, pick the one that works best for the job. In that case, consider the one with the sharpest edge. It will help you make the cleanest cuts.
4. Toenail Clippers
Perhaps you only use nail clippers for what their name says – clipping nails! However, their usefulness goes beyond that. For instance, you can also deploy this household essential in cutting guitar wires.
Of course, that isn’t its primary job. But it does the work correctly if at all you can’t remember where lastly you placed your wire cutter. Only ensure that the clipper you have fits the bill.
You see, you can’t compare the toughness of your nails to that of your guitar strings. The wires are metallic. As such, before you use a clipper for their trimming, ensure that the tool is sturdy enough for the challenge.
Sure, no nail cutter will accomplish the task as easily as a wire cutter. Nonetheless, they should do the job perfectly. Once you establish the ideal angle for cutting, the rest is easy.
But again, it’s worth noting that using nail clippers for cutting wires can affect their sharpness. For some, it may not happen the first time. But if you keep using them for this work, expect them to become less effective in the nail cutting business.
5. Pair of Scissors
You may lack a wire cutter, string cutter, and the 3-in-1 guitar rest tool. Perhaps the nail clipper you have isn’t strong enough for this type of challenge. But chances are you have at least a pair of scissors lying in one of your drawers.
Scissors remain a commonly used tool at home. It works well for cutting thin paper, foil, rope, and other things. But have you ever known that it works just as cleanly for cutting guitar strings? Well, it does!
With barber’s scissors or kitchen scissors, trimming work is a cinch. You use this tool in much the same way you would a wire cutter. Only ensure that the edges are sharp enough to give you clean cuts. If not, hone them first before using the tool for the job.
One advantage of using scissors is that you won’t struggle to establish the right angle for cutting. Actually, when next you find yourself undecided on whether to use nail clippers or scissors, go with the latter. It’s more convenient to use and will make it easy for you to trim the strings at the exact spot you need.
Can Guitar Strings Cut Your Fingers?
Yes, guitar strings can cut your fingers, but that’s not likely to happen. Actually, the only time you are at higher chances of hurting your fingers is when beginning to learn guitar. But as you build up calluses on your fingertips to shield the underneath nerve-dense tissue, you become more and more unlikely to develop any injury whatsoever.
When beginning to play guitar, your hands are not used to handling much pressure from strings and other sharp objects. As such, when you introduce them to guitar, they are likely to develop sores or cuts.
The repeated pressure can wear out skin, exposing the more delicate soft tissue in the fingers. That can make things even worse when you keep on playing. That’s why if beginning to learn guitar, start with shorter sessions of not longer than 15 minutes.
As you continue to play guitar, your fingers will respond by building up a thicker tissue (calluses) to handle the pressure. On average, it takes about two to four weeks for calluses to develop. But generally, this period is subject to several factors;
- The frequency at which you play guitar
- Songs you play.
- Strings you use for your guitar
- The initial state of your fingertips.
- The type of guitar you play.
Can Guitar Strings Be Recycled or Reused?
Yes, guitar strings can be recycled or reused. Most of these strings are of nickel, steel, brass, bronze, and other materials that can be recycled at your local recycling company or local metal recycling company.
As long as the guitar strings that you want to be recycled meet the weight threshold, you can take them for recycling and bag some bucks in the process. One good way of recycling your wires is using D’Addario’s Playback – the world’s leading string recycling program. But that’s only viable if your strings are at least two pounds of weight.
If you don’t want to recycle, or perhaps the strings don’t meet the weight threshold, you can as well reuse them. There are many areas where guitar strings can serve within your home. For instance, you can use them for hanging stuff, making keychains, making bracelets, and in other applications as far as your creativity can take you.
Why Do Guitarists Leave Their Strings Uncut?
Guitarists leave their strings uncut for several personal reasons, although not technical. Some think it’s cool, some as a way to imitate their guitar idol, while several are just too lazy to find something to cut their hanging strings.
But generally, leaving your guitar strings uncut isn’t a good practice. It’s risky for you and the people around you. So yes, once you restring your guitar, always ensure that you find something to cut the unutilized ends.
Cutting your new guitar string ends is necessary for safety reasons. Thankfully, a wire cutter does that work perfectly. But just in case you don’t have access to one, we still have other options like string cutters, toenail clippers, scissors, 3-in-1 guitar rest tools, and pliers. It’s up to you to choose what works best for you!