The guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments in the world for good reason. You might be a guitar player yourself or you could just be starting down the path of learning how to play guitar.
One thing that you likely know is that you need to remove the guitar strings from time to time so that you can put new ones on.
The process of changing your guitar strings will involve cutting the little extra bits at the end off with wire cutters once the new strings are on. You generally have to be a bit careful when you’re doing this because guitar strings can be kind of sharp and will cut you a bit if you aren’t careful.
What can you do to cut the guitar strings when you don’t have any wire cutters around, though?
1 – Consider Using Toenail Clippers
It should be possible to use toenail clippers as an effective substitute for wire cutters in this situation.
If you have strong enough toenail clippers, then you won’t have any issues cutting through the guitar strings to get them how they need to be. Most people are going to have some toenail clippers somewhere in the house, and that makes this a very practical solution.
You might not be able to get the guitar strings cut quite as easily as you would have if you use wire cutters.
Often, the toenail clippers will make it tough for you to position them just right so that the strings can be cut cleanly. You might find yourself having to approach the cuts at an angle, but you should be able to get the job done, nonetheless.
It is worth noting that this could somewhat harm the sharpness or effectiveness of your fingernail cutters later on. Some people don’t advise doing this unless you want to get rid of the fingernail or toenail cutters afterward.
It might not be that bad, but it’s just worth noting that some people think that it harms the sharpness of the toenail clippers.
2 – Scissors
Scissors will work just fine when cutting guitar strings as well, and you are only going to want to ensure that you’re using sharp scissors.
A standard pair of barber’s scissors or kitchen scissors should work nicely for this little job. Just cut the strings the same way that you would with wire cutters and everything should turn out fine.
You won’t want to use something that isn’t very sharp such as children’s safety scissors. It’s somewhat possible (although very unlikely) that this could work, but it might wind up not being able to cut through very well.
Just try to stick with standard scissors that you know are going to be sharp enough to get the job done.
The good thing about using scissors is that it won’t be hard at all to get them positioned properly to cut the guitar strings. You should be able to cut the guitar strings at the exact point that you want to cut them off. It makes your job just as easy as wire cutters in many ways, and you shouldn’t have a problem doing this.
As noted above, this does have the potential to cause damage to your scissors. The guitar strings are going to be a little tough on your scissors, and they might lose some sharpness at the spot where you cut the guitar strings.
Stronger types of scissors such as kitchen scissors or shears might hold up better, but you can make your own decision about what to do.
3 – Pliers
Did you know that pliers are often going to be able to work to cut wires in a pinch?
Most standard pairs of pliers will have a cutting edge that you can utilize at the bottom, and you can easily use this for cutting your guitar strings. Just look at what pliers you have in your toolbox and see if there are any that fit the bill.
Most types of needle-nosed pliers are going to have the type of cutting edge that you’re looking for. Many standard types of pliers will, too, but you’ll just have to see what you’re working with. It’s good to have pliers like this around because they come in handy for so many different things.
In all likelihood, you’re going to be able to find pliers that will allow you to cut your guitar strings. You just need to position the pliers deep enough that they will be able to cut the wire for you using that cutting edge.
This should work out just fine, and you won’t have to worry about not being able to find your wire cutters so much moving forward.
4 – String Cutters
Of course, most people just buy what are known as string cutters from music shops.
People use string cutters to cut the strings on all sorts of different stringed instruments. These are technically different from wire cutters, but they function the same way, and that’s why some don’t bother to differentiate.
If you’re looking for wire cutter alternatives, then there’s a good chance that you don’t have string cutters either. Just remember that you can buy string cutters at your local guitar store very easily the next time you’re there.
It might be worth buying some just to make your life a bit easier when it comes time to restring your guitar.
Now you know a lot more about your options when it comes to restringing your guitar.
Not having wire cutters around will be a bit of a pain, but there are things that you can use to get the job done. Many people will turn to toenail clippers or standard scissors to do the deed, but it does run the possibility of damaging those tools a little bit.
It’s probably best to just remember to go buy some string cutters the next time you go to the local guitar shop. This will ensure that you have the recommended tool for the job the next time you go to get things done.
If you have some pliers with a good cutting edge at your house, then you might not need to worry that much, though.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.