String winders are novelty guitar tools. They allow you to perform an otherwise lengthy task a lot faster and safer. These are definitely must-haves in guitar shops, music classroom, and rehearsal studio.
As for home use, it wouldn’t hurt to have one or two lying around. But alas, not all string winders do a good job. And, if you’re looking to get things done faster and also much safer and more efficiently, then check out my top picks to find out which string winders are worth owning.
4 Best Guitar String Winders for Electric and Acoustic Guitars
If you really want to get fancy about it, then a battery-powered guitar string winder might be the right tool for you. The manufacturer advertises an 80% time improvement when changing strings.
I suspect that’s in comparison to using your bare hands and not other string winders, but...
One thing is certain. Your hands won’t get tired. Interestingly enough, it also fits all tuning keys which means that your instrument doesn’t matter. There’s no pairing to worry about. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery and power adapter.
The downside is that this winder has a larger footprint. It might not fit in your guitar case, so make sure you leave some room for it in your backpack. I’ve also reviewed some excellent travel backpacks that would have no problem holding your electric guitar’s electric peg winder.
The D’Addario Pro-Winder is another highly recommend product. It’s an affordable multi-tool that can do more than just unwinding or tightening guitar strings quickly.
It works on both electric and acoustic guitars and doesn’t pull out pegs. It has a better grip than many other string winders on the market too.
What’s even cooler is the fact that the winder also has a built-in string cutter and bridge pin puller. You can look at it as a Swiss Army Knife of winders.
In terms of performance, there are very few, if any, bad things worth mentioning. Maybe it’s not as silent as other winders. But then again, it also offers a lot more than your basic winder, which should perhaps count for something. The fewer tools I have to carry, the happier I am.
The Music Nomad Grip MN221 is a peg winder that lets you change strings in a matter of seconds, presuming that you’re already an ace at looping strings. You can shave precious minutes off replacing all your strings.
The rubber-lined design makes it very safe to use since it won’t scratch or catch anything on your guitar. The design features a dual bearing construction. This allows for two important things to happen.
For one, winding or unwinding the pegs is always silent. Even after using the MN221 Grip for a few months or years. Secondly, it improves the number of rotations per second that you can achieve without slipping the peg.
It also features a narrow profile. This is important as it allows you to go fast without worrying about coming in contact with adjacent pegs. That’s always a pain when it happens but you can minimize that with the Music Nomad.
The grip is small but comfortable and non-slip. As an added bonus, you’ll also get a 10mm hex wrench. As you know, that’s useful with tuning machine bushings. You’re getting two tools for the price of one if you’re one of those souls who haven’t a set of hex keys.
You wouldn’t expect a deluxe guitar string winder to come at such a budget-friendly price point. That being said, the Dunlop Road Pro Deluxe 114SI is one of my favorites.
It’s one of the most durable peg winders out there. The smooth action enables you to reach impressive speeds with your rotations. The grip is relatively longer which should make it easier to control the winder.
A bridge pin puller is built-in, which isn’t found on all string winders in this price range. As an extra perk, a small compartment is also available. Will you use it? – Probably not. But at this point, anything extra you get is added value.
Do You Need String Winders?
I’ll be honest here. String winders are not a must-have accessory. People have been using their hands to string or destring a guitar for ages, myself included. That doesn’t mean that I don’t use my stringer if it’s laying nearby. If it’s out of reach, I probably won’t get up to go get it for a string or two.
Build Quality and Design
String winders aren’t built equally. They may have the same function but they can do it in very different ways. The sad truth is that some string winders may make your job a lot harder.
This is why I prefer and recommend winders with small or narrow profiles. A slim winder is guaranteed to work on both small and regular-sized guitars and other string instruments. That’s because it’s unlikely to make contact with adjacent pegs while you’re winding fast.
So, if you can, stay away from bulky designs, especially if you own and play on more than one guitar or instrument.
Don’t Let Your Next Purchase be a Hit or Miss
Now that you’ve taken a good look at my recommendations, you should hopefully know enough to make an informed purchase. Based on your instrument, one or more guitar string winders from this article should work great for you.
Remember, there’s no reason to get your wrists tired before even starting your warm-up exercises.