How To Cut Guitar Strings Without Wire Clippers

How To Cut Guitar Strings Without Wire Clippers

So, how do you cut guitar strings without clippers? How do you cut guitar strings without a wire cutter? What can I cut guitar strings with? Why should you cut a part of your guitar strings? Cutting guitar strings is a typical activity done by most guitar players on their guitars; however, there are still some who question the purpose of doing this. 

As a musician, I just want to give light and focus on what are the other materials that can be used in cutting guitar strings rather than answering the question of its purpose, as not all are fans of doing this to their guitars.

But why are many guitar owners cutting their guitar strings? One of the main reasons why they usually cut it is that they can get messy to look at after you restring your guitars, as there are some extra lengths of guitar strings left after you tune your guitar. Cleaning them up by cutting is the most typical thing to do, which is why many guitar players do this in their guitars.

How Do You Cut Guitar Strings Without A Wire Cutter?

Aside from the usual cutting of strings near the machine heads to clean up the guitar, cutting guitar strings also happens when you are replacing the string of your guitar, where there are moments that you have to really do it. So, aside from using wire cutter, these are some ways you can cut your guitar string on your own: 

Toenail Clippers

The first thing you can use to cut guitar strings if you do not have a wire cutter in your area is a toenail clipper. They are an adequate substitute for a wire cutter. They are strong enough to cut a guitar string, but hopefully, they are sharp enough to do that. Almost all homes own a toenail clipper, so it is very practical to use this tool if you are not able to bring a wire cutter with you.

The only problem with toenail clippers is that they are a little bit harder to control when you cut guitar strings. The positioning will really be an issue when cutting the guitar strings. You might have to cut the strings using an angle, as it would be difficult to cut them cleanly, but it can still be done.

Restringing a guitar can result in extra wire in the guitar’s tuning keys, so to cut a guitar string using a toenail clipper, hold the guitar string straight out from the tuning key using either of your hands. Position the blades of the clipper around the guitar string in the location you wish to cut it. Press down the clipper’s mechanism to cut the string and repeat this process on the other new strings.

Remember that if your guitar uses a heavier gauge string, you will need to do a few twists in the string to be able to cut the string.


Pliers are an excellent tool to use when cutting any wires you need to. The usual pair of pliers you can see in your toolbox has a cutting edge that you can use at the bottom and can be easily used for cutting your guitar strings.

You can also see some needle-nosed pliers in hardware and maybe even in your toolbox. You do not have to worry; they also have a type of cutting edge that you will need to cut your guitar strings. There are many types of pliers, so you just have to check out where its cutting edge is. Pliers are also handy to bring, so even if you were not able to bring one, there is a possibility that there is someone who brought their own.

When you use a pair of pliers to cut your guitar string, you will need to grab onto the string with the pliers and start to twist it back and forth. Doing this will weaken the guitar string, and after some time, you can already snap off the piece of the guitar string you want to cut.

The only problem with pliers is that they would be difficult to use when you cut lighter gauge strings, as thinner strings are more difficult to grip some pliers, making it more difficult to twist them.


Another tool you can use for guitar strings is a pair of scissors. It is a very practical tool, and I am sure that almost all homes own a scissor. However, if you are going to use scissors to cut a guitar string, you need to make sure that it is as sharp as possible. Although you can use a barber’s scissor or a kitchen scissor, it would still be okay if you use the standard one.

Using a scissor to cut a guitar string is easier compared to other tools as you can properly position the scissors to where you want to cut the guitar string. In the same way, scissors can work similarly to a wire cutter when you need to cut a guitar string.

The only problem when it comes to using scissors to cut guitar strings is that you might need to replace your scissors in the long run as they can get damaged. Cutting guitar strings are not really a strong point for scissors, and they might lose their sharpness if you frequently use them in cutting your guitar strings. If you have spare scissors that you do not plan to use, then you can use them for cutting your guitar strings.


Aside from toenail clippers, pliers, and scissors, you can also use a knife to cut your guitar string. They are great if you use them on thinner strings with lighter gauges. To start, you hold the guitar string at the part that you want to cut. Grab the rest of the guitar string in the same hold that is holding the part of the guitar string.

The guitar string should look wrapped around the knife, then just apply enough pressure, and it will be able to cut the guitar string. The only thing you should look out for is to always cut away from yourself.

String Cutter

When it comes to special tools for cutting guitar strings, then maybe you should find a string cutter. Yes, there is one that is ideally made to cut your guitar strings, and it is called a string cutter. String cutters are sold only in music stores, so if you have the habit of cutting your guitar strings after doing some restringing, then you should get one of these.

They are ideally different compared to a wire cutter, but their functions are really similar to one another. If you are looking for an alternative tool for cutting guitar strings, then a string cutter is the one that you should prioritize.

So, how to cut guitar strings without wire clippers? You can use many things to cut guitar strings, even if you do not have a wire clipper on you. You can either use a toenail clipper, a pair of pliers, a pair of scissors, a knife, or a string cutter. Although not everyone loves to cut their guitar strings, but for those who prefer to do it on their guitars, the tools mentioned are tried and tested when it comes to cutting guitar strings.

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