Nothing lasts forever, including guitar strings. As you use these strings, they will start to lose some of their power, and they will degrade. With the degradation comes a change in the tone and brightness of the sound. If not taken care of, this can turn your playing into something devoid of life and dull. Therefore, you need to change the strings. While it is agreed that the strings need changing, many wonder about how often to change guitar strings.
If you wonder about that, you are not alone. Many of our readers have wondered too. The answer is not a simple one, which is why we have written this article and loaded it with important information that will help you know how often you should change the strings. Apart from that, we will also consider some of the other things that you certainly need to consider when you are thinking about changing the strings of your acousic guitar.
How Durable Are the Guitar Strings?
Well, let’s get right into the main part of the article. When asked this question, you will have different answers from different people. Some will tell you a certain length of weeks will others might calculate it in terms of playing hours. While that seems like great advice, it usually isn’t. Why not?
Well, because they forget a very important factor.
The answer to the question above is dependent on the tone that you play. Some players love their guitars to give a rich and bright tone. If so, they need their strings in tip-top shape, which is why it is recommended that they change the strings of the guitar weekly.
However, others would love their guitar to sound worn-in and well-used. Therefore, the strings aren’t in the newest condition. For guitarists that prefer that, it is okay to change the string after six or even more months.
Thus, you should change the strings of your guitar if you have an issue with the sound or feel.
The style of your music also determines whether you will change the strings often or not. If you love playing rock or similar genres, a new set of strings comes with a sharpness that will help you to build a distorted tone.
But if you’d rather your tone sound mellow, then a well-played set of strings will demand that you keep them for a longer time. Whether you have a beginner electric guitar or a premium model, the tips in this post will help you.
Why You Might Change Strings
Apart from the style of your music or the tone that you are aiming for, other things might cause you to want to change the strings of your guitar. Let us now consider some of these reasons.
If you have older guitar strings, they are less durable than newer options. Therefore, the chances are high that they will break. Each time that you touch or play a string, it will rub against the fret. With this frequent rubbing, dents will appear in the strings. You can check out your old set of strings to see what we are talking about.
Thus, if you play and discover that your strings keep breaking, then some things might be wrong. One thing might be a problem with the guitar. Or the strings are old and need to be replaced.
Another thing that might prompt you to change strings is the feeling. If you have a new set of strings, you will likely love playing them because of the clean feeling over your fingers. The strings might be more pliable to your ministrations.
As time passes, they will start losing this feeling and will start feeling odd to your fingers. What might cause this? Well, the build-up of dirt can be an issue. Oxidization might also happen, which can affect how the strings feel.
A perfect example of this is how old guitars in pawnshops feel in your hands. If the feeling that you get has changed, that might be a signal to change the strings of your guitar. Some people use coated strings. While that is great, the coating might start to peel off over time. When you observe that, then you will have to think about changing them.
The way your strings are wound will also determine if you need to change them. Winding is important, and if the windings start to get loose, then you will have to deal with tuning issues and more. As with the other factors, older guitar strings suffer from this more than the new ones.
Why Do the Strings Degrade?
Why can’t the makers of the strings have sets that will not decay? Well, it is quite impossible for the strings not to start wearing down. Your fingers have dirt and oil, and with frequent playing, these will start to build-up in the string.
How to Make Strings Last?
There are simple steps to take that will affect the durability of the strings.
- Clean the strings after your playing sessions;
- Wash your hands before you start playing the guitar;
- Invest in a string cleaner to remove the dirt and oil from the strings. Reviews indicate that the GHS strings cleaner is one of the best for cleaning all types of strings.
Apart from that, you can opt-for a high-quality set, such as the D’Addario EJ26 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Strings. Our experts tried and tested it, and it showed exceptional results in terms of tone and durability.
Replacement Schedule for Guitar Strings
Most guitarists should look to change their strings every three months or after playing a set of strings for 100 hours. However, as we have said, this depends on different factors, and you can use strings for a long time as long as they do not break.
- Touring musicians – change the strings daily;
- Professionals – change strings weekly;
- Serious players – change strings monthly;
- Learners – change every three months;
- Amateurs – change every six months.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do Guitar Strings Last in the Unopened Package?
Generally, you can store your set of strings in a sealed package for many years. But you must keep in mind that if the moisture gets in, the strings will degrade fast. Thus, it’s quite common for guitarists to buy multiple packages since they can be used later without any issues.
How Should I Remove the Strings?
While some guitarists prefer to remove all the strings at once, it’s recommended to do it one by one to keep the proper tension.
However, if you are after a deep cleaning, it will be much harder to reach all the areas without removing the strings. As a drawback, you might feel that the guitar goes out of tune faster, but it is still worth it.
Do I Need to Loosen the Guitar Strings before Storing a Guitar?
This is a common misconception that the guitar will last longer because you reduce neck tension. In reality, the build of the instrument allows it to withstand the tension without any issues.
What Should I Do If I Notice the Rust on the Strings?
Instead of wasting your money on cleaning solutions, it’s best to buy a new set that will ensure brighter sound and better durability.
Can I Change Just a Single String If It Breaks?
This depends on whether you are ready to purchase a new set every time since this can be quite expensive. Still, you can change just one string, but it is very likely that it will alter the tone of the guitar.
How often to change guitar strings? Well, as we have seen in this post, it depends on factors like how often you play, the style of play, the tone that you desire, and the level of maintenance. We have also provided you with tips on how to make your strings last longer and a schedule on when to replace the guitar strings. We hope that this helps you get the best from your playing.