Need New Guitar Strings?

How do you know if you need new guitar strings?

For Acoustic and Electric guitars
Couple of questions to answer:

1) Have you had the same strings on for over 2 months?
2) Are your strings rusty?
3) Are your strings rough?
4) Do your strings sound dull?
5) Had a string break recently?

If you answered yes to any of the above, its probably time to replace your strings.

Because of moisture on your fingers and in the atmosphere, strings corrode and rust over time and their ablility to vibrate diminishes. This not only causes the sound to dull but even worse, the feel of the strings becomes rough and will hurt or even damage your fingers.

Strings can also become brittle from too much vibration, just think of how a paper clip snaps if you twist it too much, the same happens to strings.

If you play a lot, say for 2 hours a day every day, then you should look at changing your guitar strings every month.
If you play less, but still strum most days, the max you should leave them on the guitar would be 2 months.

Strings are quite cheap, about £5 for a set of 6.

There is an alternative to changing your strings this often. You can buy coated strings. These last longer due to a coating on the strings that prevent dirt build up and corrosion. Coated guitar strings tend to last 3 to 5 times longer than normal strings, so you can leave them on for longer. These still need to be changed though. At least every 6 months these should be changed as they are also prone to breaking because of the vibrations of the string as explained earlier using the paper clip analogy.
Coated strings do cost more, about £12 for a set of 6, but last longer, so can work out more cost effective.

For Bass Guitars, the strings are much more substantial and tend to last longer and hold their tone. Change bass strings at least once a year.

For Classical Guitars with nylon based strings, again because of the way they are made, they don't rust, so last longer. They do age though, so do need replacing. When they age they tend to stretch and become hard to keep in tune. If you don't want to wait till this starts happening, you should look at changing them every 3 to 4 months.

So to summarise:
Change your Electric / Acoustic uncoated strings at least every 2 months.
Change your coated Electric / Acoustic strings at least every 6 months.

Change your Bass guitar strings at least once a year.
Change your Classical guitar strings at least every 4 months.

Details of guitar strings can be found at the Guitarbitz Guitar Strings page.

Guitarbitz staff are here to help. Call them on 0845 2222 603 if you need any more advice on which guitar strings to buy or any other guitar related matter.


Matt said…
Although I love the sound of a new set of strings sometimes the sound of some old broken-in guitar strings is right for a specific style of music.

Personally for some older folk like finger picking style songs I like the sound of old strings. Just wipe them down after playing and keep them clean and they will last a long time!

I wrote a post on this topic on my blog a few years ago called how often should you change your guitar strings. Maybe it would be useful to your readers too!
Unknown said…
Try recording a track with old strings, then record the same track with new strings. Notice the difference? Choose your preference.

Your comment is good for people that know the difference.

I get asked a lot "When should I change my guitar strings?".
There are a lot of new players out there that do not hear the degregation in the strings as they have become acoustomed to the sound of the strings as they age. They only hear the difference when they have to change the strings. And this difference is so big that they notice it, they soon become accoustomed to the sound of the new strings and the circle begins again.

My suggestions above are a summary of the industuries recomended changings. Each person has an individual style to making music and players should do what is best for them and their music. It would be a boring place if everybody had the same tastes!

Also remember that if you play with nice smooth, clean strings, the playing experience for learners is much more pallatable than trying to play with rough, rusty strings that hurt and rip your fingers to shreads

Guitarbitz Guitar Shop

Popular posts from this blog

PRS SE 25th Anniversary Custom 24 Reviewed by Guitarbitz

Tanglewood TSB58 'Signature' Electric Guitar Reviewed by Guitarbitz

The Vintage V100PGM 'Lemon Drop'