Like everything else that is there in this world, guitar strings also age with time. Though, the process of aging may vary based on different factors. These factors could be the alloys of your guitar, the humidity outside, and even how often you clean your guitar. Allot of factors can be responsible for this aging process. You might find yourselves wondering how often I should change my guitar strings.
While there’s no definite answer to this particular question but there is one thing that is common between all guitars that are the guitarists. All guitarists differ from one another and depending upon their personal differences the range at which they change their guitar strings may vary. Obviously you wouldn’t find guitarists changing their strings upon a daily basis but maybe after every two weeks or if they are somewhat of an awful lot, they might take it up to even two or three months.
Why You Might Want to Change Your Strings?
While there can’t be an exact time that you can selectively go for with changing guitar strings, but there are a few intuitions that you can come up with. For example, you can go with the idea of changing it based upon the time you spend upon your guitar. This is somewhat of a wild guess but not exactly a definite answer. The real answer is dependent upon the tone that you prefer.
If you are the kind of person who loves the fresh, bright, and rich tones; then it is obviously better that you change your strings weekly or at least monthly. Since new strings can let you play brighter sounds. Though if you prefer the worn-out sound that is produced by your old strings, then it is perfectly fine to go with the idea of making them work for even six months or longer.
Conclusively, the answer to how often guitarists change strings is the fact that it is a personal preference depending upon the preferred tone of the guitarist themselves.
However, this is not to say that the tonal preference is the only reason that your guitar might need a change of strings. Another possible reason is that your guitar strings might be dead. This is something that happens when your guitar strings are probably too old and cannot handle the job anymore.
What happens when guitar strings get old?
Allot of things can happen to your guitar strings once they are old. A few of which are;
Older strings are more prone to breakage than the newer ones. Since the string continuously rubs against the fret while the finger is pressed down upon it, it often wears down; this wearing down causes breakage. So if you feel like your strings keep breaking then it’s because they are quite old and new a replacement.
A new set of strings feels effortless and completely clean to handle though it changes over time. You can actually feel your strings degenerate as time passes by. Sometimes it’d be the coating of the strings that would start wearing down and at other times, the string itself. In cases like these, you’d have to go by your intuition and see if it’s the perfect time to get yourselves a change of strings.
3. Winding issues
Over time, the windings of your guitar eventually start to loosen and you start having issues with the tuning. These winding issues can cause a lot of damage to the strings since they begin winding neatly to the string’s core. So if you feel like you can’t tune a string properly or that there are gaps in string windings, then it’s a sign that the string needs to be changed.
Your guitar strings often come in contact with the oils and dirt on your fingertips. This dirt or grease is accumulated as you continue to play. The accumulation settles in the ridges of the strings and even effects the sound that is produced by these strings. Not just that but the oils also cause the discoloration of strings, especially from that particular area which you often play. If you start seeing visible changes in coloration or start noticing a different sound compared to the original, your strings might possibly be going through degradation and would need a change.
How Long do Guitar Strings Last in the Package?
If left unopened, your guitar strings can last for years. That is, if you haven’t removed the seal. The packaging is obviously there to protect the strings from moisture. So the strings don’t just randomly start degrading while they are sealed. Buying electric guitar strings in bulks is no issue as long as the strings are sealed and safe from corrosive moisture.
Unsealed guitar string or guitar strings that are not played often can also last from months depending upon where they are kept. The type of material that is used in making the string may also affect the process of degradation and even oxidation. Though if your guitar strings have already become rusty, it’s better to replace them rather than an attempt at cleaning them.
How to Prolong the Life of your Guitar Strings?
These are the few things that you can check up on if you’re wondering how to tell if your guitar strings are dead. Though there might not be the only reasons why some guitarists prefer to change their guitar strings too often. The reason they might do so could be their tonal preferences but also their physical experiences. For example, a guitarist is more likely to go for a change of strings before a particular concert in order to minimize any chances of breakage; Situations may affect the timing of change of guitar strings.
Though for a normal person with normal circumstances, it’s fine if they even change their string every two weeks or a month. Well, unless you prefer some fresh sound produced by fresh strings. Otherwise, it’s would be a complete overkill to keep changing your guitar strings every other week.
There are of course a few methods available in order to prolong the life of your guitar strings.
- Wash your hands before playing guitar, cleaner hands are less prone to cause damage
- Clean your guitar strings after playing. You can do this by simply wiping your guitar strings after every performance session. Cleaning can avoid any excessive build-up or sweat that might cause damage or discoloration to your strings.
- Use a string cleaner product that is easily available to you. These products may be better than a cloth since they can protect the strings against corrosion.
Why Some Guitarists Replace Strings Too Often
All in all, you may change your guitar strings depending upon your preferences. When replacing your strings, it’s better to go one by one rather than replacing all at the same time. Unless you’re planning to clean the fretboard, in that case, you can remove all strings at once. Though, it might cause some tuning troubles later on. Other than that, if your guitar string goes through a breakage then it is better to only replace the string that you broke rather than guitar pickups replacing all the strings.
Unless, your strings are really old, in that case, you can go for replacing all of them. The downside is that the one particular string that you changed might sound comparatively fresher and fairly different. However, changing all of them too often can be really expensive. So, it is always better to change the strings whenever there’s a need rather than going by defined schedules.