how often do you change strings?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by MKR, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    I confess i don't do it very often. Even when i do work on a guitar like changing a pickguard or pickup or something i still keep the same set of strings.

    I have a few guitars which i rotate so they don't all get overly heavily played, but i reckon there's probably a couple guitars whose strings haven't been replaced for around 8-10 months. and they still sound good to me.

    It got me thinking about how often one should change strings. Is there a general rule of thumb?
     
  2. ghostwolf

    ghostwolf Well-Known Member

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    i'm not the only one? Old strings rule... String cleaner does help, though.
    Seriously, as long as the string isn't coming unraveled, or have grooves worn into it. why change them? Having multiple guitars also helps, as does keeping them clean, and on a case if possible.
     
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  3. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I change strings after about(aboot, for canuckistanis) 20 hours of playing time or when they no longer intonate or hold pitch. The new brightness is hardly worn off the strings of a 6 night a week player, when it's time to change them, because of deformations due to stretching. Having several to rotate helps as long as I remember to wipe 'em down after every use. I also use a string cleaner/lubricant.(FingerEase)
    A sure sign is when the open strings are in tune and all your chords sound like sh*t.
    ;>)/
     
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  4. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    OK good i am not alone. Although i have never heard of string cleaner hahaha.

    i guess it also depends on the instruments too. I notice a real change when i restring an acoustic. On the flip side i bet the strings on my bass are literally years old (i bought it second hand over a year ago and have never restrung it) and i don't see myself putting on new strings any time soon.
     
  5. flatrockmobile

    flatrockmobile Well-Known Member

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    There was a product floating around in the mid 70s called Professor Farley's Magic String Sudzer or something like that.
    I swear, it was merely a small, expensive bottle of Olde English Lemon Furniture Polish.
    For several decades, I've given my strings a regular, good wipe down with a cotton rag with Olde English on it. I'll wipe the tops, slide the rag under and wipe the bottoms, then pinch each string with my fingers holding the rag and work it up and down over the entire length. If you use a white or light color rag, the area will be black from the finger crud that dissolves and comes off.
    The strings will feel better and sound brighter.
    Works on fret boards as well to remove the grunge that accumulates.
     
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  6. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Having several instruments (see hoarder thread!) to maintain, I tend to change strings when they are going bad.

    I don't sweat on them much, so they last a while, and t don't break strings very often, so I can get away with it.

    Fortunately, I like strings better when they are a bit broken-in, not right out of the pack.
     
  7. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Which is what I do too, particularly the under the strings part. Thanks for mentioning it.
     
  8. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    Not often enough. Usually don't seem to get them changed till they go thunk instead of twang.
     
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  9. flyswatter

    flyswatter Member

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    I hardly ever break strings (I remember distinctly the last time it happened was on my Tele at a rehearsal 2 years ago), so I can get a pretty long life out of them. There is that point, usually after 4 or 5 gigs, where they get that "dead thunk" feel, so then I change 'em.
     
  10. mormonvoodoo

    mormonvoodoo Well-Known Member

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    at least once a month
     
  11. eS.G.

    eS.G. Well-Known Member

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    Most guitars get new ones when I get them.....and they leave before they need new ones ....HOWEVER Sweetness has had possibly 4 sets in the last few years.
    Bass guitars NEVER need new strings lol

    I always wipe my strings and guitars down after playing I think that does help prolong life
     
  12. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    Only when I start do get in risk of contract tetanus.

    :D
     
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  13. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    "Bass guitars NEVER need new strings lol"

    I actually re-used the strings when I replaced the bridge on my bass. Bass strings are forever.
     
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  14. milesdeem

    milesdeem Well-Known Member

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    for my guitars every 3 months, or less.
    Just put a set of string's on my 6-string Rogue bass. Those should be good for like 2-3 years.
     
  15. El Marin

    El Marin Active Member

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    I change them as they break... Old strings rules! My Tele's strings maybe are there for two years or more...

    I hate the harsh of new strings. Just put the new string, tune it, break the edge, tune it again, done for ever.


    I hardly break a string, I use 11-54 on the SG and I think I changed the Strings because tried a pearloid pickguard that was there for 2 minutes before going back to black... Dunno, maybe march 2014

    I am used to that
     
  16. unklcrispy

    unklcrispy Member

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    every month / month and a half. I have let them fester to the point of flabbiness until they wouldn't hold tune but that was due to laziness.

    I like 2 week old strings, stretched enough but with some of the brightness gone.

    But I'm not gigging nightly like you working musicians.
     
  17. Six String

    Six String Moderator Staff Member

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    For me............ it's a matter of when they need it.

    I have heard there are some that boil their strings to re-use them... especially bass strings. Never done it myself, but have been told.
     
  18. cybermgk

    cybermgk Well-Known Member

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    I wipe after use, with Chops cleaner. Extendss the life (least I believe it does)
     
  19. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    "I like 2 week old strings, stretched enough but with some of the brightness gone."
    OK, for me that's about 2 hours.:naughty:
    Seriously, from hanging out with a Chicago session player for a few years, I like the brightest, least corrupted and corroded sound I can get, especially for recording. The issue of stretching, or more accurately, tightening the wraps around the string posts, is one that cannot be addressed often enough when dealing with "strings." Malikon's restringing video shows a good method, that gets the strings securely wound and ready to play, from the jump, as we hep cats used to say.
    The idea is that, after you've put a string on and tuned it to pitch, you pull the string away from the guitar, to pull the loops around the post as tightly as possible. I like to take the tuned string between thumb and forefinger of my picking hand, at about the octave, whilst holding the string to the third fret with my fretting hand and give ten or twelve vigorous tugs and retune then test with another two or three pulls. When it's stable after a couple of pulls, do the next one. The way I was taught, by Pythagoras, himself,:naughty: was to tune a step above playing pitch and then bring down and retune.
    Many modern guitars have tuners that lock the string into place, obviating the need for such tedium.
    [​IMG]
    ;>)/
     
  20. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Never heard of it. Who makes it?
    ;>)/
     

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