Have you been playing with your guitar for a few hours, and it has just suddenly let go of your strings? The strings of guitars age and break with force of using them. Whether you are an apprentice in guitar lessons or an experienced player, the passage of the string change is mandatory. As a beginner, you will need to acquire this knowledge by asking for help in a music store or from a luthier.
How much does the repair cost?
Nylon strings, steel strings and there are many other options and considerations. Here’s a quick overview of what this change will cost you for your guitar and the risks it represents if you don’t.
Why change the guitar strings?
The strings have a huge influence on the tone of your instrument. Many people wait for one of the strings on their guitar to break before changing it. Don’t make this mistake!
It doesn’t matter if it’s electric guitar, acoustic guitar, folk guitar, bass guitar, electro guitar, ukulele, mandolin, electric bass, jazz guitar or a classical guitar! Each of these guitars must be pampered. You should know that the strings are one of the essential elements for the good performance of the guitar, its functioning and especially the sound it produces. And far too many people neglect this aspect when starting their guitar lessons!
It’s not always easy to take the time to change your strings, and yet you will notice the difference right away.
Buying a guitar therefore requires regular attention. Whatever the brand (Ibanez, Gibson, Fender, Epiphone, Yamaha, Cort, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Jumbo, Dreadnought) you will find strings suitable for your guitar. This will avoid damaging your instrument such as bridge, soundboard, neck, but also its wood which can be of different species whether mahogany, rosewood, spruce, ebony, cedar, cypress, or maple.
Keeping your strings in good condition is important if you are used to effects, such as using your left hand to pluck and rub the strings at the neck. Techniques used in all styles like hard rock, jazz, blues, gypsy jazz, flamenco, folk, or pop folk. Changing the strings is therefore essential.
By taking care of the strings and therefore of your guitar, you can play it in peace. The sound aspect of your instrument will be of high quality.
So when should you change your strings?
Many apprentice guitarists are asking this question. And that will depend on how you use it. While some wait every 6 months to change them, others will replace them before each concert. It’s up to you to judge the right frequency. But please don’t let them rust!
If one of your strings breaks, it is just normal wear and tear. Be careful though with too frequent accidents. If your string breaks too often, then you will need to check the general condition of the guitar.
But you will also have to change your strings in other cases. For example, if these are oxidized. Of course this only applies to metal strings. Indeed, sweaty fingers can rust the strings over time.
You may notice in particular that the first frets of your guitar are rustier than the others. This is quite simply the place where you put your fingers most often. Changing your strings will then improve your touch.
If the sound of your guitar changes even though it is well tuned, it is also a problem with the strings. By changing these, it will allow you to get a brighter and less muffled sound.
And if you have just chosen a guitar, be aware that a lot of sellers don’t use the best quality of strings for sale. It is therefore advisable to buy a new set of strings at the same time as your guitar. This will get you off to a good start in guitar lessons.
Either way, the frequency of changing the strings varies from one musician to another. It’s up to you to find your rhythm.
The different types of guitar strings and their prices
Today you have just made your good year resolution. You want to take care of your guitar and change its strings more regularly so that it is as new for your guitar lessons. Only you don’t know what kind of strings to buy? Guitar strings can be made of different materials.
Because indeed, many sets of diverse and varied strings are on sale in stores and on the internet. But how do you find the strings that will be best suited to your instrument?
Guitar strings can be made from different materials. We can find:
- Nylon strings (especially for classical guitars)
- Stainless steel ropes
- In nickel
- Made of silk
- In silver
- In golden brass
- In phosphorus
- Or in bronze.
In any case, the average price for a set of strings is $10 – $20.
However, you can find strings treated with an antioxidant material or not. This should change the price by just a few more.
But why using antioxidant material?
The chemically treated ropes will be protected from the perspiration of your hands. They will oxidize less quickly and you will have to change them less often. On the other hand, these can sometimes play on the sound of your guitar depending on their quality.
Elixir is the most common brand in stores. However, you will find many other brands such as D’Addario, Ernie Ball, Fender, Hannabach, Savarez, or Addario. With experience, you will learn to recognize the sound you like and choose your strings based on it.
What criteria make the price of the strings vary?
Choose your strings according to your practice.
There are different things that go into determining the price of guitar strings. First of all the material as we could see previously but also the tension, that is to say the tension and especially the brand which is often a guarantee of more or less important quality.
You should compare and we would say you to go directly to a guitar string sales site or in store for make up your mind.
Where to buy the strings?
As when the time comes to choose your guitar, strings can be bought in stores or on the internet. You will find it just as well in a specialized music store, whether it is a chain or an independent store. On the internet, you can buy your guitar strings on a specialized site.
Be aware that you will rarely find a single cord on sale. The strings are sold in sets of six (the famous six strings), twelve or more. It does exist, but you will pay for the single string almost as much as the pack of six.
It is important to change all the strings at once.
You should know that when changing a string, it is strongly recommended to change all the strings of the instrument. This is to prevent variation in sound between them. However, if one of your strings breaks in concert, only replace the one that broke you!
On the web it is quite possible to find lots of options. There is a wide choice of strings. Only, it is easier to order them on the internet when you already know what to expect!
And of course you will never find used strings. It is not possible to reuse strings already stretched on another guitar. In addition, the advantage is not obvious when you know that a string costs $10 – $20 on average.
For your first set of strings, if you haven’t bought it at the same time as your guitar, it will be better to go to the store to get expert advice .
And if you are not sure, you can even ask the salesperson to change the strings for you.
It will cost you some more addition to the set of strings.
This can be a good solution to see how it does, then play it back at home the next time you need to change your strings.
You can also visit a luthier, the specialist in stringed instruments, or ask your guitar teacher to do it for you. The advantage is that it will teach you how to do it yourself at the same time.
You can still jump in the deep end and try changing the string on your own.
Believe me, with a good Youtube tutorial and good wire cutters you will do wonders!
How to maintain your strings?
To make your strings last as long as possible and avoid buying them too often, you will need to take care of your guitar and adapt a few gestures to your musical practice.
Remember to wash your hands before each music session with your instrument. Use soap and don’t forget to wipe them off well. If these remain wet, this may accelerate the oxidation process.
Because, perspiration is not the only fault for the degraded state of your guitar. Throughout the day, your hands have accumulated dust or grease. By plucking your strings with it, you deposit all the dirt from your fingers on your guitar.
Your guitar strings deserve regular maintenance.
At the end of your session, also remember to wipe your ropes with a dry cloth. Go all the way around the string, and not just over the visible part of classical, folk or electric guitar strings.
There are also a few products to maintain ropes regularly. Ask your guitar teacher, music teacher, or other professional for advice. He will be able to advise you on which product is best suited.
Remember to tune your guitar regularly so that your strings keep all the tension they need during your guitar lessons. You can tune your guitar by ear or with a tuner. This picks up the notes of each of the strings of your guitar and therefore tells you whether to tighten or relax the string to obtain a more or less high-pitched sound.
Finally, choose your pick wisely! It is he who will attack your strings and therefore the condition of your strings. Find the right balance between picks that are neither too soft nor too rigid.
In any case, don’t forget to pamper your instrument and its accessories as they deserve. And check How many frets on a guitar out!