How often should you change guitar strings

How often should you change guitar strings

Over time, dirt and grease from your hands build up on your strings. This dirt will cause your strings to start looking dull and lifeless. Washing your hands before playing will extend the life of your strings, but other factors such as permanent string tension over time will require you to change your strings regularly.


 How often should I change my strings?

It varies from guitarist to guitarist, but keep in mind these following things

  • Guitarists who sweat more will need to change their strings more often.
  • Guitarists who smoke or play in smoky clubs will need to change their strings more often.
  • Guitarists who spend hours playing guitar every day will need to change their strings more often.
  • Guitarists who attack hard, very hard pick or dynamic finger-picking will have to change their strings more often.


 How do I know if my strings need to be changed?

You will know if the following mentioned things happens you need to change guitar strings

  • It is more difficult than usual for you to tune your guitar.
  • Your guitar sound is starting to sound “flat”
  • Your strings are starting to discolor or rust appears
  • It has been several months since your last string replacement.


 What do I need to replace my strings?

Here are the few materials and tools needed.

A set of replacement strings.

Electric guitar strings are available in different gauges (size). Lighter strings are easier to pluck (sink in), but are much harder to keep tuned and tend to produce a sound with less character.

If you’ve never bought strings before, a light pulling electric string set will be perfect.

wire cutter, peg winder.

It is not essential, but will make the task much simpler and they only cost a few dollars.

A clean cloth

Since you are removing the strings, take the opportunity to clean the usually hard-to-reach fingerboard on your guitar.

Pliers

You will need this to cut the excess length of the new string.

The beginner guitarist often wonders whether they should change strings of the guitar, and if so, at what rate

There are several types of guitar strings, each type of string corresponding to a type of guitar. For example, there are nylon strings, specific to classical guitars, and certain models of acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars. There are also steel strings, specific to electric guitars.


HOW TO CHANGE A GUITAR STRING?

There are several ways to change your guitar strings. In any case, be aware that at the beginning you may find it a bit tedious and complicated. But, with practice, you will be able to carry out your change of strings in two times three movements. And what a pleasure to play on a guitar with brand new strings! Believe me, the sound of your guitar will be transformed.

In the rest of this article, we will see what a string is made of, why, when and how to change guitar strings.


HOW SO IS A GUITAR STRING MADE?

A guitar string, whatever its material, breaks down as follows:

  • The soul of the string: it constitutes the heart of the string, its thread. Round or hexagonal in shape, it is made of nylon, steel, or nickel,
  • The spinning of the string: it is a thread, as its name rightly indicates, which comes to be wound all along the core. It is round, semi-round or flat.
  • The string sheath: it is now found in most guitar strings. It is a synthetic coating intended to protect the string from oxidation, and therefore to give it better longevity.


WHY CHANGE THE STRINGS OF A GUITAR?

Whatever their material, all strings wear out, break, or lose precision and tuning. Guitar strings are not forever, in fact far from it. They should be changed regularly. Indeed, worn strings, on an electric guitar for example, tend to rust. This rust weakens the string, which will eventually break. In addition, the sound emitted by worn strings is of lower quality than new strings, or in good condition. Finally, the frets of the neck of the guitar do not appreciate too much the contact of old strings, they will, in turn, suffer from a wear-tear that we can however manage to control by changing the strings regularly.

It is advisable, from time to time, to have your strings changed by a professional, a luthier, for example. At the same time as he changes the strings of the guitar, he will do a little inspection of the guitar neck, to make sure that it is not moving too much, and correct it if necessary. It is important to know that the traction of the strings on a guitar is very important, the wood of the instrument can sometimes be put to the test!


Why we change guitar string

In short, we change the strings of our guitar because:

  • A string has broken,
  • The strings show traces of oxidation, or rust due in particular to perspiration and hours of intensive practice,
  • The sound has changed: it has lost its shine, its tinsel, the strings vibrate less, and more limp,
  • The guitar no longer holds the chord, and asks to be tuned more and more often, it “sounds wrong”,
  • The strings are low-end, and therefore wear out much faster than other, better quality.

Martin specializes in classical and acoustic guitar strings.


WHEN TO CHANGE THE STRINGS OF YOUR GUITAR?

You have to do it when you have made up your mind! More seriously, it should be done regularly! But it’s not the same regularly, depending on whether you play every day for 2 hours or more, or whether you only play once or twice a week, or almost never.

In short, depending on whether you are a professional, or a simple occasional amateur, the best is to set a rule, and try to stick to it. You should know that a new set of strings, installed on a guitar that has not played for a while, a year, or even more, is as bad for the instrument as an old, withered, rusty set of strings, and brittle.

Depending on your playing frequency, your playing-style, you can estimate the change of strings required. It could be about every month to every month and a half on an electric guitar, and about every two months to two and a half months on an acoustic guitar.

Of course, this is only an estimate, it is then up to each beginner guitarist, thanks to the experience that he acquires over time, to determine the frequency of change of strings of his favorite guitar.

Also, and this may seem obvious, once the strings have been changed, you will have to tune your guitar. Be aware that new strings move more than worn strings. So don’t be surprised if you have to tune yourself several times per guitar session during the first few days. This is completely normal and it does not mean that you have changed your strings badly.


CHANGE ALL ITS STRINGS, OR ONE BY ONE?

As much to tell you immediately, procrastination does not have to be when you change the strings of your guitar! To deal with the easiest, and only changing the most worn string, or the one that has broken, in short, the one that no longer gives you satisfaction, is to expose yourself to a huge contrast between a new string that goes cheerfully vibrate at the slightest touch of your sensual fingers, and stunted strings which will have, at best, only the dull sound of a lifeless vibration to offer you.

The contrast is striking! This is why it is therefore advisable to change all of its strings at the same time, you will thus avoid unpleasant sound surprises, and you will save time, in the end.

In addition, it is best to change all the strings at once, because this allows the neck to be exposed, and therefore to take advantage of this moment to polish the neck, to maintain it.

Of course, if you happen to break a string barely a few days after changing them all, in short, the condition of the other strings remains quite satisfactory, just changing the broken string will be sufficient.

Check out How to cut guitar strings


WHICH GUITAR STRINGS TO CHOOSE?

Faced with lots of options of strings, how do you know which strings to buy for the beautiful guitar that you love? Dear guitarist friend, it’s not complicated, there are as many types of strings as there are types of guitars!

Materials, diameter of string, coatings, the choice is so vast that immediately finding the guitar set that perfectly matches the musician is a miracle! In addition, it is possible to buy strings as a complete set, but also individually! For a beginner guitarist, however, it is best to buy the complete set first, then a single string if only one has to be changed.

A confirmed guitarist today will also tend to buy complete sets, but some prefer to choose themselves the tension of each of their strings, according to their way of playing the guitar. However, this practice requires some experience.

The diameter of the strings, called tension, or more commonly pulling, ranges from Extra Light 0.08 / 0.38, very thin and  very light to Jazz Medium 0.13 / 0.56: like a moped brake cable.

Be careful, if you change the strings for a guitar, the neck tension is changed. It will therefore be necessary to make an adjustment. It is therefore preferable to have this operation carried out by a professional, or failing that, a friend specializing in the maneuver

That said, it is interesting to know that a set of low-pull strings will be ideal for rhythm guitarists, and that on the contrary, a set of strong-pull string will suit soloists, as well as rock and hard rhythms.

The most common tie rods are 0.09 / 0.42 (weak tie), 0.10 / 0.46 (medium tie tension), 0.11 / 0.52 or 0.12 / 0.53.


IN CONCLUSION

Please note, not all guitar strings are suitable for all guitars! You won’t use nylon strings on an electric guitar, in the same way that we will not use steel strings of an electric guitar on a classic.

The same set of strings will not be used in the same way on all guitars! If your guitar has a standard bridge, or a Floyd Rose type bridge, the strings are not posed in the same way. Caution is therefore in order, before embarking on the adventure to the fullest.

And don’t worry, just because changing the strings seems tedious to you, doesn’t mean you won’t learn it over time!

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