When is it time to change your guitar strings?

Over the 40+ years this store has been in business, we have seen just about every guitar mod there is. We have had millions of conversations about tone, component quality, pick up swapping, brass nuts....the list goes on and on. One thing that often gets ignored, despite being the life of a stringed instrument....are the strings!  This is most often true of people new to guitar and young students.

In some ways, the guitar can really be dwindled down to a device that holds strings. Without them, there is no sound. This especially true of acoustic instruments where there is no opportunity to EQ or modify the sound hitting your ears. The guitar will not produce a sound that the string can't produce.

In addition to tone, intonation and tuning stability are affected when strings get old. Dirt and oil stick to the bottom of the string causing poor and uneven contact across the fret, affecting intonation across the length of the string. The metal also fatigues over time, losing its ability to maintain tension, causing the string to go out of tune. 

A typical guitar student, practicing about 20-30 minutes a day should expect their strings to last between 6 to 8 weeks, sometime longer or shorter depending on body chemistry. Perspiration, its acidity level, hand washing habits and relative humidity all have some effect on this. Don't be surprised if you kill a set of string twice as fast in July than say January. Pro players know when its time to change strings, typically between gigs or sessions.

All this being said, its time or way past time to change your strings when you experience the following:

  • "thud-like" tone on wound strings, lack of brilliance
  • any corrosion or significant accumulation of dirt
  • uneven response string to string
  • dents in the wrap on the underside of the strings
  • poor intonation
  • poor tuning stability
  • breakage

Fear not guitar players and parents of young guitar players! Fortunately, guitar strings are relatively inexpensive, running between $6 to $8 on average.  We will be doing a blog post on how to change strings soon! Also, we offer string changing services at our store for as little as $8 for a standard restring. Coated strings, featuring a micro-thin gore tech coating are also available.