How often do you change guitar strings?

brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,943
edited May 9 in Musicians and Gearheads
I had a guitar teacher back in high school tell me I should change my guitar strings frequently- I don't remember exactly but it was like every week or so.  Any more, I only change mine once in a while- I'm guessing a good 100 hours of playing total on a set of strings.  Of course, there are several factors for how long strings last- clean or dirty hands, lots of bending or none, type of strings, etc.   Also, a lot depends on the sound a player wants- new strings are more bright, older ones mellower.  I guess I'm getting soft in my old age.  I kind of like them worn and mellow. 

Once they get too difficult to tune though, off they go!
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Comments

  • dudemandudeman Posts: 1,416
    I use coated strings on my acoustic guitars and I change them sometime between 9 and 12 months. If I'm playing somewhere or recording with anyone, I'll put fresh strings on.

    The electric guitars get new strings every couple weeks. 

    The basses go several months between string changes. I have one bass with flats and I don't plan on ever changing them unless one breaks. 

    Short answer?  It depends. 
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  • gimmesometruth27gimmesometruth27 St. Fuckin LouisPosts: 15,915
    depends on how often i am playing. i will normally change before a gig and then play that gig, and then maybe 3 or 4 more practices and then change again. if we are busy i will maybe change them every 6 weeks or so. if we are in a lull then every few months. we play 3 one hour sets in the cover band, so i like to have fresh strings for that. the original band will be doing 45 minute shows initially, probably won't be too inclined to change them for something like that. just take a backup guitar.

    i just don't like playing strings that feel like barbed wire. i use a string cleaner and keep the next oiled and that seems to prolong string life.
    "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."- Hemingway

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  • mccreadyisgodmccreadyisgod Bumfuq, MTPosts: 6,395
    I've been using coated strings lately also. And, seeing as how I don't spend as much quality time with them (no band, no gigs), I can go more than a year on a set of strings. If I ever find any hint of corrosion, they get replaced immediately.
    ...and if you don't like it, you can suck on an egg.
  • dudemandudeman Posts: 1,416
    Coated strings were a revelation when I moved to Florida. I played outdoors a lot and the combination of heat, humidity, sweat and skin was brutal on strings. 
    If hope can grow from dirt like me, it can be done. - EV
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,943
    Coated strings?  Tell me about coated strings.  Never used them.
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • dudemandudeman Posts: 1,416
    They have a very thin layer on them that inhibits corrosion and prevents anything from getting between the windings. 

    The Elixir Nanoweb strings that I've been using feel nice, sound good and last a long time. 

    Most manufacturers offer some type of coated strings. I have had great service from DR, too.
    If hope can grow from dirt like me, it can be done. - EV
  • Gtilley8Gtilley8 DetroitPosts: 622
    dudeman said:
    They have a very thin layer on them that inhibits corrosion and prevents anything from getting between the windings. 

    The Elixir Nanoweb strings that I've been using feel nice, sound good and last a long time. 

    Most manufacturers offer some type of coated strings. I have had great service from DR, too.
    Elixers are, to me, the best in the realm of coated strings.  Once I tried them, I couldn't go back.  
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  • rustneversleepsrustneversleeps DowntownPosts: 1,604
    Gtilley8 said:
    dudeman said:
    They have a very thin layer on them that inhibits corrosion and prevents anything from getting between the windings. 

    The Elixir Nanoweb strings that I've been using feel nice, sound good and last a long time. 

    Most manufacturers offer some type of coated strings. I have had great service from DR, too.
    Elixers are, to me, the best in the realm of coated strings.  Once I tried them, I couldn't go back.  
    +1
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  • dudemandudeman Posts: 1,416
    The first coated strings I tried were DR Extra Life. They are superb. They were pretty hard to find locally in the town I moved to, though. I tried the Elixir Nanowebs due to availability and haven't used up the sets I bought years ago. 
    If hope can grow from dirt like me, it can be done. - EV
  • ledveddermanledvedderman Posts: 7,373
    I swear to God, changing strings is the most frustrating part of it all. I'm sure you guys are all pros by now, but I still suck at changing them after nearly 18 years of playing. 
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,943
    I swear to God, changing strings is the most frustrating part of it all. I'm sure you guys are all pros by now, but I still suck at changing them after nearly 18 years of playing. 
    OMG, I hate changing strings.  I bleed every freakin' time I change a set! 
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,943
    Thanks for info on coated strings all.  I might have to give them a try.  And bleed while putting them on.  :lol:
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 9,248
    I swear to God, changing strings is the most frustrating part of it all. I'm sure you guys are all pros by now, but I still suck at changing them after nearly 18 years of playing. 
    It's a pain in the ass.
    I play for about a half hour every day and I change strings about once a year.  I usually play the 12 string so I'm never eager to tackle that task.
    Worn and rusty strings don't bother me, I'm a worn and rusty kind of guy lol

    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • mccreadyisgodmccreadyisgod Bumfuq, MTPosts: 6,395
    I love changing strings, I find it theraputic. I'm that way about fixing anything, really.

    I use D'Addario EXP coated strings, I find that they don't feel "plasticy" in the same way that Elixirs feel to me.
    ...and if you don't like it, you can suck on an egg.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,943
    Thanks for info on coated strings all.  I might have to give them a try.  And bleed while putting them on.  :lol:
    rgambs said:
    I swear to God, changing strings is the most frustrating part of it all. I'm sure you guys are all pros by now, but I still suck at changing them after nearly 18 years of playing. 
    It's a pain in the ass.
    I play for about a half hour every day and I change strings about once a year.  I usually play the 12 string so I'm never eager to tackle that task.
    Worn and rusty strings don't bother me, I'm a worn and rusty kind of guy lol

    Same here, Gambs, but we have to be careful- rust never sleeps, haha!
    I love changing strings, I find it theraputic. I'm that way about fixing anything, really.

    I use D'Addario EXP coated strings, I find that they don't feel "plasticy" in the same way that Elixirs feel to me.
    I have three guitars that all could use a string change.  Come on over any time, lol!
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • dudemandudeman Posts: 1,416
    I love changing strings, I find it theraputic. I'm that way about fixing anything, really.

    I use D'Addario EXP coated strings, I find that they don't feel "plasticy" in the same way that Elixirs feel to me.
    Maintenance is part of the deal like it or not. I happen to like that part of playing instruments too. In another life, I could have been a guitar tech. 
    If hope can grow from dirt like me, it can be done. - EV
  • mfc2006mfc2006 PDX--->KCPosts: 29,930
    I love changing strings, I find it theraputic. I'm that way about fixing anything, really.

    I use D'Addario EXP coated strings, I find that they don't feel "plasticy" in the same way that Elixirs feel to me.
    I use those as well & really like them.
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  • ledveddermanledvedderman Posts: 7,373
    rgambs said:
    I swear to God, changing strings is the most frustrating part of it all. I'm sure you guys are all pros by now, but I still suck at changing them after nearly 18 years of playing. 
    It's a pain in the ass.
    I play for about a half hour every day and I change strings about once a year.  I usually play the 12 string so I'm never eager to tackle that task.
    Worn and rusty strings don't bother me, I'm a worn and rusty kind of guy lol

    I love everything about 12 strings...except the idea of changing the strings. That's literally the only reason I don't buy one. If I need one in the studio, I know a guy with a good 12 string I can use and all it costs me is a 12 pack of beer or something. That's a steal in my eyes!
  • mfc2006mfc2006 PDX--->KCPosts: 29,930
    rgambs said:
    I swear to God, changing strings is the most frustrating part of it all. I'm sure you guys are all pros by now, but I still suck at changing them after nearly 18 years of playing. 
    It's a pain in the ass.
    I play for about a half hour every day and I change strings about once a year.  I usually play the 12 string so I'm never eager to tackle that task.
    Worn and rusty strings don't bother me, I'm a worn and rusty kind of guy lol

    I love everything about 12 strings...except the idea of changing the strings. That's literally the only reason I don't buy one. If I need one in the studio, I know a guy with a good 12 string I can use and all it costs me is a 12 pack of beer or something. That's a steal in my eyes!
    Agreed!
    I LOVE MUSIC.
    www.cluthelee.com
    www.cluthe.com
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,943
    Same here!  Changing strings on a 12 string?  Oh man!

    But I think even more vexing would be tuning a 12 string.  Six strings are hard enough.  If the combined vibrations of all 6 aren't just so, they grind my gears unmercifully.
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • dudemandudeman Posts: 1,416
    For those of you who don't like changing strings, have you tried locking tuners?

    I bought Sperzel locking tuners for my Strat and it really simplified string changes. I just have to slide the string through the hole in the post, tighten the thumbscrew and tune to pitch. 

    They work great and are very stable, provided I stretch the strings properly. 
    If hope can grow from dirt like me, it can be done. - EV
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,943
    edited May 13
    dudeman said:
    For those of you who don't like changing strings, have you tried locking tuners?

    I bought Sperzel locking tuners for my Strat and it really simplified string changes. I just have to slide the string through the hole in the post, tighten the thumbscrew and tune to pitch. 

    They work great and are very stable, provided I stretch the strings properly. 
    Wow!  I checked out a few short videos on YouTube.  This looks PROMISING!  Anyone had any bad experiences with locking tuners?  If not, I might just have to try a set on one of my guitars!

    Thanks, dudeman!

    Added questions:
    1.  What about locking tuners for acoustic guitars?  Good idea or no?
    2.  What about added weight?  Noticeable?  (Especially concerned again re. acoustic guitars).

    Thanks!
    Post edited by brianlux on
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 9,248
    dudeman said:
    For those of you who don't like changing strings, have you tried locking tuners?

    I bought Sperzel locking tuners for my Strat and it really simplified string changes. I just have to slide the string through the hole in the post, tighten the thumbscrew and tune to pitch. 

    They work great and are very stable, provided I stretch the strings properly. 
    I will have to look into that, I could stand to play on fresher strings, it wouldn't make me cry lol
    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 9,248
    rgambs said:
    I swear to God, changing strings is the most frustrating part of it all. I'm sure you guys are all pros by now, but I still suck at changing them after nearly 18 years of playing. 
    It's a pain in the ass.
    I play for about a half hour every day and I change strings about once a year.  I usually play the 12 string so I'm never eager to tackle that task.
    Worn and rusty strings don't bother me, I'm a worn and rusty kind of guy lol

    I love everything about 12 strings...except the idea of changing the strings. That's literally the only reason I don't buy one. If I need one in the studio, I know a guy with a good 12 string I can use and all it costs me is a 12 pack of beer or something. That's a steal in my eyes!
    I love a 12 string for many strum and picking applications, but not all.  I think it really shines with a strum more than picking, which is the opposite of what most people think, or at least assume until they play more. 
    The tones don't come together to enhance single notes all that well IMO, but they really boost the sound for chords and make such a full and warm timbre.
    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 9,248
    brianlux said:
    Same here!  Changing strings on a 12 string?  Oh man!

    But I think even more vexing would be tuning a 12 string.  Six strings are hard enough.  If the combined vibrations of all 6 aren't just so, they grind my gears unmercifully.
    I use an app (da tuner lite) and it's super easy.  It's also nice because it tunes anything, so I can do the uke as well.
    Fortunately, my Alvarez 12 string stays tuned much better than any of my other guitars.  It only needs tuned in spring and fall when the temperature fluctuates wildly.  Maybe twice per summer and twice per winter.  Wonderful guitar!
    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,943
    rgambs said:
    brianlux said:
    Same here!  Changing strings on a 12 string?  Oh man!

    But I think even more vexing would be tuning a 12 string.  Six strings are hard enough.  If the combined vibrations of all 6 aren't just so, they grind my gears unmercifully.
    I use an app (da tuner lite) and it's super easy.  It's also nice because it tunes anything, so I can do the uke as well.
    Fortunately, my Alvarez 12 string stays tuned much better than any of my other guitars.  It only needs tuned in spring and fall when the temperature fluctuates wildly.  Maybe twice per summer and twice per winter.  Wonderful guitar!
    I've tried all kinds of  electronic tuners with little or no luck.  I think it has something to do with Hz.  I may be more a 432 Hz guy than a 440.

    Or maybe I'm just a little flat, haha!

    For those who don't know what the heck I'm talking about, read here:

    https://ask.audio/articles/music-theory-432-hz-tuning-separating-fact-from-fiction

    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 9,248
    brianlux said:
    rgambs said:
    brianlux said:
    Same here!  Changing strings on a 12 string?  Oh man!

    But I think even more vexing would be tuning a 12 string.  Six strings are hard enough.  If the combined vibrations of all 6 aren't just so, they grind my gears unmercifully.
    I use an app (da tuner lite) and it's super easy.  It's also nice because it tunes anything, so I can do the uke as well.
    Fortunately, my Alvarez 12 string stays tuned much better than any of my other guitars.  It only needs tuned in spring and fall when the temperature fluctuates wildly.  Maybe twice per summer and twice per winter.  Wonderful guitar!
    I've tried all kinds of  electronic tuners with little or no luck.  I think it has something to do with Hz.  I may be more a 432 Hz guy than a 440.

    Or maybe I'm just a little flat, haha!

    For those who don't know what the heck I'm talking about, read here:

    https://ask.audio/articles/music-theory-432-hz-tuning-separating-fact-from-fiction

    Da tuner allows you to set the A reference frequency at whatever Hz you choose!  It also displays the note you are playing accurately so you know to go up or down, and how many semitones you need to go to reach the correct note.
    It has a pitch pipe and adjustable volume control on the input so you can tune with background noise being ignored. 
    I love it, it tunes any instrument and works without screwing with it at all. 
    It's only on Android though I think.  My only problem with it is that Simon deletes it and I have to keep downloading it again and again lol
    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • dudemandudeman Posts: 1,416
    Does anyone use a strobe tuner? I bought a couple pedal tuners from Sonic Research a number of years ago. They are extremely accurate and built solid with a small footprint. 

    At the time, they cost about  $120.00. 
    If hope can grow from dirt like me, it can be done. - EV
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,943
    rgambs said:
    brianlux said:
    rgambs said:
    brianlux said:
    Same here!  Changing strings on a 12 string?  Oh man!

    But I think even more vexing would be tuning a 12 string.  Six strings are hard enough.  If the combined vibrations of all 6 aren't just so, they grind my gears unmercifully.
    I use an app (da tuner lite) and it's super easy.  It's also nice because it tunes anything, so I can do the uke as well.
    Fortunately, my Alvarez 12 string stays tuned much better than any of my other guitars.  It only needs tuned in spring and fall when the temperature fluctuates wildly.  Maybe twice per summer and twice per winter.  Wonderful guitar!
    I've tried all kinds of  electronic tuners with little or no luck.  I think it has something to do with Hz.  I may be more a 432 Hz guy than a 440.

    Or maybe I'm just a little flat, haha!

    For those who don't know what the heck I'm talking about, read here:

    https://ask.audio/articles/music-theory-432-hz-tuning-separating-fact-from-fiction

    Da tuner allows you to set the A reference frequency at whatever Hz you choose!  It also displays the note you are playing accurately so you know to go up or down, and how many semitones you need to go to reach the correct note.
    It has a pitch pipe and adjustable volume control on the input so you can tune with background noise being ignored. 
    I love it, it tunes any instrument and works without screwing with it at all. 
    It's only on Android though I think.  My only problem with it is that Simon deletes it and I have to keep downloading it again and again lol
    That's pretty cool!
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,943
    Finally got around to changing the strings on my two Martins and, personal record: two complete sets change and NO BLEEDING! :lol:

    I'm thinking again about those locking tuners.  On one of the high E strings I didn't catch the loop right to secure the string and as I was winding it up it went POP! and slipped such that the end of the string is just showing through the tuning machine hole.  I don't know what the heck is holding it in place but I'd better get a spare E because I've got a feeling that sucker's gonna fly off there any time now!
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
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