Do you really need to change guitar strings? This is one of the questions that beginners ask when I mention changing the strings. If they aren’t broken why would you change them?
At some point, your brand new shiny guitar may start to sound a little bit different. The nice vibrant sound will be gone, the strings will lose their silky nice feel and simply start to feel rusty. It might be a sign that it is time to change guitar strings. You don’t have to wait until you break one of the strings to try to change them. It is one of the easiest and cheapest upgrades to your guitar that will instantly improve the tone, intonation, feel and the sound. It is also an excellent opportunity to do a quick maintenance/clean up of your guitar.
But how often should we change guitar strings?
It really depends on how often you play the guitar. A regular guitar user who plays up to 30 minutes every day or every other day, should change the strings about every 6 months. That is just a guideline only though. I try to change my guitar strings once per month, but I practice every day for 2-3 hours, plus have lessons and gigs on top of that.
Sometimes your guitar will let you know that it is the time to change your strings. If you feel that the strings are getting rusty, are losing the bright vibrant tone and you have difficulty tuning it up, it may be a sign that it is time to change the strings. A lot of recording/gigging artists will change their strings daily to keep a fresh alive tone during recording sessions and gigs. Most of them have signed endorsements with guitar string companies though, so changing the strings very often is not an issue for them 🙂
If you want to preserve the life of the strings, make sure that you don’t have dirty oily hands while you practice (especially women moisturising their hands).
Over time, the residue will affect the tone of your guitar and will degrade the sound. It might be a good idea to wash your hands before you play the guitar (make sure you dry them thoroughly as you may damage your calluses). After you finish playing the guitar you may try to wipe your strings with a dry cloth to remove the sweat from the strings. You can also try to clean the strings with some string cleaner that you can buy from any music shop. It will extend the life of your strings and will also improve the feel of the strings.
Very important – if you break one of the strings, don’t change just one string. Your new string will sound different to the others, it may have a different thickness and will create an unbalanced tone. Instead always change all of them at once. The rule of thumb is, once you break one string change them all. At least it is my rule of the thumb 🙂
I hope I have encouraged you to change your guitar strings more often!