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How to know
When to replace guitar strings

Knowing when to replace guitar strings is a matter of choice. How good do you want to sound? Strings start to degrade the first time you play them. Yes there are ways to extend their lives that help but its just a matter of time.

So how can you tell when to replace your strings. Mostly it can be a gut feeling at first. Your guitar might not be as inspiring to play. Like the thrill is gone baby. When does that happen? it depends on a few things.

1. Your tolerance - how long can you stand it?

2. Did you clean the taco crap off your hands the last time you picked it up? Seriously clean hands extend not only the life of your strings, but it smells better too.

3. Your budget - even at only around $6 a set for good but onrdinary electric guitar strings get expensive if you have 14 guitars and change them once a week.

4. Your ability to do the job yourself. Its not complicated but it does take some finesse. The right tuners and tools make it a breeze.

5. How much do you play? Strings do wear out and get flat spots which can really make a great guitar sound like a piece of junk.

So when to replace guitar strings? Every two weeks to a months should have you sounding pretty good. If you want to sound amazing before every performance.

Ok, lets say you have determined a time period of when to replace guitar strings on your guitars. The first step for replacing strings is to learn about the different types and how to choose the best ones. Finding the guitar strings that are best for you sometimes that takes experimentation, patience and a few bucks.

There is a vast array of guitar string companies and each one of those have a big selection of different types of strings. How do you narrow it down to the best guitar strings when you are learning how to string a guitar? How does each choice effect when to change guitar strings because of the durabilty?

One of the ways is to ask experienced guitarists what they use and how they learned when to replace guitar strings. Is there someone that you have heard and you really dig the sound they are making?

Try what they use. See if its the sound for you.

Another way is to do some research and find out what your favorite guitar player uses and what they learned about how to change strings properly and what brand of strings they use. This might take some looking around since some of them will go with whatever company is offering the most alluring deal for their endorsement. So you might need to find out what they really use. Then again they might really use the strings they are endorsing.

Look for old interviews and maybe some early videos of them maybe they will mention what they use and when to replace guitar strings along the way.

The following are some of the things you might want to keep in mind when choosing the best guitar strings for you.

1. If you are replacing guitar strings and you change the gauges (diameter) of your strings the whole setup of your guitar will likely be thrown off and it will need a setup.this is a major mistake I made when learning how to change guitar strings.

So when learning how to string a guitar, try to stay with the same string gauges at first. That way you can see which string really sounds best and then try them in another size if that is what you want later. String gauge can effect when to replace guitar strings also. Larger strings do not stretch as much.

2.Acoustic guitar strings are different than electric guitar strings. Why? Because electric guitars have magnetic pickups that need different types of metal to function. there are a vast array of formulas, that I will cover in upcoming segments.

3. Coated strings will last longer but will sound just a bit duller than a uncoated string. Try to find strings with a very thin coating that is durable if you want a long lasting string. They cost more and that can effect when to replace guitar strings.

4. Strings that have been ground to a flat surface will help to keep your frets from wearing out. Fret leveling and polishing is expensive. You will probably need to shop online for these strings.

5. Cryogenic treated strings are frozen to make them tougher and last longer by altering the crystal structure of the metal. They cost more but this might be a way to get your favorite strings to last longer for you.

The price of freedom of expression is hard work, practice and finding out which guitar strings help you to express who you are. Don't be afraid to experiment - look what it did for Edison.

Learning how to change guitar strings is something that allot of players put off. Laziness, being cheap and mostly not noticing the difference because their sound changes so slowly.

It usually happens a little at a time. It's not always obvious when to replace guitar strings. Strings just wear out.

The guitar that you were wild about when you bought it just doesn't seem to have the same sound and feel to it.

Are you bored or uninspired with your guitar? Maybe, but maybe it just might be your strings.

Why do strings lose their sound and start to sound dull?

What makes changing guitar strings necessary?

A variety of things might be happening, corrosion, buildup of dirt, wear and tear. Some people have very corrosive sweat - strange but true.

The bottom line is guitar strings wear out. Some sooner, some later but they still wear out.

Your job, after you've decided when to replace guitar strings - should you choose to take it - is to change those babies without putting out a eye in the process.

Oh yea, it can be somewhat dangerous. I've drawn blood on more that one occasion.

So here's the warning: Wear protective goggles and use whatever you can think of not to puncture yourself. Maybe some gloves. I use pliers to pull strings out of tuning machines.

If you can't handle it take it to your guitar tech. They do it all the time and they won't laugh at you because they get money for it. :)

Seriously, if you are changing string gauge (how fat they are) you will probably need to have the guitar setup anyway.

Why? because it changes the tension on the neck and the new string size will probably throw the intonation off also.

This is the first step in learning how to change guitar strings. - finding good strings to do it with.

I will be presenting what I know about changing guitar strings in 3 parts.

1. Part one- introduction this page that you are on.
2. how to string a guitar,changing acoustic guitar strings
3. Restringing a electric guitar (coming soon)

Next up after when to replace guitar strings : Hands on - replacing guitar strings


I hope I helped answer your question on when to replace guitar strings.


Roy Barnett

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