When To Change Guitar Strings

It’s a good idea to change your guitar strings after every 100 hours of playing because they’ll start to wear out. However, it’s challenging to know when you’ve reached 100 hours! As a general rule, you can also change the strings every three months.

Your fingers can slowly wear down the strings. Over time, it will become more noticeable. You don’t want to break the strings before changing them, so make sure you know the signs of old strings.

When To Change Guitar Strings

What Happens When Guitar Strings Get Old

As guitar strings age, they tend to sound worse and lose their strength. The strings collect a buildup of sweat, skin, and oil from your fingers. Over time, those aspects can significantly alter the sound the strings produce. 

Old guitar strings sound dull and lifeless and are harder to play. Plus, they tend to be more brittle, making them more likely to snap when you practice. It’s always in your best interest to change out old guitar strings- even though the actual instrument tends to sound better with age.

You can tell that the strings are starting to get old when they don’t appear shiny anymore, especially in the areas where you touch them the most. Guitar strings should have some luster to them, even if they’re a bit dirty.

In short, your guitar strings will break easier when they become old and won’t sound the same. Many musicians prefer to replace them before they get to that point!

How Long Do Acoustic Strings Last

How long acoustic guitar strings last will depend on how much you play and what quality they are. Higher quality strings will last you a lot longer than cheap ones. Plus, if you practice every day, you may need to replace them sooner than someone who only practices a few times per week.

Most acoustic guitar strings will last you between two and six months. Even if you don’t play the guitar for six months, the strings won’t sound like new after that amount of time. 

However, if six months pass and you don’t notice a drop in tone with the strings, you can keep using them. You can keep playing with your strings if they don’t break and still sound fine. 

It’s always good to have a spare set of acoustic guitar strings on you if you don’t get lucky with how long they last. You can find cost-efficient options on Amazon, such as the AmazonBasics Acoustic Guitar Strings, which work great until you want something higher quality. 

How Long Do Electric Strings Last

Electric guitar strings tend to last about the same amount of time. Although, they may last a little longer if you don’t touch them often with your fingers and use a pick instead. Many musicians change them every three months, after 100 hours of playing, or when the strings appear worn.

That said, yours might last longer than three months- many brands make strings that can last six months or more! You shouldn’t replace your electric guitar strings unless you know for sure that it’s time. 

You’ll know you need to replace them if the guitar sounds dull, you notice corrosion or discoloration, or you can’t play the guitar in tune. There may also be signs of damage, like kinks in the strings.

To summarize, electric guitar strings also tend to last between two and six months, just like acoustic guitars. You should change them when the sound quality drops noticeably. The D’Addario Nickel Plated strings are a great choice, and they come in several different strengths.

How Do I Know if My Strings Are Bad

There are several ways you can tell that your acoustic guitar strings have gone bad. The strings should have a shine to them- if they’re becoming dull, that’s one of the first signs that you should change them out soon. 

Acoustic strings should be bright bronze color. They tend to discolor with age and dull the more you play with them. However, the dulling could also be from dirt, skin, and oil buildup. After cleaning the strings and they still aren’t shiny, it’s time for a new set!

You might also notice corrosion on the strings. Corrosion happens naturally to any meal- including the metal that makes up your guitar strings. It’ll happen to everyone’s guitar strings at some point, making them uncomfortable to play and more likely to break.

If you have stronger sweat, your strings can corrode faster! Cleaning your strings frequently can prevent that from happening. Also, washing your hands and drying them well before playing can help save your guitar strings from corrosion. 

You’ll know for sure that your strings are bad when they always sound out of tune, have signs of rust, and appear dull even after cleaning. You don’t want the instrument to always sound “off,” so replacing the strings as soon as possible should be your goal.

How Often Should I Change My Strings

Everyone will have to change their guitar strings at a different rate. We all produce different amounts of sweat and oil on our fingers, leading to the strings wearing out at different rates. Plus, not everyone will practice for the same amount of time. 

As a general rule, change out the strings every three months unless there are no signs of wear. You may need to change them out sooner if you notice that they’re aging rapidly. Overall, the amount of time that guitar strings last varies by materials and who’s playing.

Not changing the strings won’t hurt the guitar, although they could eventually snap, and your music won’t sound the same. Many professionals make sure to keep a spare set of strings around just in case they notice they’ve worn out.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, you should change the strings on your guitar when you think they’re too worn to sound good anymore. You can expect your strings to last between two and three months most of the time.

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