#1
How do you know when it's time to change strings? I've had several guitars but oddly enough have never done a string change. They end up getting played forever with the same strings, sold, that sort of thing. Actually, I think I changed some on a guitar about 15 years ago...

I've just changed my strings for the first time on my Strat. I got the guitar for Christmas and have played pretty much daily since then, averaging 1/2 hour when I take into consideration days I didn't play.

When do you decide to change them? Is it the feel? If so, what quality(ies) would I look for? Is it the sound? Again, what quality(ies) should I pay attention to?

On my new strings they sound bright, full and "colorful" (for lack of a better term). They also feel super soft and bendable (is that a word?)

I guess I'm trying to learn more to help me for the next time. I have the feeling I could have changed these waaaaaay sooner, but without any frame of reference I'm kind of lost.

And it's sort of embarassing that I've had axes for years (acoustic as well) and have been completely ignorant of their strings. But I'm reformed! And I vow to be a better owner from this point onward!
Richard

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#4
i know its time to change the strings when its difficult to slide, they feel gritty and discoloured/ rusted
#5
3 months is a good number if you play 1/2 hour a day
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#6
Quote by bellamy_morello
i know its time to change the strings when its difficult to slide, they feel gritty and discoloured/ rusted


That's pushing it.

Every 3 weeks. Then again, I'm a professional and play around 2-3 hours a day.
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#7
I play at least 4 hours a day so every couple of weeks i gotta..you know its bad when you can't see string over top of a rosewood fretboard haha
#8
If you don't like the tone in comparison with new strings, change them.
If you don't like their feel in comparison with new strings, change them.

There's no such thing as a minimum to change your strings, if you like their feel and tone, you don't have to.(it is recommended to change at least some times though, cause old strings tend to go out of tune faster)
#9
you have to at least when they start to become flat in pitch as you go up the fretboard....
#10
aw... i read the title and thought this would be about guitar strings doing evil things to people...

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#11
Quote by joshua029
aw... i read the title and thought this would be about guitar strings doing evil things to people...


I guess we can incorporate that...

One time when I was changing strings and walking barefoot, a rouge string end stabbed my big toe
#12
Usually every 2-3 weeks. I find my strings become looser when my strings are dead making it harding to alternate pick on the high E.

They also seem to sound dead, and become more muddy when played through your amp.
#13
Usually once a month. But since now that I'm broke, I just change the broken ones.
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#14
I change them when they're discoloured and just don't sound as bright and twangy as I'd want them too.
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Last edited by zappp : Today at 4:20 PM. Reason: Suck on my balls, UG
#15
Quote by Broken-pick
Usually once a month. But since now that I'm broke, I just change the broken ones.

You can't spare $6?
#16
Quote by darkcheef
You can't spare $6?


Might not sound like a lot of money, but when you're in deep debt or just broke, $6 is a lot of money to spare.
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#17
Thanks for the input everyone. I'd noticed the strings feeling "gritty" and they looked sort of "splotchy" insofar as their color but I hadn't noticed the sound change. Once I put the new strings on I could tell a major difference in tone but I couldn't before.

That's why I was asking what to look for/hear. Because it seems to happen so gradiently it's hard to notice.

As for Kevy Absolution's comment, that's very understandable when I frame it with riding motorcycles on the track. When riding on a race track you go through a set of tires each weekend. Doesn't mean they're completely toast by everyone's standards, but you need fresh rubber to get the most out of your machine. So 2-3 days of riding (at my level) is about all you get. At the highest levels they'll go through multiple sets in a day just testing...
Richard

I tried setting my password to "penis". It said my password wasn't long enough.

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#18
depends how much playing you do

i play between 6 - 10 hours a day so i change them every 10 to 14 days
#19
I just change them when I can be bothered. Most people seem to corrode strings often, but that's not the case with me. So if I have some free time and want to clean and fix my guitars, I change the strings. Failing that, just if a string breaks.
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#20
i change mine every 2-3 months or a string breaks (which rarely ever happens with me for some reason).
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#21
Quote by joshua029
aw... i read the title and thought this would be about guitar strings doing evil things to people...


I was trying to hook people into looking.
Richard

I tried setting my password to "penis". It said my password wasn't long enough.

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#22
Quote by Colgate Total
Might not sound like a lot of money, but when you're in deep debt or just broke, $6 is a lot of money to spare.

True that..been using the same strings for a year or so :3

The tone and sound sucks, but i need something to play...so i gotta deal with it
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#23
They also start to stink.
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#24
Look for discolouration, and the feel of the strings.
My strings discolour and become uncomfortable after 2-3 weeks.

My tip: Get 3 sets of relatively cheap (But good) strings (super slinky are what I use). And change your strings after about 1 month, or whenever you feel like it.
I can get 3 sets of super slinkys for about £11 of Amazon, but thankfully there is an American version of Amazon so you should be able to get 3 sets for $11.

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#25
When your strings have skin fragments on them and they don't stay in tune, CHANGE THEM
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#26
I've had the same strings on my Start for about 8 Months D=

I was thinking about changing them recently, I hadn't noticed any change in feel or tone.
I think I'll go change them now.
#27
If you don't gig, no one else is going to hear you and you can't tell a difference in feel or tone, then there's no point at all in changing them ever few weeks or even months. It's just a waste of money...

Change them when you think you should change them. If they don't seem old to you, then they shouldn't be changed.
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#28
I hadn't played my SG in a few months and decided to pick it up and had to change the strings when my fingers smelled like rust.

Basically, I change them every 1-2 months because I play 2-3 hours daily.

How often to change them is hard for UG to answer for you because there are so many variables. It depends on how much you play, humidity of your area, how they feel to you, how they sound to you. All those kinds of things change the answer considerably.

For example, where I live it rains 300 days a year so it's really humid in the spring, summer and fall. My strings start to rust after about 4-6 months, even if they aren't used very often. Add playing 2-3 hours daily to that and I end up having to replace them every other month because they start feeling crappy and gritty.
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#29
Quote by Merciless Tengo
I've had the same strings on my Start for about 8 Months D=

I was thinking about changing them recently, I hadn't noticed any change in feel or tone.
I think I'll go change them now.

You dont really notice the change because it takes place very slowly. It gets a tiny bit worse each day, so you cant really tell. Then you change them and they sound completely different.
#30
Quote by littlephil
You dont really notice the change because it takes place very slowly. It gets a tiny bit worse each day, so you cant really tell. Then you change them and they sound completely different.

Bingo! That's what happened for me. And it's been about 8 months.

Oh, and lots of good tips guys. Thanks!
Richard

I tried setting my password to "penis". It said my password wasn't long enough.

PRSi:
*ME Quatro
*CE-22
*SE Soapbar II
H&K TubeMeister
TC Electronic Nova System

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#31
Biggest problem ts, is that the chemicals of ur sweat and the dirt meld together and affect the tone.

The tone can get warbly and incosistent, because the dirt adds weight and at the same time weight displacement on the string, which affects the vibration and thus the tone.

This happens slightly in a week or 2, and more noticeable after a month.

It depends how much you play, and washing ur hands before playing guitar, and don't play guitar to long straight to reduce the sweat +_ wiping the strings after playing with a rag, will seriously help.

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#32
Quote by Kevy Absolution
That's pushing it.

Every 3 weeks. Then again, I'm a professional and play around 2-3 hours a day.


Even thats pushing it. I play sessions most days (like you probably do) and I change Daily.
#34
Quote by the chemist
Even thats pushing it. I play sessions most days (like you probably do) and I change Daily.

If you can notice changes in tone after one day you are either Paranoid or Eric Johnson
#35
I don't notice tone changes as much as I like the feel of damn fresh strings...

And tuning changes are a big part of daily.
#36
I change mine when necessary...
Necessary? For the e, B and G, that's when the intonation is way out, even if it was good in the beginning. For D, A and E, when the feel and tone isn't what I want.
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#37
Quote by darkcheef
I guess we can incorporate that...

One time when I was changing strings and walking barefoot, a rouge string end stabbed my big toe



I didn't know they made em that color


I think you meant rogue
#38
i usually have to change them every 2-3 weeks if i feel i can hack it and if i have money to go buy new ones. i play 4-7 hours everyday so they can get rusty pretty fast and it sucks for me.