#1
Hi dear members of UG!! The electric guitar I’m currently playing was bought almost a year ago. Since then I haven’t changed my guitar’s strings. I’m still playing the guitar strung with the stock Ernie Ball .10 string set it came from the store. Although the higher strings got a bit rusty and the guitar doesn’t sound bright as it used to but I didn’t put on a new strings set on the guitar as the guitar is still very much playable. My question is it harmful not to change strings of the electric guitar for a long time? How frequently should I change the strings of my guitar?
#3
Quote by 2PtDescartes
A set of strings will be cheaper than a tetanus shot, I say go for it!
Unless the OP is from the UK. Nevertheless, old and withered strings often sound a bit lifeless. If rust is present then it's definitely time for a change!
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#4
I'm an American with no health insurance so any trip to the hospital is probably $2,000. I've just about stopped doing anything more dangerous than playing guitar. I just found a cool skateboard though.
#5
It's not harmful but most people change their strings as soon as the new string brightness dies away. How often that is depends on how much you play.
#7
Thanks everyone for helping, yes I’m fully agreed that old strings sound lifeless. I’ll soon change my strings. And one more thing is what type of wire cutter do you people use to get rid of the extra slack of strings hanging from the headstock after restringing process is done. I know wire cutters are available at the local hardware stores but there can be many types of it that serve different purpose. What would be the type/measurement of this for cutting guitar strings? Note this I can’t purchase from any e-commerce websites.
#8
Literally any wire cutter tool works. Try pliers with the wire cutters on them. You could even get away with scissors if you had no other choice I reckon, it would just prove slightly more difficult. There is no trick to it! wire cutters are wire cutters when it comes to removing excess string.

Also yeah, I change the strings once one breaks or once I can feel rust/gunk/shit/whatever on the strings. It's a particularly horrible feeling trying to bend a string and having the rust rub against a fret. I also suspect that this is bad for your frets and would cause them to wear out faster than they should.
#9
I use one of these when I change strings.
http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Waves-Winder-String-Cutter/dp/B0002E1G5C
Is it completely necessary? Maybe not, but I find it very convenient. I have one that works for guitar and bass.
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#10
Quote by wildozer
Literally any wire cutter tool works....

Thanks a lot for helping.

Quote by ryanbwags
I use one of these when I change strings....

That string winder and cutter is the thing I'd love to have, I'll check out the local music stores whether they have it or not. Thanks for the suggestion.
#11
I change mine when they start to sound dead usually 3 weeks to a month
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#12
Change them. I have never broken an Ernie Ball string. I usually change my strings every two or three months, sometimes even a bit longer. When they don't feel/sound good any more, I change them.

I see no point in waiting for the strings to break. IMO they shouldn't break. Professional musicians usually change strings before every gig.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#13
You need to change your strings depending on how much you play, if you play everyday for an hour or more they should be changed every week, new strings are more responsive so they are easier to play and you get the full sound of the guitar, which means you sound better, and therefore you enjoy it more. Even if you do not play alot you should keep them on only a month they do oxidize with exspoure to the air. You should changre before every gig , just make sure they are streched out good. A couple of things that you can do to make them last longer is to wash your hands before playing. Oil from your skin is a leading factor in string life. The other is to wipe the strings down with a soft cloth after playing. I do it between a couple of songs at gigs when I've been sweating under the stage lights.
#14
Quote by Emperor's Child
Unless the OP is from the UK. Nevertheless, old and withered strings often sound a bit lifeless. If rust is present then it's definitely time for a change!

I would change them long before there's any rust. Rule of thumb is, if you notice a significant degrade in tone, change your strings.
#15
You've had the strings nearly a year? I'm actually fascinated that they haven't snapped.
My friend has had his strings on his guitar for about 2 years now and they seem brand new to be honest. He's a bass player, so he spends more time playing bass but he does dabble with the guitar and it just blows my mind how the condition of the strings is still relatively good. He may be lying about how often he changes them but he's not the type of person to lie...especially about trivial crap like that.

I try to change mine once every 1-2 months depending on string condition or if one snaps. If one snaps I change them all. If I have a gig I'll change them beforehand as well regardless of how long the current set have been on. Same goes with when I'm recording.
They're usually changed before 1 month passes since I have usually recorded or gigged at least once within that time. That's just the longest amount of time I'll leave them otherwise, 2 months being if I'm being too lazy to go and buy some or I'm really short on cash.

Also, literally any wire cutters will do. If it cuts the string then it will do. You could use a jar of pickles and a tennis racket if you can cut the string with it.

Quote by duane baldwin
You need to change your strings depending on how much you play, if you play everyday for an hour or more they should be changed every week


I can't imagine restringing every week if I was just playing at home. Seems like major overkill.
When I was eleven I broke the patio window and my mother sued me... She's always been a very aggressive litigator.
Last edited by link no1 at Dec 23, 2013,
#17
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Change them. I have never broken an Ernie Ball string....

I also think Ernie Ball strings are great. Although I’ve broken my high e string of Ernie Ball .009 string gauge before but as for D'Addario .009 gauge strings set, none of my strings got snapped ever and they sound great too. I know that it is the sound that actually matters over the fact of replacing the old ones with a set but I’m not even close to a pro-player so I always thought that string breaking could be a common incident but so far I had snapped my high e string only twice in my over a year and half +/- playing experience for electric guitar.

Quote by duane baldwin
You need to change your strings....

I practice at most 1.5/2 hrs at most although I can’t practice every day but I try to practice regularly. But spending on new string set and replace it with the existing ones in every week is just too frequent as for changing strings I think. I do wash my hand with before playing and wipe the strings with a soft cloth after I’m done with playing.
#18
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
I would change them....

Thanks for the tips. I wouldn’t call myself a lazy person to change the strings and besides my guitar has modern trem system so it is less time consuming and easy to put a new set of strings on my guitar. But as I’m still at a primary stage of the world of learning electric guitar I thought I’d snap quite a few numbers of strings so I thought I should better wait till I snap one then replace.

Quote by link no1
You've had the strings nearly....

Actually .10 gauge strings do snap but I think Ernie Ball strings are great. Additionally I’m gentle with my guitar and I’m slowly learning to control the bend. Previously I snapped high e strings twice (one was .10 and the other was .009 string gauge) and both of the time they snapped while executing a full step bend.
#19
Quote by stranger_23
I also think Ernie Ball strings are great. Although I’ve broken my high e string of Ernie Ball .009 string gauge before but as for D'Addario .009 gauge strings set, none of my strings got snapped ever and they sound great too. I know that it is the sound that actually matters over the fact of replacing the old ones with a set but I’m not even close to a pro-player so I always thought that string breaking could be a common incident but so far I had snapped my high e string only twice in my over a year and half +/- playing experience for electric guitar.


I practice at most 1.5/2 hrs at most although I can’t practice every day but I try to practice regularly. But spending on new string set and replace it with the existing ones in every week is just too frequent as for changing strings I think. I do wash my hand with before playing and wipe the strings with a soft cloth after I’m done with playing.

Yeah, I think changing them every week is a bit overkill, unless you play gigs or record an album. Some people have really sweaty hands and they need to change strings more often.

You should change them when they don't feel and sound that great any more.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115