Hey all,

I suffer from the condition we refer to as "acid fingers". I string my guitar before every gig, and by the end of the night the strings are dull and lifeless. If I put a fresh set on, play for a couple hours, put my guitar on a stand and leave it, the strings will then become red/orange with rust. It's legitimately a dangerous amount of rust that could tear my fingers up!

Anyway, I've done a lot of googling and I've come across all kinds of responses, ranging from "It's your natural body chemistry and you're stuck with it", to "It's your acidic diet (true), but you can change that", to "You're way dehydrated (true), but you can change that", etc. I'm not saying any of these are correct or incorrect, I've just seen multiple people saying "IT'S DEFINITELY THIS" so it's a bit conflicting.

I'm using D'addario .10s, and I dig the tone when they're fresh. I saw a couple posts basically saying that different body chemistry reacts differently with certain strings. I've tried a couple different brands. Ernie Ball and Dean Markley yield the same results. I have played Elixir Nanowebs multiple times, and while they don't rust as quickly, they're much more prone to breaking on me. I never break the D'addarios (they are way too dead and I have to change them long before they break). I don't know what your experiences are, but a friend at the church I play at owns a music shop and he says he frequently has customers buy Elixirs and come back to buy different strings because they break too quickly. This might be a stupid question, but is there a string brand that would be the "opposite" of D'addarios, in terms of makeup/construction? I know we're dealing with the same material here, so I don't know how much sense that would make. But, I figure it's worth asking.

I just want to get some input, either from your personal experiences or otherwise. I see people with worse eating/drinking habits than myself using strings for weeks at a time, so I'm just curious. Now, I do play for multiple hours every day and gig around 3 nights a week. I do wash my hands, wipe down my strings, etc, but to no avail, as ~3 hours of sweating kills them. I figure if the content of my sweat is the problem, it won't matter how clean my hands are. Ultimately, it's not a big deal to take $4 out of every paycheck for a set of strings, but it sure would be nice if I didn't have to! Thanks for any insight, it's much appreciated!
You already wash your hands and wipe down the strings.

Strings just won't hold that crazy bright "new string tone" as long as you'd like.

Afraid it can't be helped.

If you really want to, you can try gnawing on a bunch of vegetables and completely rewire your body for a new diet. I have my doubts that this would do anything. Strings are strings and they will wear quickly. Especially if you play and gig a lot like you do.
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i have the same problem as you do...
well maybe not as bad but, my strings used to rust after only a few days. a week would be a miracle.

i've tried them all, i mean every string my local store had.
you mentioned youre using daddarios and while they are good strings for most people, if your hands are sweaty they are useless.

about half a year ago i bought the elixir nanowebs (those in the blue box with the orange label)
and while i do wipe them down after every use, they last more than any string i owned so far.
a set would last me for about 2 months (my current strings are about 1 and half months old).
im playing about 5 days a week, 3-4 hours a day.
im not getting paid or anything, but i'd recommend you give them a try if you havnt already.
again, try those with the orange label, the ones with the yellow label arent as good.
Last edited by VeilSide at Jun 10, 2014,
Use fast fret. Its an oil that protects strings. Wipe it on after each play and it will protect the life of your strings.
You might have luck with Stainless Steel strings. Stainless contains a high mass of chromium that prevents corrosion and rust from water, oxygen, and most acids. The salinity of your sweat is the only factor that might come into play

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Last edited by Flux'D at Jun 10, 2014,
I have the same problem and I use d'addario strings.

String up the guitar, play a little while, put the guitar up for the night, next day the strings have lost most of the shine and they are rusty enough to make me feel like I'll get cuts on my fingers.

I hate it. I did just out an Ernie ball set on a guitar for the heck of it and they seemed to last way longer before losing tone/shine and before rust build up. Maybe just go out and buy a offer wnt brand for each change until you notice a difference?

I also found a pH balancing hand cream. I haven't tried it yet though.

Found their site btw http://www.guitarhands.com/
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Last edited by ibanezguitars44 at Jun 10, 2014,
Thanks everyone! Those stainless steel strings look interesting. I'll definitely give those a shot. I've never tried Fast Fret so I'll do that as well. I've also heard good things about Dr. Stringfellow.
Wipe down the strings (undersides, too) and put the guitar in its case with a VCI (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor). See www.theruststore.com for more information.

Do NOT leave your guitar out on a stand if you've got acid sweat.
Quote by dspellman
Wipe down the strings (undersides, too) and put the guitar in its case with a VCI (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor). See www.theruststore.com for more information.

Do NOT leave your guitar out on a stand if you've got acid sweat.
Agreed. Even without the Corrosion inhibitor, the key is to clean them - although I am sure that helps. I normally kill my strings with abuse long before they rust so I've never tried it.
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Elixirs work wonders for me. I dont have issues with them breaking either. Maybe you need a a lighter gauge for whatever youre tuning to?
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Elixirs hands down. Don't bother with Cleartones their coating gets eaten away by your sweat if it's acidic.

I have a set of Elixir polywebs that are 3 months old and they look and sound exactly the same as day 1. The harmonic content is still there that would otherwise be lost within 2-3 days after using strings without coating.

Trust me, I've been asking this for a long time and finally have the guts to buy elixirs and it completely solved my problem.

Note when you do get elixirs, DO NOT wipe the strings hard or you will tear off the coating eventually. Use micro fiber or something soft and gentle and do not apply any pressure to get any gunk off the coating of the string.

Like I've said, regular strings sound dead in less than 3 days for me and rust within a week. Plain strings go brownish black.
Elixirs been on for 3 months and they still sound bright and have the harmonic response of new strings and look silver and shiny still.

Also remember to get Elixirs with anti rust plain steels.
Last edited by Clay-man at Jun 12, 2014,