#1
How often do you guys change the strings on your acoustics? I'm referring to "casual" guitars, not axes that you use in nightly shows.

I've had my Cargo for about 6 months now. I play generally about an hour or two a day. I still haven't changed the strings. I've noticed the strings aren't as bright as they were, but they are still playable. I think part of the reason the strings have lasted so well is they haven't been constantly being stretched by tuning. I've tuned the guitar, maybe, 4 times since I bought it about 6 months ago (carbon fiber guitars hold their tuning very well indeed). Yeah...I'm spoiled.

How often do you guys change strings?
Last edited by TobusRex at Apr 24, 2016,
#2
That's a very broad question. Different string types have different life spans. I am also a casual player, about the same as you from what you say. I also tune my guitars quite frequently between a range of,drop d, double drop d, half step down and standard. The d'addario silk and steels I use last me about 3 months until the plain strings start to tarnish and then around another month or so until they start to become a bit muted. About 12 months ago I 'stole' my friends guitar and gave it an overhaul as a bit of a surprise for him. He's primarily a bassist and like cheese grater strings so I stuck a set of d'addario 54-12 80/20 (I think, they were stupidly thick) with their exp coating. He also plays about the same as me maybe a little more but they are still going strong now. They have lost a bit of their brightness but still sound ok. Little bit of tarnishing on the plain strings but nothing too bad. Probably have a good bit left in them.
So in short from my limited experience it all depends on the type of string. But for 'normal' string I reckon around 6-10 months is probably about right.
#3
Good point on the different life spans. I have Elixirs on my Cargo, which last a long time anyway.

I'll probably change the strings soon. I want more sparkle.
#4
Generally once the strings start to sound "dull", are largely discolored, or have rough spots.

I haven't changed my classical strings in so long that I can't even remember what my criteria for that are.

To be fair, I usually break a string in retuning before I outlast the the lifespan of the strengths, and that predicates a string change.
My God, it's full of stars!
#5
Quote by Dreadnought
Generally once the strings start to sound "dull", are largely discolored, or have rough spots.

I haven't changed my classical strings in so long that I can't even remember what my criteria for that are.

To be fair, I usually break a string in retuning before I outlast the the lifespan of the strengths, and that predicates a string change.


The last set of nylon strings I put on a guitar broke before I played it a single time. Seriously. Installed the strings, set the guitar aside, and a week later 1 of the strings was busted.

I've heard if you boil the strings you can get more use out of them.
#6
I've done that before, wasn't worth my effort.

What brand nylons strings was that? That's unusual, but there is also the stretching/break-in period that is recommended. Still, they shouldn't have done that. I'm assuming you checked the nut and bridge of that guitar?

Maybe your string tie-off knot was bad?
My God, it's full of stars!
#7
Quote by TobusRex
Good point on the different life spans. I have Elixirs on my Cargo, which last a long time anyway.

I'll probably change the strings soon. I want more sparkle.
Well, Elixirs last a long, long time. The set on my Taylor 12 are the ones it came with last summer.

Then too, your CF Cargo with brand new Elixirs, would likely have a bit of sparkle to spare.

I sort of polish my strings with white fleece rags after I'm done playing, until they stop leaving black streaks on the rag. That seems to help a bit.

But, if you're a fan of, "that new string sound", (and I am), you'd probably only be really happy with any kind of damned old common uncoated strings, for about a month tops.
#8
Quote by Dreadnought
I've done that before, wasn't worth my effort.

What brand nylons strings was that? That's unusual, but there is also the stretching/break-in period that is recommended. Still, they shouldn't have done that. I'm assuming you checked the nut and bridge of that guitar?

Maybe your string tie-off knot was bad?


The cheapest D'Addario nylon strings they had

I think the reason the string broke was humidity issues in my home. I'm not aware of a break in period though. I know about stretching strings when you put them on and tune them and such, but not a break in period.
#9
Quote by Captaincranky
Well, Elixirs last a long, long time. The set on my Taylor 12 are the ones it came with last summer.

Then too, your CF Cargo with brand new Elixirs, would likely have a bit of sparkle to spare.

I sort of polish my strings with white fleece rags after I'm done playing, until they stop leaving black streaks on the rag. That seems to help a bit.

But, if you're a fan of, "that new string sound", (and I am), you'd probably only be really happy with any kind of damned old common uncoated strings, for about a month tops.


Thanks Cranky. Had no idea they lasted that long.

My teacher uses the cheapest strings he can find. I can't even remember the name brand, but he loves the way they sound. He couldn't answer how long they'd last because he swaps them out every night. Maybe that was the answer in itself, lol.
#10
I repair strings by knotting them if they break near the tuner post. - I've told audiences it is essential for the authentic blues sound.

If you use non-coated strings I think it depends a lot on:

1) Your skin chemistry.

2) How often you play a particular guitar.

3) How clunky the guitar is is the first place. A lot of guitars sound clunky in the bass once the strings lose their newness.

4) If you clean your strings.

5) Microclimate.

6) String materials.

7) How picky you are about tone.

8) How heavy your touch is.

I've likely missed a few, but it enough to indicate that life expectancy can vary enormously from a few hours to years.

Mine last months, because I have dry, non-reactive skin and I rotate through guitars. I'm currently trying EB Aluminium Bronze on one guitar. They are bright and aggressive and are supposedly long lasting. - It is the alloy used for marine parts like propellers.
#11
Not nearly as often as I should since I hate doing it. LOL Some of my guitars have had the same strings for over a year. I use coated strings(EXP's or cleartone) and have several guitars that I play regularly and switch between. I don't play professionally though. If I did I'd change them much more often. On a related note, a new set of cleartone's sound fantastic.
#12
Quote by TobusRex
The cheapest D'Addario nylon strings they had

I think the reason the string broke was humidity issues in my home. I'm not aware of a break in period though. I know about stretching strings when you put them on and tune them and such, but not a break in period.


That really just refers to "breaking in" nylon strings so they hold their tuning and finish 'stretching.'
My God, it's full of stars!
#13
Clean hands and cleaning strings will more than double the life of the tone. Some guitars lose tone quickly some not. I've had a set of strings on my Yamaha FG 200 for two years and see no reason to change them. My Fender GDC - 100 SCE NAT loses tone in a month.
I don't do a lot of retuning, I use guitars with different tunings or a open ended capo for drop D.
#14
Quote by TobusRex
. . . My teacher uses the cheapest strings he can find. I can't even remember the name brand, but he loves the way they sound. He couldn't answer how long they'd last because he swaps them out every night. . . .


LOL - I do something similar albeit not quite so drastic.

I discovered "Olympia" strings a couple of years ago and I'm using their acoustic and electric strings just about exclusively now:

http://www.olympiastrings.co.uk/

I change strings on my most-played acoustics every 3 to 4 weeks - always have done - probably twice that long on my electrics.
#15
Quote by Garthman
LOL - I do something similar albeit not quite so drastic.

I discovered "Olympia" strings a couple of years ago and I'm using their acoustic and electric strings just about exclusively now:

http://www.olympiastrings.co.uk/

I change strings on my most-played acoustics every 3 to 4 weeks - always have done - probably twice that long on my electrics.


LOL...that brand name rings a bell. He might be using the same strings you do!
#16
Quote by TobusRex
LOL...that brand name rings a bell. He might be using the same strings you do!


Well, IMHO they are great quality strings that sound just as good and last just as long as strings costing a lot more.

Win, win
#17
I use either John Pearse or D'Addario Strings Phosphor bronze or 80/20 in a variety of gauges depending on which guitar I'm restringing. John Pearse was a friend of mine, but since he died my relationship with the company withered so I'm no longer an official endorser. Still like the strings though. (and I still miss John)

The short answer to your question is: as often as they need changing.
I do find that really fine guitars ( thinking here of my 1924 Stahl (larson bros.) parlor or my B&D senorita S5) will sound quite good with pretty dead strings. But then, when I do change the strings...WOW!
My old Yamaha FG200 ( yes, I'm that old) sounds pretty good with new strings, but loses volume and depth pretty quickly and begs for a string change in a couple of days.
Changing tunings a lot shortens string life considerably. As does playing with dirty hands.
But...I Love the sound of fresh zingy strings!
And I've yet to warm up to coated strings.