Get The Most Out Of Your Strings

author: retka date: 12/15/2008 category: the basics

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As I have noticed that the coated strings are becoming ever more popular, the price for these "everlasting" strings keeps rising and rising. However, for those of you whom do not want to pay $10 or more for a pair of strings that may only last you a month or two, I have a few tips to get that cheap $5 pair of strings to last almost just as long as those super-duper coated strings. Here is how you can "coat" almost any of your favorite guitar strings: 1. When you purchase a new pair of strings, do not put the strings on the guitar yet. Instead if the strings come in a bag, then just tear a hole in the bag, or if they come in paper or other packaging, then put them in a small zip-lock bag or sandwhich bag. 2. Grab a can of WD40 or other similar product and spray a light coat on the strings while they are still in the bag. Let them sit up to 30 minutes. This will allow the WD40 to soak in to the wound wire and will create an overall even coating that is both water and tarnish resistant. Best of all, WD40 does not create a slick or otherwise noisy coat that will create finger sliding feedback while your guitar is plugged in. 3. Once you have soaked your strings with WD40, take a bottle of lemon oil and apply a small amount on a soft cotton rag. You can then use the rag to wipe any debri or grime off your fretboard and frets. This will give you a clean start so that any previous debri does not automatically start attacking your strings as soon as you install them. (please note that you should make sure to test the lemon oil in a small spot before using as in some instances it may remove small bits of finish or laquer on a fretboard & make sure that the fretboard is the only place you apply the lemon oil) 4.You may now install your new "coated" strings onto your guitar. Now, here are some tips that will even further the life of your strings: 1. When your strings become dirty and start losing their "sound", you may apply a small amount of WD40 or lemon oil (both will remove grime) to a soft cotton cloth. Then loosen your strings and wipe the strings down with a light squeezing pressure from your hands so that the oil gets down and removes the grime and dirt. WD40 and lemon oil are both great products to use in removing dirt because the oil actually gets down in the coils of the wire and will break up the compressed dirt and then the cloth (along with pressure from your hand) will help remove it completely. When done wiping down, carefully tighten your strings and tune them back to however you like. 2. The number one cause for string decay is the grime and sweat that is transferred from your hand to your strings when playing. To greatly reduce the amount of dirt that is transferred, wash your hands before playing your guitar (especially when you have brand new strings). This is by far the best method of making your strings last longer and I swear by this method as every time I play my guitar I wash my hands before hand. This has allowed me to get my D'addario strings to last up to 3 months in which they still sound almost as great as when I first purchased them. 3. One thing that I do while changing strings is to completely condition and clean my guitar. As this sounds kind of stupid, you are removing your strings from the guitar, so you have a chance to get all the hard to reach spaces along your fretboard and pickups that are normally hard to clean when strings are installed. I normally just use some wood polish or other product that is safe on the wood and finish of your guitar. I wipe the entire guitar down and remove almost all finger prints. I also take a Q-tip and clean out the dust along my pickups. This method not only removes some dirt buildup that could possibly effect your strings, it also just gives you a clean, shiny, and in most cases better sounding guitar (since grime often dampens the sound of your guitar). I hope this has at least given you some ideas and will help some people that do not wish to purchase coated strings such as Elixer strings. I am in no way saying that any string is better over the other, but I do prefer this method over purchasing "coated" strings as they cost much more than I am willing to spend for one set of electric guitar strings. I also must tell you that while these products have in no way harmed my guitar, I urge you to test products like WD40 or lemon oil in a small spot before using all over the entire guitar. This way, you will prevent any large damage that could result. Lastly, this is my first lesson so I hope that this was a satisfactory tutorial. If you feel that I could improve upon this lesson, please feel free to leave CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. If you do not like my methods of "coating my strings", feel free to post any other products or cheap DIY methods in a calm and non-aggressive manner. Thanks and I hope everyone gets a long string life by using these methods/tips.
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