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> When Do You Change Strings?
Phil66
post Jan 6 2018, 10:25 AM
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Hello folks,

I'm basing this question on a recent issue I had with intonation. It was completely unstable noticed in a REC take by Darius, my ear isn't good enough yet, to notice these subtleties rolleyes.gif , then I realised that I still had the original strings on the guitar which was nearly two years old. I changed them and now it's great again. I have to say that I hadn't played it daily for that time, it was an eye candy guitar but for the three months prior to this issue it had been my go to guitar.

The thing is, I'm a bit of a collector as well as a student, I have 13 guitars and still want just that one more wink.gif this means that some go out of favour for a few months and some are played daily or at least weekly.

The question is, at what point do you change strings? Do you change them weekly regardless of condition on those guitars you play a lot? Do you wait for tarnishing, do you go on how they sound, or something else?

I'm thinking that the more you play a set of strings, not only do they get flats when they make contact with frets but also metallurgical issues like losing elasticity due to a work hardening kind of effect, particularly if you do a lot of bending.


Discuss wink.gif

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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 6 2018, 10:55 AM
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I change strings way too seldom. Maybe once every 4 months to be honest. But my fingers, unlike others it seems, aren't made of total acid smile.gif


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Sensible Jones
post Jan 6 2018, 01:21 PM
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For me it varies too. My G&L Tele gets restrung every couple of months or so, mainly because it sounds so much better with new strings, whereas one my Strats sounds better with worn strings. The Ibby usually gets done at the same time as the G&L depending on how much use it's had and any of the others get done as and when the old strings start to sound dead. When I was playing 4 or 5 nights a week my main 3 guitars (Dean Superstrats with Kahler Trems) were restrung every day, don't think I ever played 2 shows with the same strings!!
My Basses on the other hand........
laugh.gif laugh.gif

This post has been edited by Sensible Jones: Jan 6 2018, 01:23 PM


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Tom51
post Jan 6 2018, 01:44 PM
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Hi Phil - I only change strings when they break which does not happen so often with 10s or when I have intonation issues where I want to adjust bridge saddles. So I am very lazy about string changes.

Is 13 a lucky number for you? wink.gif I am back at two again - a Les Paul and a Strat - both I am very happy with.
But I fully understand everyone who says that each instrument feels and inspires differently and collects guitars and amps.
And each time at a store I try a Tele ....and also maybe will do with a ES 335 in the future too. If they want me I know I will have a hard time to resist biggrin.gif

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DeGroot
post Jan 6 2018, 01:56 PM
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I used to change my strings every couple of weeks but these days it’s every couple of months. I have six electrics and I usually gravitate to the one with the freshest strings. smile.gif I have a hard time keeping track of when I changed them. I’m thinking of keeping a log book so I can keep better track. As you mention you have 13 guitars and counting, it mightcost you a fortune to change them frequently.

I agree that it depends on the guitar... my tele squire and strats will go out of tune easier and sound flat with old strings, while my Les Paul will hold up and sounds better with broken in strings. I hate changing floating trem so my Ibanez usually has the oldest strings but stays in tune very well and the tone holds up for the long haul. I think my guitars with hotter pick ups hold the original tone longer where as single coils I notice when the strings lose that new string brightness. My acoustic sounds totally dull after a couple weeks but I use the cheaper Martin strings. If I was playing the acoustic live or recording I would change it more regularly. And as Jones says, my bass is another story... I still have the original strings on it! biggrin.gif


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fzalfa
post Jan 6 2018, 03:12 PM
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before i was changing string regulary, because i broke them a lots of times.

now, since one years, i do not change or break any string.... why ?

i don't know, but i may change my string on the ibby i think, they have a lots of playing hours at the clock !!

Cheers

Laurent


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 6 2018, 03:43 PM
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QUOTE (DeGroot @ Jan 6 2018, 01:56 PM) *
I hate changing floating trem so my Ibanez usually has the oldest strings but stays in tune very well and the tone holds up for the long haul.


I only have floating trems left these days laugh.gif


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Mertay
post Jan 6 2018, 04:00 PM
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I have 2 guitars;

-The one I always play; Even with coated strings hardly passes 2 months. Non-coated about 4 weeks.

-The one I almost never play; A travel guitar, hardly play it once a week. Placed elixirs on it this summer and last night realised its time to change. So 6 months I guess with coated strings.

Coated strings are what you need, their tone almost never change but I realize they get old when doing bends. If they don't glide nicely on the fret when bending thats the sign its time to change. When doing that bend, don't press too hard as I remember your grip is very strong smile.gif


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 6 2018, 04:04 PM
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Have any of you tried NYXL strings?

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...c=58849&hl=


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klasaine
post Jan 6 2018, 05:14 PM
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Months for most of my axes. Years on a few of them. I hate changing my strings!
For the one's that get played all the time, it depends. If I get a 'kink' over a fret, if I break a D or an A string, one string refuses to intonate, I notice a winding separation, etc. My point is that it has to be something obvious.

*I had strings on a baritone for 20 years (and I use that guitar). The only reason I changed them was because I replaced the pickups and my luthier insisted.

Having said that, intonation and tuning stability can definitely be affected by strings that are stressed and worn out. All that depends on how you play and the acidity of the sweat from your hands.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 6 2018, 05:19 PM


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Phil66
post Jan 6 2018, 06:00 PM
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This is all very interesting, thanks for joining in everyone smile.gif


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 6 2018, 11:50 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 6 2018, 05:14 PM) *
Months for most of my axes. Years on a few of them. I hate changing my strings!
For the one's that get played all the time, it depends. If I get a 'kink' over a fret, if I break a D or an A string, one string refuses to intonate, I notice a winding separation, etc. My point is that it has to be something obvious.

*I had strings on a baritone for 20 years (and I use that guitar). The only reason I changed them was because I replaced the pickups and my luthier insisted.

Having said that, intonation and tuning stability can definitely be affected by strings that are stressed and worn out. All that depends on how you play and the acidity of the sweat from your hands.


20 years! That's amazing! Those strings must have had a sort of unique sound in the end? I don't mean that in a bad way necesarily, just that 20 years of playing must add some sort of...characterisic!

For the more metal kinda sound I do prefer new strings actually. Just can't afford any at the moment.


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Phil66
post Jan 7 2018, 12:05 AM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Jan 6 2018, 03:00 PM) *
When doing that bend, don't press too hard as I remember your grip is very strong smile.gif


I'm working very hard trying to reduce that and also how hard I pick wink.gif


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klasaine
post Jan 7 2018, 01:20 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Jan 6 2018, 03:50 PM) *
20 years! That's amazing! Those strings must have had a sort of unique sound in the end? I don't mean that in a bad way necessarily, just that 20 years of playing must add some sort of...characteristic!


They were a little dull sounding but they played in tune. I don't really bend on the bari so they weren't being abused.
The new ones definitely sounded better at the time - though at this point they are now 3 years old laugh.gif

I like fresh strings for rock and roll.
I have a Strat and an LP that I play most of my 'rock' on and those get their strings changed every 4 or 5 gigs which can be once every 3 months or once a week, if I'm using them 5 or 6 nights a week. I can beat them up pretty bad.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 7 2018, 01:24 AM


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Phil66
post Jan 7 2018, 02:14 PM
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On a similar note, do strings have a shelf life?

This post has been edited by Phil66: Jan 7 2018, 04:28 PM


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 7 2018, 02:17 PM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jan 7 2018, 02:14 PM) *
On a similar now, do strings have a shelf life?


Good question. I would assume if they're packed well enough it would be alright, but then again I've had a set or two lying around that turned out to feel a bit weird. Probably a coincidence, but who knows.


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 7 2018, 06:16 PM
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Strings do age on the shelf but they age faster on your guitar smile.gif They have a pretty long shelf life if kept in a cool dry place.

Todd

QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Jan 7 2018, 09:17 AM) *
Good question. I would assume if they're packed well enough it would be alright, but then again I've had a set or two lying around that turned out to feel a bit weird. Probably a coincidence, but who knows.


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Sensible Jones
post Jan 7 2018, 08:49 PM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jan 7 2018, 02:14 PM) *
On a similar note, do strings have a shelf life?

They do, depending on the packaging. For instance Ernie Ball singles just in their Paper Sleeve will eventually succumb to atmospheric conditions whereas D'Addario's in a hermetically sealed Plastic Sleeve wont!!
biggrin.gif


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