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Replacing Guitar Strings: How Often Do I Change Them?

When was the last time you changed your guitar strings?

I’m waiting…. 🙂

If you are like me, many times I can’t answer that question.

Also, most likely if you can’t answer that question, it probably means that it is time to change them.

I think that as guitar players, this simple maintenance on the instrument is often overlooked.

I think I know why.

Boiling a Frog

Ever hear the fable about the boiling frog?

Whether it is true or not (I hear it isn’t), the lesson is very spot on. Simply put, the tale goes like this: if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it will jump out; but if you put it in cold water and slowly turn the heat up to boiling, it will stay in and get boiled alive.

Yeah, not a fun story.

Now think of your guitar in a similar way: you pick up a guitar that has very old, dull strings. You play it. It sounds “ok” but not that great.

You change the strings on it. It then sounds so much better! the notes seem to jump out at you!

But then, time goes on.

And on…

And on…

You practice your scales. You play the guitar in your room. You jam with friends. You play with a band.

And the guitar, well, it still sounds good. Right?

Not really. At least until you change them again, for “whatever reason”. Then it sounds so much better and the cycle starts all over again!

So how often DO you change them?

It depends…

Yeah, it’s not the answer you were looking for but it really does depend on several factors:

How Often You Play

If you play a lot (gigging frequently or practicing several hours a day), it might be every couple weeks.

If you just play occasionally, it might be longer. Many times if you wait too long, the first thing that happens is you break the string.

Oh, and of course it will be in the middle of a rocking solo you are doing! (sorry, I have NO idea what this is like… LOL)…

When You Break a String

{See above}

{And below}

And really, don’t wait for this moment.

Really…

Bad Condition

If you leave them on for a long period of time, and they don’t break, the strings just get dirty, oily, scummy, etc.

I can easily tell just running my finger down one of the unwound strings. If it doesn’t move smoothly, it’s probably time.

Acid Hands

Yeah, this is a real thing. Some people have this kind of acid that their hands have that causes the string to wear faster. If you break strings a lot, and your guitar is fine, it’s something you might want to look into.

Here is an article from cleartonestrings.com that explains this stuff much better that me (and how to change to a healthier diet, yes, that means all of YOU who like Big Macs! LOL):

Why Strings Die So Quickly

Bottom Line

The bottom line is to be aware of when to change those guitar strings of yours. They don’t last forever and they do deteriorate in quality over time.

Don’t let your strings be the difference from you sounding “just ok” to sounding “incredible”!

Do It Yourself

I strongly recommend that you learn how to change strings yourself. It will save you time and money. Check out my article (and video) on how to do it:

Changing Strings Yourself

Oh and hey, can you do me a favor? I’m starting a mission to grow my You Tube Subscriibers to more than 32 (Ha!). No, seriously, if you can quickly hop over there and “Subscribe”, it would be so very awesome!

I promise that the videos (most of them at least) will be entertaining and informative!

Here is the path to arrive there:

Six String Corner

Best Way to Replace Your Guitar Strings

Best Way to Replace Your Guitar Strings

I owe all of you an apology.

A few weeks ago I sent out a newsletter article about changing strings.

What I didn’t say was that it was about when to change strings!

Of course, if you didn’t get the newsletter, this is news to you! (You can sign up for it here and also get a free guide!)

I believe more than one of you would like to learn, or at least brush up on, how to change your strings!

Good news, here is your chance!

Save yourself a few bucks, and precious time, by having to take it to a music store and do it yourself!

I made this exclusive video for all of you to show how it is done.

It is important to know that I show how to change the strings using my acoustic guitar.

However….

Pay special attention to the part about stringing through the bridge. That is where the electric guitars differ from most acoustic guitars. I go through most of them but it is still possible you might have something different and unusual. Let me know if I missed anything.

Also,

Stringing through the tuners is the same for most all guitars except those that have locking tuners. I show you how that is done on my PRS guitar. Check it out if you think you have this style on your guitar.

At the end I do show some extra details for all of you stratocaster owners to be aware of.

The video is long but it does have step by step instructions for you that you will find useful.

Of course, we do start things out with a little funny business! Click the link above (or below) to get started:

The Best Way to Replace Your Guitar Strings

Remember to “like” the video. 🙂

Just in case there might only be certain details you need to know, click to skip to the section you want to know more about:

1:02 Bridge Styles This matters!

5:05 Tools Needed and How They are Used

6:39 Taking Your Old Strings Off

8:09 Extra Cleaning on Your Guitar

9:23 Putting In Your New Strings

19:07 Tuning the New Strings on Your Guitar

22:58 Stretching The Strings  Don’t Forget This!

26:00 Trimming New Strings

27:40 Locking Tuners Bonus #1

28:12 Floating Bridge Bonus #2 – For anyone who has a “whammy bar” on the bridge

29:44 Stratocaster “Trees” Bonus #3 – Anyone who has a Strat or a Strat style headstock should take note of this

Rock On,

Tony G.

PS: Oh and hey, can you do me a favor? I’m starting a mission to grow my You Tube Subscriibers to more than 16 (Ha!). No, seriously, if you can quickly hop over there and “Subscribe”, it would be so very awesome!

I promise that the videos (most of them at least) will be entertaining and/or informative!

Here is the path to arrive there:

Six String Corner

 

Choosing the Right Guitar Pick

“What kind of guitar pick should I use”?

I get asked this a lot. And the answer is almost always:

“whatever works for you”

I know, not much of a help there, but at the end of the day it does come down to personal preference.

Regardless, give some thought on what kind of pick to use. It might just help you a little more with your playing.

What I can offer are the following thoughts and suggestions:

If you are primarily a strummer on acoustic, you might want to go with a lighter pick. It doesn’t offer that much pick/string resistance as you strum. It makes for an easy movement across the strings.

If you do a lot of single note picking, especially soloing, you might want to look at heavier picks. This would mostly be for electric players but it can also be for acoustic players too.

And if you do a lot of both, like me, you might want to find something in between.

Here is a good starter set to purchase for $4 where you can find what you like. It’s a variety pack from Dunlop (a brand I favor):

Variety Pack

I use Dunlop Tortex picks in the following way:

.88mm for my electric

.6mm for my acoustic. I should note that because I strum and pick a lot, this is a good “hybrid” for acoustic. Sometimes, if I am only picking notes on acoustic, I’ll grab the .88mm for that song, then switch to .6mm for the next song. I really don’t use the light picks because of my style of playing. But, it might be good for you.

Here are some ideas for light picks:

.46mm Tortex

Dunlop Nylons

Fender Thins

For electric players who do a lot of single note picking and/or soloing, this is a long time favorite of many players (including me):

Fender Medium

Hopefully you get the idea. I think the best way is to simply try a bunch yourself and see what works best.

And as always, I’m here to help to!

I hope this helps make you more successful in your playing!

Rock On,

 

PS: I just made my TOP 10 Favorite Alex Lifeson Riffs Video taken from his huge catalog of Rush songs. It was a lot of fun to make! Let me know what you think: Best Rush Songs on Guitar

PPS: I’m also on a roll creating some CRAZY 30-60 sec guitar solos using some exotic scales. It sounds pretty cool:

Hungarian Gypsy Minor in F

Hindustan Scale in G

PPPS: Oh and hey, can you do me a favor? I’m starting a mission to grow my You Tube Subscribers to more than 22 (Ha!). No, seriously, if you can quickly hop over there and “Subscribe”, it would be so very awesome!

I promise that the videos (most of them at least) will be entertaining and/or informative!

Here is the path to arrive there:

6 String Corner

Px4…S:

Want to know the 4 Techniques to help you play your favorite songs? Get the eGuide here: Chronic Chord Condition