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.
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?
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
And really, don’t wait for this moment.
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.
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):
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:
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:
Guitar Finger Gymnastics
- A simple exercise to warm up the fingers. A must for every guitar player!
- Exercises to improve finger coordination and dexterity. Train the fingers to do what you want them to do on the guitar!
- You will learn steps to take to stretch the fingers. Helps to form the chords and make them sound better!