When to change acoustic strings

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darthnihlus
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When to change acoustic strings

Post by darthnihlus » February 12th, 2008, 10:37 am

I changed the original strings on my Yamaha F325 to bronze extra light gauge string a little over a month ago. How will I know when to change the strings? I practice everyday for at least an hour. I usually stop when my fingers can't press down on on the strings or when my wife threatens violence.

I suspect they are like windshield wipers. You don't realize you need replacements until you actually replace them.

Thanks,
Tom

Dagwood
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by Dagwood » February 12th, 2008, 11:08 am

Run your finger under one of the strings and if you feel a bunch o gunk... its time to change.

Also after you've gone through a few sets you'll learn to hear when the strings are either going out or have gone out. They will lose sustain, brightness (In sound). More important is if the strings get corroded and they feel sharp on your fingers. I've seen this on a few guitars at places like Guitar Center etc.

After time you'll know when due a new set. I know there have been times that I've changed strings too early...and I figured "oh-well" they're relatively cheap. Some folks like the "Brightness" of new strings and will change them more often, every week or so and I've heard some performers will change them after every gig, while others will go a long time...months.....before a change.

Two things that are important.. first.. it helps extend the life of your strings to wipe down your guitar after your done playing, donate an old tshirt or two :).

Second..Its always a good idea to change your strings with the same gauge... mediums, lights, 9's, 10's etc.
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by Ricochet » February 12th, 2008, 4:12 pm

When they feel rough, to my fingers or my slide, is when I start thinking about changing them.

I know people who don't change them till they break. Great players.

Some people can't stand to have them on after the initial brightness wears off in a few days.

I wipe mine down (along with the fretboard) with olive oil when i put them on. Once in a while I think to do it again. Makes them last longer.
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by Scrybe » February 12th, 2008, 5:57 pm

Nice tip Ricochet, I'm gonna try that. My strings died recently, but I've been a bit lazy about replacing them, lol.

I'd say don't bother changing them until they (a) break and/or (b) feel yucky when you're playing. As noted above, you'll learn to notice when they lose their 'newness' and you'l learn to identify the stage in 'newness decay' where you personally feel they need changing. But that'll come with time, and there's little point running through a whole bunch of strings before you start to notice that.

If/when I was playing pretty much 7 nights a week, I couldn't afford to change after every gig and I wouldn't have wanted to either, since they take a while to settle and stay in tune. I always figured the audience would notice me constantly retuning more than they'd notice my strings being a little faded. But I also like the feel of slightly played-in strings (not entirely sure why tho' might be someweird subjective thing, lol).

I generally opted for a string change roughly once a week for guitars that were in constant use. And for any important performances (like my GCSE and A level performance exams) I'd restring a day or two before, to give the strings time to settle. But once a week was when I was playing constantly using the same guitars each night. I might go back to that once I start recording or playing uot more, but right now I'm able to cope with strings staying for a month or more (my strat had the same strings for months until one broke - I have a rule of one string break and the whole set gets changed, lol). My Ibanez acoustic came with some great sounding strings (D'Addario's) but they 'died' really quickly (after about a week).

There's no absolute rule to this - its a mix of personal preference, how much you play, which strings you use, where you play, and a hundred and one other variables. In other words, "computer says no" (little britain). :lol:
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tinsmith
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by tinsmith » February 12th, 2008, 7:54 pm

I change strings when, I've replaced too many individuals of the original set, they sound dull, they hurt my fingers & I can feel the grooves in them, They look terrible & finally when I feel ashamed to have left them on the guitar too long.

EXP's last forever. They don't break on me. I have to throw them away.

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Dommy09
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by Dommy09 » February 12th, 2008, 10:04 pm

the strings on my mates guitar are pretty much brown from oxidization.

disgusting. :evil: :o

i try to change mine before they get like that :D
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by rparker » February 13th, 2008, 2:37 am

I wait until they sound like crap.
Roy

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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by Ignar Hillström » February 13th, 2008, 3:55 am

I change them when more then two strings snap.
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dogbite
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by dogbite » February 13th, 2008, 4:38 am

listen to them. when my strings go bad the sound is dull and the feel lifeless .
when gigging I change them every twenty hours of use.
Last edited by dogbite on February 13th, 2008, 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

DylanBarrett
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by DylanBarrett » February 13th, 2008, 9:13 am

rparker wrote:I wait until they sound like crap.
I wish someone had told me this earlier - I should be changing them every time I pick up the guitar if this is the case... :wink:

I've had my guitar for nearly six months now and sort of got used to the sound of it, but started getting a tinny buzz in the B. I then got a bit frustrated and broke the high E, but only replaced that because I was a bit worried about not being able to get all the strings back on... :roll:

I put up with the buzzy B until I decided to down tune to open C tuning and - ping - broke the high E again so I've now replaced all the strings (with the help of the guitarnoise.com lesson on stringing), but holy smoke, does everything sound different!

I put on a set of light DADI and I really don't like them against my original set - I get a lot of squeaks moving up and down the fretboard which I didn't get on my previous....

Anyways, I think you'll probably know when you need to change them, either by the odd noise they start making or that one end of the string isn't attached to the guitar. :cry:

Rock on!

D 8)
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by dogbite » February 13th, 2008, 9:35 am

one thing to remember...old strings cannot hold their tuning very well.

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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by Ricochet » February 13th, 2008, 9:37 am

And their intonation goes to pot.
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by Blueline » February 13th, 2008, 10:19 am

How often you play will also have an affect. Will wear down the stings quicker. I'm glad I read this thread, it reminded me that it is time for me to change my strings. Also, I always change all of the strings. Even if one breaks, I'll change the entire set. I don't know why. I just do. I think I have a "compulsive weirdness" thing going on when it comes to strings.

How do I know when to change my strings
  • Frequency- If you play for 1-2 hours/day, you probably want to change your strings after 2 months
    Gunk = Junk
    Discoloration is a good clue. That usually comes with frequency and time.
    Sound- intonation and brightness has faded.
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by Scrybe » February 13th, 2008, 11:54 am

You're not the only one Blueline. The strings on my portable acoustic have been dead for ages now! Gotta change them tomorrow.
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Daniel Lioneye
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Re: When to change acoustic strings

Post by Daniel Lioneye » February 13th, 2008, 2:22 pm

This thread reminds me that I really need to change the strings on my Jackson. I have been putting it off because I hate dealing with the floating bridge, although every time I do re-string it, it gets easier.
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