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Updated: November 28, 2020
Those of us who’ve been playing guitar for at least a few years… we just know when it’s time to change our guitar strings. We can feel it and we can hear it, and it’s blatantly obvious to us.
However, the signs and symptoms that we experienced players recognize are not at all obvious to beginners, no matter how hard we might try to describe them.
So if you’re a new guitar owner wondering how often you should change your guitar strings, I’m going to instead give you some basic timeframes to follow. That’ll serve you well until you gain the experience you’ll need to better judge, based on sound and feel, when it’s time to change your strings.
A Note to the “Highly Corrosive Sweaters” Out There
I’ve met a number of guitarists over the years who have a sweat chemistry that just annihilates guitar strings. It’s like their superpower: within hours or days of installing a brand new set, their strings become severely corroded, even if they’re diligent about wiping their strings after they’re done playing.
If you’re one of these people, you’re not abnormal. It simply means your guitar string bill is going to be higher than it is for us mere mortals. It also means the timeframes I’m going to outline in this article don’t quite apply to you.
For you, I’d highly recommend trying a couple things that may help you squeeze more life out of your strings.
1. Try coated guitar strings. Here are a few suggestions:
- Elixir Coated Guitar Strings
- D’Addario Coated Guitar Strings
- Ernie Ball Coated Guitar Strings
- DR Coated Guitar Strings
A number of corrosive sweaters have told me that coated strings, combined with wiping their strings after every play session with a string cleaner, has really helped them squeeze more life out of their strings. There are other coated guitar strings out there in addition to the ones I’ve listed here, so search around a bit and find the brand you like best.
When to Change Your Guitar Strings
Okay, for the rest of us who have a less corrosive body chemistry, I’m going to lay out some general guidelines and timeframes for how often you should change your guitar strings.
Note: these timeframes apply to regular (uncoated) guitar strings.
These Are Just Rough Guidelines
How long any given set of guitar strings will last before you need to change them isn’t an exact science. Your mileage may vary from the timeframes I gave above, but if you’re a beginner and aren’t sure when to change your strings, this’ll give you something to go by until you can judge for yourself just based on how the strings feel and sound.
Ask 10 different guitar players when you should change your strings and you’ll get 10 slightly different answers. There’s a bit of personal preference involved in this, and as you gain experience you’ll start to recognize when your strings are wearing out and need to be changed.
How often do you change your guitar strings? Let me know in the “Leave a Reply” section down below.