It should be done regularly. However, it greatly depends on various factors. The most important is the frequency with the amount of time you play the guitar. Even if you play once per week or month you still will need to change guitar strings.
In short, you can develop a personal rule of replacing strings. It is quite different if you are an amateur or professional guitar player. You should know that a new set of strings, installed on a guitar that has not played for a while, a year, or even more, is as bad for the instrument as an old, withered, rusty set of strings, and brittle.
Depending on your playing frequency, your playing style, you can estimate the change of strings required:
- About every month to month and a half if you have an electric guitar;
- About every two months if you prefer acoustic guitars.
Of course, this is only an estimate, it is then up to each beginner guitarist, thanks to the experience he acquires over time, to determine the frequency of change of strings of his favorite guitar.
Also, and this may seem obvious, once you change the strings, you will have to tune your guitar. Be aware that new ropes move more than worn ropes. So do not be surprised if you have to tune in several times per guitar session during the first few days. This is completely normal and it does not mean that you have changed your strings badly.
Should You Change All Of Strings Or One By One?
Procrastination does not have to be when you change the strings of your guitar. It takes more time and costs to replace all the strings together instead of the most worn or broken ones. However, while using all new strings you receive much better satisfaction due to the comparison between new and old. Thus, it is recommended to replace all strings together, you will thus avoid unpleasant sound surprises, and you will save time in the end.
First, you should consider string wear. The strings wear out by oxidation as they rust over time. Moreover, depends on four main factors:
- The time you spend on your guitar. With longer playing sessions strings wear out more, what is quite obvious.
- The quality of your strings. Some strings are of better quality than others are and will wear out less quickly; some (like elixir strings) even have a special coating to prevent oxidation.
- The amount of sweat. Some people are unlucky and sweat more, causing the cords to wear out faster.
- Cleaning your ropes. If you clean your strings properly after each use, they will have a much better lifespan.
Metal guitar strings are very shiny when new. However, after some time they become darker and rusty due to oxidation. If your strings look more like charcoal than a mirror, they are too old and it is time to change them. As this oxidation is gradual, it is not necessary to change them immediately as soon as the slightest trace of rust appears. However, the more they darken, the more they age, and the more likely they are to break. Again, the experience will teach you to recognize a rope that is a little too old at first glance.
With oxidation and change in appearance, the surface of the rope also changes. The new strings are very smooth, very soft. A rope that oxidizes will get rougher and rougher. If when you slide your finger on a string you feel it tends to catch a bit, then it is high time to change it.
Common Reasons to Change Strings
A Rope Has Broken
This is the reason that makes everyone agree. The fact that a rope break is nothing to worry about, as rope wear is an inevitable process. On the other hand, if the problem occurs too often, it will be necessary to wonder about the possible mechanical faults on the instrument.
On the other hand, the flexibility or, on the contrary, the stiffness in the use of the pick can have a major impact on the frequency of breakage.
The Strings Are Oxidized
Oxidation occurs after a while on all metal strings, including the threads of the bass strings of a classical guitar. Some guitarists are subject to greater sweating, which increases the phenomenon. However, oxidation is difficult to avoid, and when it does occur, the strings are much less pleasant to the touch, which justifies a change of strings.
Some ropes (generally more expensive than standard ropes) have a protective coating that prevents the early onset of oxidation. They can present an interesting alternative solution.
The Sound Has Changed
Plenty of new strings have a brilliant tone, a sonic clarity that disappears very quickly. Over time, this phenomenon grows to such an extent that after a few weeks or months, the sounding becomes muffled, the notes are muffled, and they vibrate less.
You get used to it and that does not prevent you from playing. However, with every time playing like that you begin to notice it more. This is where you would like to change strings.
Guitar Sounds Wrong, Even When Well Tuned
On a well-designed and properly tuned guitar you can get proper sounding of all noties. This is due to the fact that the strings are in good condition in new guitars. After some time, they tend to wear and relax. It goes unevenly on each string so that some notes go out of tune while others stay right. Tuning no longer makes it possible to ensure the accuracy of the notes throughout the instrument.
Poor Quality Strings
This is a common problem on new guitars, and not just on low-end guitars. Many manufacturers use poor quality, original strings on their guitars to keep costs down. It is therefore often interesting to replace the original strings with strings of the correct quality. It will benefit from a better sound, a better accuracy, and perhaps a less pronounced oxidation.
Which Strings For My Guitar?
While trying to get proper strings, there are several factors that you should pay attention at. One of them is what type of guitar you do have. Acoustic models use totally different strings than electric ones. The same goes for western and concert guitars. Another factor is what kind of music do you like to play. Jazz has different notes than country music, which means that different strings will wear faster in each playing style.
When you think of getting a certain type of string you should consider some compromises between tone and playability. For more bass and loud sound you should think of getting thick strings. However, they need more practice to be played well with. Another option is thin strings. They can deliver a proper sounding, while you can enjoy playing in various techniques. Thin type is easier to play with and these strings do not require much efforts to get nice tones.
Do Different Guitar Strings Sound Different?
Each string has its sound. There are various types of strings that are suitable for different guitars. Moreover, one string is suitable for one place on the fretboard. You cannot replace strings with random ones. Another reason for different sounding is materials used, construction and design of a musical instrument. Therefore, electric guitars have other sounds than a filigree concert guitar even with the same strings.
Acoustic models primarily focus on stimulating the guitar body to resonate and generating natural tones. Meanwhile the strings for electric models are focused on stimulating the magnetic field of the pickups. Therefore, to match the requirements of guitars strings can be of different types and can be made of different materials just to serve properly.
Maintaining Strings Can Extend Their Lifespan
All strings have their lifespan. This is a part of equipment that mends to wear off. There are different factors that influence that. One of them is the amount of time you play. It also depends on how hard you play. With daily playing, the strings are recommended be changed at least in every 3 months. If you care, and wipe strings after playing sessions., then You can be sure that they wil;l serve you longer. Speaking about concert strings the A string for bass guitars wears off fast in most cases.
You can assume that higher-priced, high-quality strings will last longer. String sets differ in the material mix, strength, and other special features. If you need more information on this, it is best to ask the string manufacturer directly.
Better to Change Too Soon Than Too Late
When in doubt, it is always better to change your strings too soon than too late. Old strings may cause damage to guitar frets. Playing with rusty strings is not a good way to take care of the guitar. It can seriously damage frets. Moreover, refrettage costs money. Therefore, it is better to spend a little more money changing strings too early than to wait and damage your guitar with strings that are too old.
Useful Video: How Often Should I Change Guitar Strings & Why?
To Sum Up
Again, with experience, you will come to know the average lifespan of your strings. Thus, you should not worry if you do not know when you need to start starting. It is perfectly normal and it will come with time. In the meantime, you should not hesitate to change your strings regularly. It will help to improve personal skills faster.