Whether you are a pro guitarist, a bassist or just a regular guitar fanatic, you need a new, tight and functional set of strings to make every moment you spend playing your instrument enjoyable. If you didn’t know it, a new set of strings brings out a sharp, clear but smooth sound needed to produce high-quality music. Unfortunately, being new doesn’t mean the strings will last you a lifetime. If you don't maintain them well, it will only take a week or two for them to start wearing out. Before you know it, the strings won’t be offering the same astounding tone as they used to. The good news is, you don’t have to sweat it. In this article, I’m going to take you through a few tips on how to extend the life of your guitar strings.
Use Coated Strings
Some strings will wear out more than others as a result of corrosion, but not coated rings. Unlike the most popular non-coated strings you’ll easily find on the market, they have a coating that helps reduce the effects of corrosion. If you are a regular heavy player, it is advisable that you buy high-end strings, and nothing comes in handy as much as coated strings. The main purpose of the coating is to prevent the strings from corroding which will extend their lifetime.
If you are a heavy player, then you might agree with me that maintaining guitar strings can be expensive. Even before the end of two weeks, the tone starts changing. The strings start sounding old making the whole thing dull. Don’t rush for a new set. You can still bring back the clear, high-quality tone by dipping them into boiling water for approximately 15 minutes, drain off the water on them, put them back on your guitar and continue enjoying your music.
Clean Your hands
One of the things that make the tone sound old is the dirt on the strings, and one of the culprits here is the hands that touch the strings. So, the only way to ensure that you are not the one responsible for the dirt on the strings is to clean your hands before you pick up your instrument. Always remember to wash your hands each time you feel like playing your guitar.
Wipe Them Down
Even after cleaning your hands, it can still get sweaty and oily especially when you play your instrument for an extended period. This is one thing you can’t avoid, but you can reduce the chances of it ruining the tone you enjoy by wiping down the strings from the top using a rag or any other cloth each time you are done playing. Wipe each and every string to ensure that none of them ruin your tone.
Store Your Guitar
One mistake guitarists always make putting their instruments in the open after use. While the disadvantages of doing this might not be too obvious, storing your guitar instrument in the open will allow the dirt to accumulate on the strings, and this is how corrosion starts. Keeping your instrument in a hard case or bag will keep away the dirt and save you a lot of trouble. It will not only prevent the dirt from corroding your strings but will also give you an easy time when wiping down the strings. ProAudioLand currently has great deals on a wide selection of guitar cases. If you're looking for a new bag or hard case, check out our selection right here.
Use A String Cleaner
Wiping your strings all of the time might not do a perfect job, but a string cleaner will. A string cleaner will not only extend the life of your strings but will also smoothen the fret board. Unfortunately, not all string cleaners on the market are equal. So, you have to be careful when choosing. From experience, I would recommend the Ernie Ball Wonder Wipes. They noticeably clean the strings even when they appear free from dirt and grime. You don't have to use a string cleaner every time you play but making it a habit of using them once a week or so (or more depending on how much you play) would be a good practice.
The Bottom Line
Like almost everything else in life, strings won't last forever, no matter how well you clean and take care of them. If they don't wear down they will eventually break. But with the tips above, you can at least give them the best chance at a long and happy life, not to mention keep you from unnecessarily spending cash on set after set!
Your Turn to Sound Off!
on average, how long do you wait before you change strings?
Let us know in the comment section below!