6 Signs it’s Time to Change Your Guitar Strings

by Micheal M. I'm a professional Writer

Every guitar needs strings but with a diverse variety to choose from, buying a set can be confusing. A wound string is made with an alloy wrapped around a steel core while the plain string is typically made from tin-plated steel. Their main purpose is to vibrate and produce a musical note. The strings can also be adjusted to feel better during play.

For acoustic guitars, the sound produced is amplified by their wooden body. On the other hand, the sound produced by electric guitars is transferred into an electric signal using magnetic pickups.        

Old guitar strings tend to cause intonation and tuning problems and are prone to breakage because of dirt buildup, dead skin, sweat, and oils naturally produced by fingers. However, new ones can improve the instrument’s sound and playability. Every guitarist must know that changing guitar strings is essential maintenance. Look for the following signs to change your guitar strings and prevent them from breaking in unfortunate times, like during a performance. 


Strings Won’t Stay in Tune

Tuning problems with guitar strings can occur either with old strings or new ones. As soon as you put the new strings, the tuning problem can be resolved by stretching them out a bit a few times during play. However, if this method doesn’t work for more than a week, you may consider changing them.

Dull Tone

Fresh guitar strings that are not worn out sound crisp and clear, unlike the old ones. A set of worn-out strings produces a flat sound. And, even if you prefer a more mellow tone, whatever you play should never sound dull. So, if your chords don’t chime, your guitar strings need to be changed.  


Strings with Kinks

Kinks are caused when strings make continuous contact with the frets. Over time, small dents begin to appear in your strings that increase the chances of a break. This is one of the most obvious signs to look out for when considering a string change.


Gunk Under the Strings

Place your fine between the strings and fretboard and run it up and down. If the strings feel coarse or rough to touch, it's time to have them replaced. The roughness you feel is the accumulation of rust, dead skin cells, or oils that guitarists usually refer to as "Finger Sludge".

You may also find grayish clay-like substance building on the fretboard which is why you must clean the fretboard before changing the strings. You can use a cleaning solution but getting your guitar restrung is the best option.

Discolored Strings

One easy way to look for string discoloration is by looking at places where strings remain untouched. Discoloration of guitar strings is an early sign of string failure. The strings wrapped around the tuning post at the headstock as well as on the backside of the saddle will show their natural color. If you look anywhere else and the color seems darker, it's time for a change.

Acoustic strings, for example, are usually bright gold or honey wheat in color depending on the metals used. So, if the string looks a darker shade of brown or mocha, it’s time to get your instrument restrung.  


Stiff Strings       

Guitar strings should always be bendable and flexible (unless if you’re playing extra heavy strings without drop-tuning). If they start to feel stiff, it's an early sign of corrosion. This means that the strings may break, and your guitar isn't sounding its best.

When to Change Your Strings

So, how often should guitarists change their strings? The answer varies according to the playing frequency and style. For instance, a professional playing every day will have to change the strings every four or five gigs. Moreover, guitarists who sweat a lot, play aggressively, spend hours playing, or sweat a lot are required to change their strings more often than a regular player.

Even if you leave your guitar out of its case, exposure and humidity will cause the strings to wear and necessitate more frequent changes. While someone who plays less frequently can go longer between string changes – if they clean the grease and dirt from the strings regularly after playing.

Even if you don’t play much and your guitar is hidden away in your closet for years, its strings need to be changed. That’s because they oxidize over a fairly short time.

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About the Author

The author is a famous producer and guitarist in Texas who started his career in the music industry as a music teacher. He gained popularity especially because of his live performances in front of large audiences all over the country. With millions of followers all over social media, he continues to produce songs with spectacular guitar techniques.