30 May 2011

Today’s Guitar Practice Tip: Change Your Strings Regularly


The old strings had been on my guitar for a long time. At least six months, probably more, I don’t remember exactly when I put them on.


I’d been meaning to change them several times but as usual I kept putting it off. I preferred to spend the time I had to play the guitar rather than spending a half hour to change the strings.


But last week I couldn’t put it off any more, the strings were just to grimy and old. So one evening, I traded my half-hour of practice and changed the strings.


I know it’s a good idea to change strings regularly. I’ve read it plenty of times and each time I change mine I’m reminded how nice it is to play with recently changed strings. But it’s just one of those chores that always gets put off until the last minute.


After this particularly long session with those old strings, I think I’m finally resolved to change my strings more often. Here’s why…


1. New Strings Are Easier To Play

The biggest advantage to changing strings regularly is that fresh strings are simply so much easier to play.


Every time I get used to playing on my grimy old strings I forget just what a difference new strings can make. I’m amazed when I change them by the softer and more supple feeling of new guitar strings. I always kick myself for not changing them sooner.


I’m not sure why new strings feel like they have a lower tension. But with the new strings it really doesn’t feel like it. There’s surely some good scientific reason for this (please share it as a comment if you know it, I’d be happy to become less ignorant).


2. New Strings Are More Attractive

When your guitar is dressed in grimy old black strings with rust on them how do you feel about picking up your instrument to play? That’s right, shamed.


Compare this to the bright shine of a new set of strings. My guitar looks so good now I can’t resist picking it up and playing. So fresh strings encourage you to practice and play more guitar.


3. New Strings Sound Better

Tastes in guitar sound vary widely. Personally I’m not a huge fan of my acoustic’s sound with brand new strings, a bit too bright and full of overtones for my taste.


But when the initial brightness wears off after a couple of days, the remaining sound definitely beats the dead sound of 6 month old strings. Do your ears a favour, change those strings.



Don’t put off changing your guitar strings like I did. Keep your strings and playing fresh, change them regularly because:


1. New strings feel better and make the guitar easier to play

2. New strings are more attractive and encourage more practice

3. New strings sound better


Photo by Chloester.

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