When Should I Replace The Strings On A Guitar – Guitar Questions #13

Replacing Guitar StringsYes, that’s always another one of the popular Guitar Questions that I get all the time: When Do I Need To Replace The Strings On My Guitar? And, does it matter if it’s an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar? Alright, I will try to give you some pointers that should help you with that going forward.

So, as with all these types of questions, the answer depends on a number of factors. So rather than telling you, well, changing the strings of your guitar is something you should be doing every 3 months, you will have to evaluate the conditions of the guitar strings. But one thing I’d like to share with you right off the bat: please do not overthink this. The fact is, on some of my guitars, I leave the strings on for a year or more and they are just fine. To be clear, I’m not trying to tell you that there’s a general rule and that you should be replacing electric guitar strings or acoustic guitar strings only once a year. My point is, especially new guitar students like to obsess over things like cleaning their guitars and replacing its strings way too frequently. Sometimes they use these activities as excuses for not practicing, or think that it would count as guitar practice. So, I’d rather have you do your practice first, even if the strings are in need of a replacement. Chances are your strings can easily go for another few rounds of playing.

How Often To Replace Guitar Strings?

Replacing Guitar StringsHere is what I do: About every 2 or 3 months, I remove all guitar strings and put brand new ones on. That’s for those guitars that I play on a daily (or almost) daily basis. I typically don’t play more than 30 minutes to 3 hours a day, so every couple of months a new set of strings has been working out for me just fine. It’s different for those guitars that I use less frequently, like my Dobro for example. On that one I replace the strings maybe 1-2 per year. Now, as mentioned in the video, it ultimately depends on the condition of your strings. Clearly, if your strings show signs of corrosion or feel really dull, then it’s definitely time to take them off and put new ones on. That can happen when you bring (or leave!) your guitar outside, where the instrument and therefore the strings are exposed to changes in temperature and humidity.

How Much Does Replacing Guitar Strings Cost?

That depends on the type of string. But I guess you’re looking at anywhere from $4 – $20 per set of strings (meaning all six strings). Personally, I don’t think I ever paid more than $12 for any of my strings, but I’m also not a guitar string expert – some guitarist are very specific as to what type (brand) they use, I am very liberal when it comes to that. Generally speaking, buying strings in sets or in bulk is cheaper than purchasing them individually.

How To Replace Guitar Strings One At A Time?

I have a separate video for that, but here is the process in a few steps.

1. Loosen the old strings so they get really wobbly. You want to remove the tension from the old guitar strings.
2. Cut each string with a wire cutter.
3. Remove both ends of each string from the guitar.
4. Put the new strings on.
5. Done!

Actually, while you have the strings removed, it might be a good point in time to clean the fretboard and body of your guitar. With the old strings removed it’s just much easier.

So, we just discussed how and when to replace all the strings on your guitar. But what about how to fix just one guitar string? What if one string just broke and needs replacement? Well, just follow the same steps as outlined above, but instead of doing this for all six strings, you would just do it for the one that’s broken.

I hope this was helpful. However, if you have any other questions as to when to replace the strings on a guitar, please leave a comment below.

Published date: October 17th, 2015 by Ulrich Peise

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