When to Change Strings

When using metal strings for guitar, bass, violin etc. playing there are some things to keep in mind and to watch for when changing strings and for doing a little maintenance.

Some people put strings on their instrument and only put on a new one when one of them breaks. Others change their strings weekly. So when is the right time to change the strings?

When playing strings the first week the sound is bright and the tone is pure. After a little playing, 20 hours or so, the sound gets darker and the sound and tone is not as clean anymore. So keeping this in mind the answer would be: it depends on how much you play. But then again there are many different uses for guitar. If you are just practicing a little and don't record and play live you might not want to change strings every time. It can even be really annoying putting on new strings every time and tuning the guitar. Or if you don't like the bright sound of new strings.

For recording purposes a good clean bright sound of strings can do miracles. Not only is the sound of a new string brighter it is also much better for other reasons. The dirt that builds up in the wounded strings cause the wounded strings to sound less bright and the balance between the wounded and unwounded strings gets different. Also the increased weight because of the dirt building up in the wounded strings can cause a little changing tone and intonation.

The unwounded strings do not have this problem as much but they can suffer a little form dirt. But this can be cleaned easily.

Basically, don't wait for them to break, change your strings when the sound is no longer bright enough.

This article was contributed by Andre Oosterkamp from CRMAV.com

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