Guitar Q&A : When To Change Guitar Strings - Guitar Lesson [QA-007]

hey how you doing Justin here another

Q&A session for you the question this

time is how do you know when to change

your guitar strings that's a very good

question there's quite a few different

answers to it so I'm going to give you a

few of the different things that might

help you decide when to change your

guitar strings so the first one normally

if I break a string I change all of them


not if until the gig if I'm in a gig and

I've broken one string and I need to

change it really quickly I'll change

that one string and and off I go again

but normally if my strings breaking then

that means that they're probably kind of

all getting a bit old so I'll change all

of them now there's a few exceptions for

that actually I should explain why that

would be so the reason that I would

change all of them at once is so that

you get an even tone across and because

if some of the strings are older than

others they're going to be more dead

because that's what happens as strings

get old that the sound kind of dents

they lose some of the brightness

particularly noticeable on acoustic

guitar but you notice on electric guitar

as well so normally if I break one

string I'll change all of them but

there's some exceptions and the reason

the exceptions are important is because

you need to know why you've broken a

string if they're just old then you know

they might just break but sometimes

you'll find a consistent string breaking

at a consistent way so like let's say

your second string is breaking all the

time at the bridge okay that would tell

me that there's something wrong with the

bridge saddle okay so you might want to

have a look at that and see if there's a

little burr like a little bit of metal

that's poking up that's damaging the

string you know you might find it with

the nut or if it's always breaking here

at the at the head right on the pins you

might find that there's that you're

doing a string badly you're winding the

string on over the top of itself and

therefore it's kind of creating a little

kind of a pincer action and cutting the

string so you that would be the

exception but otherwise if I break a

string normally I'll change all of the

strings at once but how do you know if

you haven't broken a string when you're

going to change it so the test that I

normally do is I take my fingernail my

little finger now and I run it

underneath the string

okay so just literally hooked it

underneath and running it along

underneath the string then I'll have a

look there and if I get loads of black

gunky stuff time to change strings okay

because that black gunky stuff is

could be rust and finger grit and all of

that sort of stuff so you can normally

tell they normally look blacker you know

if you look at the string the color of

the string on the other side of the nut

we don't put your fingers and then you

look at the actual strings on the other

side they should look kind of similar


I'm fairly fussy about the coil you know

I do this guitar thing for a living so I

want my strings to feel nice and the

other advantages of having nice strings

of them feeling nice and feeling clean

your fingers slide on them nicer and

they tend to stay in tune more and have

more consistency over the whole string

like different notes you'll find

sometimes that a particular fret will

start to sound a little bit weird when

you've got very old strings because the

strings the way they corrode and they

kind of twist sometimes a little bit and

that'll make some of the notes sound a

little bit wonky you'll get one look

that buzzes a lot and that kind of thing

so whenever I get that kind of problem I

always change strings first of all just

to make sure that I don't need to you

know before I go and spend money on

having the fret stressed or something

like that I don't want to be a you know

wasting money on that when it was just a

bad string so generally if there's

something going wrong with my action

I'll change change strings first and see

what's going on you know it's very rare

for strings to be wrong right out of the

packet you know I've very occasionally

come across it but not not often so the

little thing in our tests is generally

the best one you know if you get just a

little bit of stuff under there I

usually do it on the g-string okay the

the plain strings not the wound once

okay because the dirt hides in the in

the in the gaps in the in the wound

string so it'll be on the the g-string

this one's fine there's a tiny little

bit of gunk under there but not much but

you know you really don't you know there

there's nothing there and these are a

few weeks old normally I don't tend to

leave my strings on longer than a couple

of months anyway if they'd normally gone

for kind of bad in that time the

exception again will be coated strings

so most companies now have some sort of

coating on the strings it's like Teflon

that you got on the fry pan like

nonstick sort of material that's roughly

going to what it is it's not Teflon I

don't think but it's that kind of thing

so it stops the kind of the grime from

your fingers and the sweat getting into

the actual metal of the string and

corroding it so those strings will often

lasts a lot longer so guitars oh don't

play very

and I tend to use those kind of coated

strings on so I can get it out of the

case use it once and then put it back in

the case and bring it out six months

later it might still be okay you know if

you're not playing a much that's that

would I definitely recommend getting

into the coated strings because

otherwise regular strings if you play it

the info ten minutes half an hour or

whatever and you get enough of that

grease out of your fingers onto the

strings and you put it away or they will

start to corrode so that's the that's my

timeframes normally so snap one I change

them all with those few exceptions or if

they get really black underneath when I

do they're the old fingernail test so

that's my answer to her when you should

change your strings if you've got any

other questions related to this or any

other questions at all leave them in the

comments section or check it out the the

correct thread in the forum and because

that's where I usually go first if

you're looking for new ideas and take

that's where I got this very one so

hopefully that will help you decide when

to change strings and I will see you for

plenty more lessons and songs or Q&A is

very soon you take care of yourselves

bye bye