A fresh new set of guitar strings feels better, plays better, and sounds better than a set of rusty, old strings. Unfortunately, the time and money it costs to routinely change strings can quickly add up. That’s why I put together a list of three easy tips to help you extend the life of your guitar strings and save you time and money in the process.
Wash Your Hands
Sweat, dead skin, and the natural oils in your skin corrode the strings and frets and leave nasty deposits on the fretboard. For that reason, washing your hands before practicing your guitar is the cheapest, easiest, and the most effective way to extend the life of your guitar strings.
Clean the Strings
While washing your hands before practicing the guitar helps to reduce the dirt and grime, the natural oils in your skin will eventually cause string corrosion. That’s why cleaning your strings is the second most effective method for extending the life of your guitar strings. On that account, keep a dry, clean, microfiber cloth in your guitar bag at all times. Wipe your guitar strings—making contact with all sides of the strings, especially the underside where dirt and residue buildup—from the saddle to the headstock before and after practicing the guitar.
For a deeper clean, use a specialized guitar cleaning product such as Planet Waves XLR8 String Lubricant/Cleaner before wiping down the strings.
Keep it in the Case
Your guitar’s case is its first line of defense. Guitar cases are designed to protect valuable instruments from harmful environmental factors such as humidity, dryness, and dust, which can oxidize or corrode your guitar strings. As an added bonus, guitar cases can also save your guitar from a nasty drop, which is bound to happen sooner or later, especially if the guitarist in your home is a kid!
For those reasons, guitar cases make great investments! I highly recommend the MONO M80 Electric Guitar Case.
In General, You Should Probably Change Your Guitar Strings Every . . .
If you follow these three easy tips, then you are sure to squeeze more life out of your guitar strings. Nevertheless, you’ll still need to change your guitar strings now and again. While professional guitarists might change their strings once a week, students should probably change their guitar strings once every 6 – 8 weeks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Parham is the founder of the Rock Dojo in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches hundreds of kids between the ages of 6 and 12 years-old to play, perform, and compose their own original music on the guitar in after-school group guitar lessons. He’s also the author of three guitar method books including Guitar for Kids: Rock Dojo The Complete Belt System.
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