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New strings, new guitar!

755 Views 8 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Dorian2
Just cleaned up and put some Martin lights on my Yamaha fg700 ms. Wow. Well that's what came to mind when I played it.
How often do you change your strings?
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On the practice guitar that only I really hear. Never. If I'm going to a jam or going to record and my strings don't sound their best I will change them.
I use Elixirs on my Martin 12 string and change them only when they tell me they need changing. The current set still sounds rich and crisp and this after a full year, no less.

OTOH my bouzouki strings go dead very quickly as do my banjo and Strat strings (none Elixirs). As I said, to me, the strings will tell you when to change them.
I'm easy on strings, set-ups are excellent, technique is fairly light, and my body chemistry doesn't rot them out. Plus, my playing tends to be spread over roughly a dozen regularly played instruments and several other irregularly played ones. The most played guitar(s) gets a change about once a month, others every couple of months, still others once or twice a year. I don't use coated strings except at the height of summer humidity for a festival or outdoor gigs, I don't like the feel of them but they do last better in humid weather.
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On guitars that I play regularly, strings get changed every 4-6 weeks. On guitars that I play infrequently, it's probably closer to every 4 months.

As per Elixir... It's true that they stay new sounding MUCH longer. Especially for those of us who tarnish metal quickly. I used to swear by Elixir when I wanted new sounding strings all the time, BUT didn't want to change them more than a couple times a year. Now I enjoy the process of changing strings, cleaning the fretboard, and polishing the frets.

Nothing kills tone more than dead strings. If you're the type who doesn't want to change strings more than 2 or 3 times per year, try Elixir. If you don't mind changing strings more often, explore your options. Personally, I like D'Addario Phosphor Bronze for my acoustics, and D'Addario Nickel Wound for most of my electrics. They sound great and stay new sounding substantially longer than Ernie Ball/GHS/Dean Markley/Rotosound. While I much prefer the tone of my D'Addario strings (during their optimal service period) over Elixirs, if I was going to play them long past their prime, I'd probably go with Elixir. I'd rather have an old set of Elixirs over and old set of anything else. But if we're talking reasonably new vs reasonably new; there are countless strings that I'd take over Elixirs.

Edit: I should add that another important reason to change strings frequently is tuning stability and intonation. Old strings do not stay in tune, warble all over the place, and do not intonate well up and down the neck.
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I have 2 acoustics. I use uncoated strings as I don't like the coated ones. I'll leave them on between 4 to 6 weeks. When I take them off they still aren't too bad. I have very dry skin so not much gunk gets on the strings.
I use Gore Elixer Nano-Webs and at home, they pretty much last the life of the metal they're made of.
When the bumps that form on the strings from being pressed against the frets start to get noticeable enough that I can feel them when sliding up and down the neck, that's when I change them.
They still sound almost as good as new at that point.
Certainly better than any uncoated string would with that much play on them.
I have a fairly aggressive touch so that can happen in 6 to 8 weeks sometimes, depending on how much I'm playing.
I have experimented with how much longer I can go and it isn't very much.
By the time I notice the bumps the G string is usually only a few days away from breaking.
Any performance I do is with new strings, even if the old ones were only a week old.
I don't risk a dull sound or a broken string on stage.
Flukes happen and I won't take the chance.
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Topic of utmost importance to me... lets look at it. I did not sell my soul to a sole brand and type since I found string choice is not actually an easy subject. I came to find that certain strings sounded better on some acoustic guitars than other.
For example, compared to D'Addario EJ, the long lasting EXP appeared to me as damping rhe sound. I guess Elixir polyweb tend to desappear for the same reason compared to nanoweb.
I should now show a bit of my complicated choices...
Thin nails lead me to compromize and put Martin 0,0125 gauge on my Taylors dreads. By the way, Martins reinvented the catologue a few years ago... I was lost !
Elixir light on my Taylor 512 as suggested by Taylor. On Larrivée OM-09, I was suggested GHS P/Br by former owner : I prefer Ernie Ball Al/Br since GHS appeared to rust too fast. Larrivée namely suggested D'Addario EXP for my L-03 koa... EJ-16 I chose. Same choice for Gibson L-00. On Martin 000-18, Martin's MSP4100 are suggested, but D'Addario's EJ-16 do fine.
I used to live besides salted sea and I had to do change strings too often even though my guitars were lying in their case when not played to protect them from surrounding Summer 80% humidity. I moved to some 7km south of St-Laurent River, non salted water, and stil has 80% humidity during Summer. I unfortunately frequently "forget" to wash my hands before a session...
That being said, I change string when I feel it has to.
Yesterday, I made a calendar to keep track of string changes and see where it leads... ;-)
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Thanks for the reminder. Have to pick up some strings tomorrow!

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