When to Change Your Guitar Strings

Yes, I dabble in guitar. I’m embarrassed to sometimes say that because dabbling is all that I can do. I am intimidated when listening to Eric Clapton play, I’m awe-struck when Jimmy Page does it and Jimi Hendrex, well he just blows me away.

I know one secret that every accomplished player knows, when to change their strings. So how often should a guitar player change strings? Browse thru this article that will shed light on this topic.

Those of us who’ve been playing guitar for at least a few years… we just know when it’s time to change our guitar strings. We can feel it and we can hear it, and it’s blatantly obvious to us.

However, the signs and symptoms that we experienced players recognize are not at all obvious to beginners, no matter how hard we might try to describe them.

So, if you’re a new guitar owner wondering how often you should change your guitar strings, I’m going to instead give you some basic timeframes to follow. That’ll serve you well until you gain the experience you’ll need to better judge, based on sound and feel, when it’s time to change your strings.

The Infrequent Player

If you play: Less than 15 minutes per week
Change your strings: Once a year

You really only pull the guitar out of its case a few times a year–maybe at a rare family holiday. Or, maybe you’re a collector of high-end/rare/vintage guitars that you rarely play. You might spend 5 – 10 minutes strumming some basic chords, and then the guitar goes back in its case (or display case) for a few more months.

Even if you’re one who rarely plays your guitar, strings naturally begin to oxidize over time–they don’t last forever.

The Occasional Dabbler or Learner

If you play: 1 – 3 hours per week
Change your strings: Every 6 – 8 months

You play your guitar a few days a week for only about 15 – 30 minutes at a time, and you’re not very consistent. Perhaps you enjoy playing, but it’s just not a big priority for you. Or maybe you’re a new guitarist still building your calluses and hand strength, so you can’t yet practice very often or for very long.

The Avid Hobbyist

If you play: 3 – 12 hours per week
Change your strings: Every 3 – 5 months

You’re fairly serious and play your guitar consistently 6 – 7 days a week for 30 minutes to 2 hours at a time. FYI, this is the category I fall into.

The Serious Player or Aspiring Pro

If you play: 12 – 25 hours per week
Change your strings: Every 1 – 2 months (more frequently, if needed)

You’re someone who’s playing 6 – 7 days a week for anywhere from 2 – 4 hours at a time. Maybe you’re a music student, or in a band that plays the odd gig here and there. Or, maybe you just really, really love playing guitar and make time to indulge your passion.

The Pro Musician

If you play: 30+ hours per week
Change your strings: Once a week, or possibly daily

You play guitar for a living, and your guitar is in your hands every day. At any given time, you might be rehearsing with your band, recording, giving guitar lessons, or playing a live show (sometimes all in the same day). You eat, sleep, and breathe guitar.

These Are Just Rough Guidelines

How long any given set of guitar strings will last before you need to change them isn’t an exact science. Your mileage may vary from the timeframes I gave above, but if you’re a beginner and aren’t sure when to change your strings, this’ll give you something to go by until you can judge for yourself just based on how the strings feel and sound.

How to Help Your Strings Last Longer

There are two things you can do to help your strings naturally last longer:

  • Wash your hands before you play
  • Wipe your strings every time you’ve finished playing

Washing your hands before you play may not always be feasible, but if you’re like me and play your guitar at home 99% of the time, definitely give your hands a quick wash before you play. When you’re done playing, give the guitar strings a quick wipe with a clean, soft cloth. Using a string cleaner or a little bit of mineral oil is optional.

Final Thoughts

Ask 10 different guitar players when you should change strings and you’ll get 10 slightly different answers. There’s a bit of personal preference involved in this, and as you gain experience you’ll start to recognize when your strings are wearing out and need to be changed.

Source: How often should I change guitar strings? A list of basic timeframes (guitaranswerguy.com)

Author: Dennis Hickey

There are no limits to success to those who never stop learning. Learning will also nourish your personal growth. I hope you enjoy this website and visit often so you keep learning and growing too!

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