Do Unopened Guitar Strings Go Bad

Do Unopened Guitar Strings Go Bad?

Guitar strings can be pricey. It is always helpful to know the best way to store them and keep them fresh. You can do a few things to ensure that your high-quality strings last as long as possible. 

So do unopened guitar strings go bad? Yes, they could possibly go bad if stored improperly in accordance with how the strings were made. 

Keep your strings clean so that they do not go bad faster than usual. Always use string cleaners between lessons to keep the strings in good condition. Also be sure to use string cleaner after each class so that they stay clean and sanitized. 

If you keep the right temperature and humidity conditions around the strings, they should last longer than if kept in less than desirable conditions.

You can tell when guitar strings are no longer fresh if they are coated in wax or dust from opening the packaging. Unopened strings can last for months and even years if new sets are purchased before needing replacement. 

However, the unopened inner string packages that come with the typical set of strings will usually last for around two to three weeks before going bad. Because they are not coated in wax or other material, they do not last quite as long as the sealed strings.

How Long Do Coated Guitar Strings Last?

Most coated guitar strings tend to last for around two to three weeks before going bad. The coating is removed very easily, even when the packaging is opened. 

However, uncoated strings can last anywhere from two months to over a year. This depends on how well they are stored and kept clean. Although it seems like uncoated strings would last longer, this is not always the case. 

Some exhibit signs of going bad just as quickly as those with coating. It’s ultimately going to depend on the quality of the string.

Why Are Guitar Strings Sealed?

Guitar strings come sealed and waxed. The seal not only protects the product but also protects your hands. The coating on the string keeps them from becoming too dusty or slippery when they are first removed from the packaging. 

Guitar string manufacturers create any number of varieties of strings. Many people buy them in bulk and store them for later use. After strings have been opened, they have a much shorter lifespan. 

Suppose you consider purchasing strings in bulk. The time and money you will spend on them are out of proportion with the savings. Sometimes, a cheap alternative can replace unopened strings rather than buy new sets.

How to Store Opened Guitar Strings

Guitar string manufacturers seal and wax new sets of strings. This ensures that the user’s hands will not stick to them. After they are opened, they tend to gather dust and other particles. 

They also shed their coating more readily than unopened strings. Therefore, after opening a package of strings, it is recommended that you immediately repackage them. 

Another highly recommended option is to store them in something that will not expose them to contaminants such as a plastic container found at any department store.

When kept in a sealed plastic container, opened strings will last between ten to 45 days. This depends on how they are stored. If they are packed and repacked into their original packaging, they will last 90 to 180 days. 

This can be extended if the strings are constantly repackaged. It ensures that the dust does not have a chance to build up in the packaging.

 Opened string packages usually last for around two to three weeks after being opened. Unopened strings typically last for about two to three weeks. 

Some guitarists can notice when their strings have gone bad. However, most of them will not see until the actual wire has been exposed from the coating or from handling excessively.

A bad string will also not stay in tune very long, or will snap when putting them on your guitar.

A certain level of experience is required to store your guitar strings for the longest possible time properly. There will be times when you cannot always keep them in the ideal conditions. 

In such cases, they will most likely go bad. However, if you take the appropriate steps, you should be able to keep your strings just fine. This will have them last long into their proper life cycle.

How to Tell If Uncoated Guitar Strings Are Bad

If not for the coating, cleaning, and storing, uncoated strings would be much easier. Like coated strings, those with a coating tend to shed their layer when they are opened or after some time. 

However, they will go bad more quickly without the layer protecting the string from outside contaminants. If you think your uncoated strings might go bad, you can look for several signs. 

If the coating is removed, it may leave string residue on your fingers or hands when you touch them. Also, this will expose the wire in areas before it would if there was still a coating on them. 

Another way of detecting if your uncoated strings are bad is when they begin to snap easily. This is often a sign that the coating has worn off and has let the string wire show through.

Even when it is not noticeable, it can still cause issues with your playing. Sometimes they will go bad before their expected lifespan.

This is because of handling them excessively or being exposed to heat or humidity during storage. Also, strings with coating may be thicker than those not coated. There might be more give when you play them.

These strings can be used for a long time before going bad. They usually go bad from constant use and exposure to the elements.

How to Tell If Coated Guitar Strings Are Bad

Sometimes, coating on coated guitar strings will flake even before opening or after a short period. This may also happen when the package is extended because of exposure to heat and humidity.

When this occurs, residue will appear on your fingers or hands when you touch them. This is because you did not wholly remove the coating. The layer is usually removed so that it can be reapplied.

The residue can range from dried-up wax or a dark powder-like substance similar to graphite in color and consistency. The coating may not have been applied for an extended period if this happens.

Another sign that the layer has been removed is when the string begins to snap or snap easily. This occurs because the coating has worn off and exposed the wire underneath it. 


It does not necessarily mean that your guitar strings are bad. However, it does mean that you might be able to notice whether or not they are breaking more quickly than usual by giving them a pull.

When you put on coated guitar strings, they should not break with too much pressure if they have not gone bad yet. They will probably break with no effort when you play them if they do.

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I love playing around with various types of guitar gear so I started this website to share my guitar gear knowledge with the world. Enjoy!

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