how to make guitar strings last longer

How to Make Guitar Strings Last Longer

Have you ever noticed your guitar strings wearing out before they should? You’re not alone! As a musician, it’s easy to become frustrated with the need to constantly replace strings.

This is especially true for beginners who may only have one or two sets of strings on hand at any given time.

There are many factors that affect how long guitar strings last; including string gauge and type, playing style, climate conditions, and more.

In this article, we’ll cover some tips for extending the life of your strings so you can keep rocking without having to break the bank every few months (or weeks!).

One of the most basic and easy things you can do to prolong the life of your guitar strings is by cleaning them on a regular basis. 

It is recommended to clean your strings after every playing session if it’s a long one, or at the very least, every other time you sit down and play.

The reason for this is because your hands have natural oils on them, and this oil tends to get left behind on your guitar strings. 

There are a ton of guitar string cleaners out on the market today, but these chemicals are not absolutely required to clean your strings. However, they are nice to have and make the job easier.

You can clean your guitar strings without chemicals by using a rag or a microfiber cleaning cloth. Just note, that if you choose to use a rag, it will most likely leave lint on the strings.

The lint can then get into the tiny crevices of your strings and over time can make them sound off. So it is definitely recommended to use a microfiber cloth, which prevents lint build-up.

Make Sure You Don't Play With Dirty Hands

This is a given, but an often overlooked way to keep your guitar strings in pristine shape. Your hands contain oils, sweat, and dead skin, which gets onto your guitar strings.

The oils and sweat on your fingers and hands will cause your strings to corrode much faster than normal. So you will generally be better off if you wash your hands before playing your guitar each day. 

You don’t have to overthink this process. Just some simple soap and water will do, or if your hands are already clean, use sanitizer to be sure. 

If you happen to be playing for a long period of time on a hot day, like at an outdoor gig, it’s a good idea to wipe off your strings throughout the day. You can use a microfiber cloth for this.

Use Coated Guitar Strings

If you clean your strings and wash your hands, and your guitar strings still seem to get dull and dirty before their time, you might try using coated guitar strings. 

Coated strings have an extra layer of protection because they are coated with a thin layer of polymer.

This polymer protects the strings from corrosion by limiting the amount of oil, dead skin, and other types of dirt from getting into the tiny crevices on the strings. 

So you might be thinking, well why not just buy coated strings and skip the hassle of regularly cleaning your guitar’s strings?

The reason is that there are a few drawbacks to using coated strings. And this may or may not affect your decision to use them.

One drawback is that coated strings could possibly affect your guitar’s overall tone. Having this polymer coating essentially affects the way your strings respond when they are strummed.

So using coated strings during a performance where great tone is extremely important might not be the best option.

However, if you use coated strings mainly during practice sessions, you could make the strings last much longer.

You may even find out that the particular brand you are using doesn’t affect the tone as much, and therefore, you may decide to use them at a gig after all.

Store Your Guitar Properly When You Don't Play

If you have a tendency to go long periods without playing your guitar, then it’s important to make sure you are storing it properly. 

The best way to store your guitar is in a hard case where you have the option to control the relative humidity of the inside of the case. 

You may be wondering just how in the world you go about controlling the humidity in a case. The answer is pretty simple and extremely affordable, and that’s by using little packets called humidipaks.

Humidipaks are two-way humidity control systems that keep the inside of your guitar case at the optimal humidity for a guitar, which is between 40% and 50% RH.

If you don’t have a hard guitar case or you’d rather not spend the money on one, make sure you are storing your guitar in a good environment that’s not too humid or too dry. 

Buy the Right Type of Strings for the Music You Play

And last but not least, make sure you are using the right type of strings for the music that you are playing. 

For example, if you play mostly metal and hard rock where you are using certain guitar techniques such as bending or drop tuning, then you may want thicker strings that can handle that type of playing. 

If you are using the lighter gauge guitar strings but you are shredding it up like your favorite metal guitarist, chances are your strings won’t last as long.

But instead of dulling out over time, they may snap, which causes you to always have to change your guitar strings. And constantly changing strings when you shouldn’t have to gets a bit redundant over time.

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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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