By: Al Wielder
Metal guitar strings are subjected to many conditions that
shorten their life. The life of guitar strings can be extended
with care and proper maintenance. This article will help you
extend the life of your guitar strings.
Guitar strings can lose their tonal quality prematurely due to
factors that include:
Stretching: Guitar strings naturally stretch during tuning and
while playing the guitar. Over time strings slowly lose their
elasticity and their tone quality. Guitar strings that are
stretched no longer produce rich tone or harmonic overtones. As
a result, the guitar becomes difficult to tune and the sound of
the strings become dull and lifeless.
Wear: Guitar strings wear during the process of playing. This
process comes from moving the metal strings against the metal
frets on the fretboard. Of the two most common types of strings,
wound and plain steel, wound strings are more susceptible to
fret wear. Wound guitar strings tend to "flat-spot" more rapidly
than plain steel strings. If left unchecked, the flat spots can
create breaks in the windings of the strings. Flat spots and
broken windings will decrease tonal quality and can also cause
the strings to "buzz".
Corrosion: Metal guitar strings are subject to tarnish, rust and
corrosion. Metal guitar strings are also subject to the body
chemistry of the individual guitar player. Individuals with
higher acid levels in their pH will get less life from their
guitar strings due to an accelerated rate of string corrosion.
There are several things guitar players can do to get extended
life from their guitar strings. Taking the time to follow these
simple steps will ensure that you get the most from your strings
and reduce the cost associated with premature string failure.
*Do not over-stretch your strings during the tuning process.
*Be careful not to crimp the strings at the tuner peg when
replacing the guitar strings.
*Periodically, check the condition of the guitar bridge and
bridge saddle to avoid breaking a string during the replacement
*Monitor the condition of your guitar frets and replace any
frets that develop excessive wear or sharp edges.
*Always clean your guitar strings when you finish playing the
It is impossible to say how long a new set of guitar strings
should last. The life of guitar strings depend on many factors
and variables. It is possible to extend the life of guitar
strings through proper care and maintenance. Be sure to take the
time to care for your guitar strings and you will get the
longest life from each set.
When the time comes to replace the strings, choose quality
replacements and change the strings carefully.
About the author:
Al Wielder is a host and instructor at Riff TV. Contact Al Wielder at Riff
TV.com, your source for guitar tab, guitar lessons
and free video guitar training.