Every guitarist loves the feel of brand new strings on a good axe, but if you’re switching out your strings too often, you might start to feel as if you’re spending more time restringing your guitar than actually playing it.
Strings can break or become rusty and unplayable for a variety of reasons, and many guitarists don’t look into the reason for their strings’ lack of longevity. If you’re switching out your guitar strings too often, here are a few tips to help you make them last longer.
Towel Down – Your hands are covered in all sorts of gross gunk-oils, dirt, sweat, skin flakes. Seriously, you’d think twice about shaking hands with someone if you knew what was going down at a microscopic level.
All of that stuff gets onto your guitar when you play it unless you wipe down your strings. This one’s easy: just buy a cheap microfiber cloth and keep it in your guitar case. Before you put your guitar away, wipe it a few times. You might also buy some fretboard treatment stuff to keep your fretboard shiny and your strings slick, but that’s up to you. Just make sure that you wipe your strings and they’ll last much longer, since they won’t have all of those contaminants and sweat to make them rust over.
String Correctly – Make sure that you’re stringing your guitar correctly. I’ve got articles about restringing a guitar, so you could look one up, because there’s a lot of little stuff to keep in mind. However, one of the biggest ones is that you’ve got to select the right amount of string when you’re stringing up, or you’ll have tuning problems and you might cause the guitar strings to break more often.
String the string through the tuner’s hole and pull it fairly tight. Pinch the string as it crosses the next tuner (or where another tuner would be if there isn’t one) and push this amount back through the tuner’s hole. Perfect amount of string every time!
You should also avoid crimping a string before you tune up, unless you’re using strings that call for it, and make sure that the string doesn’t wrap around itself. Stringing correctly is important, so take the time to refine your technique. It’ll pay off when you’re no longer spending $50 on guitar strings every month.
Check Humidity – Guitar strings won’t last as long if they’re in a really humid environment. You should be regularly checking your guitar’s humidity already, but if you aren’t, get a cheap humidity meter and a humidifier for your guitar if you live in a dry area and a dehumidifier if you live in a really wet area. Your strings shouldn’t get too wet, or they’ll rust over and break. However, you should also think about your axe-you really don’t want humidity damage, one way or the other, as it’s a big repair bill.
Do you have any other tips for making a guitar’s strings last longer? Post in our comments section below.