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Strings...change them? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 14th March 2018
  #1
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Mikeitloud's Avatar
 

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Strings...change them?

So, I've had my PRS for about 8 months or so, usually when I get a used guitar I change the strings, clean the fretboard yada yada...
The kid that I bought it from said it was barely played, an i can confirm that, as it was like brand new.
The strings felt great, same gauge as I like 10-46.
I play, on average about 8 or so hours a week. The action and intonation is set so perfect, I love playing this guitar.
I don't know what brand of stings are on it, but they just won't die! it still stays in tune always, still feels and sounds the same as it did when I got it.
I think I'm waiting for a string to break, to give me a reason to change them, but they don't break!!! Or corrode, or go out of tune.
Change em? or leave em on?
Old 14th March 2018
  #2
ccg
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Sounds like you've put 250+ hours on a set of strings. Probably time for a change to say the least!

If you love the strings call the store and ask them if they use anything in particular. If they use what the manufacturer puts on...go ahead and see what comes standard on that guitar. I think PRS uses something specific.
Old 14th March 2018
  #3
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Strings typically should be changed after 4 hours of playing. This obviously depends on how aggressive you play and the tension
Old 14th March 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccg View Post
Sounds like you've put 250+ hours on a set of strings. Probably time for a change to say the least!

If you love the strings call the store and ask them if they use anything in particular. If they use what the manufacturer puts on...go ahead and see what comes standard on that guitar. I think PRS uses something specific.
It looks like PRS uses D'addario, I guess I'll be shopping for some D'addarios.
Old 14th March 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal_SINE View Post
Strings typically should be changed after 4 hours of playing. This obviously depends on how aggressive you play and the tension
I play really aggressive, heavy picks, they just don't break. as far as tension, it has a Floyd, and I don't even know how many springs it has, I've never had to take the back plate off..... Typically I change strings at least once a month, my hands don't sweat, so that does make a difference as well.
Old 14th March 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeitloud View Post
I play really aggressive, heavy picks, they just don't break. as far as tension, it has a Floyd, and I don't even know how many springs it has, I've never had to take the back plate off..... Typically I change strings at least once a month, my hands don't sweat, so that does make a difference as well.
The floyd will stretch them out, they will die quicker. You don't have to change your strings if you like the sound. Sure sweat will dull them. I have seen over the years there are actually quite a few guitar players that like dead strings. It depends on what you like. There is no right or wrong. I can tell you as a former luthier that typically the older they are the harder the guitar will be to intonate.
Old 14th March 2018
  #7
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You like the way they sound. Keep em as long as they sound good.
Change em later.
Old 14th March 2018
  #8
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One thing I think some people forget is that if you took the old strings off, you'd see dirt and string wear on the strings themselves.

I'm not going to tell someone what to do, but that is a REALLY long time not to change strings.

On, and on guitar (bass is debatable) they usually have more tuning stability issues if so old.

Getting a new set, stretching them accordingly, and you are usually in a better place. This is unfordable to me, but people like Steve Vai change their strings MORE THAN ONCE a night
Old 14th March 2018
  #9
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Change them when you feel like it. There's nothing wrong with dead strings, as long as you can tune them. Some people prefer them. To each his own.
Old 14th March 2018
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal_SINE View Post
Strings typically should be changed after 4 hours of playing. This obviously depends on how aggressive you play and the tension
It also depends on skin chemistry and how hard you play, as well as if you're in the studio doing a lot of work that requires tone matching between overdubs. I've seen some poor sods who can rot out a set in 30 minutes or so.

At home just screwing around you can let 'em go longer if money is a consideration, but in professional circumstances every 4 hours or before every show is a good rule of thumb.
Old 14th March 2018
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by toowrongfoo View Post
On, and on guitar (bass is debatable) they usually have more tuning stability issues if so old.
No, not if you know how to install your strings - which most people don't, in my experience.
Old 14th March 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
You like the way they sound. Keep em as long as they sound good.
Change em later.
yes! and find interviews with pat metheny on this topic...
Old 14th March 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
It also depends on skin chemistry and how hard you play, as well as if you're in the studio doing a lot of work that requires tone matching between overdubs. I've seen some poor sods who can rot out a set in 30 minutes or so.
Yeah, chemistry is part of it. I once went through a phase where my strings were rusting after a few weeks. Don't know if it was dietary or environmental or what, but I couldn't change them fast enough.
Old 14th March 2018
  #14
Gear Head
 

I have a bunch of guitars and there are a few that I don't use that often.

There is one guitar that had strings that was closing in on a year old (that was on a guitar with a floyd rose i.e. a pain to change strings). This guitar got played maybe an hour per week or so.

I did an experiment and recorded some stuff with this guitar before and after changing strings.

My conclusion is that if you play metal / hi-gain distortion riffing then the difference between new and old strings is minimal, a little bit of tweaking in my DAW can easily hide it.

For lead tones it affects the sustain quite a bit, but not really the tone that much.

For clean tones it's super obvious how much duller the old strings sound.
Old 14th March 2018
  #15
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Waiting for strings to break is a terrible method of gauging whether strings need replacement or not.
In the mean time the wrapped strings may have deep grooves notched in them at the frets and chewing your frets up badly.

Best thing you can do is run your finger don the string between the string and fret board. If you feel notches those strings need to be replaced.

How quickly strings wear can vary depending on the materials used. Nickle can wear very quickly compared to a hardened steel. The tone lifespan can vary allot too. you can stick a set of strings on a guitar and simply not play it for 6 months. Those strings are not going to sound the same as strings that were just put on, nor will they retain the tuning the same way as new strings.

Strings being on a guitar for 8 Months? Well not to be critical, but we come from totally different worlds. I played professionally for decades and Two Shows was the limit for a set of strings playing professionally so a single weekend and those strings were toast.

What I do mostly now is record and since I own dozens of guitars I can get buy not changing strings as often by simply swapping instruments often. I average a set every week or two at the most, but even there a bunch of those guitars have beat strings so its not like I'm keeping them all in rotation.

I can say I've used as many as a dozen sets a week and I' was recording and playing out with bands but I don't put in that many hours any more. I record all the instruments on my recordings and luckily keyboards, drums don't have strings and bass goes much longer without changes.

What it boils down to is the hours you put in, the type of strings you use and the style of playing you use.
I spend at least 50/50 playing lead and rhythm. My lead playing is brutal on strings and frets because I'm a big string bender. I have a technique which mimics much of the slide guitar I play so I don't just bend single strings I bend double notes and triads too. With real hard playing I often have to level and re-crown frets too.

Lately I been using the Labella Basic strings which are plain steel. I'm truly amazed at their lifespans which are double all the others I've used. The wrapped strings don't notch out like nickel and nickel plated strings do, but they are tougher on the frets so it doesn't seem you can win in the long run.
Old 14th March 2018
  #16
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by toowrongfoo View Post

On, and on guitar (bass is debatable) they usually have more tuning stability issues if so old.
I've know old strings to develop intonation issues on bass, but not tuning stability issues. I had a set of flatwounds on my fender P that were over 40 years old, but finally had to give them up because the intonation got so so bad.

I replaced them with a set of Tomastik flats that will probably will outlive me.
Old 14th March 2018
  #17
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Yeah, I should have been more specific about that.
Old 14th March 2018
  #18
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Mikhael's Avatar
 

John and I have argued about this before. I don't *like* brand new strings. I leave them on for at least a day or so before I use them, to let them settle in. I stretch the snot out of them when I put them on, but they still stretch more after that. Plus, after an hour or so of playing them hard, the tone changes. So I wait basically until they go through that change themselves and stabilize, then I'm good.

8 months, however, is a bit much. I wouldn't go more than a quarter of that, even on guitars not used often.
Old 15th March 2018
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
Change them when you feel like it. There's nothing wrong with dead strings, as long as you can tune them. Some people prefer them. To each his own.
I'm not really in a rush to change them.... This is my first guitar with active pickups, 81/85, so when I do change them, I know it will change the tone a lot. I'm just not sure I'm ready.. LoL What if it sounds like sheite? Maybe I'll kick myself for not changing them sooner......
Old 15th March 2018
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
Waiting for strings to break is a terrible method of gauging whether strings need replacement or not.
In the mean time the wrapped strings may have deep grooves notched in them at the frets and chewing your frets up badly.

Best thing you can do is run your finger don the string between the string and fret board. If you feel notches those strings need to be replaced.

How quickly strings wear can vary depending on the materials used. Nickle can wear very quickly compared to a hardened steel. The tone lifespan can vary allot too. you can stick a set of strings on a guitar and simply not play it for 6 months. Those strings are not going to sound the same as strings that were just put on, nor will they retain the tuning the same way as new strings.

Strings being on a guitar for 8 Months? Well not to be critical, but we come from totally different worlds. I played professionally for decades and Two Shows was the limit for a set of strings playing professionally so a single weekend and those strings were toast.

What I do mostly now is record and since I own dozens of guitars I can get buy not changing strings as often by simply swapping instruments often. I average a set every week or two at the most, but even there a bunch of those guitars have beat strings so its not like I'm keeping them all in rotation.

I can say I've used as many as a dozen sets a week and I' was recording and playing out with bands but I don't put in that many hours any more. I record all the instruments on my recordings and luckily keyboards, drums don't have strings and bass goes much longer without changes.

What it boils down to is the hours you put in, the type of strings you use and the style of playing you use.
I spend at least 50/50 playing lead and rhythm. My lead playing is brutal on strings and frets because I'm a big string bender. I have a technique which mimics much of the slide guitar I play so I don't just bend single strings I bend double notes and triads too. With real hard playing I often have to level and re-crown frets too.

Lately I been using the Labella Basic strings which are plain steel. I'm truly amazed at their lifespans which are double all the others I've used. The wrapped strings don't notch out like nickel and nickel plated strings do, but they are tougher on the frets so it doesn't seem you can win in the long run.
Haha, Thanks for the great information! I do have some pretty deep grooves on all the strings.... New pack o string and a Tremol-no project this weekend!
Old 20th March 2018
  #21
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lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

I don't like new strings. They do get to a point where they don't sound good but for me it's like a year.

I don't put in the time that real guitarists do, though.
Old 21st March 2018
  #22
Gear Head
I never change my strings, unless they break. New strings sound clangy and harsh! My fave guitars all have strings that are over two years old on them, and I like them that way.

I realize this is unusual. When I discovered how all-nickel strings are darker sounding than stainless steel, I only buy the nickel ones.

There are some pretty hilarious posts on forums about this subject! (Famous guitarists getting mad at their techs for changing their vintage strings or whatever!...)

I say leave 'em on if you like them. Don't mess with it.
Old 21st March 2018
  #23
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Every 3 months basically.
I just look at it like an oil change.
Basically a quarterly type thing.
Lots of variables here like what kind of player you are, and if you're recording, what you're recording, or if you're gigging out .

Heavy handed players should be playing 10 gauge or heavier strings to begin with. Gigging out playing 10's, I would say to change strings every week to a month depending on how long the sets are and how hard you play.
If you're playing 9's change em every week or two.

I like fast fret to keep everything lubed up. Just makes sense to me that it keeps the friction down so it's less wear and tear on things. Definitely makes things easier on me.
And fast fret seems to keep the strings sustaining, longer. Keeps them from getting too wooly and dull so quickly.

Intonation and tuning issues are why I generally use 10 gauge strings and up, and change strings every 2-4 months.
As some one else mentioned, definitely check for divots in the strings that could be nicking up your frets.

I'm much more in the camp of leaving old strings on, as opposed to changing every 4 hours. But when you've got serious tuning/intonation issues an you're trying to record, you probably want to spare yourself the insanity of dealing with old strings.
Particularly in this age of so many software instruments at such a precise pitch. If that's what you're playing along too, old strings probably won't cut it.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #24
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Mikeitloud's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnevz View Post
Every 3 months basically.
I just look at it like an oil change.
Basically a quarterly type thing.
Lots of variables here like what kind of player you are, and if you're recording, what you're recording, or if you're gigging out .

Heavy handed players should be playing 10 gauge or heavier strings to begin with. Gigging out playing 10's, I would say to change strings every week to a month depending on how long the sets are and how hard you play.
If you're playing 9's change em every week or two.

I like fast fret to keep everything lubed up. Just makes sense to me that it keeps the friction down so it's less wear and tear on things. Definitely makes things easier on me.
And fast fret seems to keep the strings sustaining, longer. Keeps them from getting too wooly and dull so quickly.

Intonation and tuning issues are why I generally use 10 gauge strings and up, and change strings every 2-4 months.
As some one else mentioned, definitely check for divots in the strings that could be nicking up your frets.

I'm much more in the camp of leaving old strings on, as opposed to changing every 4 hours. But when you've got serious tuning/intonation issues an you're trying to record, you probably want to spare yourself the insanity of dealing with old strings.
Particularly in this age of so many software instruments at such a precise pitch. If that's what you're playing along too, old strings probably won't cut it.
I do as a rule usually change them every 3 to 4 months on my other guitars, 10-52, but I have yet to change this guitars strings...
These strings still sing! zero tuning issues, no crud buildup under the strings, although as I mentioned,I did find divots in the strings, and this worries me....
Old 22nd March 2018
  #25
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I changed mine today on my Carvin. Proof that it's a "good thing" to change them (they had started to become persnickety and a PITA)

Carry on, if what you have works for you, then nobody is going to change your mind (or your strings!)
Old 23rd March 2018
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeitloud View Post
I don't know what brand of stings are on it, but they just won't die! it still stays in tune always, still feels and sounds the same as it did when I got it
I would bet a few Gs they're Elixir. Great sounding and very long lasting strings for electric and steel string acoustic guitars

I wish that company had a formula for classical guitar strings
Old 23rd March 2018
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeitloud View Post
So, I've had my PRS for about 8 months or so, usually when I get a used guitar I change the strings, clean the fretboard yada yada...
The kid that I bought it from said it was barely played, an i can confirm that, as it was like brand new.
The strings felt great, same gauge as I like 10-46.
I play, on average about 8 or so hours a week. The action and intonation is set so perfect, I love playing this guitar.
I don't know what brand of stings are on it, but they just won't die! it still stays in tune always, still feels and sounds the same as it did when I got it.
I think I'm waiting for a string to break, to give me a reason to change them, but they don't break!!! Or corrode, or go out of tune.
Change em? or leave em on?
8 months????? Change them! I change mine every two or three weeks when I'm not gigging - and after every gig. the strings are definitely dull by now, regardless of type or brand.

Change the strings one at a time and the intonation will be fine.
Old 24th March 2018
  #28
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yeah, when they have grooves on the strings, it's really time.
Old 24th March 2018
  #29
Yeah, every 4 months here too, when I can feel grooves etched in from the frets. Acoustic. Play about 2-4 hours a day. Even then am loathe to change them as I like that sound, but the intonation does start to go.
Old 24th March 2018
  #30
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Hot Vibrato's Avatar
 

Run your finger under the D string. Feel those grooves that the frets have worn into it? That means they are worn out and it's time to change them. That said, I get lazy sometimes and don't change mine when I should, and nobody seems to notice.
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