The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Guitars for sale     Latest  Trending
Anyone else NEVER change guitar strings?
Old 29th May 2011
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Amber's Avatar
 

Anyone else NEVER change guitar strings?

So I've been recording a lot of guitar tracks on my old maple neck strat.

I THINK I have rotosounds on here that I got 2 years ago and they still sound GREAT.

Is this normal? Guitar stays in tune perfect, intonation is fine etc. Anyone else do this?
Old 29th May 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
 
evangelista's Avatar
 

Almost never. I change them when I need that super-chimey bright new string sound, which is very rare. So every year or two or three. I think my Les Paul has had the same strings since '07.
Old 29th May 2011
  #3
Gear Addict
 
MikeRL's Avatar
 

i find strings to be pretty useless after a few weeks to be honest. but i guess its all about the climate that its stored in, and how often you play.


and my hands sweat like a bastid' under stage lights... so they rust and oxidize pretty quickly.

Last edited by MikeRL; 29th May 2011 at 04:33 PM.. Reason: more info
Old 29th May 2011
  #4
Here for the gear
 
codystockton's Avatar
I left a set of Ernie Ball (with a wound G) on a maple neck Tele for almost a year without realizing it. Played it every day, and it still sounded great.
I didn't think I should change the strings since they sounded so good, but I went ahead and did it anyway, and lo and behold, it sounded even BETTER.
Moral of the story is, sometimes strings change sound very slowly over a long period of time and we don't notice the gradual shift in tone.
I bet if you changed your strings you would definitely notice a difference in tone. ...and, being-open minded, depending on what tone you're after, that may or may not be a good thing
Old 29th May 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 
_Ludovico's Avatar
 

I sincerly hope you guys don't do this with your acoustics
Old 29th May 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
So I've been recording a lot of guitar tracks on my old maple neck strat.

I THINK I have rotosounds on here that I got 2 years ago and they still sound GREAT.

Is this normal? Guitar stays in tune perfect, intonation is fine etc. Anyone else do this?
I gotta say I pretty much hate brand new strings, I mean the sound..

I never do anything with the guitar no recording, no live playing (this one when possible..) with same day new strings, at least 2/4 days playing.

But it must be mentioned that I'm no soloist by any stretch,
I play six strings baritone Les Pauls with 0.70/0.22.. so yeah, kind of a world on its own.
But I purposely leave the strings for a month+ for the recording for
the one specific baritone I record rhythmics tho', it's definitely part
of the sound, same as the eq curve on the amp or mic positioning for me.

Different sounds demand different approaches

On a side note, even more on bass, my bassist's Thunderbird non-reverse loves years-old strings and it sounds
amazing like that. Unless you want super clacky modern sound on bass tho', I prefer old string on them definitely,
not completely dead, but old enough
Old 29th May 2011
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Depends on the guitar

I find that it all depends on the guitar. Some guitars are hungry for new strings, while others (mainly my vintages) could'nt care less. My old j-45 LOVES borderline rusty strings.
Going to a session where the clock is ticking, if you still want some of that "whoolen" sound, I'd recommend changing 2-3 days before and playing the strings a fair amount. That way you get your sound without any tuning issues.

all the best - M
Old 29th May 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 
oceantracks's Avatar
 

Most players who wish to stay in tune change their strings

TH
Old 29th May 2011
  #9
If you play acoustics, you need to change strings constantly. I never play a gig without a fresh set of strings.
Old 29th May 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
 
The dman's Avatar
 

My electrics need to be changed way more than my acoustic which stays in tune like a champ and sounds too bright for recording with new strings.
Old 29th May 2011
  #11
It depends on how greasy/sweaty your hands get. That will tarnish your roundwounds and dull your sound (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). I read somewhere that Walter Becker played the solo for "Do It Again" on a git with rusty strings. Cheesy band, no doubt, but that was a great solo.

You could use flatwounds, as they last longer, but I prefer them on my bass, not my electric guitars.

Also, if your guitar needs a setup, you're not going to do that with an old pair of strings.
Old 29th May 2011
  #12
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
I'm terrible. If I'm lucky, I change my strings every couple of months, if I'm using the guitar. I actually hate changing strings. And with a few days to a week my g string gets trashed. I really need to change them once a week. But I really can't be bothered.
Old 29th May 2011
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Silent Sound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks View Post
Most players who wish to stay in tune change their strings

TH
This runs counter to my own experience. I've found on every guitar I own that strings takes about a day, or at least several hours of playing before they stop stretching and settle down. I find old strings far more reliable than new ones for tuning stability.

I never change bass strings (until they get gross!). For electric guitars, I will usually use strings that are 2 days to 2 weeks old (though if I need something darker, I'll use older strings) and for acoustics I generally use phosphor-bronze strings that are a week to 2 months old.

Certainly strings change their tone over time. Just like drum heads, I think they sound best you when catch them at the right time in their lifespan. Of course, SOUNDS BEST all depends on the player, technique, other equipment in the chain, and of course, what you're wanting it to do in the context of the song. The only rule I follow every time is, try to get it right at the source!
Old 29th May 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Mertmo's Avatar
 

I won't play a gig without a fresh set. Unless maybe I'm playing more than
one gig a week, in which case a set might get 2 or 3 gigs max.

It's a leftover from when I was younger and always played *very* hard.
I need to go into a gig absolutely knowing without a doubt that I'm not going
to break a string. Otherwise I can't relax and play like I want.
I don't play as hard these days, but still have moments of really hitting it
hard...

Plus I like the bright sound, full of harmonics.
And I actually like changing strings. Quiet moment with my instrument,
sounds weird maybe but it's always been a calming activity for me.

I'm pretty obsessive about washing my hands before I play, and I ask
everyone who wants to play my guitars to wash their hands first. Yes, it
makes me a freak. Oh well. I like my strings to sound and feel fresh.
If I'm not playing gigs or doing critical recordings, I don't worry about it
nearly as much.


EDIT: I agree with Silent Sound too, strings need a day or so to stretch out and be
reliable in regards to staying in tune. I always throw a set on the day before
a gig, and play them a bit. Good to go the next day...
Old 29th May 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
sound_music's Avatar
 

back when i was on the road i used to try to get 3 shows out of a set of strings. with the schedule i was keeping at the time that meant i changed my strings every 2nd or third day. MAX. (i have fairly sweaty hands. i suppose that plays a large role regarding string life.)

anyway, i wouldn't want to hear the tuning, intonation, string brilliance, harmonics, overtones, general tone, sustain, etc etc of any of these guys claiming they keep strings for years at a time! ouch!
Old 29th May 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
 
ScumBum's Avatar
 

I have to say I never change the strings on my SG .

James Jamerson never changed his bass strings , he said something like it kept the funk in his sound .
Old 29th May 2011
  #17
Gear Addict
 

I believe it was James Jamerson who NEVER changed his bass strings.
Old 29th May 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
 
gussyg2007's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by blindjoni View Post
I believe it was James Jamerson who NEVER changed his bass strings.
maybe Bob can chime in on that one
In the 80's i would change them all the time to get that f'tang f'tang Marcus Miller sound
guitars ... yes all the time
Bass's ... not really, twangy new bass strings suck !!
Old 29th May 2011
  #19
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
What I don't like more than anything is the 3 or 4 days of adjustment to the feel of the strings. For me it takes awhile to break them in, not in terms of sound, but in terms of response. I cannot change the strings the day of or a couple of days before a gig without getting upset.
Old 29th May 2011
  #20
Gear Addict
 
QuadWing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ludovico View Post
I sincerly hope you guys don't do this with your acoustics
:$ I do.
Old 29th May 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
 
AfterViewer's Avatar
 

Getting ready to record with a Yamaha classical, Augustine nylon set that has been on the guitar for 2+ years. Will change to a new set of Augustine hard tension (red package) to get the sound I need.
Old 29th May 2011
  #22
I'm not really a player, but i leave mine on until they break!
Old 29th May 2011
  #23
Lives for gear
 
microwave's Avatar
On electric I love the sound and feel of new strings and change them as often as possible. I use Earnie Ball 11-48. I'd never go in the studio without restringing first.
Old 29th May 2011
  #24
Lives for gear
 
ears2thesky's Avatar
I change 'em for recording and live shows, but not so much for practice. I really prefer as much "twang" as possible (even with heavy distortion).
I'll boil bass strings to get some tone back before I trash 'em.
I can kill a set of bass strings in 20 minutes, and I definitely go for a bright "piano-like" sound on bass.
I don't change strings on my nylon-strung classical guitar though.
Not to hijack the thread: but what about drum heads? Often, never?
Old 29th May 2011
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ears2thesky View Post
Not to hijack the thread: but what about drum heads? Often, never?

again, not much a player, but beat 'em till they split.

change them when you get the kit and that's it.
Old 29th May 2011
  #26
I change them when they start to feel really bad. I much prefer the tone of old strings. I will change them if the session is with an artist going for a super modern sound. If it's up to me they have to be on at least a week before I like them. I know some people will put wax or Vaseline on their strings to dull them when they are new.

If I do have change strings I stretch them. If I do stretch them they will hold their tuning fine immediately. This involves proper stretching tho and I do it before I play.

I also find myself preferring pure nickel strings these days.
Old 29th May 2011
  #27
Lives for gear
 
toneguru's Avatar
I rarely changed em. Rarely broke em too. But I use heavy gauge plus my hands don't sweat and muck em up. Some strings would last twenty gigs or so (that's 3 or 4 sets a night for around two months).

Heavy gauge strings are the answer for lot of common problems that light string players may encounter.
Old 29th May 2011
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
So I've been recording a lot of guitar tracks on my old maple neck strat.

I THINK I have rotosounds on here that I got 2 years ago and they still sound GREAT.

Is this normal? Guitar stays in tune perfect, intonation is fine etc. Anyone else do this?
The problem with not changing your strings is you will almost certainly have intonation problems. If you want to save money and reuse old string you can boil them. If you want the strings to tune you have to at least get the grime off them. If you play Nirvana garage rock I guess it really wouldn't matter. But if you want to be professional you should change them for the sake of your listeners if noone else.

Jimmy Page I think? said he didn't change his strings
Old 29th May 2011
  #29
Lives for gear
 
ButchP's Avatar
 

I don't even have that many gtrs but if changed them as often as they should be I'd go broke(r)
Old 29th May 2011
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
So I've been recording a lot of guitar tracks on my old maple neck strat.

I THINK I have rotosounds on here that I got 2 years ago and they still sound GREAT.

Is this normal? Guitar stays in tune perfect, intonation is fine etc. Anyone else do this?
I'm bad about changing strings but I do a lot of bends and am a pretty physical player and my strings do get stretched unevenly -- and that makes for bad intonation.

I'm lucky to have skin chemistry that doesn't eat up strings (one of my old bandmates could kill a set of strings in 20 minutes and his guitars all ended up with the finish eaten away where his skin touched them) and I towel them down pretty obsessively (I hate feeling like there's anything on my strings, whether dead skin cells or metal corrosion) but, still, the bending definitely takes its toll. (But I do live a block and a half from the ocean and that takes its toll.)
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump