Senior Instructor at Halifax Guitar Lessons
It’s amazing how many different answers you will get to this question.
I know that I could never get a straight answer to this myself. It does not seem to be that complicated of a question.
Over the years I realized that there are many reasons why you will never get a straight answer. There is none!!
Every situation is different so giving you a definite time frame when you should change the strings on your guitar is not going to fit you.
There are some general guidelines that may help you though.
The Type Of Strings You Use Make A Big Difference
There are many different types of strings out there made by several companies and there is no way we can address them all.
Each brand has various styles, thicknesses, coatings, and so on. It would take forever to discuss each one.
However, when you boil it down there are really only two major types of strings most people buy. There are the coated variety and the uncoated.
Whichever one of these two types of strings you use will affect the amount of time your strings will last and determine when the best time to change them should be.
Typically, the coated strings will last longer and so you can go longer without changing them. This is great as long as you like the feel and the sound of them.
But there is more to it.
How Often You Play Your Guitar Makes A Big Difference
Everyone is different and use their guitar more or less than other people on a weekly basis. On top of that each person sweats more or less than everyone else when they play guitar and this is what causes the corrosion on the strings to occur.
These are only two of the main reasons no one can give you a number to know when to change strings on your guitar. It is totally different for each and every person.
If you play every day for an hour and sweat a lot then your strings are going to corrode a lot faster than a person who plays guitar every other day for 15 minutes.
They will both require strings to be changed at some point because they will both produce corrosion but it may take 6 months for the casual player and maybe only 1 month for you.
So, a specific time frame is not what you need to look for.
The Only Way To Really Know Is To Look for Corrosion On Your Strings
Instead of trying to guess or find some magic formula that works for everyone, the best thing you can do to know when you need new strings for your guitar is to look at them.
If your strings are nice and shiny then you are good for now. If you start to notice a few darker spots then corrosion is starting to build. You can play your guitar as the corrosion spreads with no real problems.
When you start to notice the strings have less shine and more dark spots then you are crossing over into the “time to change the strings on your guitar” zone.
Once you go through this process a few times you will start to see a general time frame that your guitar strings take to corrode and are ready for a change.
At this point you could just start changing them at this time interval on a go forward basis.
When In Doubt Change Your Guitar Strings
Most people wait way too long to change the strings on their guitars. Without noticing it the strings start to sound dull and do not ring out very well and sometimes are harder to play.
Guitar strings are not overly expensive so if you are not sure if they need to get changed or not just get them changed.
If you notice a difference in the sound of your guitar, almost like you have a new guitar that sounds way better, then you had waited much too long to change your strings.
If you do it right your guitar should sound pretty close to what it was just before you changed the strings.