26 April, 2010

How can I make my strings last longer?

I know I've asked myself that question before. I think it's really irritating when strings burst, or when I need to change my strings after using it for few times only. I mean, strings cost money, and sometimes, I do not want to spend so much on strings.

I must say it did take me a bit of trial and error to find out how to "make my strings last longer". But yes, I'm here to tell you that you can prolong the lifespan of you strings. Here are some ways you can achieve that:

What brand of strings do you buy?
This is actually quite an important question, or at least that's what I have realised through my years of playing the guitar. When I started out playing the guitar, my mindset was to just get the cheapest strings possible. So, I used to find those unbranded strings which only cost a dollar for each string. Trust me, a dollar per string is cheap. Because of that, I found myself having to change strings quite often because they got rusty pretty fast. I guess I should have expected it - you get what you pay for.

I'm here to tell you that there are strings out there which are designed to last longer. Yes, they do cost a little more expensive, but in the end, if they last longer, you'd ultimately be saving on strings. So, look out for strings which are specially coated, or extended play strings etc. these might be strings worth buying. In fact, you could try some of the brands out there, and when you've found one that you like, stick to that brand.

Wipe down your strings after you play
This is another way you can extend the lifespan of your strings. Each time you play the guitar, your fingers produce some sweat and this will cause your strings to rust. So, make it a habit to wipe your strings after you play. You can purchase special treated cloth at most guitar shops. I'm not really sure why these cloth have to be specially treated, but I think it's still worth getting one.

I have even heard of people using some kind of liquid to coat their strings each time after they play the guitar. I'm not too sure what brands are out there, but I do know that guitar shops do sell them. I have not personally used these liquids, but if they help you extend the lifespan of your strings, you might want to check it out too.

What string gauge do you use?
I think this is probably quite a controversial suggestion because different guitarists prefer different kinds of sound. And, the string gauge can play a part in achieving that sound. I think it is no secret that the thinner your string gauge, the more susceptible your strings are to bursting. So, you could consider using heavier gauges (if you find that your strings are bursting too easily too often).

If you perform often, you could use another guitar for practicing
This is only applicable if you have more than one guitar. You can practice more on the guitar that you won't be using for performances.

If you have any other ways of making your strings last longer, feel free to drop a comment. I would like to know as well =)

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