How Often To Restring a Guitar For the Best Sound?

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Answered by: Ben, An Expert in the Instruments Category
So many of us are guilty of leaving our guitars on their stand for months at a time. It is easy to forget that they need some level of maintenance, and knowing when to restring your guitar can be key to getting the most out of it. As with most things in the world of music, this is a topic of some debate. However, there are certain ways to work out when you might need to bust out a new set of strings.

Of course, sometimes guitars take the liberty of deciding for us. If a string breaks, it obviously needs to be replaced, and this can happen at any time. If you're having to go through the process of replacing one string, I recommend getting a whole pack and taking the opportunity to freshen up your fretboard and replacing all six.

Depending on your style of play and a variety of other factors, you may not end up with broken strings often, so it can be hard to know how often to restring a guitar when it isn't that obvious. We're looking (and listening) for a number of things to determine when it is time to restring. Firstly, the visual aspect of your guitar. If your strings look like they did the day you bought your guitar, and still have a metallic shine to them, they may well be fine, but if the strings have darkened or even have grime on them then it is time to replace. The second thing to consider is the sound that the guitar is creating. This can be hard to notice, especially if you are a casual player, but the guitar sound should have a real vibrance and ring out long after they've been picked or strummed, particularly if you're playing an acoustic guitar, if the sound is flat or dead then it is time for a new set.

The other factors in determining how often to restring a guitar are a bit more logical than visual or audible. You should ask yourself how often you play, and for how long. A professional guitarist will change strings very regularly, but if you're just playing for an hour here or there, once or twice a year should be fine. Where the guitar is kept may also play a part, if it has the protection of a hard case, away from extreme weather, dirt and grime and other atmospheric dangers then the strings may last longer. If it is kept out on display then you may not be so lucky.

Knowing when to change your guitar strings is something of an art. For beginners, it can be a challenge to work out whether your strings are still okay, but as time goes on you will be able to identify when strings have seen better days, and even hear it as you are playing. Regular string replacements can add a huge amount to your sound and even make it easier to play guitar, so it is well worth keeping on top of your maintenance.

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