Not everyone wants to replace their guitar strings every Saturday night. There are a million and one better things to do, including play your guitar, and string changing doesn’t even grace the idea of a fun night.
For those of us who would rather spend more time playing the guitar than changing strings, there is in fact a way, a light at the end of the string tunnel. This light has a name, and it is care and maintenance.
So how exactly do you care for your strings? And furthermore, how can you ‘maintain’ a set of string?
The answer is easily. The first step in string care doesn’t even involve your strings; it involves your hands. Every single time you think about playing your guitar, wash your hands.
Our hands are covered in natural oils and dead skin that, when passed on to our guitar strings, eat way at them and cause them to erode. Washing your hands before your play your guitar, and in between breaks, will not only prolong your strings, but will also keep them feeling fresher longer.
When you finish playing, take a microfiber cloth and wipe down your strings. Don’t rush, either; wipe the length of each string, one string at a time. This will remove the impurities that gather even after you wash your hands.
There are guitar string cleaners on the market which you can spray onto your cloth to help prolong their life even further, but so long as you wash your hands and wipe down your strings before and after each playing session, they won’t be necessary.
Believe it or not, the largest factor in string maintenance and care is environment. Don’t keep your guitars in a room in which the temperature is bound to fluctuate often. Guitar strings, like all metals, benefit from a dry and stable environment.
This means your basement that gets flooded when it rains isn’t the best place to store your guitar or excess strings. However, your back room which stays warm year-round is the perfect place. Just like maintaining your guitar itself, string maintenance requires prior thought and planning.
If you are a guitarist who tends to sweat, one of the best things that you can do is keep a dry dish towel on hand. When your hands start to sweat profusely, wipe them down. This will prevent sweat salt from getting onto your strings, which will in turn prevent possible erosion.
As with any maintenance, the key thing is to be aware. Pay attention to where you stow your guitar, and if the temperature changes, simply move the guitar. If you really want your strings to last a long time, you may want to look into coated strings as they are made specifically to last longer and handle temperature changes much better.
Keep in mind that no matter how much maintenance work you perform, strings eventually ‘expire.’ This means you will have to change your guitar strings someday. Be sure that when the day comes, you follow the same process to get the most from them.
Learn And Master Guitar Setup & Maintenance is a comprehensive step-by-step video course that shows you how to setup your guitar at home using simple tools.
You will be able save time and money by learning to make your own adjustments for maximum playability and better tone.