Do you find that your strings lose their tonal characteristics rather quickly? Do you often find them to be out of tune? Do your strings suffer from chronic depression? Ask Wired Guitarist about what you can do, because we’re here to help.

Strings vibrate, the pickups then pick up those vibrations and turn them into sounds that come through your amp. Over time, your strings stop resonating the way they used to due to dirt from your fingers, sweat, and other things that happen from general use.

Here are 5 easy ways to improve your string life so that you don’t have to go out and buy new strings every two weeks!

1 – Stretch your strings

When putting fresh strings on your guitar, tighten the strings a bit then grab the string gently and pull away from the fretboard at the 12th fret. You’re not testing your strength, just pull up slightly and continue until your strings don’t go out of tune after stretching. This will increase tuning stability and keep you from embarrassing yourself at short notice gigs!

2 – Use proper string gauges

If your strings are too light for your tuning, you’ll have a lot of issues with tuning stability (assuming you aren’t using a fanned fret or extended scale length guitar). Your strings will flop around and generally sound pretty bad. If your strings are too thick, they’ll be too tight, and the chances of string breakage will increase.  Keep in mind, having strings that are too thick can mess with your neck too.

If you want some tips on how to choose proper string gauge, we have a really helpful guide for that!

3 – Clean your strings!

I use Dunlop formula 65 string conditioner on my strings. I used to not show interest in string cleaning formulas until I purchased a Dunlop Guitar Tech Kit that happened to include the string conditioner, and boy oh boy, did I love it. I apply it every time I finish playing my guitar, and it has really improved my string life. It retained the brightness I wanted and overall added about 4 weeks to the overall life of my strings.

4 – Wash your hands before you play!

This might be obvious to some, but news to most. You’ll have less dirt and sweat on your hands if you simply wash them before you play. The less dirt and sweat on your strings, the better they sound and the longer they last!

5 – Beware of burs

Make sure there aren’t any burs in your saddles or nut. Burs are sharp spots that happen as a result of poorly made hardware. Your strings will rub against them and ultimately break. We don’t want your strings breaking. If you have strings breaking more often that they should, consider replacing your nut and/or saddles. I often replace the nut and (sometimes) the entire bridge of a new guitar. Graphtech is my personal go-to company when it comes to guitar nut replacements.

6 – Use Fresher Strings

When buying from most companies it can take anywhere from 4-8 months to get your strings, which is a real shame because as a loyal customer to these companies, you’d expect a fresh product that will last. We’d recommend you join hundreds of other guitarists in trying out our new StringDrop strings. Among other benefits, these strings are built by us and sent directly to you, which means only about 20 days until you get them in your hands.

There you have it! 6 ways you can improve your string life. Hopefully this will end up saving you a buck or two down the road. If these tips helped you out, we have plenty more guides available, as well as other types of articles!


This article was written by Mike Azernov, King in the North and our editor located in New York

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