When Should I Change My Guitar Strings?

The strings of the guitar are one of the most important of component the instrument. Taking proper care of them, and maintaining them is crucial for any guitarist. The matter of fact is – if your strings ‘have gone bad’, then your guitar would not sound nice at all.

Now, people who have played the guitar for a few years, or even months would just know by the sound produced by the strings, however, for a beginner, it could be little tricky.

Therefore, if you are a beginner, then take this as a rule of thumb. Change the strings of your guitar after every 3 months.

How often you should change guitar strings depends on how often you play. What type of guitar you are using; a classical guitar or an electric guitar? In addition, the chemical composition of your finger oils,  your personal budget, comfort, and likings of the sound – all of these things factor in and many more.

Therefore, for an avid player, you could be changing your strings quite sooner, or if you have a child guitarist at home.

What Happens When Guitar Strings Get Old – And Why You Need to Change Them

Old strings are terrible to play with.

Not only they sound bad, but they become increasingly difficult to tune overtime. Old strings become fragile and can easily break at any time. Personally, I do not like to touch rust, and playing with rusty strings…is just a bad experience.

For a beginner, playing with old strings is a very bad idea. First of all, it would make it a lot difficult for you to catch your mistakes while jamming. The guitar would sound ‘weird’ and you would think that it is normal while it is not. From a learning point of view, you must always have your guitar tuned so could hear exactly what you are playing.

Signs That Your Strings Needs to Be Replaced:

There are a few signs to help you identify weak and old strings. Strings wear out over a period of time, and ultimately do need replacement. Check out for these signs on your strings to know if your strings need to go.

  1. They are hard to tune: Old strings become increasing hard to tune. In some cases, you might not be able to tune at all. If you are having difficulties tuning the guitar, then you might need a new set soon.
  2. You see corrosion. Strings are generally made up of metal. And moisture from the air, or even from your sweaty hands rusts the strings over time. The rust makes your strings sound dull, and kills its tone.
  3. Your guitar strings feel stiff. In normal conditions, your guitar strings should feel flexible and bendable. However, due to corrosion and rust, your strings would become stiff. This would make it harder for you to play them and your guitar would not sound the best.
  4. You would see dents in your strings. With time, you would see dents appearing on your strings. This happens when you play your guitar a little rough. When the string comes in contact with fret. If you string have a few dents, then that means your string can break at any time.
  5. Your strings are discolored. Guitar is an instrument in which we have a direct contact with your hands. When we use our hands to play the guitar, oils from our fingers build up on strings over time. This not only corrodes the strings, but also changes the color of the strings. So, if you see that your strings have changed their colors, then you might need to buy a new one.

How to Maintain Your Guitar Strings

Taking care of your strings is the easiest way to extend the life of your strings. Honestly, there are only a few ways on how you can take care of your stings apart from washing your hands before playing. However, if you constant with this, you would get an extra month or two with your strings.

  1. The easiest way to take care of your string is to simply wipe it after playing the guitar. Take a clean cloth, and then simply wipe the strings with it. This would remove the oils and dirt that may have accumulated on the strings during the play session.
  2. By using a string cleaner. If you want to take an extra step, then you can buy a conditioner, similar to like this one on Amazon. These cleaners out a protective layer on the strings, which adds a protective layer the strings which helps them to avoid corrosive and other  harmful agents.  

A Short Table To Help You Decide When To Change The Strings of Your Guitar

Majority of the players change their guitar strings after 3 months. However, as said before, that isn’t the case with everyone. Nor it should be.

Remember, if you exceeded the time on your strings compared to this table, then do not worry. You can ‘play’ your guitar until your strings break. Therefore, there is no real reason to worry about it.

How often Do You Play?

How Many Horus Do You Play?

This Is Usually For:


Around than 10 hours

Professionals on Tours


Around than 50 hours



Around 100 hours

Avid Players

Three Months

Around 100 hours

Beginner Guitarists

Six Months

Around 200 hours

Seasonal Guitarists  

How Much Do You Want to Control The Sound of Your Strings?

Honestly, this is the biggest factor. It all depends on how serious you are with your guitar and how regularly you play with it. If you do not practice at all, and play it once a month, then there is no real need for changing the strings.

Should I Change the Guitar Strings on My New Guitar?

That is not always the case. However, it might be a good idea if:

  • If the guitar has been sitting in the shop for a long time. It is most likely that many shoppers have at least ‘tried it out’. Then it might be a good idea to replace them.
  • If you like the guitar but do not like how it sounds, and feel like that the strings could be more ‘playable’. If that is your intuition, then you should change them,
  • If you prefer or are used to strings from a different manufacturer and are accustomed to them. Then I recommend changing the strings to the ones you like. 

Do Unused Guitar Strings Go Bad?

It honestly depends on how you keep the guitar.

The higher the humidity, the more likely the strings would get rusty and go bad. In fact, the entire guitar needs to be protected against it.

A good principle is to place the guitar in a dry place at room temperature when it is not needed. 

If you follow the above advise, then your guitar strings can even stay good for years if not played.

What Guitar Strings Should I Get?

Below, I listed a few strings and a few helpful products that you might want to buy for your guitar.

When Should I Change My Guitar Strings