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5 Signs It's Time to Change Your Instrument Strings

There isn’t an easy answer to the question “when should I change my musical instrument strings,” because there are many factors to consider. Ask yourself these questions and if you answer “yes” to one or more, chances are it’s time to consider changing your strings.

5 Questions to Determine if You Need to Change Your Instrument Strings

1. How often is the instrument being played? If you’re only playing once a week for half an hour, then your strings could last a few months. However, if you’re playing every day or performing with the instrument every weekend, it will likely mean replacing strings much more often. Also, more advanced players tend to go through strings more quickly than beginners.

2. Are you having trouble keeping your instrument in tune? After you first replace the strings and tune your musical instrument, the strings should sound strong for a while (depending on how often you play). When you notice your instrument doesn’t sound fresh and sharp and won’t hold a tune, it’s time to consider replacing your strings.

3. Does your instrument sound dull? If your strings are starting to sound dull, especially the wound ones on the bass side of the instrument, that’s a sign that new strings are probably in order.

4. Do your strings look darker and feel grimy? If your strings are darker and becoming more difficult to play, it’s a signal to change them out. One factor that affects how often you replace them is the oil content of your skin collecting on the strings, causing a shorter string life. Wiping your strings with a clean cloth after playing may help them last longer. In general, your musical instrument strings should feel clean and slick when you play. If you feel resistance between the strings and your fingers, chances are the strings are dirty and need to be cleaned or replaced.

5. Do your strings feel stiffer than they used to? Ideally, your strings should feel supple and pliant when you play. If they feel stiff and unbendable that means the metal is beginning to deteriorate. It may take a while before your strings break, but this is the time to think about replacing them. These days many steel string manufacturers offer a coated version of their strings which generally last longer than the uncoated ones.

Let Us Help You With Your Strings

The Denver Folklore center carries a wide range of strings and can help you find the right replacement set when you are ready. Contact us at 303.777.4786 or at for more information.