How to extend the strings life?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Gigino, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Gigino

    Gigino Member

    Jun 11, 2005
    When i play my guitars with new string i get so good tones that i'd like to change strings every 3 or 4 days but...time and money are a issue so i ask you: is there some method to extend the life of guitar strings?
  2. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    Wiping down with a paper towel or lint free cloth such as micro fiber cloth after every use will help. Wrap the cloth under the string and clean end to end then wipe the top surface and put in the case. You can't use anything that will leave fibers wrapped around the string. I don't use any of the sprays or wipes that are made for this so don't have any advice about those. When the nickel plating starts to come off it's time to change the strings, they just get tired and stop moving.
  3. urbanhiker

    urbanhiker Member

    Apr 18, 2007
    Durham, NC
    Wipe them down with a clean, dry cloth after you play guitar. Every time you play guitar. If you play for a fairly long time, run the cloth under the strings as well.
  4. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Wash hands a lot? I like strings a few days after as they break in, still have the snap but warm up a little. I play them until I hear the intonation going which isn't long. At least it's not nylon strings which are dead by the time they stretch out!
  5. Funkwire

    Funkwire Member

    Jul 19, 2007
    St. Paul MN
    +1 on all previous responses...wash your hands before you play the guitar (no OCD jokes, please) and wipe down the strings after every use. I put FastFret on my strings after I change them, it seems to help.

    Have you tried the Kaman or D'Addario coated strings? I don't care for them, because you don't get the new, crisp tone you get from a fresh set of nickel strings...but they do seem to last longer.
  6. slipbeer

    slipbeer Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2004
    Center City, MN
    Try Snake Oil Strings. They seem to last a really long time with no degradation in tone.
  7. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Northern VA
    This is what I do and, combined with intrinsically low-acid sweat (I'm guessing), my strings seem to stay fresh longer than average. I'm aware that sometimes the other musicians I play with laugh at me for this. I don't care whatsoever as long as it works (which it does).
  8. djem

    djem Member

    Jan 13, 2005
    My strings last a super long time. This is what I do:

    • always play with clean hands
    • wipe strings down, entire circumferance, with a cloth after playing. I take it a step further by adding 99% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) on the cloth. I always get black gunk on the cloth after the wipe down. I use the same cloth on the p/up cover and tailpiece.
    • use another cloth to wipe down the body and neck because I don't want to smear the string gunk on the wood
    It may sound OCD, but doing this each time after playing saves me a lot of string changes.

  9. rburkard

    rburkard Gold Supporting Member

    May 30, 2007
    Milwaukee, WI
    Totally agree. They last a long time and don't require special care. I can keep these strings on my guitars for weeks while they get a fair amount of playing time. I had to change most other string brands after one gig or rehearsal.

  10. thetone

    thetone Member

    Mar 4, 2006
    Cleveland (jealous?)
    I can't remember how or why I got started doing this - but I pour some rubbing alcohol on my guitar cleaning rag and rub down the strings. If you hold the rag between your thumb and first finger and run it up and down each string individually you can see how much black gunk it takes off. I'm not sure if it extends the life but it does seem to get the crud off. I also use alcohol to clean the neck, fretboard and frets when I change strings.
  11. jamesrsmith

    jamesrsmith Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    ok, i would never have thought of this, but it did remove a lot of dirt,,, dean of snake oil brand strings says that you can get some regular lighter fluid (like for cigarette lighters), put a quarter sized squirt on a dry rag, run it up and down the length of the string from underneath,, on top of the fret board,, it will evaporate and not damage the guitar...
  12. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Nov 25, 2005
    In The Basement
    I don't think I'd use alcohol on rosewood. A lacquered maple neck, maybe, but no way on rosewood.

    As for string life, I just play them until they're dead and replace them. I use Kerly Music's "Kerly Kues" and they last far longer than regular strings.
  13. digthosetubes

    digthosetubes Senior Member

    Jun 13, 2007
    I discovered FAST FRET about a year ago. It was recommended to me.

    I follow the directions: Apply frequently. Wipe off top of strings carefully. Use well worn cotton cloth, which is low in lint. Use a separate cloth placed between strings and fret board. Move up and down from nut to bridge. Then blow off the lint on strings, neck and guitar with a good hurrican style syringe blower (used for cameras) and put the guitar in the case.

    The white mineral oil in the Fast Fret lubricates the strings and enables your cloth to get the strings quite clean. This fine coating of mineral oil you leave behind prevents corrosion and reduces friction on the strings. Less abrasion means less corrosion to the string finish.

    WORKs GREAT. Strings stay bright and feel good.

    I could care less if people buy this product. But the chemistry of my hands is tough on strings. The Fast Fret makes a huge difference. So does keeping the hands CLEAN.

    Safe for plastic and lacquer finishes. But the idea isn't to gob this stuff on. A little goes a long way.
  14. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

    Feb 26, 2005
    Gretchen's House, Bluesland, TX.

    I agree-The Alcohol may clean strings well but it must be hell on a fret board.
    I keep my hands reasonably clean before playing and sometimes wipe them down.
    My strings last a long time and retain a fesh sound long too and I do strech them quite a bit bending.
  15. Bill Brasky

    Bill Brasky Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    Michigan, USA
    Don't play them. They last for years that way.
  16. aps

    aps Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    New Jersey
    I'm not sure if this was requested because I didn't read all the replies, but try using Finger Ease. Just spray it on a microfiber cloth or even an eye glass cleaner cloth and wipe down the strings. (works good on pickup covers and other metal too).
  17. archiestone

    archiestone Member

    Jun 30, 2006
    SF Bay Area, CA
    A small amount of Dunlop 65 String Cleaner & Conditioner applied to a clean cotton cloth, wipe along strings, then wipe off with other side of cloth extends the life of my strings nicely and has never caused any fretboard damage or issues.
  18. NatDeroxL7

    NatDeroxL7 Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    The following is guaranteed to increase string life dramatically

    -Wearing latex gloves
    -Not playing the guitar
    -Playing the guitar but only with a pick and not fingering any of the strings with the left hand
    -Playing only open tunings with a slide and pick, only using the slide and pick to play
    -Washing your hands in a 10/60/30 mix of hot water, bleach, and dish detergent before each playing session
  19. javahut

    javahut Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Austin, TX
    +1 on Finger Ease. I've used this stuff since I was in my teens I think? I always spray the strings very lightly before I play up and down the entire length of the strings. Then if I'm playing for awhile, or enough to sweat, I'll spray Finger Ease on lightly the entire length of the strings and wipe them down with a micro fiber cloth during a play session. Then after I'm done, I spray them lightly again and wipe them down again, along with the bridge and pretty much the entire guitar before putting it away.

    The last few years, in addition to this, I've started using Elixir strings. It's so nice to be able to pick up my guitar for weeks and get the sound of virtually new strings without changing them nearly as often as I did when I was younger. It's also great for recording, since you never know when the urge will hit you, and you start laying something down, only to discover it's the tracks you're going to keep... so it's good to have a good set of strings on that keep sounding good for a long while.

    My $0.02 worth... YMMV.
  20. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

    Feb 17, 2007
    Maineville, OH
    Here's what I finally did.

    I just set my system to work best with the strings AFTER that 3 or 4 day period... Now I don't like them brand new anymore.

    I also use Elixirs now, they last for a LONG time and sound great to me. My number one electric guitar I can get one or two months out of a set, and I play it pretty often.

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