A guitar player of any skill level or genre greatly relies on the strings of the guitar.
Getting a new guitar can be great because you’d naturally expect to produce high quality sound with new strings……
but the fact of the matter is strings don’t last a lifetime.
Therefore it helps to have a general idea of what you can do to preserve them. Thankfully there are ways in which you can do this.
This post will therefore discuss the various ways you can employ to preserve and prolong the lifespan of your strings.
I’ll also discuss various things you should do and avoid to achieve this.
Because as you well know, when strings start to wear out, their tone drastically changes and this is what we want to avoid.
With that said let’s get into some of the ways you can prolong the life span of your guitar strings.
Boiling strings is an effective way of not only prolonging their life but also making them sound better.
All you have to do is fill up a sauce pan or pot with water. Use distilled water preferably because most tap water contains too many chemicals and we want to avoid that.
Once you’ve filled up your sauce pan or pot with water, place it on your stove or anything else you might be using like a burner etc. and put it on high.
Wait for the water to start boiling, once it does place your coiled strings into the boiling water.
For acoustic and electric guitar strings you’ll only be boiling for around 3 – 5 minutes.
I recommend 4 minutes because it’s between 3 and 5 which means it’s a good optimal time.
Don’t boil them for more than 5 minutes because you’ll end up messing up the strength of the strings.
For bass guitar you’ll be boiling the for 10 to 15 minutes and not any longer than that.
Once you boil the strings according to the duration’s I’ve discussed above, you need to remove them and dry them with a wet cloth preferably a towel. But don’t use paper towels.
The next step is to preheat your oven to its lowest temperature (200° to 235° is good).
While you wait for the oven to heat up wrap the strings in aluminum foil.
Once your oven heats up, place your wrapped strings in the oven for about 15 minutes so they can dry up.
Once they dry up, remove them and unwrap and wait for them to cool down and then restring them.
Doing this can be a great way to improve the sound quality of your strings as well as prolong their life span.
Wipe them down regularly
It’s no good using your guitar and not taking good care of your strings. Doing this can shorten their lifespan as well as make them sound dull.
So make sure to wipe your strings with a clean rag or cloth regularly because this will help you get rid of any oils or any dirt that may accumulate on the strings.
Wipe down each and every string on your guitar.
Use the guitar case
If you don’t already own one, get yourself a guitar case because it will help you preserve your guitar.
Guitar cases are meant for the storage of your guitar and they can be a great way to keep your guitar out of the reach of people.
Furthermore, keeping your guitar in a storage container like a guitar case is good because it doesn’t expose it to various things like air and mixtures of other elements that could cause your strings to rust or wear out easily.
Use string cleaners
String cleaners are a great way to preserve your strings but you have to careful in choosing which one to use.
I recommend using the Fender speed slick guitar string cleaner because it’s meant to not only clean but also prolong the life of your strings.
So do check it out.
If you do feel the need to use another type, just be sure to check for specifications because using bad cleaner for your strings can make them weaker and start to rust.
If use a good cleaner, it’s all good.
You can also apply baby powder like Johnsons baby powder to your guitar neck as this has been spoken about and can help you keep your hands dry.
keeping your hands dry is important because you don’t want to be playing your guitar with sweaty hands.
Precautions to prolong string life
Keep your hands clean
When playing guitar avoid playing with dirty hands.
Always wash your hands before you play because the oils and moisture from your hands can corrode your guitar.
Washing your hands is not only hygienic but will also you in keeping your strings clean.
Pressing your strings with too much pressure is one thing that you should not do. This is commonly a mistake that most beginner guitar players make.
Too much pressure on your strings will place to much pressure on your metal frets which will weaken them until they eventually snap. So play gently.
You should also avoid bending strings too much.
When you push a string tightly over the fret board so the pitch goes up (which is a technique often used in rock and blues music) it strains the string.
This effect sounds good and is desirable, but doing this excessively can damage the string’s internal structure, causing it to wear out more quickly.
Naturally nylon strings are more tolerant to bends as compared to metal strings.
Keep your fingernails short
If you’re somebody that plays guitar with your fingers rather than a pick, your nails are one thing that most frequently touches and manipulates your strings.
Uneven or long nails can actually cause abrasions to your strings’ exteriors, which shortens their playable life.
So make sure you keep your nails short and well rounded so they don’t touch or manipulate your strings.
While it is necessary to properly tune your guitar, most amateur guitar players manipulate string tension far more than is necessary.
If your guitar is in tune, try not to mess around by tightening and loosening the strings just for fun. This can cause tension in your strings which shortens their playable life.
So avoid it.