When To Change Your Guitar Strings & Why You Should

If you’ve ever played guitar for any time at all, you’ll know that changing your strings is a normal and essential part of regular maintenance. For those who may not know the ins and outs of string changes, we’ve compiled all the answers to your questions on this helpful blog post.

Table of Contents

Why should I change my guitar strings?

Your guitar strings will naturally stretch over time as they are played, so applying new ones periodically helps keep them tight and maintain optimum sound quality.

Strings can also wear down from playing and eventually break if they become too loose. Changing strings will help prolong the life of your instrument.

What gauge should I use?

Gauge refers to the thickness of a string. The higher the number, the thinner the string. A lower gauge is usually easier to play, but may produce less volume and tone.

You can also choose from different materials, such as nylon or acoustic steel.

Most guitars require 9-42 gauge strings, with some 7-string models requiring lighter gauges to avoid excess weight on the guitar neck. Acoustic guitars generally require light gauge strings made of nylon or bronze – 10-46 is standard for most guitars.

When should I change my guitar strings?

Guitar strings typically need to be changed every two to three weeks, but there are a few simple ways you can tell if it’s time for a new string set. If you have any of the following problems with your current set, it may be time for a new one:


The tone is no longer as clear and bright as usual, especially on newly bought strings. Over time, a sound can become muddied from dirt or residue from your hands and fingertips that build up on the string as you play.

String feels loose:

The string feels loose and prone to breaking. This happens because over time the string stretches and becomes looser and looser until it finally snaps or gets tangled around something and breaks during playing or rehearsal.

Worn out guitar strings will also feel unusually soft and spongy when strummed, so if yours feel like this, they’re probably due for a change before any damage is done.

The string has snapped or broken during playing or practice. If this has happened, it’s best to change the rest of the set to avoid any further damage.


Your strings are dirty or there is residue on them. If you look down at your guitar neck and notice some signs of dirt- build up, it’s time to change your strings. The same applies if you have any residue on the strings themselves. All of this residue not only makes your sound duller, but it may negatively affect the sound quality all together.

How do I change my guitar strings?

Step 1

Prepare everything you need for the string change before you begin. You’ll need a new set of strings, a string winder or lever-winding machine, and at least one screwdriver (depending on your instrument).

Step 2

Once you’ve gathered everything necessary, set the guitar on a flat, stable surface with the tuning pegs up and the tuning knobs down. You can use a hard surface like this to help prevent your instrument from toppling over and breaking your strings.

Step 3

Remove any excess string from around the tuning knobs by firmly pushing down on them with either a screwdriver or pry bar. Be careful not to twist or bend the pegs as you remove any excess string or it can shift and cause problems with tuning once you put new strings on your guitar.

Step 4

Detach the old strings from the pegs by turning them counter clockwise. On some guitars there are small ball bearings  or springs attached to the pegs that help maintain tension on the strings. Be careful to remove any of these parts along with the old string before installing your new set, because they can fall out during installation and get lost.

Step 5

Put the first string through the hole in your guitar’s headstock, then thread it through until it is pointing down towards the tuning peg. Twist it clockwise around two or three times before tightening it against a tuning peg.

Step 6

Hook the string up the lever-winding machine and slowly wind it counter clockwise to tighten the string against the tuning peg. If your pole cap has a ball bearing or spring at its center, you can use it to help keep tension on the string while winding.

Step 7

Thread the other two strings through their respective tuning pegs, twisting them clockwise one at a time before tightening them against their corresponding tuning pegs. If your guitar doesn’t have a pole cap with a ball bearing or spring attached, you can use a clamp to help keep tension while winding.

Step 8

When you’ve finished winding all three strings, you can either put a cap on your tuning pegs where the strings were installed, or leave them out to maintain tension while they stretch.

Step 9

Now that the new strings are installed, you’ll need to tune them to their correct pitch according to your instrument’s specifications.


If you follow these steps, you’ll have a new set of guitar strings on your instrument in no time. You can keep track of how often you change your strings by writing it down in a journal or checklist app.

This way, you’ll know when to expect your string change next time around, and can plan it accordingly. Ultimately, changing your strings is really quite simple, but executing it afterward is the hard part!


Q: How often should I change my guitar strings?

A: Old Strings Sound Awful This is the first and very important reason to change guitar strings often. … Strings Starts to Feel Weird Do you remember that feeling when you pick that brand new guitar and play your first strum? … Strings can Break Anytime Older strings are more likely to break as compare to a new string. …

Q: When should you replace guitar strings?

A: Use a dry towel to wipe down your neck and strings every time after playing. Guitar-string cleaning kits are ideal for deep cleaning and conditioning of the fretboard. Replace your strings with a new set when cleaning doesn’t help anymore.

Q: How to know when to replace guitar strings?

A: Know it or not, if you’ve got a guitar, and you play it often, you should be changing your strings periodically. Given time, your guitar strings will lose their liveliness and tone, begin to fall out of tune, cause intonation issues, and even break. Yes, guitar strings do break. And when they do, it doesn’t…

Q: What happens to sound when you shorten a guitar string?

A: When string players tighten or loosen their strings, they are altering the pitches to make them in tune. The density of a string will also affect its frequency. Remember that dense molecules vibrate at slower speeds. The more dense the string is, the slower it will vibrate, and the lower its frequency will be.