So you change your guitar strings when one breaks?
Well, lets talk about that for a minute.
I often get asked “when should I change my guitar strings?” or “how often should I do a setup on my instrument?”
Well, there are many variables as well as personal taste as far as changing strings. For instance, some professional players like to change their strings every day (yes, every day) because they perform every day and they like the sound of new strings, some other players like the sound of strings that are a bit worn and all settled in.
I personally change my strings about once a month as I like the sound of new strings.
Typically though, strings should be changed when they are rusty, brown, don’t stay in tune and sound dull.
As far as setup, typically you should have your instrument setup once a year as some of the settings on your instrument like the action (the distance of the strings to the fretboard) changes depending on humidity level, string tension, normal playing wear and other factors. Also you should show some love for your instrument and clean it after you play it.
In general, I think every musician should care of their instrument and do a standard setup, clean and change strings on their own and not have somebody elks do it for them. The reason to do so is that I think caring for your instrument is your moment of Zen with your instrument. I really believe people who show care for their instrument share some kind of really unique love with their instrument and the instrument is going to give back that love. Almost like caring for a plant if that makes any sense.
All instruments are made for the most part of wood and wood is alive, it shrinks, it swells, it responds to your playing, resonates and ages in a different way depending who’s playing.
A guitar that sits in a case for a long time does not sound like one that’s been played and one that’s been played hard sounds different than one that’s been played lightly.
Spending time with your instrument will build a relationship with your instrument that is unique as it is strong. Some musicians refer to their main instrument as “my baby” and I believe if you get to know your instrument inside and out and you will be a much happier musician than the one who is always looking for a different instrument as he is not able to build that kind of relationship with the instrument he or she has.
That said, it also true that sometimes you may think you’re not a very good player and intact you’re just suffering from a really bad guitar.
I tell all my students they should at least learn to change the strings and do it often as well as trying new different strings and see what the string makers have to offer. You might find some pretty good strings out there and because of it become a better musician right away!