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How do you decide when to change your strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Marley's Ghost, Nov 15, 2002.

  1. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I know it's been done before..but hey TB friends, how do you decide when your strings are worn out and need replacement? I have seen comments from players who change once every 2 years to once a month. Weigh in with your own opinions.
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Don't go by the calendar, go by your ears.

    Very successful bassists use strings that are absolutely dead.

    Other very successful bassists changes strings after every performance.

    So, there is no "right or wrong", only your taste. If it sounds good to you and your audience - it is good.

    Personally, I find some strings on some basses sound better with age. I have a solid ash body bass with a maple neck that is just SO BRIGHT with new stainless steel roundwounds. I wanted the strings to mellow the whole thing down, so I bought some DR Lo-Riders and have left them on for 4 months (practically a record for me). But they just sounded better to me over time.

    However, now I can tell their volume is decreasing and they just don't have enough "spunk" any longer, so I ordered a new set today from Lakland (who made the bass).
  3. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    If they have a "thud." Or lose any flex or body, usually the sound tells you what you need to know.

    If you feel like changing them, and can afford to, the decision is yours.
  4. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    If the strings have no top end and the bottom isn't clear, I boil them. I'll usually boil a set only once (always before going in studio) and it brings them back to life without the tuning problem of new strings. After that it's time for a new pack.
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    As mentioned, it all depends on what you want to hear.

    Things like, body pH, storage conditions, type of string used, frequency of use, how much care you put into the bass, playing style, etc. all contribute to how long strings last.


    flats last a lot longer than rounds.
    Steel last longer than nickels.
    Good strings last longer than cheap strings

    I am very careful to clean the strings and boards after every use.

    I have been using the same set of SR2000s on my Q5 for at least six months and they sound fine.

    I used EB nickels on my L2500 and changed every 3-4 weeks.

    Whatever you like is what you should go with.

  6. bill_banwell

    bill_banwell Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2002
    If your getting new strings, how do you take them off, and how the hell do you put them on..it looks tricky..not that ive seen it but if i wanted to get a new set of bass strings, how would i go about taking them of and putting them back on my bass?
  7. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I change the strings when one breaks which is usually about 6 months or so. I used to change them more often, about every 2 months, but latley I like the sound of the strings with age.
  8. bill_banwell

    bill_banwell Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2002
    yeah but how do i re-string the bass?!

    how?! :confused:
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

  10. rhythmrod


    Oct 27, 2001
    Austin, Texas
    One other thing to consider. Don't take off all the strings at once. I usually replace one string, then move on to the next.
  11. bill_banwell

    bill_banwell Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2002
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Say, mah man......as long as your country is one of the few with the testicles to help my country wipe out the filth who think that Allah condoned killing innocent people, there isn't anything I wouldn't do for our friends in England.

    Divided we fall, united we play bass.
  13. Grygore


    Oct 25, 2002
    Grand Prairie, TX
    I've heard that before, but am wondering why? I have pretty much always removed all the strings at once when replacing them. It hasn't caused any problems that I know of. :confused:
  14. Nate Dawg

    Nate Dawg

    Apr 8, 2000
    Denver, CO
    The neck of your bass is designed to be under tension from the strings. Releasing that tension all at once causes the neck to flex back. Doing it once or twice probably won't hurt it, but repeatedly applying and releasing the tension will screw up the neck.

    I always remove the smallest string first and replace it, then move on to the next (and so on...) That way, if the tension on the string(s) is too great, I'm not in any real danger of the strings snapping. In most cases, the thickest string can take the most tension so I like to have it do most of the work.
  15. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    I have always removed all the strings at once, cleaned the board and reapplied all the strings. I have never had a neck become damaged from this.

    If you were going to store a bass without strings, it would probably be wise to also release the tension on the truss rod, but other than that, I can't imagine string removal damaging a neck.

  16. Grygore


    Oct 25, 2002
    Grand Prairie, TX

    Ahh, ok. Thanks for the reply. I do what Chasarms does and clean the fretboard really good whenever I change strings. Been doing it that way on the same bass for about 10 years, and the neck is fine. I imagine though, it would vary from instrument to instrument. Now I have a different bass, so, I'll start changing em one at a time just in case. ;)

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