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Longest time without changing bass strings; share your experiences.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Ron Johnson, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. 1-4 weeks

    0 vote(s)
  2. 1-2 months

    6 vote(s)
  3. 2-4 months

    3 vote(s)
  4. 4-6 months

    9 vote(s)
  5. 6-12 months

    31 vote(s)
  6. 1-2 years

    48 vote(s)
  7. 2-4 years

    38 vote(s)
  8. 4-6 years

    30 vote(s)
  9. 6-10 years

    33 vote(s)
  10. 10-15 years

    18 vote(s)
  11. 15-20 years

    7 vote(s)
  12. 20+ years

    24 vote(s)
  1. Ron Johnson

    Ron Johnson

    Nov 19, 2014
    Chicago, IL
    I'm very curious as to what is the longest time someone has gone without changing strings (given they play regularly and don't just leave the bass in a closet for 20 years). I'd also love to hear what 20 year old strings sound like. I know there is sometimes a huge debate over when to change your strings, but let's keep this friendly and just say everyone has their own taste in tone.

    Personally, I've never liked the sound of new strings, even after being broken in for a few weeks. That is just my taste; no argument here. Half of my basses (all acquired used) have never even had new strings while in my possession. I've only ever purchased three sets of bass strings in my lifetime. The first set when I was a beginner and thought I needed to change the strings. The second set, because I wanted flats on my fretless. And the third set because a G string broke and I didn't like the gauge of the set that was already on the bass anyways. Besides that, the rest of my basses have been pre-owned and I have never changed the strings on those, plus who knows how long ago the strings had been changed before I purchased these basses.

    Please answer the poll as to how long you have gone without changing strings. Also please specify if said bass has been played often, or left in storage for years. Thanks!
    heynorm and Gospel Bass Player like this.
  2. BD Jones

    BD Jones

    Jul 22, 2016
    My the strings on my Fender Precision Lyte Deluxe were put on October 1995. I remember because they were a birthday present from my then girlfriend (now wife).
  3. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    Elixirs going on 9 years on my 5er. Still sound good. Upping the B gauge, so ordered some new lowriders....Sitting in the box still though.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Probably my first set for a couple months. Three weeks at the longest ever since.
    bskts247 and Gospel Bass Player like this.
  5. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I took the factory strings off a Dano Longhorn reissue from the mid 90's about 6 months ago.

    It was played medium often. Never stored for more than a few months at a time.

    They were dead as dead gets, to the point where they wouldn't stay in tune or intonate and had no sustain.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    TIJF's... I tend to sell basses before TIJF's wear out...
    singlemalt, muggsy and velalv like this.
  7. trothwell


    Apr 9, 2008
    Back before you could buy bass strings online, I was too disinterested in strings to care much. I routinely stuck with a set of stainless steel roundwounds (of some random manufacture that the local store happened to have) for a couple of years, and slathered them with GHS Fast Fret to keep them sounding new-ish.

    Today, I just enjoy trying new strings, and am more prone to change more frequently than I might strictly _need_ to...
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  8. Got 7 years on the TI flats on my Jazz.
  9. Matt_784


    Mar 21, 2016
    9 years on my Geddy Lee...............
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  10. farace


    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    I'm sure the strings on my Ampeg AUB-1 are at least twenty years old. The strings on my Dan Armstrong/Ampeg See Through are likely at least fifteen. I'd have left the probably ten-year-old set of no-longer-available D'Addario XL Reds on my Precision even longer, but I wanted to try out a set of NYXLs. I'm probably overdue to change the set on my Hagstrom 8-string. Can't remember the last time, and buying an eight-string set would tend to stick more in my mind.
  11. squidtastic

    squidtastic Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2013
    TheDayMan and Gospel Bass Player like this.
  12. somegeezer


    Oct 1, 2009
    My flats are my oldest, at about 4 years. Maybe 5. and they will easily last a lifetime, if not left to just rust away. My rounds on my 5 are slightly younger, at about 3 years. Still bright and spanky, to my surprise as much as anyone's.
  13. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    La Bella Black Tapewound strings. Now on year 13 and they still sound, look and feel new. Wouldn't be at all surprised to get 20 years out of these things.
    JimK likes this.
  14. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    23 years and counting...
  15. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I had a set of SuperWound 707 on my fretless from 1992 to 2015 at which point they really were gone (feeling stiff and unresponsive with strange overtones), although to be fair they were only getting a few hours a month from '99 to 2012 - what a slacker!
    I replaced them with Chromes (after a short spell with Rotosound 55) last year. The Chromes are starting to sound really nice about now, playing about 7-15 hrs a week.
    petey293 likes this.
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Put a fresh set of strings on my Danelectro Silvertone bass when I bought it used in 1978. I have never changed the strings since. 38 years and counting :roflmao:

    Next longest would be my 62 P which has had the same strings since sometime in the late 90s, they are pushing 20 years now I guess.

    Basically with flats, I out them on and forget about them. Rounds I change out twice a year if I'm using the bass regularly.
  17. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    I didn't settle yet, but 1-2 years is most common with regular playing (which has been less intense for the past few years).

    when I played more, it took me a few months to break them in to my liking (usually some nickel rounds), but at around 12 or 15 months I became uncomfortable with the idea of old strings and replaced them. Then I remembered I dislike new rounds, and started another cycle. After a few cycles, I switched to flats, but that didn't stick either.

    Now I'm trying different strings, but I also play less. I give them 6-12 months before I decide if I like a set or not.
  18. miiitch


    Nov 27, 2011
    almost 2 years with Halfrounds on it. The bass was stolen, so I couldnĀ“t do any longer-term tests
  19. primusfan1989


    Jan 17, 2005
    new jersey
    Have a Dean fretless thats had the same Tapewounds on for over 7 yrs now, still see no need to replace them as the make that bass sing
  20. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    I'm cringing just reading these, LOL. Sorry, I'm a new strings fanatic. I can't go more than 3-4 weeks without changing strings on a bass that I'm playing regularly... and that's with cleaning before and after each time I pick it up. Now, on a dormant bass, it can sit with those old strings until it makes it back into rotation. Then, of course, I have to change the strings.
    Buszkock and TheDayMan like this.

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