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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

    37 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. Phil508


    Feb 19, 2012
    Central MASS
    Had the neck reset on my 67 Hofner 500 and told them to put strings on if needed. They put two on, left the other two. Granted it had been sitting for a while and the two old strings were from 1974ish. All strings sounded great. 42+ years for strings , there something to be said for closets.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    BassIsBoss likes this.
  2. TwinBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    Spokane, WA
    Normally, I change up round wound strings fairly regularly (every few months or so, depending on use).

    I had this one set of flats that lasted 10 years and were swapped at least a dozen times between basses. I wish I could remember what strings those were. They were simply the best.
  3. Ben B

    Ben B Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I think my chromes have been on my fretless bass for about 10 years. I really can't remember the last time they were changed. On my fretted bass, the round wounds get cleaned a couple time per year and changed about every 2 years. I don't need them to be really zingy.
  4. stringtapper


    Jun 24, 2009
    Denton, TX
    I expect to never remove the Ernie Ball Custom Gauge Group I Flats (55–110) from my 2009 MIA P.

    I think I put them on around 2012.
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  5. BassIsBoss


    Jun 25, 2007
    Nova Scotia
    I've never met a new set of strings I like. 1982 JV Precision.....original strings and they sound great. 1989 Washburn AB40 fretless.....original flats.....any life in them died eons ago.....sounds absolutely beautiful.
  6. SchnaiderGT


    Jan 11, 2017
    The D´Addario rounds in my Jazz are 6 years old and counting, a lot for an intensive use and hand-sweaty player. Love that absolute dead sound!
  7. This is where I'm at.

    Most of my basses only get a change in strings if I break one, otherwise they'll wear the same set of flats indefinitely.
    The longest I've had a set of strings on a bass is probably about 5-7 years before I broke one, but my old 70's Maton JB4 fretless has had the same set of rounds on it since the mid-80's (I haven't owned it that long, but was informed by the previous owner) and it still sounds sublime.
  8. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    As much as it is that I like the brightness of new strings, it's also a tactile thing. They just feel better new to me too.
  9. Tom Baker

    Tom Baker Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2016
    I changed the TIJB's right at 10 years on my warick $$, but kept the old set as a backup and may use them on another bass I have shortly.
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I have 15 basses and I spread the playing around between them all ... so for me one or two string changes per year will do it.
  11. 5below


    Jan 18, 2015
    Louisville, KY
    I bought both of my basses used and new strings (round-wounds) were put on by the vendor, so I started with new. I was gigging for a while, so both were used for a few hours a week in practice and my main player another 4 hours for gigs. Not in a band anymore and practice is kind of hit and miss right now due to some medical issues with my wrists. Having said all that, I don't expect to ever change the strings unless they break - I like the thump of well-worn strings!

    If I ever get back to gigging, my story might change...
  12. twinjet

    twinjet What does God need with a starship?

    Sep 23, 2008
    I owned a Schecter Stiletto Custom 6 6-string bass for about seven years and had only changed strings when they started sounding exceedingly lifeless. Because I didn't have much money to spend on pricey 6-string sets, my C string never did get changed, after seven years! It was an Elixir that came with the bass when I first bought it in 2008, and it may very well still be on that bass as the person who bought it from me lives in a small town 4 hours away from a music store.

    Oh, to answer the other questions, this bass was frequently used in high school and was my first gigging bass when I started working for local jazz combos, a big band and my first studio session job. It only got stored away in a case when I moved out of my hometown at 22 and left it at my mom's house, at which point I didn't see or play it for six months. After that, it remained virtually untouched for another two years, until it was sold in 2015.
  13. GroveBass


    Sep 5, 2016
    Madison, AL
    Since I only play Elixirs on my SoundGear basses, and they seem to just go on forever, I only change them when the outer nanoweb coating starts coming off. That seems to vary greatly, so in general they seem to last several years of regular playing. I have one bass I use to practice at home with which gets the most play-time, then my "performance bass" only gets used on Sundays (I play in the praise band at church), so those last even longer.

    If memory serves, around 4 years is the longest, and that was a set I just recently took off of my SR705 about three months ago when I replaced the defective bridge on it, so I put new strings back on while it was apart.

    Edit to add: I, like the OP, do not really care for the sound of fresh strings; I think they're too bright. I also find SoundGear basses too bright in general and have to compensate heavily for that no matter what amp I'm playing through!

    On both of my SoundGears, I have the treble control knob turned all the way down. On my Warwick practice amp at home, I have the highs adjusted way down, almost to the point of being off. On the Trace Elliot amp at church, the high end of the EQ is pulled all the way down, and I also turned the horn adjustment knob all the way off, and the tone from my basses is STILL nice and clear! Any brighter and you can hear every finger move on the strings, and I just don't like that...
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  14. Roxbororob

    Roxbororob Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2015
    I use Rotosound 66 on my main bass and I used to change them very often. But since I have started taking them off and cleaning them overnight in denatured alcohol regularly they last much longer. My current heavy set is going on one year!

    My chromes on the other hand are just warming up compared to the others here so nothing to report.
    John B jr likes this.
  15. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    My Ibanez SR480 I bought new in if I recall 2003, it hung on the wall at Danny D's for about a year, so 2002. The strings on it are OEM / original and still sound great. Admittedly that bass is no longer my #1, but it still gets played a lot...
  16. Saetia


    Mar 27, 2003
    Ohh man, it depends.

    When I was playing a lot it was once a month or even more often. Usually nickel rounds or nickel steels.

    As I play less, it's been extended to about twice a year.

    I just got a fretless and strung it with cobalt flats, I'm gonna see how long I can leave them.
  17. For me it changes depending on the bass and what the band is doing.

    I have two basses and change the strings on the backup every once in a while, no real time period just depends on how much I play it.

    On my main bass I change the strings every two shows if we're busy gigging. For example we just played back to back weekends with no rehearsal in between and I used the same strings. But When gigs are slow for whatever reason; taking more time to write new stuff, family vacations or whatever I'll change them before each show. For me it also depends on the gigs. I like the sound and feel of new strings but I won't change strings if we play somewhere and the PA isn't that great or I know the soundguy is going to low pass the bass.
  18. waveman

    waveman Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2008
    I changed strings on all my basses about 3 or 4 years ago, and I either practice or gig with each of them. I keep forgetting to put some fresh ones on, but hey they work.
  19. Back in the day, I put a new set of Rotos on every month or so. Now I only really change them when I am trying a new brand or style of strings. It can be years.
  20. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    I converted my first bass to a fretless in 1991, put tape wounds on it and they've been on ever since. They sound dead as ever.