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When Is It Time to Change Strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Fair Warning, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Fair Warning

    Fair Warning Deliverin' the Goods! Supporting Member

    I have been playing bass a long time and have heard alot of different perspectives on when you should change strings. I know guys who change string after every gig. For me, I dont find it necessary for more than a year sometimes (or longer).

    So I would like to hear some more on this topic.
  2. i use flatwounds and im not going to change strings until they break (which will be years)
    i changed roundwounds every 3-5 months depending on the brand.
    sunbeams 5 months, other dr strings 4 months, fender rounds max 3 months. roto's 5 months then again 3 months. they already sounded bad when i first put them on so i didnt see much difference even after 8 months.
    i dont like dead rounds they lose their sparkle while not gaining any low end that is attributed to flat wounds.
  3. temmrich

    temmrich Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2012
    Dayton, Ohio
    Flats: never
    Rounds: when they become a pain to tune, or you just can't stand that thud (if you wanted thud you'd have flats, right?)

    I never liked the sound of brand new rounds, so I do like the 1-6 month sound of them, but they eventually go dead. It's personal. Some change every gig or every week because they want that brand new sounds.
    It's like asking whether steel or nickel is better for rounds. Totally subjective.
  4. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    When it takes too much effort to get the sound you are accustomed to, it's time to change strings.
  5. Sometime before you break the E mid song in church, like I did last Sunday.
  6. 4 times a year ... D'Add Prosteels or SIT Powerwounds, and sometimes Elixir.
  7. Joe_K


    Nov 21, 2007
    Roundwounds: When cleaning them sufficiently no longer works to liven them up .. or if rust appears. :D
  8. walldaja


    Apr 27, 2011
    How do you know how old they are? Do you document changes?
  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I change strings as needed ...

    Sometimes that will be one day or as long as one year.

    If you play for several hours and have sweaty fingers you can foul up your strings very quickly. Or if you have several basses sitting in your basement and you play them occaisionally then strings can last a long time.

    Sometimes new strings are dead right out of the package.
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    My first Rick had tapewond strings on it when I bought it in 1973. Under the tape the strings were rusting.
  11. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    once every couple of years or so as needed should do it unless you're beating the snot out of them every night.
    I kept a set of rounds on my old Fender J for 7 years. They eventually started sounding like flats, which I liked. During that time I had boiled them a few times and kept reusing them. But every player is different so what works for one might not work for another. Use your best judgement as to when the strings need replacing.
  12. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Flats: NEVER (unless they break)
    Rounds: when they lose that top end sparkle. I've changed strings after one gig before and felt justified.
  13. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    When I was younger I didn't know people ever changed their strings? I agree with Rip.
  14. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Stainless Steel Roundwounds - When the notes are all sounding muddy and the notes are not very distinguishable. Especially with pick playing - no growl, time for new strings. Typically every three months, but this can be more based on how many shows I have lined up.
  15. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I change them when the loss of sustain becomes obvious. If I didn't care about sustain, I would never change them.
  16. micgtr71


    Dec 4, 2012
    I placed a set of Ken Smith strings (the ones with the purple ends) on my 95 Fender Jazz when I bought it new because I like 40s. When I replaced the tuners last summer with Hipshot Ultralites my tech refused to put them back on. Ironically, he had a set of the same strings on hand so he put them on. Maybe in another 18 years I will change them.
  17. klejst


    Oct 5, 2010
    When they either break or sound dull as all he** (unless that is the sound you are going for)

    I usually change strings about every other month or until they loose that brighter treble twangy sound.
  18. Fair Warning

    Fair Warning Deliverin' the Goods! Supporting Member

    Thanks all! Good to hear all the different perspectives. I think that i get more longevity out of my strngs because I like to use my different basses, which keeps the hours off of any one unit. I have strings on a few basses now that have been on for more than a year, still sounds great. I justwanted reassurance that I wasn't missing some bass gospel.
  19. .
    It's totally a personal preference thing.

    Some like to retain brightness and replace strings often, some can't wait for it to disappear and leave them on for years.

    I'm part of the brightness brigade, I love the sound of brand new strings.
    I boil my old strings a few times to clean/brighten them before I replace them though. (Yes, I'm one of them!)
  20. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    Flats after:
    - 10 years: They are best
    - 20 years: Think about changing them
    - 30 years: Finally decide that they might take another 10 years
    - 40 years: You feel they might be changed now - but you forgot how to do that
    - 50 years: New strings like yours are no longer available - so, you keep them ...