Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Banjo Strings - Best By Date?

I know strings don’t have expiration dates on the package, but was just curious if anyone on the forum has experience with unopened strings that may have been around for several years. I’m going to be given a few sets of strings this coming weekend that have been around for a while…maybe even 15 years or so…and still unopened!

I guess if they are all rusty or rough in texture, I’ll have may answer immediately…but hate to spend the time changing them only to realize they will need to come right back off and replaced. :upside_down_face:


Man, there are so many ways it just depends. If they happen to be vacuum sealed, they’re almost certainly still good. If they’re just in the normal envelopes, it’ll depend on the environment they’ve been in the whole time, or if they were exposed to excessive moisture at any time.

If they physically look good, I’d at least string up a couple of them (probably the low G and D strings) and see how they sound.


So the question is “Are free strings worth it?”
Like you said, if they are rusty or rough, you’ll know right away.

If you go ahead & put them on and they work, great!
If they don’t work, all you lose is a little time.
Got kids? Teach them how to change strings for you! (Imagine having your very own roadie!)
Got a wife? Teach her how to change strings for you! (Imagine having your very own groupie!)

I did have some old D’Addario strings in paper sleeves from 20 years ago. I put them on, and they broke right away.


I have used some pretty old strings. I haven’t had any problem with them in recent years. Like Mark said, if they are in a climate controlled environment, they will typically be fine for a long time.


Thanks for the comments!

@Mark_Rocka , I’ve never seen any vacuum-sealed banjo string packs before in my vast span of experience (at least 2-1/2 years or so…:smile:), but it makes perfect sense and would not be an expensive process to add when packaging. I’m sure the string makers would prefer I just toss them and buy new, though.

@BanJoe, I like the way you think! I’ll let you know how those ideas pan out… Thanks for sharing your experience.

@Mike_R, thanks for sharing yours, too!


Hmmm… maybe that’s an Elixir exclusive? Not sure, but that’s typically what I use. I like how slick Elixirs feel. Makes slides easier.


Don’t those Elixirs have some kind of coating too? Sounds like they are a premium product!


Yes, I think it’s the coating that makes them slick, but it also makes them last 3-4 times longer, so in the long run they’re cheaper if you change dead strings.


@Mark_Rocka,…just watched a video from a live YouTube feed that happened last night concerning the announcement of Deering switching over to ghs brand strings exclusively. They are being packaged specially for Deering in their nitrogen sealed pouches. Nitrogen is an innert gas that won’t allow the strings to rust (oxidize). Jens Kruger was on the live Q&A. I learned a lot about strings.




Cool, thanks!


I’m finalizing my signature set of GHS banjo strings, excited to get them rolled out! They’ll be better than Deering’s of course.


Well, of course…I’d expect nothing less from the new Banjo Ben General Store!

Can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve…

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