Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Do Strings Have A Shelf Life?

I’ve been stockpiling quite a few strings lately and I started wondering if new, in-the-package, strings might eventually lose their tone. Anyone have any experience with this?

I have only noticed a problem with very old strings (maybe 8 or so years old). They were visibly corroded. I have used strings I purchased a few years ago and they seemed fine. I think probably the sealed packaging (like D’Addarios) would be good for a very long time.

I have some Vinci electric guitar strings in sealed packages that are over 10 years old. I recently opened a pack to string up one of my electrics and they were brand new fresh.

However, I also have some D’Addario classical strings that are about as old in packaging that is not sealed (plastic pack with open flap). Those were so corroded that they were unusable.

The moral to the story is that I should keep all my strings in sealed containers (zip lock bags?)

Doc, I think the zip lock bag is a great idea. I would add one more suggestion if you were going to do that. Add a desiccant such as a silica pack to the bag. Moisture is the friend of corrosion, and if one can keep the air in that baggy dry I think it would help greatly.
This topic brought back memories of when I was a teen playing bass in a rock band. Bass strings were expensive, so when they started to get dead, I would boil them in water with vinegar. It helped, but man, that was a bunch of work.

Or use one of those vacuum seal machines to package up spare strings. Just don’t let the “other half” see this, or you’ll really get yourself even deeper into that strange chasm where she figures all musicians probably belong. :mrgreen:

Thanks for the input, guys. I’ve probably got nothing to worry about because I’ve got no where near 8 or 10 years worth of strings. I think you guys may have a hoarding problem. :laughing:

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I think you guys may have a hoarding problem. :laughing:

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Guilty as charged. My hoarding stems primarily from my being cheap. I also serve as a local string supply for family, friends and neighbors. As it so happens, I got an email from Martin about a buy one get one free deal on their lifespan strings, and I am planning on replenishing my severely depleted stock this weekend. I was starting to get nervous… I only have about 6 sets of acoustic strings remaining.
As a side note, if anyone wants me to forward the email for the lifespans, let me know. It expires the end of the month.

The Lifespan sale is why I’m stocked up so heavy with strings right now. I didn’t really need them, but 2 for 1 was too good to pass up.