How do y’all go about trying out new strings? Do you give them a week or so to break in, keep what you like, throw away what you don’t like? And would you reuse strings? I know that is not ideal, but I kind of feel like I’m throwing $5 bills in the trash if I only used the strings for a few days.
Trying New Strings
I’m too cheap to take them off if if I don’t like them. I may have done that once or twice, but of course I find an excuse to change them sooner than I would have. I’ve settled into several sets of strings that I know are gonna be great.
Hi @Brent.H I started out using lights and found they kept breaking all the time. Being a Scot I don’t waste money trying out new strings. When I bought my Stelling it came with Medium Heavy’s so I have stuck with them ever since. I was fortunate to have made a bulk purchase before Stelling retired.
Let’s think about this for just a second. Hmmmmmmm, new strings or a gallon of 100LL… New strings or 100LL…New strings or 100LL…
I just couldn’t resist.
I’m relatively new to this game, but I play em until the sound goes a bit dull, then change em out. When one considers the cost of a nice instrument…strings are cheap. So there’s no reason we can’t be cheap too.
Archie’s been at this a while and always provides terrific responses.
I’m a light string guy. I believe my choice in that regard was substantiated during Ben’s interview with Russ Carson. Personally, the light gauge are much easier on my sensitive stubby fingers and for me are easier to play.
I also believe the late, great Satchel Paige would agree. Because he said, “I never runs when I can walks. I never stands when I can sits. And, I never sits when I can lay down.”
And everyone thought his was a ball player, when in fact that quote qualifies him as a great philosopher.
Play fast and take lost of chances!!!
Like others have mentioned, I have only removed a couple sets of strings that weren’t somewhat worn. It takes a bad set to just trash them immediately. I do find it hard to compare strings… inevitably the strings I am replacing are less than fresh. So then, I am comparing a new set to what I think I remember the old set sounded like (that was a nice thing about recording… find something you like and you have a nice reference). A couple of times I have tried strings again and had a different opinion than the first time I tried them. Also, different strings on different instruments are different. For example, I love monels on an adi/mahogany guitar but not so much on a sitka/rosewood one. Add to it that I am sometimes just moody about strings and pretty much that leaves me not being much value to this conversation. Sorry
Thanks folks. Sounds like we are of like mind on this.
@Archie My Stelling came with Heavy’s. They sound great, but I just can’t get that pop while doing a pull up like I can on the Banjo Ben Lights that I have on the Twanger. Side note, I ordered some Medium and Medium Lites from Stelling last week. So he is still selling accessories. I also ordered some Banjo Ben Medium gauge, which have the same gauges as the Stelling Mediums. So that’s the back story on the different strings I’m trying out. I really like how @BanjoBen puts a .22 gauge on that 4th string for his lights. For me, the Banjo Ben lights are what all others are measured against.
I rarely try new strings because I know what I like, but when I do, I take them off as soon as I know I don’t like them and give them to my 8-year-old brother to put on his guitar. He’s thrilled with a new set of strings and I don’t have to waste them. (That’s what I did at Gruhn’s a few months ago when they set up my guitar and put a brand new set of D’Addario XS Light’s on. Great sounding strings but I don’t want Lights - and Leo loved them!)
I guess this isn’t a recommendation that helps everybody though Unless you want to mail Leo your tested-out strings!
I’ve tried different strings, especially when I was trying to figure out what I liked and what sounded good to me. When I did put on a different brand or different gauge, I’d leave them on until they wore out. I have saved used strings in the passed when I was to cheap to buy a new set. Now I attended cabin camp and @BanjoBen gives me a new set. A wise picker once told me to boil your old set of strings to bring new life to them. P.S. just noticed this is under Banjo. I play guitar and mandolin, if I had a banjo I’d never have any strings on it… haha just kidding. I couldn’t resist throwing in a banjo joke.
Have you tried the boiling method @Tim_C?
Even though I was given the advice to boil my used strings. I admit I’ve not tried it.
Roger that. I was just curious. Thank you.
I may try it next time. I was just trying to get the physics behind it. i guess the heat has something to do in the way of molecular realignment or something.
As a teen, I played bass and liked string sets that were expensive. I had heard of boiling them in water with vinegar. I did do it, and it did brighten them up a bit, but not to like new condition. I would basically get another weekend out of them. I don’t think it is worth the effort unless the string cost really bothers you.
Yup, heat and then quenching is used to realign molecules in steel. It’s a mix of iron and a little bit of carbon, and the percentage of carbon along with how the carbon settles into the molecular alignment determines if you have cast iron or high strength steel. But I think the boiling water and vinegar acts more like an ultrasonic cleaner—it gets the microscopic dirt and oils off the strings. 212F isn’t hot enough to cause realignment of the molecules. Sorry for geeking out here. Just got me thinking about how boiling makes a difference.
You are correct sir (based on my results). It removes gunk and brightens the strings (visually and audibly).
I typically change my strings every 90 days. Based on how little/much I play, but by that point they feel “rubbery” and lack responsiveness. I have a little peg on the wall where I hang the empty package after I’ve scribbled the date on it. When I start to wonder if it’s time to change them again, I look at the empty package.
When I try new strings, I will leave them on for the 90 days, just to be sure I’ve given them a fair shake. I play a Deering Sierra, which came with light gauge strings. I tried some of the Jens Kruger signature strings, left them on for three months & decided they are just a bit too heavy for me. But on those occasions when you really want to bear down & work that banjo, the heavier strings help. I’m just not that kind of player.
I could never re-use strings because I trim them so close to the post, there really isn’t enough left to work with, so I toss 'em. I’m just as cheap as the next cheapskate, but heck, I toss more money than that away losing fishing lures!
NP man, I nerd out on that stuff every day, lol.