How often should I change my strings?

We get this question a lot and there isn’t one simple answer.  It really depends on your instrument and how picky you are about sound.  But here are a few things to consider:

You don’t ever have to change strings.  If your string isn’t broken, you don’t have to change it.  People have brought harps, guitars, dulcimers, etc in to our shop that are 15 years old and still have the original strings and that is fine.

While you don’t have to change strings, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.  Installing a fresh set of strings can really breathe some new life into an instrument.   Performers might change their strings every six months because it is important that they keep their instrument sounding it’s best.  The diligent amateur musician may change strings once a year as simple maintenance.

If you are just playing for yourself at home the decision about how often to change strings will likely be influenced by a couple of factors: price and labor.  Installing a new set of strings on a harp can cost from $150-$350 and take you a good 2 hours.  With that in mind, you might be satisfied to keep a set of strings going for 5 years.  There is nothing wrong with that.  The decay in tonal quality of those strings will happen gradually over time and you aren’t likely to notice. You can change strings on a guitar, however, in under and hour and it will only cost you $10-15 so you might be more willing to change these strings every 6 months.

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