The wound strings wear off quite fast, and start sounding dull even faster, so I replace them quite often. But whenever I do so, I replace the unwound strings as well, even though at that point, they usually still sound bright and show no sign of wear at all.

I must say I have never given it any thought. It's kind of a superstitious ritual to me to take all six strings off, clean everything, and put a whole set of new strings on. But, leaving the benefits of the extensive cleaning aside for a moment, does that make sense? Or have I just been wasting money on g-b-e' strings all these years?

Before there's any misunderstanding, I'm obviously not considering putting the old unwound strings back on after cleaning; I'm talking about not taking them off in the first place, replacing the E-A-d strings as they begin to wear off, but the g-b-e' ones much less often. (Also, if that matters, I'm talking about Augustine, sometimes D'Addario.)

I have searched before posting, and I have come across this question, but it's quite broad and doesn't really address my problem here. I've also seen this question, but it's kind of the exact opposite of what I'm asking here.

  • I have also always changed all 6 strings on my guitars. Your question is a good one. I believe that if the strings can be tuned to what your desire is, then that is all that is required. Play on!
    – user6701
    Commented Jul 22, 2013 at 5:18

2 Answers 2


There is no reason why should replace all strings if 2 or 3 become dull and rusty. If the higher strings still sound as bright and clear as you want them, then by all means leave them on there when you replace others.

As long as the replacement strings are not of a drastically different gauge, then only replacing some of the strings should not cause any damage/change to the instrument at all.

So as long as you can find individual strings of the type and brand you want to replace the older ones with there is no reason why you shouldn't do this. And hey, even if you can't, just use a regular pack and save the G,B and E strings for the times when you do replace them as well.

As long as you are happy with the sound of the guitar after you have replaced only a few of the 6 strings, then by all means do it :)

  • 1
    My SOP is that, if one string is far enough along so that tone change or metal fatigue make me change that string, the other strings are probably not too far from going, so I generally change 'em all, not just one. But if you don't feel that way, you can just change one. Commented Jul 22, 2013 at 16:01

I agree with you that unwound strings still have life when the wound ones are fret dented and dead sounding. Meanwhile, the g b and e are stretched sometimes sound better than a new set.I however appreciate the sound of new wound strings once they are thoroughly stretched and in tune.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.