My 4-month-old strings sounded much better than the new set that I just put on. I am using the same brand of strings that I used before. My guitar sounds like crap now. What's wrong? Should I stretch them more often every day? Maybe I have installed them incorrectly?

"Sounds like crap" - means a very plastic and closed sound.

  • 3
    Can you replace "worser" with "worse"? The first is not a word.
    – Anonymous
    Jan 24, 2011 at 2:51
  • 1
    Can you explain how the sound is different and what you don't like about it? The question is very vauge.
    – Anonymous
    Jan 24, 2011 at 8:23
  • Can you elaborate on "Sounds like crap now" a little please?
    – Jduv
    Jan 24, 2011 at 13:07
  • @Anonymous, is 'vauge' a word? May 13, 2018 at 22:32

5 Answers 5


Without you really explaining what qualities you hate all we can do is take a guess. You might want to elaborate on what tone you're getting now that you didn't get before. Without that information it sounds like you just don't like the "new sing sound" so i'll address your question from that angle.

New strings will have a zing & bright sound to to them. Is this what you're hearing that you hate? Worn in strings should have a darker, warmer tone.

Over time strings will stretch out. That stretching combined with the oils from your hand will mellow out your strings giving you the type of tone you liked w/ your 4 month old strings. Problem is, at some point you're going to have to put on a fresh set (broken strings etc). Sounds like you might need to select a set of strings that are less bright when they're new. This may take some experimentation by trying different sets but might be worth while considering you "hate" the "new string sound".

A few things to consider are:

  • don't buy stainless steel strings b/c they're super bright
  • chrome and pure nickel strings are mellower
  • nickel plated strings are in the middle
  • coated strings (like Elixirs & Ernie Ball Coated Slinkys) sound more mellow
  • a thicker gauge set (11's and up) will have a beefier, warmer tone than thin strings
  • flatwound strings will be super mellow

If you're playing jazz n stuff like that I'd suggest you try flatwounds. That's probably not going to cut it if you're into heavy rock etc but, hey, you never know.

As far as putting the strings on improperly:

Its possibly but not likely. Most common symptoms of not putting strings on correctly is that they'll be hard to keep in tune or they'll just break.

Another, non-string, related thing you can try is to turn the tone knob on your guitar down. That will easily mellow out the guitar's sound & won't cost you a dime.


Well yeah you need to play them and get them dirty.

After 10-100 hours of playing (depending on what type you got) they should sound old and dirty again.

  • haha very funny =/ They not sounding like "dirty", I know what dirty sound is, and this is not the case. My string were shining even after 3 month, because I'm cleaning them very hard every time after playing!
    – Anonymous
    Jan 24, 2011 at 1:50
  • hilarious. I love the clank of new strings.
    – Anonymous
    Jan 24, 2011 at 6:40

I think it probably just sounds different than the others (brighter, more treble, harsher whatever you wanna call it) and in comparison and collaboration with the others your ear hears worse. Maybe a more accurate question would be "Why does the new string sound "tinnier" than the others."

It is not uncommon to like the slightly more muted, rounder tone of slightly deader strings. I never change acoustic strings immediately before a recording session, always allow a few days of stretching and breaking in till it sounds like I want.

My suggestion would be to change all the strings at once. If you don't like the sound of a full set of fresh strings, perhaps try a slightly more mellow kind of string such as silk and bronze. Maybe that will be more to your liking.


I like the sound of new strings better because they sound a bit brighter. Potenitally what the issue is is that you are not stretching the strings and potentially they are going out o f tune.

If you don't like the sounds of "new strings" then consider it a blessing as you don't have to change them much.


I like the sound of new strings, but I also like the sound of strings that are broken in, I'm easy that way. However I'm a stickler for the way the strings are replaced. I find many players string up their axes in a very hap-hazard fashion and they then have problems with tuning, sometimes intonation, sometimes tone problems, there are suggested techniques and techniques to avoid when changing strings on a guitar. These techniques are designed to maximize and highlight the sound and avoid problems associated with string changes. Dan Erlewine is a respected technician and author who writes about guitar set-up, string changes, guitar maintenance, and much more. I highly recommend reading his books on the stuff.

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