Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: your experience with old strings and tuning  (Read 1046 times)
lw216316
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2441




Ignore
« on: June 30, 2009, 07:54:21 PM »

I never really paid it much attention before with nylon strings
but now since I got a steel string it seems to matter more

so  I'm wondering...

just how MUCH does it make it more difficult to tune as the steel strings age ?

What is your experience - on this very precise, scientific scale
- no difference
- a very little
- a little
- some
- quite a bit
- a lot
- dang, I can't tune the sucker anymore

- Larry

Logged

PLAY SONG , LIVE LONG !

Larrivee OOO-60 - Lady Rose
Pavan TP-30 classical - nylon
Takamine 132s classical -nylon
former Larrivees  L-03R  SD-50
flatlander
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3782




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2009, 10:04:15 PM »

Old strings or should we say worn strings don't tune well because they are worn unevenly over length of string. When I start having trouble tuning, I change strings.
Logged

10-1614 more than a number, it's body and soul.
jeremy3220
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4598




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2009, 10:07:47 PM »

Aren't we really talking about intonation?
Logged

lw216316
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2441




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2009, 01:31:26 PM »

Quote
Aren't we really talking about intonation?
I don't understand your answer.
If you mean, as strings age it affects intonation, and that in turn makes it harder to tune -
then I understand what you are saying,
but that does not answer my question -

Quote
   just how MUCH does it make it more difficult to tune as the steel strings age ?

What is your experience - on this very precise, scientific scale (humor)
- no difference
- a very little
- a little
- some
- quite a bit
- a lot
- dang, I can't tune the sucker anymore


Quote
  When I start having trouble tuning, I change strings.

I read this to mean as your strings age it DOES cause you tuning problems so you change them.
Again, that does not answer the question I asked.....to rate HOW much...
maybe you just change yours as soon as you notice ANY change in tuning effort needed.

- thanks
Larry

Logged

PLAY SONG , LIVE LONG !

Larrivee OOO-60 - Lady Rose
Pavan TP-30 classical - nylon
Takamine 132s classical -nylon
former Larrivees  L-03R  SD-50
dgrose
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 442


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2009, 02:17:05 PM »

...just how MUCH does it make it more difficult to tune as the steel strings age ?

By way of example... I sold a Norman cedar top dread to a friend with brand new strings on it. He had asked me to sell it to him because he loved the tone and the ease of playing. Two months later he invited me over and asked me to have a look at it because the intonation was horrible and it wouldn't tune. He had played it a lot with the original strings. The strings were ghastly. I tried the guitar and it was out of tune and the intonation was totally out. I feared it might need a neck reset.
I changed the strings and tuned it.
Problems gone.
So I would say "more difficult to tune" could be phrased "impossible to tune" in extreme situations. 

dg
Logged

RoundLakeDT
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 642




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2009, 02:56:56 PM »

lw, can you be more specific about "how old" you're talking about for these strings?  like in the last example, heavily played strings 2 months old... very severe effect

how often do you (or are you planning to) change strings?  i tend to be about once a month, or maybe a little more frequently on my Jumbo since it seems to lose a lot of sound (becomes muffled) after maybe 2 weeks playing hard.  not so much the tuning or intonation, just going dead

on the other hand my OM seems to keep a good sound going longer, and I change those strings when the tuning starts getting problematic (won't hold consistent tuning for long, or intonation starts to vary up the neck).  that can take over a month for me to notice
Logged

ffinke
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2130




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2009, 04:15:37 PM »

I personally think it has something to do with the quality of the strings (not the price, there's difference). I change mine when they start to 'thunk' instead of 'ping'. I've been pleased with Martin SP+, D'addario EXP and my favorite for longevity (and intonation) is the Curt Mangans.

f
Logged

Larrivee L-03 w/Gotoh 381 tuners (African Mahogany/Sitka)
Collings OM2Hc (EIR/Sitka)
Schenk Ophirio (Sapele/Cedar)
Bourgeois 00 Custom (Mahogany/It. Spruce)
bluesman67
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3166




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2009, 04:22:14 PM »

The tone usually starts to get dead and I change the strings, this is usually before any significant tuning issues....3-4 weeks.
Logged

bluesman67
HOGTOP CHARLOTTE

www.reverbnation.com/hogtopcharlotte
lw216316
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2441




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2009, 04:52:38 PM »

thanks guys...great answers..

I think I'm seeing a pattern here...

It seems from your comments that as strings begin to age

1.   ..the first thing that is noticed is a drop in volume and tone quality
   some of you are changing strings soon after you notice this
   so perhaps that happens BEFORE any real notice in difficulty tuning

2. if allowed to progress, as the strings age more (and lose more 'intonation' - as Jeremy spoke of)
    they will begin to cause problems tuning

3. This seems to be a progressive thing and the longer the strings age the more difficult it will become to tune the guitar
     as we see in the example DGROSE provided.

I came from a nylon string background and did not change my strings very often - trebles seemed to last forever.
It appears I need to change my steel strings more often than I have been.

I'm going to try that and see if my tuning stays easier.
My SD-50 is such a cannon - I can lose a LOT of volume (strings going dead) before it bothers me.
...but looks like I need to change strings sooner to make tuning easier and help the tone too.

- Larry
Logged

PLAY SONG , LIVE LONG !

Larrivee OOO-60 - Lady Rose
Pavan TP-30 classical - nylon
Takamine 132s classical -nylon
former Larrivees  L-03R  SD-50
RoundLakeDT
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 642




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2009, 05:27:16 PM »

My SD-50 is such a cannon - I can lose a LOT of volume (strings going dead) before it bothers me.

And if you really don't want to be bothered changing strings, just plug in and keep turning up the amp... you'll never be at a loss for volume! 
Logged

BluesMan1
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1779




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2009, 07:07:44 PM »

   Larry, as you know, some strings are harder to keep in tune as time goes by, others maintaining better. I find, that as time goes by, & based on your very scientific scale, that it makes a big difference in the ability to tune the guitar accurately on ALL strings, some not being affected as much, such as the wound ones. The high "E" & "B" tend to loose their ability to stay in tune more quickly as time goes by than the wound ones. You seem to be wanting a precise answer for a kinda "vague" question? This is as close as I can be to answering your question, based on your given physics choices! So, in summation, I would have to say somewhere between "quite a bit" & "alot"! Is that OK for this quiz? bigrin
     Jeff   
   I've been MIA for health reasons not back on my feet, but couldn't resist this one. It's easy but you make it hard? Howdy boys & girls!
Logged

'11 Martin OM18V Engelmann Custom
'11 Martin D-18 Adirondack Custom
'12 Martin MFG OM-35 Custom
'07 Larrivee OOO-60(Trinity Guitars)
'13 Larrivee OM-03 "Exotic"RW Custom(Oxnard C.S.)
'10 L.Canteri OO1JP Custom(IS/IT.WALNUT)


So it seems I have come to doubt, all that I once held as true
radkin
Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 33




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2009, 11:48:39 PM »

Larry,

    I don't know if this helps you at all, but here's some info about my strings.

I change them every 2 weeks
playing time = approx 32 hours of play

1-3 hours/day during the week
3-5 hours/day on week-ends (3 week-end days)

any less than that and they tend to sound really icky, lifeless, and out of tune (frequently)

Radkin
Logged
flatlander
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3782




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2009, 12:17:57 AM »

You're wanting to know how much. That's a variable directly related to how worn the string is or how much gunk it has on it.
It's really as simple as this for me. When I have hard time tuning, which goes hand in hand with intonation, I change strings. You tune guitar, then play a chord and it don't sound right.
Tweak it in tune while making chord and its out on another chord. Strings will lose a lot of thier bright tone sometimes before being hard to tune.
Sorry I can't quantify it. When I can't tune a guitar that's totally unacceptable. The more worn they are causing uneven mass, and how much gunk is on them adding mass and changing charactoristics, the harder they will be to tune. Simple as that.
Logged

10-1614 more than a number, it's body and soul.
fongie
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1946




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2009, 02:30:08 AM »

Larry, I love playin' old strings. Easy tuning all the time, and stays tune 95% of time. But, if the surface rust sets in, it's time to go.
cheers
fongie
Logged
lw216316
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2441




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2009, 12:53:30 PM »

Quote
The high "E" & "B" tend to loose their ability to stay in tune more quickly as time goes by than the wound ones. 

The B string being troublesome goes along with the results I get.
As my strings age and become harder to tune (and to stay in tune) - I 'especially' have trouble with the B string -
even more than the usual difficulty with the B string when the strings are new or in good shape.
Yes, I know the story about the B string - no need for replies about that.

Some seemed to think I was serious about wanting a 'scientific' answer for 'how much' does string age affect tuning -
That was HUMOR, sorry if you missed that (maybe a humor sign would have helped).

Anyway, a scientific response would not include the unscientific options I listed -

Quote
  What is your experience - on this very precise, scientific scale
- no difference
- a very little
- a little
- some
- quite a bit
- a lot
- dang, I can't tune the sucker anymore    <====== this one especially is in no way 'scientific'
 

I had 'NO DIFFERENCE' as an option because when I began this post I was not sure the aging of steel strings could cause
tuning problems. I did know they would lose tone quality and volume and go dead.

Some seemed to think I needed to pin point a specific condition of the strings (just starting to age, old, very old....I suppose)
but that was not my intent and that is why I said  "as the strings age"

Quote
just how MUCH does it make it more difficult to tune as the steel strings age ?


This would allow me to find out if tuning becomes increasely difficult as the strings age, or if the tuning problems only show up
when the strings reach a cetain stage of deterioration.

This worked as I hoped - it seems those who responded - show a pattern that when the strings first begin to age- it is the loss in volume and maybe some tonal quality that goes first (some people change their strings at this point BEFORE tuning problems
set in to any noticeable degree).
Then as one example by DGROSE showed - when strings become very aged, they can become very difficult to tune.

Someone pointed out that the degree of tuning difficulty as strings age may also depend on the particular brand/model of strings being used.

That is a good point and something I will consider and watch for in the future as I try various brands.

This has been a good study. I think the questions I wondered about have been answered by your posts.
1. Yes, strings (in general) do become more difficult to tune as they age, especially as they age a lot
2. Conclusion - I need to change my strings more often than I have been - and that should prevent the tuning problems
    I've been having.

Thanks guys,     
this forum has always been a great help to my 'guitar' education......an ongoing process  bigrin

- Larry   ( I plan to change my strings tomorrow when I'm off work - got a set of nano webs to try )
Logged

PLAY SONG , LIVE LONG !

Larrivee OOO-60 - Lady Rose
Pavan TP-30 classical - nylon
Takamine 132s classical -nylon
former Larrivees  L-03R  SD-50
BluesMan1
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1779




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2009, 04:52:25 PM »

   Larry, all of my "scientific" references were meant in jest, as your answers obviously didn't provide such a response. One thing I didn't mention was loss of volume or ease of playing. I kinda put those two into one when I decide that it's time to change the strings. They normally come hand in hand & when I notice them, it's time to change. But this has nothing to do with your tuning question, which I think I answered as well as I can. If it sounds like there's a problem staying in tune, to me, that means one or more strings have been stretched to the point were they are affected as far as staying in tune. Then, it's time, again, to change them. And if you're using coated strings, I feel that opens up a whole new world as far as the longevity of the strings. Don't like coated ones myself, but I change my EJ-16's (&17's) alot more than you would with coated ones. They are affected much more by humidity levels. My guitars tend to stay in tune pretty well over time, a good example is when fongie posted that his guitar was still in tune after 2-3 months of sitting, which I attribute to the Schallers that are on his. My "93 L-10 still stays in tune if it sits, not as long as his. As fongie said, sometimes it's fun to play older strings, as long as they STAY in tune & don't leave rust marks on my fingers! That's a joke, as I would never leave any strings on until they reached that point.
   It is interesting to hear all of the responses about when people change strings & why. Different strokes for different folks! bigrin
     Jeff   
Logged

'11 Martin OM18V Engelmann Custom
'11 Martin D-18 Adirondack Custom
'12 Martin MFG OM-35 Custom
'07 Larrivee OOO-60(Trinity Guitars)
'13 Larrivee OM-03 "Exotic"RW Custom(Oxnard C.S.)
'10 L.Canteri OO1JP Custom(IS/IT.WALNUT)


So it seems I have come to doubt, all that I once held as true
ffinke
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2130




Ignore
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2009, 05:20:39 PM »

And then there was the legendary story of Dave van Ronk (I think that's right): Hated to change strings and only did it when 1) couldn't tune 'em, or 2) a year went by.
 

I think we can all say it's important to have good strings on our gits.

f
Logged

Larrivee L-03 w/Gotoh 381 tuners (African Mahogany/Sitka)
Collings OM2Hc (EIR/Sitka)
Schenk Ophirio (Sapele/Cedar)
Bourgeois 00 Custom (Mahogany/It. Spruce)
bhika
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1463




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2009, 05:58:27 PM »

And then there was the legendary story of Dave van Ronk (I think that's right): Hated to change strings and only did it when 1) couldn't tune 'em, or 2) a year went by.
 

I think we can all say it's important to have good strings on our gits.

f

He sure made that Guild F50R sound good with dead strings though.
Logged

jeff

Larrivee 00-03MT Forum IV  #30 of 29
lw216316
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2441




Ignore
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2009, 06:12:53 PM »

Thanks again for everyone's comments - 
...and for making clear to me some things I misunderstood.

tomorrow I plan to put on the nano webs and check them out for the 1st time on my SD-50.

It will also be the 1st time I've changed the strings on my slot head myself -
I've been having my pro do it - he only charges $15 and that includes the Martin sp+ strings...
and he does it while I wait - no return trip needed.

I've watched him enough that I now feel confident I can do it without scratching the wood.

- Larry



Logged

PLAY SONG , LIVE LONG !

Larrivee OOO-60 - Lady Rose
Pavan TP-30 classical - nylon
Takamine 132s classical -nylon
former Larrivees  L-03R  SD-50
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to: