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Thread: wound string life

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    519

    Default wound string life

    About a month ago I had a thread about installing wound strings. The installation went well. But I also noticed signs of wear appearing quickly on the second and third fret. Today when I was playing in a pub I noticed the windings unravel and poke me in the finger and after a few songs it broke on the second fret. I got maybe 10 to 15 hours of play out of it and am extremely disappointed. I sure did not expect it to go that quickly. This was a low A on a six string Kamaka. How much playing time do you usually get out of a wound string?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
    Posts
    1,839

    Default

    My experience is that wound strings can show signs of wear quite quickly yet they don't outright break on me. I usually get a couple of months of solid playing out of them (I'm a busker) befoe the windings break down at the frets that I play the most. At this point they will buzz on the frets but not outright break.
    I'm using Aquila Nylguts.

    Its possible that your frets are really rough and need some polishing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    473

    Default

    String life depends on a several factors: how hard you press with your fretting hand, use of slides, vibrato and hammers, body chemistry and hours of play. I can wear out the 4th string (wound) on my guitars and ukuleles if I'm gigging daily or practicing 3 or 4 hours daily, but I use lots of slides, vibrato and hammers and have sweaty mitts on stage. On the other hand, the same string on my wife's instruments will last at least 4 times longer, but she has a more gentle touch and uses less vibrato and slides (she teaches and plays daily).

    By worn out, I mean dead tone and showing fret wear on the wire. I never wait until the wire starts breaking off. But, yeah, gigging in pubs is the hardest possible use for strings and they will never last as long as home or classroom use.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    519

    Default

    Well it's an A string so may get a bit more work than a G. I think I will put another red on and hope it will settle in before my next gig in two weeks. I am thinking about getting a guitar string and keeping it long past the bridge and if it breaks near the nut just move it up a few inches.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Woodstock NY USA
    Posts
    418

    Default

    I’ve gone through 2 wound G strings on my Pono baritone (tuned DGBE) in the last 4 months. The string comes apart at the 2nd fret and starts buzzing. One was an Aquila and the other Thomastik. Both started buzzing. Right now I have Martins on. I notice a buzz has started up again, it’s only been a couple weeks. Maybe after a year of playing, something is going on with the second fret? I don’t see anything. Maybe it’s that I have to play further up the neck more?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    1,464

    Default

    My first wound string was an Aquila Nylgut and it didn't last long before it started fraying at the first fret. I have since used Fremont Soloists on that uke and never had a problem. I think it's a combination of improved playing technique (I was quite new to the uke when I wore the first string out) and better strings. Anyway, it's not a bad idea to experiment with different brands and different playing techniques.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    254

    Default

    As a data point, serious classical guitarists typically replace their trebles twice as often as their basses.
    Concert: Lanikai LU-21C (Southcoast MU)
    Soprano: Kala KA-PWS (Southcoast Machete)
    Baritone "Rennaissance Guitar": Kala KA-SBG (C-Linear with Worth BL-LGs currently.)
    Tenor: Kala ATP-CTG (Southcoast LMU-NW
    Tenor "Low G': Kala KA-FMTG (Southcoast LML-NW
    Tenor: Kala SRT-CTG-E (Southcoast LMU-NW
    Baritone "Nui": Pono NS-10 (Worth B-B)

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