Did people ever reuse old guitar strings?

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by mikej89, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. BluesGuitarMart

    BluesGuitarMart Strat-Talk Member

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    I hate old strings! When the plain strings go black I know it's time to change them, can take anywhere from two weeks to three months depending on how much I'm playing.

    Wouldn't dream of reusing them, I took them off for good reason!
     
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  2. Wayfinder

    Wayfinder Strat-Talker

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    The cigar box guitar movement was originally started by making guitar strings out of old fence wire, fishing line, whatever one could find. When you're broke and pulled a stringless guitar out of the trash, it's not a step much more to pull a set of wonderfully-discovered used strings out of the trash on a broken guitar.

    Someone might do this if they were wanting an "old guitar" sound for a specific recording or need. But if a person isn't broke, a new set of guitar strings costs what, $5 to $15? And for most non-pro players will last 6 months to a year. There's just no need.

    Still, I have the greatest respect for scavengers. They're our natural recyclers. It's amazing what some folks have created from scavenged goods. So doesn't surprise me someone would figure out how to recycle guitar strings. : )

    Thing is, if those strings have been really stretched and used they eventually become dull in playing tone. So again we would get back to someone wanting a specific tone. Otherwise, buy some strings. There are always strings on sale. :D
     
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  3. byron0420

    byron0420 Strat-Talk Member

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    I have to use coated strings with my acidic sweat. I can ruin an uncoated set in a week.
     
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  4. Wayfinder

    Wayfinder Strat-Talker

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    follow-up: that said, since I no longer play in public (the asthma did that in)... I use a set of strings until they start snoring. I have some guitars sitting on the wall that are years old and have never had the strings changed... and they sound fine. That probably means I have low-acid in my fingers and relatively dry fingertips, so I can get away with it. Or that I have too many guitars, one of the two. But since it's theoretically impossible to own too many guitars... :cool:
     
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  5. Tone Deaf

    Tone Deaf Most Honored Senior Member

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    Garrote
     
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  6. nomadh

    nomadh Strat-Talker

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    I'm mostly a guitar player but one time after a gig I noticed someone prior had left his old bass strings on the stage. SCORE! They were way better than what was on my bass.
    I didn't have to resort to stealing strings off someones old piano like Sir Paul used to do.

    I do keep a few old sets of strings just in case something breaks and I dont want 1 new with an old set. Even I dont put on my old set. Mostly because by then at least 1 is broken, they are probably 5+ years old and you can see the divots in the strings from he frets and wont intonate anymore. I got a lot of guitars I aint wasting all that money and time swapping them out.
     
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  7. neteel

    neteel Strat-Talker

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    I used Fast Fret too, to keep it clean and change all 6, twice a Year, unless the "D" begin to cut.
     
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  8. Stratafied

    Stratafied Most Honored Senior Member

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    I think you’re friend might be a little cheap ... just sayin.
     
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  9. Dougeryb

    Dougeryb Strat-O-Master

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    Very first band in highschool, the guitar player would save strings (beef jerky, Doritos, and Coke took a back seat to nothing!). If he busted an E, he would use a recycled B as a placeholder E, and etc... We were young, we were poor, we were cheap, but we had the most fun making rock music!

    Lots of additional uses for old guitar strings.

    Just ask Luca Brasi how he liked the low E string!
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
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  10. mikegotcha

    mikegotcha Strat-Talk Member

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  11. filemakerpro

    filemakerpro New Member!

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    There was a time when i used to break strings - back when I played 9s on my first MIJ 1980s modified SSH strat with Kahler - this was also before Guitar Center and before Amazon, the later of which has become a necessity for many things. Plus being broke or having other priorities with $ I would have no choice. But I never replaced an entire set. Just the one I broke, which was usually the 9. So I would always keep the previous set in case I needed a quick replacement. The only issue was having lots of sets with 5 strings, lacking the one I usually needed.

    Then something happened in my playing and I just stopped breaking strings - on any guitar. It rarely happens now and is usually the result of a bad wind (like as I am turning a tuner peg) or something else besides actual playing. These days I clip them apart in the center when restringing and throw them out. I've also ramped my guage up to a .11 on my main strat and .13 on another non-strat guitar. I dont know how I ever played 9s.
     
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  12. mikegotcha

    mikegotcha Strat-Talk Member

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    I changed my e b g every night in the show gigs..bottom 3 every 2 nights. In a studio setting.. more often. The brilliance goes pretty quick. I reused strings as a kid but no.. they lose a lot pretty quickly. At home on the practice axe..every year I'd change them or when they go too rusty lol.. They go sharp..flat..lose tone.. Change them often. I did know a bass player that said he boiled his strings.. He claimed he never changed them.
     
  13. Sarnodude

    Sarnodude Most Honored Senior Member

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    Yes.. I re-use the low e string to hang pictures on my livingroom walls. Works great.
     
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  14. Dougeryb

    Dougeryb Strat-O-Master

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    That. Is. Awesome!

    :thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
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  15. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Most Honored Senior Member

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    Nope, never reused strings.

    I remember Dave Mustane used to store the strings used to record various tracks. I think he sold them off recently. The intention I think was if a track had to be redone, he could pull out the strings used to recreate the same tone. That seems to be a whole new level of OCD to me :).

    I used to toss my old strings in the trash until I read somewhere they should be recycled...which makes sense, they are metal. So now I recycle them.
     
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  16. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

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    I change strings for other people at my day job, so on my guitars they get played till they break. I actually like the sound of an older string compared to new. I am also lucky that my hands don't create grime the way some folks do.

    As for boiling them, never tried it - and I grew up when EVH was KING and had read about him boiling them. I also read a few years later he didn't do it anymore because...well, you know. Filthy rich and guitar tech on the payroll.

    On my guitars with a floyd I am able to extend life if a string breaks at the saddle by unwinding and reclamping.
     
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  17. DeanIversenGreen

    DeanIversenGreen Strat-Talk Member

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    dunno about reusing but in the 70's and 80's we used em up, I had strings on my first strat for a year, and then my first guitar a $20 barney kessel hollow body I never did change strings on that before it was stolen a few years later.. didn't know any better plus who had money for that? before my strat was stolen I had changed the strings like twice maybe, few other guys I think put a new sets on it but I had it 6 years.. when someone borrowed it for a live gig they must have changed the strings? I always got it back playing better.. lol so never reused them, just used them, I had rusty strings at many points.. wherever my fingers never touched the strings they were brown, partially due to strings not having as good of alloys as well.. lol
     
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  18. 3bolt79

    3bolt79 Dr. Stratster

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    I had a girlfriend who wanted me to buy beer one night, back in high school. I told her I had no money, and she was like ‘well didn’t you just get paid?’ I said that I had, but I had spent the last of my money on strings. To which she replied, “I guess you don’t have money for condoms either?” No, no I didn’t o_O
     
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  19. Tdurden032

    Tdurden032 Strat-O-Master

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    On any given day I may have one or two “reserve” set of strings in case of breakage, etc., a few of those extras are new, a few have had light use but I can’t think of any that are really worn down. Sadly I don’t get to play enough these days to create ally uses strings
     
  20. RolyG

    RolyG Strat-Talk Member

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