Ageing of strings under tension

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
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joachim33
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Location: Skåne

Ageing of strings under tension

Post by joachim33 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:08 pm

Hi,

I am wondering how strings are ageing when stored under tension, that is the guitar is not played. When it comes to ageing of strings members typically discuss the number of hours the strings have been played. Though I had a set of strings on my guitar before going on holiday for 3 weeks, which gave the guitar and the strings a break of 3 weeks. After coming back the strings didn't sound as nice as I remember they were before the vacation. My remarks mostly concern the treble strings.

So I am wondering whether strings age faster when being stored under tension than when being in a typical retail package. I could well imagine that some substances (e.g. plasticiser) evaporate more quickly and the string becomes harder and more brittle in the process.

Anyone any comments or insights into this?

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souldier
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Re: Ageing of strings under tension

Post by souldier » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:18 pm

They do age under tension but at a much slower rate. Usually after a week of regular playing my bass strings lose that metallic zing, but I notice if I don't get to play as much, they maintain that newly strung sound much much longer. Trebles for me last quite long even if played regularly - certainly longer than 3 weeks.

Also remember that the difference in sound could be a combination of factors such as humidity, temperature, your guitar "going to sleep" after not being played for 3 weeks straight, etc. Every guitar I have owned has responded to the environment, so my guitar has good days and bad days. It's the nature of wood instruments. Another factor is your ears may just be playing tricks on you as it is very difficult to truly remember what your strings sounded like 3 weeks ago.
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bear
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Location: Massachusetts

Re: Ageing of strings under tension

Post by bear » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:34 pm

I have a several guitars that I've owned for at least 5 years and they have the same strings they came with. The guitars are played from seldom to often and the strings are at tension, no problems.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Giustina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Ageing of strings under tension

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:43 pm

"I have a several guitars that I've owned for at least 5 years and they have the same strings they came with. The guitars are played from seldom to often and the strings are at tension, no problems."

Wow Bear...do you ever change strings?
When I put on new strings it's like getting a new, better sounding guitar.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

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bear
Posts: 3588
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:55 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Ageing of strings under tension

Post by bear » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:39 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:43 pm
"I have a several guitars that I've owned for at least 5 years and they have the same strings they came with. The guitars are played from seldom to often and the strings are at tension, no problems."

Wow Bear...do you ever change strings?
When I put on new strings it's like getting a new, better sounding guitar.
I hate changing strings. I do it when I have too. My hearing isn't what it used to be so I can't say that I notice a difference. I just had cataract surgery so up until a couple of weeks ago I couldn't see if they were worn.
The last time I changed strings was on my Guistina. 10 strings = pain in my left cheek. The strings that it came with were fine, the replacement strings; not so much. The G string broke twice and I replaced it with an old J45.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Giustina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

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