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  #1  
Old 06-02-2020, 10:50 PM
emuhunter emuhunter is offline
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Default Breaking in strings faster

This might sound like an odd question but I personally don’t care for the way that new strings sound. They all sound too bright/metallic/etc to me so I do my best to wait to change strings until I really have to (which might be a lot longer than others to be honest).

Does anyone have a system/process they follow to break in (not so much in terms of stretching to keep them in tune, more in terms of getting the strings past their initial sparkle)?

I realize I can just play the snot out of these strings for a week or so and get them closer to where I like them but I figured there’s no harm in seeing how I can hurry that process up.

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 06-02-2020, 11:02 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Dirty hands.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:30 PM
RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emuhunter View Post
This might sound like an odd question but I personally don’t care for the way that new strings sound. They all sound too bright/metallic/etc to me...
That's my complaint about phosphor bronze strings. 80/20's sound far better from new to me. No advice on how to tone new strings down other than to play them in.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:32 PM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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I have several sets of well used PBs available light and medium gauges and also 12 string. That should do the job.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:36 PM
Tannin Tannin is offline
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People always talk about dirt and grease and acid and corrosion. I don't believe a word of it. Unless someone can show me concrete, scientific evidence to the contrary, I will continue to assume that guitar strings act like any other metal object under strain and flex - i.e., that the primary short and medium term* change agent is not corrosion, it is fatigue.

Metal changes in structure when you bend it and stretch it. That is exactly what playing a string does - the string vibrates (bends in some complex but essentially circular patterns) and stretches (it gets longer when it vibrates - it is no longer taking the straight-line shortest path between bridge and nut but a gentle curve instead).

When you change the structure of a metal object (or any other thing) you change all sorts of qualities, notably hardness, stiffness, and resonance. Of course it sounds different. Smear a bit of grease or oil or dirt on it and the sound difference, if even noticeable at all, is minimal.

Short answer: play those strings until they sound the way you want them to.

* By "short and medium term" I mean the sort of time strings are usually on a guitar, a few weeks or a couple of months maybe. For most objects, corrosion tends to become a significant factor over longer time frames than this. Bridges fall down because of corrosion, sure - but after decades, not a few weeks. Guitar strings can get nasty and corroded too, but this doesn't usually happen until long after any keen player would have changed them anyway.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:39 PM
YamahaGuy YamahaGuy is offline
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Install them, stretch/tune/play in for about 5 minutes or so, and let the guitar sit about a week (without playing it).
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:17 AM
jazzizm jazzizm is offline
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Use Elixirs.
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:24 AM
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Piano strings keep a consistent sound for years and years. Main reason is that they don't get touched by your fingers.
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:11 AM
Tannin Tannin is offline
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Piano strings are far heavier (more like bass strings than guitar strings), and are tapped in a controlled way by heavily padded felt hammers - compare with the abuse guitar strings get as routine. Piano strings don't get fretted, and no-one bends notes on a piano. (Well, Maybe little Richard, who did just about everything else you can imagine to the poor things. )

In short, there is every reason to expect piano strings to last far longer and we don't need to invoke grease or oil or finger acid to explain it.

Still waiting for actual scientific evidence that guitar string tonal changes with use are mainly caused by anything other than stretching and vibration. (Not saying there isn't any, just that I have yet to see it, if it exists.)
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  #10  
Old 06-03-2020, 03:31 AM
Malcolm Kindnes Malcolm Kindnes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
Piano strings are far heavier (more like bass strings than guitar strings), and are tapped in a controlled way by heavily padded felt hammers - compare with the abuse guitar strings get as routine. Piano strings don't get fretted, and no-one bends notes on a piano. (Well, Maybe little Richard, who did just about everything else you can imagine to the poor things. )

In short, there is every reason to expect piano strings to last far longer and we don't need to invoke grease or oil or finger acid to explain it.

Still waiting for actual scientific evidence that guitar string tonal changes with use are mainly caused by anything other than stretching and vibration. (Not saying there isn't any, just that I have yet to see it, if it exists.)
I can't offer any "scientific" evidence, but strings normally last me a very long time, unless my son plays my guitar, then I really notice a deterioration in the strings. I think some people have different secretions from their skin, personally I have very dry hands.
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:45 AM
cmac cmac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
Still waiting for actual scientific evidence that guitar string tonal changes with use are mainly caused by anything other than stretching and vibration. (Not saying there isn't any, just that I have yet to see it, if it exists.)
Coated strings keep their initial tone longer than uncoated strings.
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Old 06-03-2020, 04:09 AM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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I find that going back and forth between drop D and standard tuning seems to make the low E string go dead sooner than the rest, so perhaps de-tuning and re-tuning frequently will help mellow them all. Or you could go back and forth between alternate tunings.
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:11 AM
Doug MacPherson Doug MacPherson is offline
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Lots of good info hear (pun intended). Also strings get worn by frets. General wear and tear, fatigue, corrosion, all answers are correct, I believe. Like most things, a combination of factors, but I could be wrong. Also on metallic new string sound I hear 80/20 strings mellow sooner and stay that way longer after a few hours (3 or 4) of play. I prefer mellow and warm tone.
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:36 AM
Goodallboy Goodallboy is offline
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I love the way new strings sound on my guitar.
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  #15  
Old 06-03-2020, 07:21 AM
musicman1951 musicman1951 is offline
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You might want to consider using different strings.
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