Check out The Best DJ Controllers of 2022.

How Long Does It Take to Break in New Guitar Strings?

Are you new to playing the guitar and have recently bought a new set of strings? Here's how long it takes to break them in and get the most out of them.

If this post helps you, share it with a friend!

If you’ve just bought a new guitar and are wondering how long it will take to break in the new strings, you’re not alone. Many guitar players are anxious to start playing their new instruments and don’t want to wait around forever for the strings to start sounding good. So how long does it actually take for your guitar string to break in?

This article will teach you how long it takes to break in guitar strings, what new strings sound like, how to stretch them, and what affects your guitar’s tuning stability. So you can start shredding.

Image of a gibson les paul guitar head and tuning pegs. Source: gabriel barletta, unsplash
Image of a Gibson Les Paul guitar head and tuning pegs. Source: Gabriel Barletta, Unsplash

How long does it take to break in new guitar strings? New guitar strings can take up to 4 hours to break in. This is because the metal wire inside them needs time to adjust to the tension you’re applying. You should play the new strings several times a day, gradually increasing the time you spend playing each session.

What do new strings sound like?

The “bright” and metallic tone of brand-new strings appeals to certain guitarists, especially when playing in clear, piercing tones. When the strings have been played and worn in, the result is a deeper, more mellow sound than one with ultra-high saturated distortion, which is more to the taste of a metal artist.

If you need some new steel strings for your electric guitar, check out these top rated options below.

How long should it take for new guitar strings to break in?

Breaking in guitar strings reduces the string’s initial tension and resistance. After breaking in guitar strings, you can expect them to stay in tune and sound the same.

Steel strings, in particular, need just a brief period to become playable after being brand new. Particularly with steel strings, a few hours of strenuous stretching and attaching may be needed to get a steady pitch. On the other hand, steel strings will retain their “tinny” tone for a few weeks longer. However, once broken in, they will stay in tune for a far longer period than they did when originally installed.

Compared to steel strings, nylon ones take longer to break in. Though they need more time to reach their final tune, the tonal differences between a brand-new and broken-in set are less pronounced than with a steel set.

How long should it take for new electric guitar strings to settle?

Guitar strings for electric guitars have a steel core and are wrapped with magnetically active metal windings. New electric guitar strings will need the least time to settle in. To get them to stay in tune, you need to play them for a while; how many times will vary depending on factors like the guitar string brand, the string gauge, how often you play, and so on.

With common techniques, guitarists may reduce the break-in time to one or two hours. Breaking in ensures the guitar strings hold their pitch for the long haul.

However, brand-new guitar strings’ distinctive “tinny” sound won’t go away for at least three to seven days. Of course, with an electric guitar equipped with a tremolo mechanism, you won’t need to keep fine-tuning the instrument. A proper setup is required for guitars without locking mechanisms.

If you need some new steel strings for your electric guitar, here’s my top pic.

  • Includes 3 individually wrapped sets
  • Ernie Ball Slinkys are played by legends around the world including Slash, Jimmy Page, Metallica, Eric Clapton, and more
  • Preferred by players across many genres, Regular Slinky’s 10-to-46 gauge has become the industry standard
  • Element Shield Packaging prolongs string life and keeps strings as fresh as the day they were made
  • Bright, balanced tone

If you need some new steel strings for your electric guitar, here’s my top pic.

How much time do the acoustic guitar strings need to settle?

Strings for an acoustic guitar have a steel core and are wound with a non-magnetic metal. Because of how they are built, acoustic and electric guitar strings break in and adjust to their unwound environments similarly. Therefore, acoustic guitar strings need time to settle before they can be played effectively.

In the same way, their “bright and sharp” tone fades after a few days. Also, remember that strings with a smaller gauge may lose their tune faster.

If you need some new steel strings for your acoustic guitar, here’s my top pic.

  • CORROSION-RESISTANT, PRECISION WOUND – D’Addario Phosphor Bronze acoustic guitar strings are precision wound with phosphor bronze wrap wire, over a hexagonal high-carbon steel core.
  • WARM, BALANCED TONE - Phosphor Bronze wrap wire provides tried-and-true D’Addario acoustic tone, with beautiful balance and warmth suitable for all musical genres.
  • MOST POPULAR ACOUSTIC GUITAR STRING -  Now the standard in acoustic guitar strings, Phosphor Bronze strings were originally pioneered by D’Addario in the 1970s.
  • EARN REWARD POINTS - D’Addario Phosphor Bronze acoustic guitar strings come with a code on the recyclable VCI bag, which you can register to earn Players Circle points.
  • MADE IN THE USA – Our Phosphor Bronze strings are made in the USA—drawn to exacting specifications at our New York production facility.

How long does it take for nylon strings to settle?

A classical guitar has nylon strings. Because of the material they are made of, nylon guitar strings stretch more than steel guitar strings. As a result, they can require regular tuning to stay in tune with performance. Because of changes in temperature and humidity, nylon is less stable than other materials. This means that nylon guitar strings may be more difficult to play.

It takes a classical guitar with nylon strings the longest to break in. These guitar strings usually take two to four days to reach their final pitch. How much stretching is done, how well-built the guitar is, and how many hours are spent playing are all factors. Before they can be used, these strings need more time to get longer, and they tend to slip, especially if they need to be tied securely.

If you need some new nylon strings for your nylon guitar, here’s my top pic.

How to stretch guitar strings?

You must always stretch a fresh set of strings after installing them. Any guitar with brand-new strings should have the strings manually stretched to speed up the stretching process. Strings may be stretched in two standard methods.

1. Manually Stretch the strings.

Pull the string gently for a few minutes while pressing it on the fretboard with your thumb. The best place to begin is at the 12th fret and work your way up to the 5th or 6th. Tighten the tuning peg and keep doing it until it stops going out of tune.

2. Over-tuning the strings

An alternative is to tune the string half a step higher than standard intonation and play fairly hard for a few minutes. Once you’ve returned the guitar, put it away for about 10 minutes. Tune down, then gradually speed up until you achieve the right pitch. Continue playing as usual, fine-tuning as needed.

3. Playing the guitar

Playing the instrument usually works. However, it could take longer than the other approaches mentioned above to see benefits.

Image of a guitar with complete string place near the grass. Source: pixabay
Image of a guitar with complete string placed near the grass. Source: Pixabay

What affects your guitar’s tuning stability?

New strings often go out of tune because they haven’t been stretched and aren’t used to the stress they are under. But when some time has passed, and you’ve restrung your instrument, you’ll be ready to go. However, if your guitar still won’t stay in tune, the strings are not the problem. There are several indicators throughout the guitar indicating its tuning is secure.

  • Neck relief
  • Angle of headstock
  • String thickness
  • Tuning Pegs
  • Temperature
  • How hard do you play

Consider all these factors when evaluating why your guitar keeps going out of tune.

If you want even more tips and insights, watch this video called “How to Break in and Stretch New Guitar Strings” from the Middle-Aged Gear Junkie YouTube channel.

A video called “How to Break in and Stretch New Guitar Strings” from the Middle-Aged Gear Junkie YouTube channel.
Advertisements

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about how long it takes to break in new guitar strings.

Do guitar strings have to break in?

If you want your brand-new guitar strings to remain in tune and sound great, you’ll need to break them in. Different types of guitar strings have different break-in periods. However, it takes little time and can be hastened by playing the guitar and stretching the string appropriately.

How do you break in new guitar strings fast?

A fast way to break in your electric guitar strings is to tune the string half a step higher than standard intonation and play fairly hard for a few minutes. Once you’ve returned the guitar, put it away for about 10 minutes. Tune down, then gradually speed up until you achieve the right pitch. Continue playing as usual, fine-tuning as needed.

How long does it take for new strings to settle?

Nylon strings need 48 hours of regular playing before they settle to the point where they will stay in tune, whereas steel strings need 1-2 hours. During this time, it’s very important to keep your guitar in tune.

Do new strings get out of tune easily?

Guitar strings tend to go out of tune quickly after being replaced, which may last for up to two weeks, depending on how frequently you play and tune. This is because fresh strings stretch and quickly get out of tune.

Conclusion

It does not take long for new guitar strings to break in. You will notice the difference in your playing within just a few hours. Eventually, you can judge when one set of strings is ready for action based on how they feel and sound while strumming. But If anything sounds wrong along the line, don’t hesitate to get a new set!

This article covered what new strings sound like, how long it takes for new guitar strings to break in and how to stretch guitar strings. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • The “bright” and metallic tone of brand-new strings appeals to certain guitarists, especially when playing in clear, piercing tones.
  • Therefore, “breaking in” reduces the string’s initial tension and resistance.
  • You must always stretch a fresh set of strings after installing them.
  • Extra tips:
    • Usually, strings on a bass guitar will snap after just two hours of constant use.
    • Tuning stability with steel strings also only takes a few hours to settle after regular playing.

So, how long do your strings take to settle in? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on music production. Thanks for reading, and never stop making music.

Helpful resources

Audio Apartment Author
Written By Andrew Ash
Hey there! My name is Andrew, and I've been making music since I was a kid. I now run this blog all about home studios and music production. If you want to improve your home studio setup, this is the place for you!

Leave a Comment