Guitar Strings: 12 Curious FAQ’s About Them

Does your guitar have strings? Of course it does! This post lists 12 guitar string faq questions with surprising answers about the materials and construction of strings for guitar.

Which guitar strings have colored ends?

There are a number of different guitar string manufacturers that have made colored guitar string ends.There are a lot of different types that have had colored ends sold with them.The specific strings that have been made with colored ends have been the D’Addario, Martin, and PRS strings from the mid 1960’s through the late 1970’s.

The main reason for the colored ball ends is to have an easy way to determine which string is which.

Do guitar strings hurt when they break?

Sometimes, if it snaps back and hits you. I’ve had strings snap over the years and it doesn’t hurt or feel like anything more than a mild twang sensation. The only time I’ve ever heard of someone getting hurt by a guitar string breaking is when Jimmy Page broke his 3rd string on his Les Paul and it went through his hand and hit him in the eye, causing him to get a black eye. It didn’t hurt at all, just surprised him and he made up that story about how it happened.

Why do my guitar strings smell?

They don’t really “smell”. They have a distinctive scent when they are new, but this disappears after a short while. The reason they have a smell is due to the manufacturing process of the strings, which involves cooking them at high temperature in order to achieve the right balance of flexibility and play-ability.

Can guitar string break tuning down?

Yes! Guitar strings can break at any time. It’s not unusual for players to find their guitar strings breaking during a performance. This can be truly embarrassing, especially with an expensive guitar or one that the player has worked hard to make sound good.

What are the strings made of?

The two main materials for guitar strings are steel and nickel, with the remainder being copper. Some companies use various combinations of these materials, including zinc and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). For a long time, nickel strings were the standard for good sound and longevity. Now that steel strings have been made popular, most people get what they want.

Do guitar strings burn your fingers?

No! They don’t burn your fingers at all. A lot of people have been led to believe that you put those metal strings on those metal fingers and those metal strings will cause those fingers to be singed and catch fire and hurt, but this is simply not true.

Why do guitar strings have ball ends?

The ball ends are used to lock the string into place at the bridge. This is very important because if the string was to slip out of tune, it would be very hard to place it back in place and tune up again.

How long guitar strings hold their tone?

The quality and type of material used in strings can affect the life of the strings. One characteristic that affects the life of strings is something called “flex” or “bendy”. The more bendy a string, the shorter its life will be.

How long will guitar strings last?

The length of time depends on how often you play, your style of playing (heavy strumming vs light picking), and the type of string that you use. For example, nickel strings tend to break faster than steel strings. The other factor is that some companies make better quality strings than others.

Do old guitar strings lose or affect intonation?

No! Old strings usually maintain intonation. If you’re playing a lot of songs and find your intonation is slowly drifting up and down, then changing the strings might help keep it in tune.

Can a guitar have 3 strings?

Yes, a guitar can have 3 strings.

In the past, some guitars have only had 3 strings. For example, there is a small guitar from Brazil called the “Trasnoche” which has only 3 strings. There was also the “Monkey Guitar” invented by Frank Smoth which has 3 strings as well as the classic Spanish instrument, the vihuela which has 5 courses of 2 strings each.

Can you restring a guitar with the same strings?

It can be done, but very rarely. It’s best to change the strings every now and then to keep the life of the guitar strings at their maximum potential. Changing the strings will also help if they are broken or gone bad. For example, you could change out all of your old strings with new ones and still have your guitar play in tune just as easily as it did before if you use quality strings.