Why Do My Guitar Strings Rust So Quickly?


Tired of your guitar strings rusting so quickly?

You’re not the only one.

Many guitarists struggle with this problem and often wonder what they can do to keep their strings from rusting as fast as they do. Guitar strings rust fast because there is a lot of moisture in the air or due to dampness that has been absorbed from playing with clammy hands. Make sure your guitar is stored in a dry, cool place, and use good-quality strings.

In this blog post, I’ll discuss a few tips that will help you get on top of this issue! So without further ado, let’s get started!

Why do guitar strings rust?

There are many reasons why guitar strings rust.

One of the most common is due to sweat from your hands, but there are also other factors that contribute to this type of corrosion.

Although they are made of steel, there is a coating on guitar strings to protect them from corrosion.

Unfortunately, this coating can wear off over time and when it does the wire underneath will rust quickly with exposure to moisture in the air.

The rust occurs from playing in humid conditions for extended periods of time or if you have sweaty hands that rub against the steel wire.

This causes moisture to get trapped between your fingers and then on your strings which will start to corrode them over time.

How do I stop my guitar strings from rusting?

If you want to make your guitar strings last longer, then you need to take care of them.

You may already know that certain things cause the metals in guitar strings to rust—like humidity and sweat on your hands.

If you keep doing those things, then there’s no way for you to stop it from happening!

Here are some tips about how to prevent this from happening to your guitar strings.

First, you need to wipe off all the excess moisture after playing—like sweat and water.

You’ll also want to keep them in a dry place so they don’t rust due to humidity!

If you’re not sure what to do, then check out your strings’ manual for specific instructions.

Secondly, you should clean your strings regularly.

If you don’t, then they may accumulate dirt which can be hard to remove later on!

Make it a habit to clean your strings after every time you play—and to wipe down the neck of your guitar too.

Lastly, make sure that you’re not using cheap (and bad) strings!


Is rust on guitar strings bad?

Well, it’s not ideal for strings to rust as they can make them break and cause tuning problems.

You can play guitar with rusted strings, and you might obtain some interesting tones and textures to your playing.

However, it is not advised since rusty strings are more likely to sound unpleasant, produce an uneven tone, snap in the middle of a song, and even cut your fingers.

How do I prolong the life of my guitar strings?

There are different types of guitar strings, with different compositions.

Some are pure metal or alloy, some have a protective coat to resist corrosion and prolong the life of your guitar string.

The most common type is nickel-wound steel.

These types can rust too quickly if you live in an area where there is high humidity —usually near water sources like oceans, rivers, or lakes.

That being said, the most effective way to prolong the life of your guitar strings is by having a proper cleaning routine when you are done playing for the day.

Most guitarists have a cleaning routine that includes wiping down their strings with an old t-shirt, or microfiber cloth.

This will help remove oils, sweat, dirt, and debris that can lead to corrosion.


Should I boil my guitar strings?

When you boil your guitar strings, old, flat-sounding strings will improve considerably. That being said, they won’t make them sound as fresh.

Boiling new guitar strings before strung on your guitar helps with the stretching and tone development process in addition to allowing better tone and tension.

If you want to boil your strings, leave them in for around 3 minutes. If they’re older or sound flat, leave them in for 5 minutes instead.

You can also use this tip on nickel-plated steel guitar strings if you choose.

How do I know if my guitar strings are rusted?

You know your guitar strings are rusted when they start to lose their original shiny look.

Once the rust accumulates on your strings, you will notice a change in color from silver/metallic and turning into a dull grey or usually brownish tone.

This is because of the oxidation process that occurs when there’s moisture present.

You can also tell if your guitar strings are rusted when they start to feel rough.

When the rust is forming, you will notice that your fingers catch onto it.

This means that the oxidation process is in full swing, which can lead to shortening of string life span or even breaking.

What should you do if rust is already present on my guitar strings?

If there’s no immediate need for playing your guitar, wipe off all excess moisture with a clean dry cloth.

In case you have to use your guitar for a performance right away, wipe the strings with a soft dry towel until they’re still wet but it’s no longer damp or has any excess moisture.

Don’t attempt to remove rust from your strings if there are only a few spots because this can worsen the issue and lead to the strings snapping.

If there are already signs of rust, it’s best to get your guitar restrung as soon as possible so you can play without worrying about shortening your string life span or even breaking them.

Don’t forget that if left unchecked long enough, rusty strings will start corroding and this has consequences beyond just reduced string life span or breaking.

This will damage the entire guitar itself, so make sure to take care of this issue as soon as possible instead of putting it off until later.


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