Posted on by Matchetts Admin

How Long Should My Violin Strings Last?

This is a question we are frequently asked. Although there is no definitive answer there are a few telltale signs that your strings are past their best.

Tone: An early sign that your violin strings are aging is a change in tone. You'll notice that they sound dull and less vibrant than they did. This can be especially noticeable if a single string breaks; the replacement will sound brighter and more defined than the other strings.

Tuning: If you notice that your violin isn't holding pitch like it normally does, this is commonly a result of aged strings. You may even have tuned your instrument perfectly with a tuner but when you play it it still sounds slightly out of tune. This is a sign of the condition of the strings.

Discolouration: Strings respond to their environment and as violin strings are wound in metal they react to air and over time will oxidise. Put another way, they rust. Keep an eye out for rough black patches on the strings. Remember, rust on your strings can be dangerous and rusty strings are brittle and more easily snapped. 

You may also notice your strings look darker and less shiny that the did when they were fitted; as you play the instrument oil and skin from your fingers is deposited on the strings, not to mention rosin from the bow. A buildup of this residue over time can effect the resonance of your strings and the sound of your instrument.

Fraying: If you see threading or fraying on the strings it will not be long until they break. The most likely place to spot this is around the nut at the top of the finger board, where the strings pass over on their way to the tuning pegs. If you see this it is well past time to replace the strings. If all your strings are the same age it would be worth replacing all of them at this stage even if not all the strings are fraying.


While there are many factors that will effect the life span of your strings there a few simple steps you can take to care for your strings. Follow the link to read our post on How To Make Your Violin Strings Last Longer.

By Tom McShane



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