changing guitar strings

Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including advice on changing guitar strings, some pro musician fun, and the simple stuff.

Here we go…

#1 – The simple stuff

Last week, I mentioned a simple tip in an email.

I call it the “Elbow/Shoulder Axis” and the idea is that you relax the fretting hand’s shoulder.

This allows you to “swing” your elbow and move it freely…

Getting it in the ideal place to play different things on your guitar.

Doing this can help you get on your fingertips more and prevent chords from buzzing.

It takes some trial and error, of course, but this simple tip can help.


Well, that email got a lot of good responses and Joe left a comment in the Fingerstyle 101 Facebook group the other day saying this:

“Simple but hugely effective tip that has almost cured that issue. (Old habits die hard) Now I just have to retrain my muscle memory for the change from G to C chord”.

“I’m really excited because for me it’s been a real breakthrough.”


It goes to show three things really.

  • Technique is paramount to everything we do on the guitar.
  • How you control all the parts of your body when playing is crucial
  • The little things can make a huge difference.

It’s always worth keeping that in mind.


#2 – When pro musicians have fun

I was reading a little story about the new Foo Fighters drummer the other day.

Foo Fighters are one of my all-time favourite rock bands – especially from back when I was learning guitar.

I’d play their songs on the guitar all the time.

Well, last year their drummer, Taylor Hawkins, tragically died.

The new drummer, Josh Freese, talked about joining the Foo Fighters.

He mentioned doing a crazy jam in one of their first shows together.


Basically, he decided to randomly play the wild drum beat to a Nine Inch Nails song.

This is the drum beat Dave Grohl (who is the Foo Fighters singer) created and recorded originally.

Later, Josh Freese was the touring drummer for Nine Inch Nails and played that drum beat a lot.

So, both Dave Grohl and Josh Freese know that drum beat very well, so it was a nice surprise for Dave Grohl to hear it in the middle of a show.

I thought that was a cool little story about some of my favourite bands growing up (I saw both many times and they were amazing).


Anyway, the point here is that they were having loads of fun.

Pro musicians on stage in front of 10,000s pulling out surprises not just for the audience but for fellow band members.

It just goes to show there’s so much fun to be had in music, at every level.


#3 – The age-old question of changing strings

I come across a good little interview in a magazine the other day with a chap called Martin Keith.

He’s a builder and repairperson of guitars.

Someone asked him the age-old question of how long should you leave it before changing strings.

Well, he used a good analogy saying it’s hard to give an exact time, as there are many variables.


Changing guitar strings is not like a car needing an oil change every 3000 miles.

The guitar is not quite as predictable.

I myself have seen students get through strings in a few weeks (due to corrosive sweat mostly) and others who could go ages without needing to change strings.

In fact, Martin said in the interview he has a guitar that has strings that are years old

…But then again, he plays fingerstyle and with a very light touch.


I’ve got one guitar like that myself.

For me, I like to change strings when I feel the guitar is starting to lose its sparkle and doesn’t sound quite as exciting to play.

The fresh set always brings a new lease on life to it.

If your guitar needs livening up a touch, a new set of strings may be in order.

I’ve never regretted changing the strings on my guitars!


I hope you enjoyed those three random thoughts.

…And for more help with your playing, and fixing/improving the seven key areas of guitar playing, you might want to check this out below…

Guitar Domination Super eBook Bundle



Have a great week ahead!

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.


Bruce T. Akins
July 3, 2023 Reply

Hey Dan,

I would like to suggest you do a video on the different types of guitar strings to purchase and where to purchase. Also I would like to see you explain what you are doing and why as you change your acoustic guitar strings. Just a suggestion.

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