Line 6 Variax 300“If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly.”

“If you find a pair of shoes that fits, buy it in every colour.”

“One biscuit is never enough.”

All three of those phrases is in some way related to the way I spent yesterday evening.  You see, a couple of years or so ago I was mulling over which electric guitar to buy, and when my wife eventually stepped in and told me which one I’d chosen (she knows my mind better than I do most of the time) I ordered a shiny new Line 6 Variax 300.  What’s special about that guitar (and all the others that Line 6 do, in fairness) is electronically model a whole load of real guitars and pack them all into one all-singing-all-dancing guitar, with each guitar selectable from a handy volume-type knob.  The result is that I effectively have 25 guitars instead of just one.

Thankfully, restringing only needs doing once, and it takes regular strings too despite its complicated wizardry.  I did a little research and found which strings the guitar had from the factory, and ordered a set on the internet a couple of days ago.  Now, this is where I hang my head in shame and hope there are no ‘proper’ guitarists reading – this is the first time I’ve replaced the strings since I bought the guitar, almost two years ago.  Ouch.  Sure, I’ve not been playing it every day since then, but even so the strings were sure to be corroded and mucky and dead-sounding by now.  And they were.

The bottom strings weren’t too bad, if a little discoloured, but the thinner strings were almost black with grime, and were coated in dead skin and suchlike.  Not nice.  I replaced each string individually, one at a time, courtesy of a tutorial on changing guitar strings.  I could have worked it out for myself (I have changed guitar strings before, after all), but as this was the first time for this guitar, I thought it would be wise to take special precautions and do it “by the book”.

So now I have a newly restringed guitar sitting in the lounge.  I played it for a while last night, and it sounds much brighter, the way it’s supposed to sound.  It does beg the question, though, whether I should do the same with my bass guitar one day.  That’s never had a change of strings either, and I bought that several years ago.  Then there’s the cello, still on the same strings it had in the shop, over a decade ago.  If you ever meet a professional musician, don’t send them my way… I’d be too ashamed.

1 Comment

Phill · 23 July 2009 at 12:24 pm

I’m shocked, Matthew! :O

Seriously though, in general the only reason I change strings is because I break one (which tends to happen, as it did last time, at a church music practice – the most convenient time!)

But I think it’s generally recommended to change your strings every few months, depending on how regularly you play. It does impact the sound quality, and new strings are obviously less likely to break!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.