When to Change Violin Strings

An important aspect of musicianship is taking excellent care of your instrument, which includes knowing when to change violin strings. Your strings should be replaced, at minimum, every 9-12 months, but there are too many variables to assign an exact timeframe. Keep in mind that the only real downside to replacing your strings too soon is the cost, while waiting too long can actually result in a number of negative consequences.

Worn out strings don't provide the best sound quality and along with the dissatisfaction this may cause you, you tend to press harder while playing on old strings. Having to put more pressure on the strings when you play can cause overuse injuries in your wrist or shoulder. If the strings become too thin, you can actually suffer injuries from violin strings breaking and flying off while you're in the midst of playing the instrument. And you may find yourself in the uncomfortable position of breaking in new strings in the middle of a performance.

To avoid this possibility, protect yourself from injury and maintain the best sound quality, it's best to understand the types of things that can decrease the life of your strings as well as learn how to tell when it's time to change violin strings.

Top down view of assorted violin strings on top of a table

What to look for

While you should pay attention to how many months it's been since you last replaced your strings, the bigger determining factors in how often they'll need to be changed may be the type of strings you use and your playing habits. Certain materials, like gut, will get worn out more quickly whereas steel and synthetic nylon strings tend to have a longer lifespan. If you're in the habit of practicing 4 hours per day, it simply makes sense that you will need to replace strings more often than the casual musician.

Another thing that will have an effect on how often you need to replace your violin strings is the instrument set-up. For example, the way your bridge has been cut or the grooves on the nut can impact strings, causing them to wear out more quickly. Cleaning strings after playing will help extend the lifespan as well. Oils from your fingers, rosin and dirt can all build up on your violin strings and wear them down over time.

The perfect strings for you

You'll know when it's time for new strings by listening to your instrument. When it gets to the point where it doesn't sound right anymore or your violin won't stay in tune, it's best to take the plunge and replace your strings.

Find the perfect violin strings online at Johnson String Instrument. We carry a large selection of strings; made from whatever material you favor. Check out our resources to help you narrow down your search and choose the right strings for your instrument.

Additional Resources

Carriage House Violins

Located in Newton, Massachusetts, Carriage House Violins is the instrument sales division of Johnson String Instrument.

Learn More


Whether searching for a job, learning about the "Mozart Effect," looking for a summer music camp, or choosing the right instrument string, you need look no further.

Learn More

Johnson String Project

A charitable foundation whose goal is to provide high-quality instruments to children who live in under-served communities and who are participating in El-Sistema-inspired programs in Massachusetts.

Learn More

JSI Blog

Information and helpful articles about the music and instruments we love.

Learn More


Helpful "how to" videos and useful information about JSI and the products and services we offer.

Learn More