How Long Do Guitar Strings Last In Package? | Shelf Life

There are many reasons why a guitarist might wonder if strings have a shelf life. Perhaps you have some sets that you held onto for a while and now want to try. Or maybe you bought a bunch in bulk and wonder how long they can be stored. How long do guitar strings last in package?

Guitar strings can last a long time, depending on how they are packaged and the environment they are stored in. If they are kept in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight, they can last for many years.

Of course, some materials that can last longer than others. In this article, we will help you understand how to store them and the length of time, depending on what you are playing.

How Long Do Guitar Strings Last In Package

Do Guitar Strings Have a Shelf Life?

The answer to this question is a bit tricky. Technically, guitar strings don’t have an expiration date. Manufacturers don’t put them on the packages because the strings can last years if stored right. How long they last really depends on the environment.

If you are looking for a general guideline, most strings can last up to two years if they are stored in a cool, dry place. However, this is not always the case. Some materials, like nickel-plated strings, can last a bit longer than that. Sets with windings around them can also outlast those that do not, depending on how air can get to the steel underneath.

The packaging itself is one of the more important aspects of string storage. If they are simply put into paper sleeves, they will not last as long as being vacuum sealed. Most manufacturers do not seal their strings this way, and so this puts a shelf life on them.

How to Store Guitar Strings

There are a few ways that you can extend the shelf life of your guitar strings. This depends on where you live and how long they will be stored. If you live in a location that is very humid most of the year, the chances of your strings oxidizing are far greater.

If you live near the coast, the salty air will decrease the storage time if the strings are exposed to it. The corrosion will begin to form much quicker, they won’t last even 24 months before they are expired. 

Packaging

The best way to store guitar strings is in their original packaging. If you don’t have the packaging, you can put them in an airtight container or bag. This will help keep them from being exposed to the air and oxidizing. Vacuum sealing would be the next best option, if you have access to this, seal them up, and they will last for decades without having to buy more.

Guitar String Storage Box

If you don’t have the original packaging or an airtight container, you can store them in a guitar string storage box. This can be an airtight container that can store a few sets of strings. You will want to put in some silica gel packets to protect them from any moisture that might find its way into the box.

In most cases, this is even better than storing them in their original packaging alone. If you store a lot of strings, you may want to make one to protect them. Depending on how many strings you are storing, this is a great way to protect them from rust.

Refrigerator or Freezer

You can also store them in your refrigerator or freezer. Because there is less moisture in cold areas, this will keep them very dry. You will want to vacuum seal them or put them in an air-tight bag, this will allow them to last so much longer!

While this might sound silly, it is a good place to store any strings for long periods with the right preparations.

How Long Do Nylon Guitar Strings Last?

Because nylon guitar strings are not made from steel, they are less likely to corrode. The bronze windings can oxidize and break down if the conditions are not right, but this is rare in comparison to steel and rust.

Where nylon strings begin to expire is with temperature changes. If they are being stored in their packaging in a place where the temperature fluctuates a great deal, this could affect the material. Over time, the nylon will become brittle, shortening the life of the string when it is eventually used.

It is best to keep them in a cool place with no large changes in temperature. When the conditions are right, the nylon strings can be stored for a long time.

Summary

If you plan to store guitar strings for a long time, it is best to take certain precautions to increase their shelf life. Purchasing a lot of them at one time might not always be the right approach. Even if the sale or deal seems right, if the strings are no longer fresh and slightly corroded when you put them on, it is money down the drain. Sometimes it is best to buy them as needed, and make sure to dispose of the old ones properly.

How Long Do Guitar Strings Last In Package FAQs

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about string storage.

How do you store guitar strings?

The best way to store guitar strings is in their original packaging. If you don’t have it any longer, you can put them in an airtight container or bag. This will help keep them from being exposed to the air and oxidizing.

Vacuum sealing would be the next option, and then for longer periods, a sealed container with silica gel packets would be best.

How long do guitar strings last in storage?

If you live in an area that is cool and dry, your steel guitar strings could last a couple of years without expiring. However, if your area is humid and hot, if left to the elements, a guitar string could last less than a year.

If storing strings for long periods, it is best to seal them up to prolong the shelf life.

Do guitar strings go bad in their package?

Oxidation will occur with guitar strings when in contact with the air. The packaging helps to slow this process, but eventually, if left unsealed and exposed to the air, the strings will corrode.

Most strings come in paper sleeves, this will still allow moisture to make contact with them if high enough. At some point, depending on where you live, the strings will begin to rust.

Some packs are sealed in the original unopened foil. These are a better option than a box with sleeves. The shelf life is greater with them, but they should still be kept cool and dry if unused for a long period.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!