Skip to main content

Metal Mike: Are You Sweating Toxins Onto Your Strings?

In 2006, when I played guitar with former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach, we did quite a lot of touring with Guns N’ Roses.

While on that tour, I spent some time speaking to the guitar tech to then-GN’R guitarist Robin Finck. In one of our conversations, I asked the tech, who's name was Chris, how often he changed strings on Robin’s guitars. Since Robin traveled with about 10 guitars, I thought to myself that this is quite a lot of string changing. Chris said something I've thought about ever since then.

Chris told me that since Robin eats pretty healthy and doesn't sweat a ton of “junk” on his strings, so his strings last a lot longer than strings belonging to someone who eats poorly, has a lot of bad stuff in his/her body and sweats a bunch of toxins onto the strings.

I've realized how true this is. I've taken this a bit further and wondered, "Would that slightly change the tone of the notes?" I think so. "Would that change other things we're not even considering?"

This trick is to figure out what this info can mean to you.

In my case, my-string changing regimen is pretty much the same. The main guitars I play get their strings changed every other night. I like the slinkier feel of the strings the second night in, when they have a chance to stretch a bit more.

However, recently, my new tech, Travis Doering (who has worked with several greats including Al Di Meola), had my guitars really tuned in. They played so well, that even the first night my strings played as good as I liked. On the guitars that get less use, like one or two songs a night, we would change strings every three shows. I play D’Addario XL strings, BTW.

Polish-born Metal Mike Chlasciak has recorded or performed with heavy metal greats Rob Halford, Sebastian Bach, Bruce Dickinson and Axl Rose. Mike is the long-time guitarist for Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's solo endeavor, Halford. Mike's new album, The Metalworker, is due in spring. For more info, check out his official website and visit him on Twitter.