String care is relatively simple. You will find that you can increase the life and liveliness of your strings if you wipe them off after playing or in between sets. This will reduce the amount of time that body acids have to work on the strings and will also remove some of the dirt which gets trapped in the windings of the wound strings. Dirt accumulation causes wound strings to become "dead" sounding. You can often bring back the sound by pulling on the string and letting it snap back. Do this a couple of times and the string should come back to life for a little while. The reason for this is that you knock the dirt out of the windings and that allows the string to vibrate more freely.
You should change your strings on some kind of regular basis depending upon the amount of playing time you put on a string set. You can usually tell when strings need to be changed in 1 of 2 ways:
- The string is hard to keep in tune.
- The string has a "singing" or "sizzling" type of sound.
The "singing" or "sizzling" sound is almost always an indication that you need to change the 3rd string as soon as the set ends because it is getting ready to break.