Coated Strings & String Conditioner

Afternoon all,

I just finished changing the string on my acoustic guitar. I have used D’Addario XT strings. I have a quick question as it is my first time using coated strings. Do I still need to apply string conditioner, or will this remove the coating? I have checked the D’Addario website and cannot find any advice.



I would just clean them after your playing session in the usual way, I have never used string conditioner at all tbh I don’t really think that it’s needed if you keep your strings clean and sweat/grime free.


I didn’t know there was something called string conditioner


I guess Mike has this and other similar products in mind.

Personally, I use them from time to time but I change my strings 3-4 times a year anyway and wipe them off with a dry cloth after playing, so these products don’t make much difference in my case.

Also, I doubt they would remove the coating from coated strings.

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For years I had a can of FASTFRET just recently am using it :slight_smile:

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Thanks, everyone; I much appreciate you taking the time to respond

@DarrellW, I always clean down the strings with a dry cloth after use, but my hands sweat like mad. I have gotten by with the conditioner, but I thought I would give coated strings a try.

@jkahn, me neither, till talking to an ex-colleague at the beginning of the year! @Jozsef, is spot on; that’s exactly what I had in mind. I wipe the strings down after every session, but I have horribly sweaty hands, so I usually use this to help keep them clean and in better condition.

@iguitaryou, How is FASTFRET, Tom? I thought about giving it a try a few months back but never got around to purchasing it.

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Well I am not sure if I am brainwashed with all those advertisements but I have seen tons of good reviews. I speak 3 languages and I am sure some of those great guitarists are not being sponsored to say those good things. I use this fast fret and I see some improvement.

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I was never a fan of coated strings until yesterday. I bought a new guitar that came with D’Addario XT Phosphor Bronze strings on it. I don’t know how many people might have played the guitar or how long it was on display, but they sound like brand new non-coated strings. As others have suggested, just give them a quick wipe down after playing.
I change my non-coated strings about every month, so after about every 30 hours of play. I’ll be very interested to see how long these XTs last.
I’ve played for over 50 years and have never heard of nor would I consider using a string conditioner.

Well as you said you do not know how many people might have played the guitar neither you know how long it was on display so it might be a little soon to come to this conclusion. Perhaps it might last longer but how much longer?

My conclusion regarding string conditioner has nothing to do with the new guitar or the XT strings. I just would never spend extra time or money conditioning strings. If my strings corrode or wear out, I change them.
I’ve tried other coated strings from D’Addario and other brands like Elixer and Martin before. To me, none of them sounded as good as non-coated strings when new. Regardless of how long they’d been on the new guitar or how many people had played on them, the XT strings sound better than other coated strings I’ve used in the past.

That’s pretty much my position. I do wonder if some people’s fingers sweat a lot more than mine. I use coated strings, I play usually an hour or more a day, I don’t wipe my strings or use conditioner (I have friends who swear by their string conditioner) and I get months out of my strings.

I started using Fret Fast and quickly realised that its a gimmick for a problem that doesn’t need to be solved and just making someone rich. Its one of those products that you could see being pitched on Dragons Den. Just wipe the strings with a cloth after playing and change them when you feel they need to be changed.


There’s absolutely a difference between people regarding how much their hands sweat, and also the acidity. Then there’s environment; my youngest brother used to play and sing at waterfront bars along the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Between the heat and humidity making him sweat heavily and the salt air, he had to replace his strings every two or three days.

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I have used Finger Ease ( it’s been around since the 60’s), on my strings for nearly 2 years, and it does make a significant difference in my experience.
Particularly noticeable if I dont do it for a few days. I’m not a sweaty hands person either, and wash them thoroughly before playing.
Strings just feel much cleaner and slicker when moving around, sliding, bending etc. Its also super great for a light spray on the neck. Makes it super slick to move around on. It also keeps the fretboard super clean. At $10 can, its gonna last me another 2 years - so around $2.50 year. Takes about 15 seconds to do.
In my opinion, wiping your strings with only a cloth all the time is like wiping your dirty kitchen bench with a tea towel. It might look clean, but it aint.

Cheers, Shane

You’re supposed to clean them :flushed:

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Basically what you need to think about is that your hands sweat when you’re playing and sweat contains salt which is corrosive; strings are metal so that’s why you clean them. I usually use a slightly damp cloth.

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