You’ve broken just one of the strings on your guitar, and you don’t feel like taking the time to replace the entire set.
In instances like these, you may find yourself wondering – rather than purchasing an entire set, is it possible to purchase single individual strings, and only replace the one string that broke?
The answer is yes, you certainly can. For guitarists that break a lot of strings, it may be worth it to keep some extra singles on hand – especially G’s and high E’s, which tend to break the most frequently. But where do you actually find sets of singles?
In this article, I’ll go over some of the best sources.
Replacing Single Strings Vs. Sets
Before we go any further, I want to briefly discuss why guitarists commonly refer entire sets, rather than just individual strings.
As time goes on, strings tend to wear out. Dirt, sweat and oil from your hands and fingers builds up on the strings, causing them to tarnish and wear out. They won’t feel as nice, and they certainly won’t sound as nice either.
It is recommended to change all of your strings every 1 to 3 months on average, depending on how much you play. Professional guitarists will change them even more frequently. This is true regardless of whether or not any of them break.
Therefore, many people use a string breaking as an excuse to replace the entire set. This also has the added benefit of maintaining the same tone and intonation across all of the strings.
Still, I get it. Restringing a guitar is a hassle and takes a bit of time. If old strings don’t bother you, there isn’t harm in only replacing the single string.
And if the rest of your strings are relatively new and you just got unlucky breaking one of them early on, it makes sense to save the cash and only replace that one string.
Buying Single Strings – Important Tips
Because it’s less common for people to buy individual strings over complete sets, there is less of a selection available. Unfortunately, this leads to less standardized pricing across the board.
The entire point of buying individual strings is to save money – otherwise, you would just stockpile sets and only pull out the string you need, shelving the rest.
The key to saving money on individual strings is to purchase them in packs. To maximize value, it is best to purchase the strings most likely to break – usually the lighter gauge strings. While it’s definitely a good idea to keep extra high E’s on hand, it’s also worth stocking up on B’s and G’s. The price per string will still likely be higher than purchasing complete sets, but you still save money in the long-run as you are only paying for strings that you will actually need and end up using.
Remember when purchasing individual strings, that you purchase strings that are the same gauge to the rest of the strings on your guitar. Otherwise, you may put unnecessary stress on the neck, and potentially cause damage to your guitar.
Where To Buy Individual Guitar Strings
Due to the low price of an individual string and the high cost of shipping, you may save the most money purchasing strings in bulk.
Below are a few sources to purchase individual guitar strings.
Considering that they call themselves, ‘The Everything Store’ and they make up nearly half of all eCommerce sales online, it’s no surprise that they also offer packs of single strings.
Although Amazon doesn’t make it easy to filter these down, you can get more specific by adding the specific brand or gauge you’re looking for to the end of the search.
Juststrings is another great place to purchase individual guitar strings online.
The nice thing about the above link is that you can very quickly sort by brand, type of strings, and then by gauge.
This makes it quick and easy to find exactly what you’re looking for and stock up on multiple types of strings at once.
3. Your Local Guitar Store
More than likely, your local guitar store has single strings available for sale. If you’re making a purchase or you’re a regular, they may just give them to you (I’ve had it happen!)
However, you will probably have to ask about them, because you won’t see them out on the shelves or inside of a display case like you would full sets. You can often grab these at a cheaper price-per-string – $1 / string or so, because you don’t have to worry about the cost of shipping.
Keeping extra strings on hand is important, and buying individual strings rather than full sets can be a convenient way to save both money and time.
Although they tend to be slightly more expensive per string, the savings they grant you in time and money (vs having to replace an entire set) is well worth it.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any questions or want to share any other good sources for purchasing individual strings, it would be great if you could let us know through the comment from below.