Working at a string company gives you an interesting perspective on guitars. You go into it thinking you know so much about what makes a guitar sound and play great, and leave with more questions than you have answers to. This of course is all part of the process of developing the world’s longest lasting strings. Over many months of having daily conversations with guitarists, I’ve learned numerous reasons for shortened string life in addition to the usual, whether it be frequency of playing, not washing your hands before playing, keeping your guitar in a humid climate, or just playing really rough on your strings. One reason though caught me completely off-guard and I hear it all the time now from respected industry professionals: Acidic sweat
Umm, what?! That’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard but it’s apparently the most common reason some people can kill a set of strings so quickly. 7.4 pH is optimal, and when your body detects a lower level pH than this, it offsets by emitting the excess acid through your sweat. This acid then gets on the guitar strings and corrodes them. For some, this is natural. They’re just prone to out-of-balance pH levels in their body, thus they continually emit acid/base through their sweat no matter what they do to prevent it. For many others, it’s directly related to their diet & lifestyle choices.
If you’re a musician and looking for another good reason to eat healthy, here it is! By eating unhealthy, greasy foods, you’re lowering your body’s pH level, which not only kills strings quickly, but can cause an assortment of other health issues.
Luckily, you’re not doomed to shortened string life for all eternity. There are things you can do to balance out your pH to a string-friendly level.
Here are 5 quick tips to alkalize your body and maximize life…for yourself and your strings:
1. Eat more produce.
The majority of all fruits and most vegetables are alkaline in nature. For fruits, avoid pomegranates, pineapples and raspberries, however. For vegetables, most all are alkaline unless they are pickled or frozen.
2. Minimize breads as much as possible
Stick to sprouted grains if you must, but get rid of tortillas, sourdough, white bread, whole grains and brown rice. On the acid-alkaline scale, most grains fall into the acidic category.
3. Hold the mayo, & other condiments.
Most condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard are highly acidic. Also steer clear of canned vegetables, canned tuna and peanut butter (yes, even the organic kind).
4. Eat beans!
Soy, navy and lima beans are all highly alkaline, while caraway, cumin, fennel and sesame seeds are good for raising pH.
5. Use Stevia, not sugar
Stevia has alkalizing effects, but other sugars like honey and artificial sweeteners like xylitol and aspartame are acidic
6. Reduce alcohol, dairy and coffee
Your wine and cheese habit isn’t doing your pH any favors, so minimize these foods. And if you can swing it, give up your daily cup of joe, too.
If you want more information about which foods are alkaline and which are acidic, check out this great resource guide.
Diet aside, Graph Tech makes a hand spray you can try called PrePlay. It cleanses and neutralizes the pH on your hands. Each bottle contains 200 sprays and it retails for around $20. You can also try a regiment of drinking alkalized water. Both of these have temporary effects though. Being conscious of your diet helps more than anything.
Stop killing strings! Preserve your string life with a simple lifestyle change, and play Cleartones! They’re treated, so they’ll last you 3×5 longer than traditional guitar strings, no matter how you live your life. Now, imagine how many times longer they’ll last in your new alkalized state of being. Forever perhaps…