Tonight I replaced the strings on my guitar, following the instructions at frets.com. To tie the strings at the bridge you make a loop and ensure the two ends cross each other behind the bridge, not on the top of it. But however I held the bass strings down the loops kept sliding to the top, making the knots come loose. Eventually I got it, though I’m not really sure how. There must be some knack to it I’m missing.
More practice would surely help. I gather from internet forums that other people change their strings after around 40 hours of playing. My old ones had been on for more than 170! I should change them more often. I certainly hear a big difference now, especially in the bass strings. It’s a crisper, brighter tone, not as dull as before. I think the coils round the bass strings accumulate dirt and die, so to speak, sooner than the trebles.
If I were trying to minimize costs, one option would be to replace the bass strings only. The trebles were still in fairly good shape. You can probably prolong the life of the bass strings by cleaning them with some kind of degreaser, if you were so inclined. If I were really trying to minimize costs I wouldn’t change strings at all. They still sounded OK before I changed them, just not as lively as they do now.
The bass strings settled down quite quickly but the trebles might take a day or two. As I played for half an hour after restringing, I was continually retuning. I’ll retune once more today and see what they’re like tomorrow.