From time to time we changed the type of strings used on new Martin guitars. We are currently stringing most new Martin guitars with Martin SP Lifespan acoustic guitars strings. Martin SP Lifespan strings use an exclusive high-tensile strength core wire to better hold tunings and resist breaking; all six strings are treated with our proprietary treatment to enhance the life of the string. In general, all non-cutaway dreadnoughts and jumbo guitars get medium gauge strings. Most X-series, cutaways, and smaller models such as the OOO and the OO get light gauge strings. Most 12 string guitars get extra light gauge. Guitars designed for nylon strings will be strung with our Martin Classic strings. For the most current information of what type of strings came on your Martin, please refer to the MODEL SPECIFICATIONS for your guitar.
Many of the traditional metals used in acoustic strings are subject to the corrosive effects of oxygen and moisture. Body chemistry can influence the longevity of a string as well; if a player has high acid content in his/her perspiration, strings may tarnish more quickly as well. We recommend always washing hands before playing, wiping down the strings when done, and storing the guitar in its case to increase the longevity of the strings.
Yes, it is safe. All of our six string guitars designed for steel strings have been tested to withstand the tension of a medium gauge string. However, since each top is unique, take note if the top starts to rise abnormally. If this happens, go back to the lighter gauge strings.
Your string breakage problem may not be the result of the strings you are using. Strings often break due to an excessively sharp break angle or rough area at the saddle, or a rough area at the nut. Analyze the frequency you break strings and the location of the break, and then discuss with an authorized Martin Warranty Repair Center. If you are a heavy strummer, a medium gauge string may be preferable.
You can switch easily between types of wrap material, or types of strings - Marquis, SP, SP Flexible Core, etc. If you are changing more than one step in string gauge we recommend that you have the first change done professionally to ensure the set up remains comfortable, intonation accurate, and tone correct. For example, you if normally play lights you should be able to change to a custom light or medium light without issues. However a jump from light to medium or to extra light could affect playability or intonation.
Strings usually require changing every few weeks depending upon playing style, desired sound and environmental conditions. As a general rule, when strings require re-tuning often, it is time to change the strings. Changing strings provides a great opportunity to clean and service the guitar, including cleaning and dressing the fret board, polishing or cleaning the top and body, checking the nut and saddle for issues, and possibly changing the battery on a pre-amp if mounted inside the sound hole.