Dirty/Tarnished looking Fingers after playing Nickels

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by chinjazz, Jan 18, 2014.


  1. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Location:
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Wondering if anyone noticed something like this....

    Got a relatively new set of D'Addario Nickel balanced on my basses. Played for a few hours and after noticed what looked like tarnish on all my fingertips. I have been using a hold out Older GHS Fastfret on the strings (the one that smells nice).
    It adds some slickness.

    I may have bad memory but I don't recall having such dirty fingers after playing for a few hours...
    Not this much.... I'll check that the strings are really clean before playing tomorrow and see.

    Hmmmm...
  2. FourBanger

    FourBanger

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Location:
    SE Como
    I've had a few sets of dirty strings from D'Addario before.
  3. GK Growl

    GK Growl

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    Have you used nickel before? Some people have reactions and/or allergies to nickel.
  4. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Location:
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Yeah, been using nickels for the past few years.
    I sort of suspect that maybe something got on my FastFret pad maybe.

    I'm not having any adverse reactions (but not ruling out anything).
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  6. Solarmist

    Solarmist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    15 miles from Mt. Rainier
    I've never noticed anything like that - all the D'Add strings I've gotten came in sealed plastic wraps.
  7. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Location:
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    I must be adding something with this applicator.
  8. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist, Marketing/Social Media: GHS Strings
    It's not the FastFret.

    I've had the same issue with strings that have any sort of "plated" wire on the string. What happens is that it's a plating issue, that the sweat in your fingers is reacting with the plating and it's pulling off. It doesn't affect the string, but it certainly makes it look a little ugly.

    If you haven't had the issue before, it could be just a bad batch of wire. When I had an issue like this with a string company (prior to my GHS role), I spoke directly with one of the owners and they said it was probably just a bad batch of wire, or it was at the very end of the spool.
  9. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Location:
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Thank you GHS Official. Great info to know about, much appreciated!

    Just to clear things up, I wasn't thinking it was actually FastFret that introduced this, but something I put on the FastFret applicator. And of course with this info you provided it seems to be even clearer that it could be the string itself. It was just something strange I hadn't seen before.
  10. pfox14

    pfox14

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    You are adding a lubricant with FastFret, so my guess is that's what's causing it.
  11. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Location:
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Actually, I thought that when I was buffing another guitar that the polishing compound found its way thru my series of buffing pads and somehow onto a rag and eventually to the FastFret.

    I found the cause.....BTW, wasn't adding anything to the FastFret.

    I took the strings off this morning and wiped them with a clean white t-shirt. And as I kept pulling the strings thru the finger pinched t-shirt,
    Blackish tarnish would not stop coming off.

    Kudos to GHS support person, they nailed it.

    Basically my time was up to eventually wind up with a string at end of spool.

    Thanks for all your feedback!
  12. Randyt

    Randyt

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    Barrie, Canada
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    Endorsing Artist: Adult Pampers
    I use little alcohol swab packages to wipe down my strings all the time ...cheap pack from Walmart!!...My fingers do get a little dirty from newly opened strings...one wipe down and ...no more!!!
  13. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Location:
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Hey Randyt, thanks for the tip! I like tips that work like this and are easy on the pocket :)

    I'll try it for sure!
  14. Linnin

    Linnin

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    Waynesboro, Virginia
    I love the EXL 170BT's I put on my jazz. No discolored fingers here. You are right to suspect the FastFret you are using. I would never put that stuff on my strings.
  15. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

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    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist, Marketing/Social Media: GHS Strings
    Ah, that's what you meant. That's always possible. I try to keep my polishing cloths and string cloths separate, but it's near impossible to truly keep those separate completely.

    There are still other reasons why that could happen (and without having the string in the office to look at it directly), but the spool thing is probably a safe bet.

    Glad you were able to pinpoint it and figure it out.
  16. Geri O

    Geri O

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2013
    Location:
    Florence, MS
    I've noticed a little dark residue on my two picking fingers and my thumb while using the Ernie Ball Power Slinkys. It's never been enough to concern me. No Fast Fret. I thought the stuff in Fast Fret was alcohol.

    Geri O
  17. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Location:
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Hey Geri,

    I'm not sure exactly what makes up FastFret, but it's got a lubrication aspect which makes for a nice slick feel.

    By the way, my issue was solved.

    A suggestion by Randyt, tipped me off to get some Alcohol Swabs and clean off the strings.
    Cleaned them up and now, I'm good!

    I suspect that my recent building / buffing a gloss finish on a new bass body crept some polishing
    compound into my mix of rags, etc...http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f57/next-logical-step-build-update-bass-now-completed-999421/

    Eventually this mix of buffing compounds made it onto some rags/strings, and thus adding a mysterious elixir to my bass universe.

    Thanks, I'm now a happy camper :bassist:
  18. Geri O

    Geri O

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2013
    Location:
    Florence, MS
    Cool, thanx for clarifying that, Chinjazz...

    In "The Day", when I was playing 5-6 days a week several hours a day, I used quite a bit of Fast Fret. It helped keep the strings clean and keep them lively for longer. But I haven't gone back to it since I restarted my playing career. I'd go through one every two weeks or so.

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