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Ultrasonic Cleaner

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Baker69, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. Baker69

    Baker69

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    There are a lot of topics on here about boiling strings etc etc, but has anyone tried cleaning their bass strings with an Ultrasonic Cleaner? I've used one for some time now. These were brought out originally to clean such items as jewellery, watches etc but they seem to work on most things (bass strings included!) They seem to be more effective than boiling the strings, and as no high temperatures are involved there shouldn't be any risk of damaging or 'softening' the metal.

    The machine was quite reasonably priced (about £ 17.50 I think but that was several years ago), I tend to do each string individually for the maximum set timer of 480 seconds. I'm just doing my strings now actually, which is what prompted me to post this topic about them. The strings I'm doing now I've cleaned 4 or 5 times so far over a 12 month period with no detrimental effect to them.

    Has anyone else out there used one of these machines?
  2. ejmy

    ejmy

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    Nice info,
    Can you specify the make of the machine, or better yet, could you post a pick ??
  3. Baker69

    Baker69

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    Just had a look, the machine is by a company named James Products Ltd and the model is the Ultra 7000.

    They have a web site with the full specification, pictures etc;

    www.jpl.uk.com

    :)

    It does give the RRP at £ 44.95 but I got it from a shopping channel for around £ 17.50 Amazon are doing them for £ 34 (there are some customer reviews on there as well).
  4. ejmy

    ejmy

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    Thanks again, i'm checking out Ebay right now and there are quite a few for sale, some are very cheap.
    I think it's a great idea to use that as a string cleaner.
  5. Baker69

    Baker69

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    Hi ejmy,

    I hadn't thought about E-Bay, good idea!

    I tend to use quite hot (but not boiling) water in it but you can use cold water if you wish. (Hot water always cleans better than cold water and there is a scientific reason for this which I won't go into).

    Also you can (again optional) use a small amount of washing-up liquid in the water.

    I am quite impressed with it, ok no method is going to bring any string back to being in brand new condition, but it certainly gives them a new lease of life and even on taking the string out of the water to dry it you can feel the difference right away and you get that very metallic 'new string' sound on handling them.

    Recommended - and in my opinion much better than all the other methods I've used over the years (and very safe as well of course).
  6. ejmy

    ejmy

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  7. Baker69

    Baker69

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    Nice one, I hope you win it! The capacity is the same as mine, but the one you're looking at doesn't look like it has a built-in timer (not really important I know).

    I just finished doing my strings, I take a string off at a time, clean it and put it back on the bass, that way no unnecessary unsettling of the neck.

    It's surprising how much dirt there is left in the bottom of the cleaner, so you can actually see that it is doing its job!

    I think this is possibly the last clean I'll do on this set of strings as the 'E' string is starting to fade (metal fatigue probably), but the machine has given me 12 months usage out of this particular set.

    The good thing about getting a machine is that it has a multitude of uses, particularly good on metal items such as rings, jewellery etc but they suggest uses such as cleaning CD's, spectacles, electric shaver heads, printer heads etc. I've tried it on jewellery items and it's really good.
  8. ejmy

    ejmy

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  9. trick whitey

    trick whitey

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    I've been using ultrasonics for over ten years ,
    and still have usable strings about that old .
    I use solvents instead of water to clean with
    because the strings dry quick and it doesn't promote rusting of the iron cores .
    I am extremely hard on strings and get amazing results .
    I often think they sound brighter than brand new.
    Perhaps because even new strings have a small percent of oil from the manufactures tooling.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

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    Could you expand on the concept of "solvents" please?

    Baker, Great topic! Thanks for the tip!
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Wow, this is an excellent topic! The one thing, though...does it stink up your house the way ultrasonic cleaners similar to what you might use in a car do?
  12. Baker69

    Baker69

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    Yes, I am a bit wary about using solvents in the house as well.

    I don't doubt that solvents may act more powerful than water, but the Ultrasonic machines are designed for use simply using tap water (plus a bit of washing up detergent if you choose). What solvents do you use and are they readily available to the public?

    I get very good results using tap water alone so I can't see the need for using (potentially) harmful solvents. I leave each string in for the full 480 seconds (8 minutes), take them out and immediately dry them with a paper kitchen towel before putting them back on the bass. I've never ever experienced any sign of water damage/rusting in all the times I have been using the Ultrasonic device.
  13. trick whitey

    trick whitey

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    Actually the cleaners were originally used with solvents in industry

    freon to be exact. good stuff I miss it. I have been using acetone of late but you are right about fumes.

    It is not for apartment dwellers ,candy asses or hippie sympathizers. lol

    I seem to remember someone claimed they had discovered cold fusion by exciting cold acetone few years back so bye god be careful. roflol

    Yep you boys should stick to dish soap and water
  14. grifo

    grifo

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    very interesting topic and well detailed for use, thx
  15. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member

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    you don't really need solvents with ultrasonic cleaners.
    The ozone produced by splitting molecules is agressive enough to get rid of any oil.
    I have never used one for strings but they are fantastic to clean rusty hardware.
  16. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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    Great tip, great topic! Thanks!!!
  17. Schlyder

    Schlyder

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    But.. but... you're cleaning away all that good funk. :eek::D
  18. markanini

    markanini

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    Aqueous degreaser should be a safe solvent though. I think you'd want to follow up with a quick rubbing alcohol soak to remove residual degreaser in such case.
  19. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

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    Got one on ebay when I read this earlier today Paid 31.00 including shipping. Ill check it out. I think it may do the job as I always like new strings. But.....I guess I have to laugh. I just researched and saw I can get the same model for the same price new. Well if you guys want to buy one they are cheaper than I thought and I guess everyone should get one. It said used very few times. yea... OK....Well ill be only using it on my strings so I guess I just have to suck it up and never buy without researching. well I have learned and it didn't cost me that much. But I did learn. Check out Amazon.
  20. Honch

    Honch

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    I have searched for something like this for a long time.

    I have already an ultrasonic cleaner for other purposes. Now, I've boiled strings and especially my double ball ends for the headlesses basses. Takes them on and off without any problem.

    HOWEVER!

    I always used isopropyl alcohol to dry and wipe of surface grime and grease, and then if necessary boil them. My question is:

    WILL FILLING THE ULTRASONIC CLEANER WITH ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL TOO, make them strings even cleaner, or better, or :

    WILL IT IGNITE AND EXPLODE?

    I don't have the guts to be the guinea pig! I do think that anything with water doesn't really disappear from the strings that's why I have always being reluctant to boiling in water, I do that with Stainless Steel strings only.

    Some physician around here will sure be able to tell us.

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