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“Treating” flatwounds

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by lovernotfighter, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. lovernotfighter


    Nov 2, 2007
    I know a lot of people “treat” flatwounds to “age” them for a better sound. Iv heard a lot of different ways of doing this; from rubbing butter on them before each gig to letting them sit on cooking oil over night. What do you guys do/suggest?
  2. SoLongJake

    SoLongJake Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2007
    Des Moines, Iowa
    There's no substitute for the real thing, just play the heck out of it.
  3. SuperSnake2012

    SuperSnake2012 floppy b strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    Bronx, NY
    +1 I know this probably isn't what you want to hear but this is how it needs to be done. :smug: Just keep at it, because the reward is great :D
  4. lovernotfighter


    Nov 2, 2007
    im not nesisarily looking to try this myself, iv just her so many ways of doing it i want to get my facts straight :)
  5. When I get a new set of flatwounds, I like to let wolves pee on them, and then I bury them in the ground at Lawrence Tierney's grave. After a week, I drink a bottle of bourbon, shake the dirt off the strings, and put them on my bass. This method never fails.
  6. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    I do this, too!
  7. nubs


    Mar 1, 2005
    liar, liar pants on fire :p
  8. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    I have never seen anybody "treat" their strings in any way.
    Do people actually do this?
  9. i play them a lot every day. it seems to work the best.
  10. Eric S

    Eric S

    Jul 19, 2005
    Paris, France
    The windings on a new flat wound strings are not perfectly flat and lined up. Plus any machined metal has micro-burrs (rough edges).

    So, when strings break in, several things are happening. They get grimmy inside. The windings smooth out and realign. Also the strings surface shape digs in a bit and "marries" itself to the fingerboard or frets. (Ever notice that when you remove a string and put it back on, it doen't sound as good as before? Its because the windings no longer line up exacly the same way with the wear-marks in the fingerboard or frets.)

    I hate new strings. First I sand the down with fine sand papar a bit to smooth out any tiny surface irregularities then I rub some butter on a cloth and rub them dowm real good with that. Then I play the crap out of them for a few weeks.

    Everything helps speed along the procees.

  11. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    I never treat my strings.

    actually I once threw a 10 dollar bill at my strings and told them to go get something nice for themselves....
  12. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I think that if you just drink the bottle of bourbon you can skip the previous steps. Any difference you hear will be due to the bourbon. :)
  13. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I don't know anyone who "treats" their strings to "age" them, and I've been playing for over 45 years. A lot of these stories get made up and then passed along and embellished and some people actually believe them. Or one guy does something weird like aging his strings in bear fat and it gets reported in Bass Player magazine and passed along.

    Just playing strings ages them fine. Of course, if you don't play much your strings won't age.
  14. peterbright


    Jan 23, 2007
    On The Bayou
    Play them.
  15. +1 from another 40+ year player.
  16. Stephen Still used to rub barbeque sauce into his.
  17. pjmuck


    Feb 8, 2006
    New Joisey
    Is it only for flats? I heard Jaco liked to get fried chicken grease on his rounds, though this might be another Jaco urban myth.
  18. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    It Is.
  19. JohnM2001


    Feb 24, 2004
    Mystery solved! I always wondered where that expression "plays like buttah" came from! ;)
  20. Install - play - be patient. After a few months, they'll be jes' right. Personally, I don't think the difference is so dramatic that it is a big deal. If they're bright, run the tone knob down a hair for the first few weeks to take the edge off.

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