Any hope for the "new string sound" without buying new strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by chump stain, May 7, 2002.

  1. I just strung up my bass with D'addario Slow wounds. I got 'em because it has the tapered B, which is good for my bridge, the full size B is hard to squeeze in there.
    I just pulled off some D'addario XL5 soft gauge strings after about 3 weeks. when I put the new ones on, I noticed a major difference in tone. I've always noticed the major difference before, but I don't think I've ever changed strings after such a short period of time.
    here's the problem, a new set of strings is like $28-35 bucks. that's a lot of money for a couple weeks of "new" tone. BTW I like that "new" tone.
    I've heard of people boiling their strings, how good does that work? and how long do you boil them for?
    what about elixers, or the D'addario coated strings, do those hold on to the sound any longer?
  2. Angelo


    Jan 12, 2002
    Boiling didn't work that well for me.
    But rubbing alcohol did.
    Get a small container and put enough alcohol in to completely submerge the strings.Then wind the strings up and drop them in.Let them soak for only about 10 min.Then take them out,rinse them off really good.Then to speed up the process of drying out.I like to wrap mine in a towel and beat them against the floor like a psycho,or you can let them hang either way.

    The coated XLs supposed to last twice as long as the regular ones.But of course they cost twice as much.And you also would have to think that the strings just wear out overtime.
    I wonder how good they would clean up,with the great "coating"?
  3. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Boiling is good for nickel strings, but IME ruins steels and stainless strings. Worth a try, anyway: Get a pot of water boiling, only needs to be an inch or two, enough to conver the strings. Then put some dishwashing liquid in, and be ready to turn down the heat so it doesn't foam over. Wind the strings into a loop and drop 'em in. I flip them over once or twice, and slosh 'em around a bit. Two or three minutes total is plenty. Then dump the whole thing out into the sink and rinse the strings with hot tap water, and dry them immediately.

    Elixirs are WONDERFUL for holding their tone FOREVER -- like a year, no fooling. Best prices are at , and fast service too. I am completely sold on Elixirs and have used nothing else for three years on fretless and a year and a half on fretted. They sound like nickel rounds (because they are) with a little of the high "sproing" missing (which I don't like anyway).
  4. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    Use elixirs.
    I still dont understand why more people dont use them. They are awesome!!! Last forever and sound great. Any other string goes dead on me in a week or less.
  5. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    The whole point is, they don't have to "clean up" because they neve get dirty. Strings go dead when sludge gets into the windings. On coated strings, that doesn't happen in the first place, so what they sound like new is what they STAY sounding like.
  6. Angelo


    Jan 12, 2002
    I hear ya.I was just saying that overtime,and thousands of pops and slaps later the strings seem to kind of wear out,and lose some sound.
  7. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    You mean Elixirs? Have you ever tried them or are you speaking hypothetically? My experience is that these strings last WAY longer than "twice as long" as uncoated strings. I am interested in how long they last on frets and slapping, because I haven't heard anyone who's actually used them in such hazardous duty.
  8. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    I use Dean Markley Blue Steels, they "new sound" last many months, almost 4 (depending on use of course), so I think its a good deal for the price
  9. I just ordered some Elixir nanowebs from I'll see how they do. I think I give my slow wounds a couple more weeks, just to get my money's worth.
  10. steve_man


    May 15, 2002
    For that new sounding atring I love DR's!!!

    The only problem I get with these is that they break much faster than any other string I've used

    plus you save yourself of having to pay double for elixirs at least with my experiences
  11. steve_man


    May 15, 2002
    I use Dean Markley Blue Steels, they "new sound" last many months, almost 4 (depending on use of course), so I think its a good deal for the price

    I have a set of dean marley's now but I'm really not liking them. Not really comfortable and I'm not getting any volume or life compared to otherstrings I've used:confused:
  12. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    Really????, maybe I´ve been lucky!!! That make me think strings are like girlfriends..... you have to try A LOT before you find the rigth one.
  13. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I've been doing this (and telling other bassists about it) for 15 years now. Every bassist that has tried it has practically offered to name their first child after me when they've seen/heard the results.

    If you like that "New String Sound" try this (this process is a little harder with non-quick release bass bridges but it can still be done):
    1. Take the used/dirty strings and (individually) wrap them in a ring like when they were new.
    2. Take the strings and put them around the center spindle of a washing machine. They need to be at least halfway down so the water can completely cover them. Strings should be somewhat loose fitting.
    3. Run the washer (water/load level set to full) on the regular cycle with the water set to "Hot". No soap (although I've found that a little "Simple Green" solution gets them extra zingy).
    4. When the complete wash cycle is done (some strings may have come loose from the spindal) set the strings somewhere to dry completely (I set mine out in the Sun for awhile or in an oven set to 200 for about 30 minutes) so as to reduce corrosion.

    Caution: If you have "exposed core" or "tapered" strings this process can cause the winding to come loose. Prevent this by putting a small dab of electrical solder right where the winding ends and the core is exposed (completely around the diameter). Do this when the string is new.

    I always buy at least 4 new sets at a time so I can wash several sets at once (always keeping one set on the bass) as to not have to use the machine too often. Even though they still get clean, I buy new sets when the harmonics start to fade on the old ones (from metal fatigue that happens over time on clean or dirty strings).

    The last 4 sets lasted me a year and a half :eek: (I play full time/6 days a week-4 sets a night).

    Why this works: The hot water gets inside the windings and the agitation loosens the gunk. The spin cycle pulls all that gunky water out.

    My strings are actually zingier (zingier :confused: ) after this process than when they're new, out of the package.

    Good Luck and Good Savings :D .

    My appologies to the string companies :p .

    I know this may sound goofy to some but it really works.
  14. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I soak them in alcohol for a day. Usually wound up in a tupperware bin. I rinse them off an wipe them down. Then, back in fresh alcohol to sit in the freezer for at least a day.

    The alcohol is to get the oil and dead skin (yuck) off. The freezer is to get the metal to contract back after being stretched so long. I don't know if the freezing does anything, but you should see my wife's cooking...ouch.
  15. steve_man


    May 15, 2002
    I remeber when I had my last set of DR's and all I did was wpie the strings with a new face cloth that I had bought for that sole purpose.

    only 8 months later a friend asked when did I get the new strings.


    The only problem that was with that set was my E string popped just playing normally :rolleyes: I thought it was really weird but anyways you have a start on why I like DR's
  16. oddentity

    oddentity Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Actually, the Elixirs might be cheaper in the long run.

    How often do you change your DRs? If you go through two or more DR sets in 6 months, it's cheaper to buy one set of Elixirs for the same amount of time.

    IME, the only other company that comes close to Elixir "new sound" longetivity is Thomastik Infeld.
  17. steve_man


    May 15, 2002
    the only times I've had to change my DR's is when a string broke. That would be about year. and I think I've had three sets.

    For strings breaking like that was a little strange
    a couple of my friends had strings on for three years and they didn't have any problems except for really dead strings. I wonder why???


    One set I really want to try out are those new marcus Fat Beams:cool: