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boiled strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by jimclark68, Feb 25, 2001.

  1. jimclark68


    Dec 16, 2000
    Morganton, NC
    Well, I boiled my strings as per the recommendations of several others to liven them up after a few months of use. After hanging them to dry, I noticed that they now have brownish blotches all over them. Is this a problem? Am I not supposed to boil nickelwound strings? I boiled them for 30 minutes in plain tap water.
  2. Well. boiling can cause fatigue and corrosion. that's why I don't do it anymore.

    I've found a better solution is to just simply soak them in a pail of methyl hydrate for a few hours. DO NOT boil since the stuff is highly flammable! It is perfectly safe and clean when used with some good common sense (like don't smoke while using it, etc.). Actually, I have no idea how long is ideal to leave them soaking - they might be good after a much shorter time, but I've usually just tossed them in and let them sit for a while. Just wipe them off when you're done, although most will evaporate soon after you take them out. Actually, for that reason, it's probably a good idea if your pail has a lid since methyl hydrate does evaporate fairly quickly in air.

    Anyway, the alcohol in the metyl hydrate does quite a fine job of cleaning the strings, and you won't have any corrosion problems like you can have with boiling.There used to be some bass string cleaning kits on the market whose main ingredient was methyl hydrate, if that makes you more convinced.

    Once your done cleaning, put the methyl hydrate back in the original bottle to keep it from evaporating. You should be able to clean several sets using the same bottle, which should only cost you 2 or 3 bucks at your local hardware store.
  3. what I've been doing for years is coil the strings up after each gig and leave them overnight in a bucket of turpentine, then take them out and boil them in water, while keeping the silk (machinehead) ends out of the water to stop them unravelling.
    after boiling I wipe the strings down.

    after about 4,5 months they become dull even after boiling and start to fall apart so I put a new set on.
  4. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Just out of interest, what do people do when they take their strings off to boil? Do they just leave the bass without any stings, or put another worn pair on? I was always told that taking all the strings off a bass affects the tension on the neck, and messes up the intonation. Is this true?
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    No, it shouldn't harm the neck...

    @ The Regulator: Why don't you just omit the boiling part - you're gonna find that the results are even better and your strings live longer...
    Boiling just destroys the positive efffect of the turpentine...
  6. the neck would only get affected if it was left for a long period of time without strings and the truss rod set to tension.

    JMX, I've tried each method separately (boiling, soaking strings in turps, and also using a cotton wad soaked in turps to clean the strings still on the bass), and found the best results from both combined (sometimes after soaking in turps only the strings went dead again after a day when the solvent evaporated);
    the turps loosens the dried up sweat inside the windings, and boiling in water flushes it out- the dirt collects in the centre of the saucepan and can be scooped out.
    in fact, the double ball end set of Rotosound Swing Bass on my Hohner B2A headless is about 8 months old- and I've been boiling them pretty much every week since new..
    WARNING - turpentine is flammable of course, but I've never had any strings go up in flames...

    still, nothing beats a brand new set of strings for recording.
  7. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    i leave the strings off my bass while they are drying and usually put them back on the next day or day after. I do this because it relieves the tension on the neck. Ive had no problems with the intonation by doing this.

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