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Boiling your Bass Strings: bringing it back for 2013

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by the Arsonaut, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. the Arsonaut

    the Arsonaut

    Aug 27, 2012

    I'm going to start doing it.
    Financially, I'm doing just fine. Dontchu worry...
    We'll just call it a social experiment.

    First, I'm going to start telling all the kids I come across in the clubs about the virtues of boiling their bass strings.

    Let's see if we can't get ourselves a lil string-meme going here...
    pictures of poor bastards boiling their strings in pots'n'pans...

    "does it work?"
    "well, look at all of that dirt in the pan, look at that string shine!"
  2. StereoPlayer


    Aug 29, 2010
    They are great with a light Alfredo sauce!

    Kidding.....clean them all the time this way!
  3. iovar


    May 7, 2011
    Chania, Crete
    Remove the strings from the bass.
    Wrap them, like they were when you bought them.
    Boil them for 15 minutes, adding a little bit of vinegar in the water.
    Warm the oven (NOT a microwave) at 100° C for 5-10 minutes (preferably while boiling).
    Take a piece of tin foil and pierce it all over with a toothpick.
    Wrap the freshly boiled strings in the tin foil.
    Bake the strings for about 30 minutes at 200°C.
    If you are careful wrapping/unwrapping the tin foil, it can be reused many times.
    Unwrap the strings (carefully if they are still hot, though they go cold very quickly once you do).

    Serve them with your choice of sauce or seasoning.
    Also, red wine for stainless steels, white for nickels.


    Kidding aside, I actually do the above procedure every 1-2 months.
    Works fine for this poor bass-tard :bassist:
  4. Robdrone


    Jul 27, 2012
    Lancaster, PA
    I prefer to put mine in a crock pot or if I'm in a hurry, the microwave.

    (disclaimer: if there are any idiots reading this it was intended as a joke. Putting any metal objects in your microwave will likely ruin your microwave and possibly burn down your house. Do not, I repeat do not put bass strings in the microwave.)
  5. Never done this. Is it also OK to boil strings with silks? If so, how do they hold up? I would think the silks would unravel but I dunno.
  6. iovar


    May 7, 2011
    Chania, Crete
    I do my rotos all the time. It gets a bit messy and you have to manually clean the strings from a few stray silk threads that will get caught on them while boiling.
    Also while baking it gets darker from being burned a little bit.
    If you don't mind the aesthetics of it, as well as the 5 more minutes of hassle, it's fine. Besides after a couple of times, there's almost no silk left.
  7. Journey55

    Journey55 Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    Orlando, Florida
    Why not tell them about denatured alcohol? It worked pretty well for me
  8. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011

    Heating the strings that much can damage them. Alcohol strips off the nasty stuff without hurting the strings
  9. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Just when my faith in humanity was starting be be restored....BAM! Here come the string cookers. Let's go ahead and chalk this up to 'stupidest thing ever done by humans', mmmkay?

    Now, I can't be bothered with this anymore. The tires on my car are completely bald, and I've got to go out there with a razor knife and cut more grooves in them so I won't have to buy new ones. Busy day today.
  10. gene beauchamp

    gene beauchamp Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2012
    I boiled mine for years but I did find a better way that last longer. Denatured alcohol. Get it at Lowes. I made a PVC tube with a cap on it and filled it. Soak them a couple days. Works better and you can use the alcohol for years.
  11. Growly Lytes

    Growly Lytes

    Dec 4, 2009
    Downunder Oz
    Bass player
    Its the best way but only once i dont think you get another chance,they start breaking.
  12. iovar


    May 7, 2011
    Chania, Crete
    Steel damaged by cooking temperatures? Really?

    Also, alcohol, might be more efficient, but not everybody feels comfortable with storing a large can or tube filled with ultra-inflatable fluid around the house, for indefinite amounts of time (especially when there isn't room for proper storage).

    1% of breaking a string kinda beats 0.01% of burning your house down (statistics provided by PulledOutaMyBackside Co. :p)
  13. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    You can boil them, it works.

    Yes, the silk will come off eventually. So don't use ones with silk wrapping.

    Denatured alcohol works great too.

    Do whatever works for you.

    Ignore the noise.
  14. DiabolicLow B

    DiabolicLow B Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Ontario, Canada
    Boiled my strings a couple of times and they only sounded good for a a few days or so afterwards, a complete waste of time and effort if you ask me.
  15. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member


    New strings are $12-$15 for a 4 string. If you can't afford that, perhaps you're in the wrong hobby.
  16. iovar


    May 7, 2011
    Chania, Crete
    More like 20€ around here. And, really, why do you feel like insulting people that are on a completely different financial situation than you, by telling them what they should or shouldn't do ? Or claiming that what is common practice by some, based on their experience over the matter, is the 'stupidest thing ever done by humans'?

    There's some wisdom.
  17. Add me to the "complete waste of time" crowd.
  18. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I've had more luck with the DA soak than I have with boiling them. To my ears, the DA made my strings sound newer and last longer. I've also soaked the same set four or five times with no noticeable issues.
  19. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I used to do this when I was broke and the cheapest bass strings you could get were over $30. We called this era the '80s.

    But yes. It does work.
    No, I don't know exactly why
    and no, It won't last for long.

    And yes, the denatured alcohol thing probably works better, but we didn't know about that technology back in the day.

    Is it a waste of time? That depends on if you got the cash for new strings and how much you like the strings to sound bright. If you answered no, and a lot. It's probably not a waste of time.

    The silks never wore off of mine, but they did frizz-out quite a lot!
  20. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Just sharing my experience over the last 25 years or so, that's all. Sorry you were insulted.