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Boiling your strings??

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by BWhite220, May 9, 2004.

  1. BWhite220


    Sep 4, 2003
    NW Arkansas
    So I was playing with the band the other day, and I made a comment that my strings have lost their brightness and sound like crap. All of the sudden, like 5 people were telling me that if I boil my strings for about 10 minutes, it'll make them sound new again! Has anyone ever heard of this idea?!? Or am I just not up with the times?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Don't boil your strings. Put them in denatured alcohol over night (at room temperature!!!!) and they get crisp again. Other similar solvents (e.g. paint thinner) work good too.

    Boiling gets them crisp again too, but only for a short time and then they're really dead.

    This topic pops up every few months and has been covered numerous times.

    Oh, I forgot - welcome to Talkbass. Enjoy your stay. :)
  3. BWhite220


    Sep 4, 2003
    NW Arkansas
    Thanks JMX. I just assume buy new ones...which I already did. I don't get into "quick fixes" all that much. Mostly because i'm not all that confident.
    By the way, who is the hot chick that you use for your icon?
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Lene Nyström of Aqua. Horrible music, but who cares :p

  5. A search gave me 114 threads on boiling strings

    Here are a few you can check out.







  6. papalastre


    Dec 10, 2003
    My Recipe for String Soup:

    1 get an old pot fill with COLD water (about 2/3) and then add a little tiny bit of vinegar.

    2 Put strings in pot and put pot on cooker with gas up full (Dont forget to light the gas, i almost "killed" myself once). Also put your oven on to gas mark 4 or 5 to heat it for later.

    3 Wait for water to boil (Bubble vicously). once this starts wait 1 minute.

    4 Transfer strings into oven and "Cook" for 3-4 mins

    5 Take strings out and lay them on a teatowel and let them cool down for 15 mins or so.

    6 Re-string.
  7. You should really try the alcohol thing, better and easier IMHO:

    1. Put strings in a jar filled with denaturated alcohol overnight.

    Simple as that ;)
  8. my dad was a pro guitarist, sound engineer, producer and owner of a studio (big one in london not a kids one in a bedroom) and apart from when he was playing live every night and doing session stuff (people were buying his equipment for him), he stood by the boiling of strings! I still just buy new ones thoe.

  9. New strings are always the better choice, but hey.. some of us don't always have the extra cash, and boiling the strings really does work.
    I have yet to try the soaking in denatured alcohol overnight, but I'll probably try that soon.. I always have a jug of that on hand.

    I boil with some vinegar. Works great. The only problem is if you have a bass bridge where the string has to go through a hole in it, or string thru body design. Then you have to uncoil the string, and most of the felt wrapping gets fuzzy and starts to come off. The slotted bridges are much easier.
    I've boiled the same set up to 6 or 7 times. Each time the string comes back to bright, and stays that way for at least a day or so.. They tune up good, sound even, and play like new strings.
    Shame to just chunk those used strings when they make great practice sets..

  10. The first time I boiled my strings, I didn't realize you were supposed to remove them from the bass. Turned out to be quite a fiasco, actually, but it gave me a good excuse to buy a new bass.

    Now I'm more sophisticated in my approach, and I usually remember to remove my strings before boiling them.
  11. +1
  12. Deader than before.

    Use Alcohol, easy and works second best to new strings.

    I've *heard* of people taking their strings off and spraying them with WD-40. I wouldn't, but I've heard of it.
  13. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Not to beat it to death, but iI absolutely SWEAR by the denatured alcohol approach (in fact, I'm soaking in it now! ;) ).

    And it isn't just a short-term "quick fix", either. I am able to go for a long time without having to buy new strings if I soak them regularly.
  14. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
  15. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Present! :p
  16. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada
    ive heard that it can rust the strings eventually and the crap you are trying to get out in between the windings ends up just rusting so ive heard, and also boiling lets out some metal into the bot which becomes a tad hazardous if you eat from it after.


    nice avatar Kaz.
    GWAR- Mother, ive been stealing your babies....