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cleaning strings...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Lowner, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. Lowner


    May 14, 2005
    Over Here
    I have a bass book that recommends wiping bass strings with rubbing alcohol to prolong string life and improve the tone of older strings. i did this but dont see any difference and I think i may have killed the strings alltogether.
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    do a search in the strings forum about soaking and boiling strings.

    Most would agree that soaking them in denatured alcohol (not rubbing alcohol which has a high H2O content) is the way to go.

    Nowadays, I use a tupperware container full of denatured alcohol, and I usually have one set of strings on my bass and one soaking.

    It works to prolong your string life, but you're living on borrowed time. You'll need new strings eventually (I get about twice the life out of a set).

    DO wash your hands before you handle your bass when practicing or playing out. Do wipe down your strings well (both sides) WELL when you're done using a soft cloth. I also carry either 'handywipe' type stuff or hand sanitizer with me for those gigs where a sink may not be nearby.

    Edited to add that just wiping the strings with alcohol isn't gonna do much...most of the grime that kills tone is deep in the windings so hitting the surface won't do much. Eventually it's the stretching effect of string tension and fretwear that do a set in...until then keep 'em clean!
  3. DGbass70


    Jun 1, 2005
    Rochester N.Y.
    i've boiled them in the past with a little vinegar (few drops)remember you are not cooking,and it had extended string life for a little bit more.not as bright as new but pretty good.
  4. travatron4000


    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Boiling has worked for me.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Soaking in denatured alcohol is much better than boiling. Water is corrosive.

    I used to boil strings when I was younger. They would brighten up a bit for a day or two, and then be deader than they were before I boiled them.

    Using the soaking method that BurningSkies recommended, I can reuse a set of strings 3 or 4 times. When soaked overnight in denatured alcohol, the string recovers most of its brightness, and keeps it as long as a new set of strings, not just a day or two.
  6. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    i too soak in denatured alcohol, but i think i finally have to buy new strings. I soaked them for the 3rd or fourth time last week and now they just sound weird :(
  7. Newton's Law

    Newton's Law

    Jun 16, 2005
    I've heard of cleaning strings with many different ways and types of cleansers, but I've found the best results is by useing ultra sonic sound waves in water alone. It's the same system that people use to clean there dentures. :hyper:
  8. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars

    Water + strings = bad mojo.

    They'll rot from the inside out.
  9. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    one thing I want to try is one of those cheap jewelry vibrating thing a ma' jigs....

    (btw, I use denatured alcohol)
  10. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
  11. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    that was a great thread!

  12. for people outside the US is there any other names for denatured alcohol and where do you buy it from? :help:
  13. Newton's Law

    Newton's Law

    Jun 16, 2005
    You're no doubt right about the strings rotting from the inside out. I tried this method only a couple of times. I've never kept the strings I've clean this way on my bass for more than a week before I replaced them with new ones. Perhaps I will try denatured alcohol with my ultra sonic cleaner to see if I get the same results.
    My friend, strings don't rot, they corrode. :smug:

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