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Cleaning your strings/Saving $$$$

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by PhatBasstard, May 17, 2002.

  1. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I've seen several posts from people asking advice on how to keep that "New String Sound" without going broke buying New Strings. I hate dead strings and this is what I do:

    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 (not under tension!).

    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?) 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.
  2. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    Wow! I just clean them with Gibson or D,Andrea string cleaner evertime right after I'm done playing, it keeps the strings fairly fresh for a few months instead of dying after a week or two!
  3. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I've become a big fan of dipping them in alchohol. I usually dip them the night before every gig. It's nice when you have multiple basses that you use regulary, since keeping half decent sounding strings can be expensive. (Also considering the fact, the nearest music store is 45 minutes from my house)
  4. tummage


    Apr 23, 2002
    New Orleans, La
    Great ideas everyone,
    I have been boiling strings, w/vinegar,w/Dawn dishwashing liquid(just a drop).
    I've soaked 'em in alcohol,skin bracer, fast fret.
    I even used to get methyl-chlorate to reestablsh elasticity in the strings and clean them.

    Guess what works as well as them all.
    put a towel under the strings while on the bass and use hydrogen peroxide. It really works doesn't keep stressing the strings by taking them off and then on again. And they sound great after a generous dousing.
    Just my opinion,
    tummage :D

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