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Deadening Strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by frontroom, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. frontroom


    Aug 10, 2011
    Okay, I've gone the routes of cleaning strings(rounds) to make them brighter.Boiling, alcohol, even soap and water. But what about trying to "kill" a set of flatwounds. Tim Drummond once said you had to play them every day for a year before they sounded good. Stephen Stills, who played a lot of bass on his solo releases, said he used barbecue sauce!! Anybody have any tried and true methods?
  2. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    I was talking about this with a friend of mine the other day... We are going to experiment with soaking strings in different oils...

    We will see what happens, :D
  3. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Yep, BBQ sauce will do it. Fried chicken - which is also good eatin' - just before you play will do it too. Really good for when you break a string and don't want to replace the whole set because they're nice and broken in.
  4. The whole concept seems silly to me. No offense.
    Might as well put in the time deadening them naturally.
    Your improved playing will be a nice by-product of your efforts.
  5. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    (personally I like the sound of new strings, I used to change them like once every 2 weeks when I was younger)((and gigging regularly)).
  6. grendle


    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    Use ethel alcohol (nail polish remover) to kill them. It does the exact opposite of isopropil or denatured alcohol. I learned that one the hard way.
  7. vincentpghpa


    Apr 24, 2004
    Cheetos while playing (a lot) would probably work.
  8. frontroom


    Aug 10, 2011
    For the record, I have a session in two days and the artist has requested that old flat wound, thuddy tone. Thank you to all who have answered seriously, others should consider contributing when you actually have a contribution.
  9. zarigunn


    Sep 14, 2009

    why chould you want a dead sound?
    But if you really want that;

    just go to the mc. donalds get a big tasty menu, don 't wash your hands and play the bass.
    after that, take a crap, don 't wash and go play.
    Do that for a week or 3.
    And buy the worst bass with the less sustain for about 90$.

    You have what you wan 't :smug:
  10. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Put foam under the bridge and pull off the treble on a new set of flatwounds will work wonders to make them sound broken in.
  11. frontroom


    Aug 10, 2011
    Hey Zari, Check out some Motown, Stax/Volt, Hi Records ,Joe Osborn's work in L.A. Do some research before you make stupid remarks!!
  12. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    There are other threads around with basically the same topic. :rolleyes: To my experience it is often one string in a set, which starts sounding and feeling 'old'. After a while a second one becomes 'mature'. There must be a way to 'burn in' a set of strings in a relatively short period of time. It would be nice if some manufacturer could offer pre-worn strings. There must be a way. I'm thinking of a device which over-tensions the strings slightly, at an elevated temperature, agitating them continuously. Maybe a nice project, if I can find some time. :(
  13. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    Play a lot, sweat a lot, eat greasy foods, don't wash your hands, make sure to play the whole length of the string, especially up high. If you only play down low, the high notes will still have newness and clarity. I've tried slathering on chicken grease. It doesn't work. At least not as well as playing a lot. FWIW, I don't think you'll get very far in two days.
  14. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Yah, I was thinking along the same line.

    And maybe experiment a bit with different materials: kitchen sponge, weatherstrip (fold so adhesive is inside!), foam pillow, whatever. I'd figure they'll have different effects on both the envelope and the freq response.
  15. frontroom


    Aug 10, 2011
    I know...I think I'll go the foam mute method (I once knew a guy who used Dr. Scholl's foot pads!)
  16. makkE


    Jan 19, 2010
    Normandie, France
    I thought dirt played a minor role in breaking in flats?
    I wipe mine down with alcohol from time to time, and ocasionally use fast fret.
    Will this delay the aging?

    I always thought flats age from simply being played and the metal becoming softer?
  17. EricssonB


    Apr 5, 2011
    CoSpgs, CO.
    If you want to buy me a new set of lite-gauge flat 5er strings, then I'll be more than willing to send you my old, dead rounds. They're from 2003.
  18. Newfirstbass


    Aug 10, 2011
    Surrey, UK
    New guy question, I have flatwounds on my cort curbow4- I love the sound- I also know they are only a month or two old and not played a lot since new..Now then, it seems some guys like them to stay on a bass for years?
    Some change them often?
    Some boil, sauce, or treat them?
    How do you know when they are dead...........The sound I get from mine is a kinda Jameson cream smooth flowing dark tone- thats what I love about flats?
  19. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I sometimes use foam muting. In order to have maximum effect, you should try little dice of dense foam per string, so the foam doesn't couple energy from one string to another. The dice I use are just over 1/4" wide and long. The initial hight depends on the action and the bridge construction. Try making them 1/8" higher than the string height. For my Ibanez this absolutely works. :hyper:
  20. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    You can smell when they are dead ;) (lol). Less high harmonics and less sustain are typical for what I like to call mature strings.