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Dirty Fingers!!!!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by M@ddest_H@tter!, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. So heres the scoop, when I play my bass (Rockbass Streamer)it turn my fingertips black...im a little puzzled by this. The strings are fairly new (Ernie Ball Super Slinky Hybrids), the fretboard is maple. I did some searching and couldn't find anything to help.

    Im in Iraq right now, so my bass spends a lot of time in a gig bag with 25mm padding. I thought it could possibly be dust, but I wipe it down with a polishing cloth when I finish playing everyday.

    Does the fretboard need more oil, is it possible drying out (very, very little humidity here)?

    Or could it be some strange reaction with the strings and my skin..this i highly doubt though, I've been playing EB slinky's for years.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. sounds like oxidation from the strings and/or frets...

    has nothing to do with the fingerboard...

    when you wipe down your strings, do you see black on the rag?

    can you ascertain if it's the strings or the frets? wipe down the frets under the strings.
  3. gfried84

    gfried84 Commercial User

    May 7, 2005
    Owner Fried Guitars Inc.
    It is probably from the frets being buffed. The factory probably did not tape off the fingerboard. Use some lighter fluid(naptha) on the fingerboard until the rag you use starts to look clean. Then oil the fingerboard to prevent drying from the lighter fluid. Remove the strings when you do this.
  4. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Where are you from when youa ren't from Iraq? It might just be the heat in iraq vs. where you were before making you sweat more than normal, leading to faster oxidation of the strings and frets.

    I am assuming your diet now and your diet prior to active duty are also different. This may (and I mean may) have changed the pH level of your sweat, causing a faster reaction.

    Have you checked your Gig Bag? Maybe the lining is getting rubbed off onto the strings?
  5. I live in South Carolina where it is most definitely more humid than it is here.

    My diet has definitely changed, eating way healthier and going to the gym.

    I will check the gig bag today, but its like a fur type lining so I don't think it could be that.

    When I get home I will have better access to cleaning supplies etc. I only have 22 days left in Iraq, and 25 till I get home, so I think it will be alright.

    Thanks for all the help fellow TB'ers.
  6. I have never really checked the rag afterwards, I just use a polishing cloth. I just noticed it yesterday (when I made the post), but when I clean it today I'll check it out. Is oxidation a huge problem? I've never had to deal with it before in all my years of bass playing.
  7. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    The diet/humidty difference is likely the culprit. Your sweat is a differnet pH level and has less water in it now than home.

    BTW, Congrats on the count down. And Thank You :)
  8. My pleasure, and hopefully the trip home fixes it.
  9. heath_r_91


    Jun 3, 2006
    Topeka Area, Kansas
    It may be from your case.

    Clean your strings before you play and see what affect that has.
  10. Don't have an answer for you bro. But thank you for fighting for us. I'm an aircraft electrician. I work C-130's here at Robins A.F. base in the U.S. We're working 7 days a week to get the gun ships to you. Thanks again.
  11. tavi


    May 26, 2008
    New Mexico
    my strings and frets have rusted out here, CLP cloth works, but i also brought a junker bass
  12. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Everyones body reacts to things differently and different metals used in strings. I don't have an issue with my BG's but my DB gives me black marks on my fingers. I have friends that played USO tours and will in other climates their strings would gunk up fast unless wiped down constantly. So could be a combination of factors at play.
  13. I should have brought some string cleaner. Mike Shevlin sent me some Ernie Ball Instrument polish, but Im apprehensive about using it on my strings. I played some today, and it wasn't as bad so maybe there was some type of coating on the strings that Im wearing off. Im gonna change them when I get back anyhow. I should have brought my Squier JB instead of my Wick' I wont make that mistake again.

    Mebusdriver - Thanks for working on those Gun Ships. I'll be working on 130 Fuel Systems when I get to Japan....353rd Special Ops Group....sweet!

    Thanks for all the input everyone, I really do appreciate it!
  14. New strings always turn my fingertips grey. I've always considered that normal.

    Matter of fact, I just strung my bass with some Optimus 24k gold strings today and after 10 minutes, my fingertips were grey. I was not sweating, washed hands both before and after re-stringing.

    It's just always been that way for me with new strings. After awhile (couple of weeks), they stop doing it though.
  15. RED5


    Jan 14, 2008
    Suffolk County,NY
    Don't Warwicks use a different metal for their frets? Like Bronze os bell brass? Those leave residue, polished or not.

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