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Dirty Strings.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by J. Crawford, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    Does anyone play their bass with old, dirty, blackened strings? If this needs moved, please move it. I wasnt sure if it were a bass subject, or string. I am on the verge of buying a Pbass, and the combo of dirty, muddy strings, on a thumpy P sounds amazing. Anyone vouge for this theory?
  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    There seems to be no shortage of players here who prefer old, dead strings. But I'm not one of 'em. And I'm certainly no fan of dirty strings. Yuck!

    I guess I could see getting a set of flatwounds and keeping 'em on the instrument for a long time - if you're really into that "maximum thud, minimum tone" kind of thing. But even then, it seems to me you'd at least want to keep them clean...

    When strings become very old and dirty, they're virtually impossible to keep properly tuned and intonated. They no longer resonate properly, so that the harmonics (oh that's right...you probably don't care about harmonics) no longer ring out properly, so that you start to get weird "wolf" tones and/or dead spots, etc.

    I just don't see how they would be useful for playing actual music... :eyebrow:

  3. Slax


    Nov 5, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    I don't mind mildly dead strings and on my budget, I don't really have a say in the matter. :)

    I don't play them until the point they don't intonate though. (I had a guitarist who did that and it was god awful, they'd go out of tune every song or two. yuck).

    I like the sound from new strings to, well let's say, "worn in" strings. Once they get close to that really dead sound, they're gone.
  4. I played my strings for a year and a lil,and never cleaned them or removed. I love the way they sound. Maybe thats cause they are super light (0.95), dunno. Played a bass with 105 E, that were dirty, and it sounded and feeled awfull.
    Well i clean my hands before playing, so the strings aren't "greasy", they are simply "worn out".
    P.S. saying that with dirty strings u can't play actual music is so childish, that i pretend i never read that. Sheesh.
  5. Lichtaffen


    Sep 29, 2008
    Rhode Island
    James Jamerson was reported to only change a string when he broke one. He also only used one finger to pluck strings.

    Personally, I bought a MM Stingray back in April and I still haven't changed the strings and it sounds fine. Yes, it's starting to get dirty, so I bought a set the other day. I don't know when I'll change them. That's why I read this post.

    I would agree that you'll get the maximum tone out of a new set, but I know so many players who hate that sound.
  6. I used to be nutty about changing my strings.

    I used to like a bright, springy, ring-y sound. I still do.

    For what I'm doing now, I've got at least 3 year old strings on the Thunderbird- who knows how old the strings are on my EB-0. And they could probably be less ring-y for what I'm doing. I could probably go to flats, but that would entail getting new strings.

    Keep in mind- both those basses are primarily mahogany.

    For the past 12+ years my main basses have been my Jazz and my L-2000- and I would change strings every couple of months, whether they needed it or not. Those 2 basses are naturally brighter and have more "sustain" than the Gibson basses- just as matter of course of what they are. I honestly don't know how old the strings are on either of those basses, although I think the Jazz strings might be a year old, and the G&L slightly older.

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