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Do strings have a limited shelf-life?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by RAM, Jan 12, 2001.

  1. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Okay, perhaps this is a dumb question, so don't chastise me for it please...

    Do strings have a shelf life? If I bought strings in a bulk set, do I run the risk of having some go bad before I even take them out of the package?

    I generally use DR High-Beams, if this makes a difference.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Perhaps you seen/heard the phrase commonly used, "fresh strings." It just means a set fresh out of the packaging.

    I've never heard of steel/nickel strings "going bad" due to age. Maybe white wine. Otherwise, the packs would have "use by" dates on them, especially since the competiion is so fierce some makers take out full page Bass Player ads. Hell, string wrapping technology is so good now you can cut flatwounds and they won't begin to uncoil as I found out with some Fenders I bought in the 70's. Bronze phosphor may be different.

    RAM- Questions that don't get asked are dumb...and that's NOT IMHO.
  3. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I didn't think so. But, I remember walking into a store several years ago and wanted to buy a set of strings. When the clerk told me how much they were, I nearly jumped out of my shoes and told her I'd seen the same strings at GC for a little more than 1/2 that amount!!!

    Her response was that "Who knows how long those strings have been on the shelf?"

    Strings are made of metal (okay, there are many that aren't...), and metal DOES eventually decay under certain circumstances. But, I didn't think steel strings would decay without being stretched at 250 pounds of constant pressure and having hand-oils and various pH balances at work.

    I guess I just wanted confirmation...and, I thank you for providing it!;)

  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

  5. If the strings are subjected to unusually humid conditions, there may be some oxidation that occurs to the winding. They would have to be in those conditions for a while though.
  6. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    RAM - That's a really good reason to ask if you're going to buy all of those strings. Just a suggestion that has made a lot of people happy - Have you tried http://www.webstrings.com ? They sell a very good nickel roundwound named the Detroit Bass for $11 a set.

    I know, I laughed when I first heard the price, too. I was used to DR's, Rotosounds, etc. But just read, at their website, about what they have to say about the myths in the string business (button you can click on that says, "Chances are you've been using webstrings all along). That $11 includes shipping, AND A MONEY BACK GUARANTEE, if you don't like`em. Everyone I
    I've heard from said their strings arrived pronto. To meet their minimum purchase, I had to buy two sets, ($22).

    On the other hand, I won't say they are nearly as bright as a set of stainless steels right out of the package. But it is nice not to have to support the "name" companies marketing/advertising budgets.

    [Edited by rickbass1 on 01-13-2001 at 12:13 PM]
  8. Hey man, that site looks great. Just a question, those bass strings, what would you compare them to in the normal world, ie, would you say they are like XL's, or Ernie Balls, or any other? The price is awesome, even with international shipping they are still gonna be 1/2 normal price in my country.
  9. 5not4


    Sep 7, 2000
    Flint, MI
    I have recently started to question shelf-life, too. I've been using the Cirrus strings on my Maple/Alder 5 string since I got it. I was really pleased with the strings and chose to stick with them for a while before I changed to my usual D'Addario XL's. The gauging is different and I didn't want to go through the intonation change just yet.

    Anyway, a year later, the new sets of Cirrus strings are not lasting like they where. I get half the life out of them and I don't mean just the sound. The feel of the strings are dead, also. This has happened with the last 4 sets of strings. I haven't changed any of my playing habits to account for this. I can understand maybe a bad set once in a great while but the total quality has really gone south.

    Has anyone else seen this occur with these strings or any other brand of strings? I don't know if it's the shelf-life thing (which I have a hard time believing because they are metal and certainly considered non-perishable) or maybe Peavey is just cleaning out their old stock.

    As far as the Webstrings go, IMHO, I didn't care for them. I thought they where very dull sounding. Less than a nickel plated set. Just my opinion. Sorry.
  10. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    There was a company in the 70's or 80's that sold guitar strings in long tubular packaging 'cause they claimed that coiling the strings up in little packets made them lose their tensile strength over time.I think they called 'em "Nashville Straights."
  11. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I have a set of Rotosounds that I bought in England in 1976. They are still in the original packing, just found them during a house move. I'll put them on one of my basses and let you know if they are still good.
  12. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Wow...that's Vintage Rotosound!!! Does the packaging have John Entwistle on the back?
  13. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    RAM, just took a look at them. These are Rotosound Superwound SWL606H Heavy Gauge Long Scale, no pic on the back. These have exposed center core. I believe that Rotosound pioneered this design. I bought a bunch of these sets in '76 for my Ric, and wife misplaced this one.

    If I remember right, these are Stainless Steel. Visually, they look great, as if they just left the factory. No corrosion at all.
  14. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    That's cool Brooks! Please let me know what they sound like when you put them on. I'm a Rotosound dealer and would love to have a pic of you holding the package along with your story to send back to the factory...who knows...maybe they'd put your pic & testimonial on their website??

    Look at my Rotosound gallery linked below. That set you have is still made as the RS 99LD-G Piano String Design 'Contact Core' set.

  15. fleece


    Jan 31, 2001
    Well, I just recently asked myself this whole shelf-life question, and I should have an answer in the next day or two. I play a rather unusual bass, an old EKO violin bass that I totally rebuilt into a sort of upright hybrid. While on ebay last week, I ran across someone selling a set of UNUSED, '61 vintage new-in-the-box EKO short-scale flatwounds! What are the chances of that happening? They are the same vintage as my bass and still new in the box! They were made by a company named Gold crest Strings -does anyone know about the guys? So, within the next few days I'll be able to let you know how a pair of 40 year old flatwounds sound on my bass...


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