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Fingertips turning black

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Hawaii Islander, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Hawaii Islander

    Hawaii Islander Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    Rio Rico, AZ
    My Fender Steve Harris P-bass came with Fender round wounds on it. The strings play and sound fine, but they turn my fingertips black. :cautious::oops::jawdrop::eyebrow: Never had strings that did that before. I'm thinking they may have nickel in them. Anyone else have this happen? Know the cause?
  2. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Happens to me all the time when I play rounds. I wipe my strings down after I play them, it still happens. It's never bothered me, its just dust that sticks to a little oil that comes off your fingers I guess. To me, it's just normal, I don't think it's a sign of anything wrong. I play DR SS lo riders and they last a long time. Doesn't happen when I play flats.
    Hawaii Islander, DJ Bebop and mrcbass like this.
  3. byacey


    May 16, 2008
    Alberta, Canada
    Don't worry; after a few weeks they'll rot and fall off your hand.:roflmao:
    I've seen aluminum wound strings leave black residue; it's just your fingers abrading the metal.
  4. Stan_da_man


    Aug 29, 2006
    It's a nickel thing, not an SS thing.
  5. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    It means you’re practicing almost enough; get back to us once you see blood.
  6. Who makes "aluminum wound strings"?
  7. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    That doesn’t happen with SS roundswith me, but I find it happens occasionally with nickel stringsif they are older.
    Hawaii Islander likes this.
  8. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
    Your instrument likely has pure nickel strings on it. I imagine you're allergic to nickel.
  9. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I would agree that the strings are likely nickel (or nickel plated), but the allergy I disagree with. His skin chemistry is corroding the nickel, which is rubbing off on his fingers, but that is different than being allergic to it. If he was allergic, he’d have a rash, blisters, that sort of thing.
  10. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    Wash your hands before you play.
  11. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    I use the same strings on all my basses, Daddario nickels. My fingertips turn black about once a year. So strange that it's random like that. Been that way for years.
    Hawaii Islander likes this.
  12. Sounds pretty groovy. I remember Cobalt flats leaving black residue, but it washed right off.
    Hawaii Islander likes this.
  13. db59

    db59 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2015
  14. Axstar

    Axstar SUSPENDED

    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    I've only had this problem with strings that have sat unplayed for a while. I sometimes get this from an instrument that has just had the frets polished out.
  15. Bingo!. I say all the time to give your hands a very quick rinse before playing. The key is to not be in water long enough to soften the skin.
  16. Cowboy in Latvia

    Cowboy in Latvia

    Mar 1, 2015
    Well, that tends to happen when you've been working on your car immediately before playing. Some Gojo should clean that right up. :chicken: after you change your strings of course...
    WhtMtnGrv likes this.
  17. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    I'm not buying new strings just because they're discolored. I'm not that vain.
    Whippet likes this.
  18. Same here. I don't have this problem with new or newer strings (or any other metals, like jewelry), but sometimes factory strings will do it. I think it's because they've been sitting around for who knows how long. And when I polish my frets with a very fine polishing rubber, the rubber turns black.

    Cleaning compounds, if not wiped off thoroughly, will come off and turn your fingers black. I think some factories will wipe something on your strings and fingerboard before boxing and it just sits there until the unsuspecting player finally wipes it off with their fingers.
  19. wildman2


    Jun 8, 2016
    Happens to my fingers every time I play my bass..Rotosound 77's flats
    Hawaii Islander likes this.
  20. I wash my hands before I play and don't see any residue on my fingers. However, when I use a pic, I see some black/grey residue there. {Maybe I need to wash my pic's too?}
    {} = sarcasm font
    Hawaii Islander likes this.

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