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Gut care in dry, dry Canada

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Aaron Saunders, Nov 27, 2005.


  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    I'm looking to set my bass up with Spiro E/A/D and a Golden Spiral G. From what I've read, though, there are a lot of problems with weather, and at that price point, I'd rather not have my G string explode.

    In the winter here, humidity is nada. Zilch. What care would I need to exert were I to use this setup?

    Also considering slightly cheaper alternatives. Upon looking at prices, I quickly realized Golden Spirals are *insanely* expensive. Eudoxa, maybe? Either way, I'd prefer gut.

    EDIT: Wow, got that mixed up. A Eudoxa G is about twice the price as a Golden Spiral.
     
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    The Efrano gut string (sold through Lemur as "European Gut") is a nice affordable string. They can be cleaned with a little 0000 Steel Wool (sounds familiar) and then lemon oil. Do you use any kind of humidifier in your home? Is this a plywood bass your are playing?
     
  3. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Yeah, the Efranos are affordable plain guts, but a plain gut G might not match well to the Spiros. One of the wrapped guts, as you had intended, would be a better candidate. On the other hand, a plain gut G or G+D paired with Dominant A&E might work out well, and then you have the luxury of buying more affordable plain guts. This would be a darker-sounding setup, however.

    Anyway, back on topic - Nick's pretty much got it covered, though I usually push the mineral oil for guts, AKA baby oil. Cheap, won't get funky and is readily available just about anywhere.
     
  4. Yeah, I use mineral oil too.

    Look in the laxitive :rolleyes: section at your drugstore for unscented mineral oil.

    Don't get baby oil unless you want mineral oil scented with a horrible perfume... :spit:
     
  5. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Aaron. For what it's worth, I don't think you're going to find the Golden Spiral G to be a very good match with the Spiros. There will be way too much of a contrast between the D and the G. As for humidity, etc., etc. If you take care of the environmental issues for the whole instrument, then you will be fine. I've been using guts (wound and unwound) for many years here in Ottawa. However my bass is always in reasonable conditions. In winter it might be as low as 20% relative humidity but I generally don't even bother with a humidifier or dampits, etc. However I don't have any dry heat in my house as it's all radiant floor heating.
     
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    My Spiros are very well aged, and I tried this setup on Sunday on a Peter Chandler DB -- sounded really nice.

    Hmmm...maybe I'll reconsider. I also heard some nice combos with Obli D and G and a Flatchrome G...
     
  7. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Not to be nagging, but 20% relative humidity is a very dangerous level for a carved instrument. Radiant heat/dry heat/whatever heat... anything below 30% and you are asking for trouble.

    .02$ (I think that might be .03$CAN) :smug:
     
  8. brianh

    brianh

    Aug 19, 2005
    NYC
    Endorsing: Epifani Amplification
    any idea what the best way to clean/ care for Eudoxas is?
     
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Yeah, it gets *incredibly* dry here in the winter. I'm not sure what the relative humidity is in my house, but my bass seems fine (laminate, too, so it's not quite as necessary to baby it.)
     
  10. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    I have a question as to this dryness. Where I live, the dryness is due to the proximity to the desert (About 30-50 miles away) and the Santa ana winds. The effect is this: Your skin chaps, your lips chap, everything feels dry and dusty, and when you touch things, you get shocked....

    How is canada, with plenty of tall trees, snow, rain, etc...as dry as this? You have no desert anywhere near (except the north pole, which has plenty of water) so how can it be so dry? 20% humidity is very dry. Recently, we had some days with 11% humidity. That's why my string exploded!

    Where I live in southern california, there is no green vegetation except where there are sprinklers. The natural state of nature around here is low, dry, brown scrub brush with cactus here and there. I have never thought of Canada as being like that!

    Please explain! I have often wanted to move up north because I hate the dryness down here, but if just as bad up there, what's the use?
     
  11. Lucas,
    He's prolly talking about only the winter monthes when it's like a Tundra...
     
  12. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Chicago
    Cold polar air can be just as dry as hot desert air. I've got my Junior Weatherman patch to prove it!!! :D

    You've heard people talk about "The Hawk". It's the North's version of a "Santa Ana" wind.
     
  13. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Yep. In the summer, it gets "hot"* -- 35°C is a pretty good seasonal high for us -- and is often incredibly humid. There's a two week period during the fall when humidity reverts almost entirely, going from neck warping, shirt soaking goodness to gut string exploding, skin cracking dryness.

    * Hot is in quotations because that's relative to us. Living so close to the desert, your version of hot is probably significantly hotter than ours ;).
     
  14. I live close to Aaron (down in Bloomfield). And the humidity has recently dropped down to almost nothing. I have a big roasting pan full of water sitting on my woodstove trying to get some moisture in the air during the cold months. Of course after all that rain yesterday, my sump pump somehow tipped over. I went into the basement to find over an inch of water down there this morning. :scowl:

    I would like to try guts sometime, but I can't afford them right now. I'll be sticking with the weed whackers for a while. At least until I win the lottery..
     
  15. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I may have misquoted on the 20%. I think perhaps the minimum might be more like 35%. It's been a while since the last winter and I don't recall exactly. It's been raining outside here in the last couple of days so it's 51% in my house right now.

    All I know is that I used to be paranoid about this stuff but I've since learned that my bass and yes my guts, have no problems with the winter. I am still careful about but not as paranoid as I used to be.

    I just asked my wife and she does think that it does get down as low as 20% in the winter in our house but that it's very rare. If I remember, I will report back here in a few months time.
     
  16. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Very interesting, all of this! Down here, we get an extended fall wind season, that starts in october, and goes clear to january (more even)! There is no white christmas for us. I remember having santa ana winds along with 80 degree temps even on christmas day. I really, really hate it!

    It's funny, but I have been to the east coast, and when it got to that sticky, swampy humid time, I actually liked it! Big, fat greasy raindrops that don't even cool you down! Loved it!

    With my guts, I screwed up only once, but that was all it took. One night in my storage facility where the humidity probably dropped to the 11% level.

    It had not rained down here in a long time! Horrible!
     
  17. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    While I appreciate the distinct seasons we get here in Michigan (hot summers, COLD winters and about 2 weeks each of spring and fall), I really don't feel bad for you. If you ever want to swap places January - March, just let me know. ;)
     
  18. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    How many rooms in your house? :)
     
  19. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    do you guys oil wrapped guts like eudoxa and oliv also?

    how about if the winters aren't bad in your climate?