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Hands that kill strings

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by jive1, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    A guitarist friend of mine and I were talking about people who make strings go dead just by playing them. We named a couple of friends who have some type of corrosive properties in their hands or sweat that can make a fresh set of strings into old ones instantly.

    Case in point, we had a room-mate who would play one of our axes and afterwards the strings went dead. We talked to him about it, and he thought we were being silly. But the proof was in the pudding.

    Anyone have that ability to kill string instantly, or know someone who does?
  2. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I used to. Back in the 80's I lived in SoCal, and could go through a set of strings in a night. Depending on the strings, I could get through anywhere from 3-4 sets to maybe 6-7 sets on a set, then they'd be toast. However, I found that stainless steel doesn't seem as vulnerable, and my Elixirs are bulletproof. Something about the nickel on the strings and my body chemistry didn't jive so well. I had hyperhydrosis as well- sweaty hands disease- and I'm sure that contributed to it. Since I quit playing nickels, over the years my hyperhydrosis has pretty much gone away, and strings seem to last a lot longer- weeks longer- so I think it may have been a sensitivity to the nickel that did it.

    I had someone borrow my bass one night, fresh set of stainless steels on it, and the next day it sounded like flats that had been boiled in lard. I asked my buddy about how that happened, turned out he had put lotion on right before the gig...lol...
  3. I had a guitarist like that.
  4. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey

    i use elixir polywebs. they last a lot longer then most.

    i wouldnt say i kill a set of strings in one shot. well, if they are ones like fender strings, or ernie ball strings. but dr usually takes a few days.
  5. Funkengrooven

    Funkengrooven Turn it down? You gotta be nuts!!

    I had the GHS Boomers quit on me like that but the Rotosounds last fo-evah!!
    Lotion and other stuff will kill anything, completely clean is the only way to go. I wash my hands thoroughly before every set.
    my Bass loves me.
  6. My ex-guitarist, he actually corroded his bridge. and used to pop strings almost every practice. Actually everything he touches he breaks.
  7. I've always had very dry hands, so my strings have always lasted me for many months - in fact, I'll leave strings on too long because of this. However, I've lent out my instruments to friends with the most caustic body chemistry - it shocks me how quickly they can make strings go dead.

    The worst case I had ever seen was when I lent my acoustic guitar to a female friend for just a few days. When I got it back, the unwound steel strings were totally rusted and the wound strings had become so corroded that the windings had broken and had come undone from where my friend had pressed down with her fingers. Pretty amazing. Needless to say, I told her she could borrow my instruments again only if she would agree to buy me new set of strings.
  8. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Back in the 80s, when I was a lot more active in terms of stage show, I could sweat a set of strings into scrap metal in one show. I used to corrode screw-heads and bridge fittings too. Now that I am less active, and more obssesive-compulsive about clean hands, I get more mileage out of a set of strings.
  9. MazeMouse


    Jan 27, 2005
    During short rehearsals and home-playing I don't have any problems with sweating too hard.
    But on stage with hot stagelights (or very long rehearsals) it feels as if I recently submerged both my hands....

    Now there is no problem as long as I don't sweat... but as soon as I start sweating I can kill a set of elixers in about 2 hours tops.....
  10. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    i wont get anything in with black hardwear because all the screws for the pick guard, pick ups, saddles, bridge all turned white. hell, even the neck screws turned white.

    now, its only silver hardware.

    im glad i dont kill elixirs that quick. id say they dont last me a half year like some people, but if im gigging like mad, i get two weeks out of them(4 shows, 2 practices) if im gigging less, they last longer.

    if we were to go a few months without gigging, i could make aset last like 2-3 months
  11. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I used to lend an Ibanez CT I had (recently restrung) to a drummer I played with (he was studying bass too). After just a week I was at his home and picked up that bass and... ARGH! The strings were terrible! Another time he picked up my SR5 and said "wow, new strings!". The case is I hadn't changed them for FOUR MONTHS! He was really used to dead strings!

  12. In order: I corrode strings, pickup poles, bridge fittings and frets. I'm working on a way to efficiently clean up everything but strings. The strings are just a fact of life.
  13. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    Haha i know someone who has a condition called ''acid fingers'' its real string killing sweat, and breaks the strings after a while of heavy sweating.. but then again he is a guitar player..
  14. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    My freind plays bass too, he has acid sweat or something. Not only that, he's constantly sweating like he just ran a marathon on a 110degrees day when he's just sitting down. So he ruins his string pretty fast. His strings are completely dead after a week, and the fingerboard is covered in disgusting grey dirt. I don't let him touch my bass anymore.
  15. Only


    Sep 8, 2002
    Warrensburg, MO
    I know a kid whose sweat is so acidic he has to replace his strings every time he plays, his bridge every six months, and his tuners every year. He's a guitarist. I think if he ever wanted to break into a bank vault, all he has to do is lean up against it and get warm.

    Me, on the other hand...My sweat is so mild it doesn't even sting if it gets in my eyes. I love it.
  16. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Would you even notice it, with that snake latched onto your eye like that?

    See, I'm bizarre when it comes to this. My sweat is REALLY mild (eg, strings last a long time for me) and my hands don't get clammy and soaked with sweat, and MOST of the time, they're dry. When they do sweat, however, my palms/fingers get covered in a fine film of sweat that WILL get onto fretboards etc. This usually comes up after a bit of friction. I can work it up intentionally by doing a fingers-nap motion without doing the full snap a few times, and then BAM! I've got a film of sweat on my palms. I find this very bizarre.
  17. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    I hardly sweat at all at a gig, unless the room is really boiling and everyone is hot.. my guitarist sweats even though its not hot or anything, he has tons of sweat/dirt build up on his fretboard.. and i could play about 20 shows without cleaning the fretboard, and look at it after and there would still be no sweat/dirt inbetween the frets..
  18. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    When I first started playing...nigh on 15 years ago, I used Nickel strings and my fingers had a terrible reaction to them. After about a month, almost all the layers of skin had peeled away, leaving me with no fingerprints and tender fingers. I had to stop playing because of the pain. I attributed it to overplaying and not letting my callouses develop. That summer, I was forced by circumstance to stop playing for 3 months, and my fingerprints came back.

    I finally talked to a dermatologist who asked if I carry change in my pockets alot, or if I was a metal worker...I said, "I play bass". He said, "What are your strings made of? Are they Nickel?...because it looks like you're allergic to Nickel, which is pretty common."

    I changed to SS strings exclusively and from then on, no problems.
  19. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    Haha, now thats turning the topic around, 'Strings that Kill Hands' ;)

    But glad things are cool now man, i would be so angry if couldnt play bass because my fingers were allergic to strings.. imagine that..
  20. MazeMouse


    Jan 27, 2005
    Actually, it's quite a common problem among guitar/bass players...

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