How can string cleaner brighten strings ?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Clemouze, Dec 5, 2020.

  1. Clemouze


    Sep 1, 2016
    Paris - France
    Salut all

    I use Dunlop String Cleaner, blue one, 65 ultra glide.

    After I play, i wipe with coton my strings to take off some weat and hand grease and I put string cleaner.
    But also before playing, I put string cleaner and the string is brighter after that.
    How does it works ?

    I understand the liquid can act like a coat, and prevent grease and particles to go between spires of the winding, ok. It is the protective thing, like coated strings.

    But HOW can the string be brighter just after you put some string cleaner on it?
    What is the physical explanation ?

    It can't be placebo effect, I clearly hear more zing. I can say I am sure hearing those differences on NOT BRAND NEW strings. We can even say almost physical marked strings. Didn't try on band new strings

    Maybe the coat assures that the string vibrates more uniformly ? Maybe the coat fills some gaps between damaged spires of the winding , which usually create some resonnant bad spots for harmonics ?
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    It takes dirt out of the windings. Probably won't turn a completely dead set into a brand new set, but the dirt and grease in the windings is why strings go dead.
    JeezyMcNuggles likes this.
  3. Clemouze


    Sep 1, 2016
    Paris - France
    Thank you.
    But just one swipping is enough to do that cleaning ? Is the liquid disolving the grease or what ?
  4. Roxbororob

    Roxbororob Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2015
    Yes (to a degree)
    JimmyM likes this.
  5. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    BLDavis, Roxbororob and Clemouze like this.
  6. Clemouze


    Sep 1, 2016
    Paris - France
    Thank you
    But it doesn't really answer the question haha

    I also put my strings sometimes on Acetone Bath for grease cleaning
  7. Roxbororob

    Roxbororob Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2015
    I built one of these as well, works great (before that I would coil them up in a tupperware bath but that would ruin the silks). It solves the dead Swingbass 66 issue. I rotate clean sets of strings and get much more life out of them.

    You should use Ethanol or Alchohol, Acetone is a little too hazardous to use in soak quantities and does not evaporate as well (need to dry thorughly before stringing).

    Dunlop String Cleaner is just a special, quick dry sauce of ethylalchohol degreaser in an applicator bottle.
  8. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    As far as I understand, cleaners like your Dunlop do two things: rag removes dust, dried sweat and the rest of organic residue, and liquid diminishes friction making strings smoother to play.
    Take a look at the small rag on top of the Dunlop bottle, it should be somewhat dirty.

    Also: if you use that liquid from the moment strings are new, organic residue is easier to wipe, because it doesn't stick to string as much.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2020
    Clemouze likes this.
  9. Clemouze


    Sep 1, 2016
    Paris - France
    Thank you
    I didn't find denatured alcohol at the store, I will looking for it more closely.

    My acetone bath is inside a 750 mL hermetic can I left outside ( it does not evaporate). True that I have to let strings dry before stringing post bath. And that smell ...!
    Roxbororob likes this.
  10. Roxbororob

    Roxbororob Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2015
    Denatured alcohol seems to be an American thing, look for methyl alcohol (methanol) or ethyl alcohol (ethanol) in the paint store or rubbing alchohol in the drugstore.

    Another handy thing is this (with a couple of drops of rubbing alcholhol):,aps,170&sr=8-13

    I like this one because it has no handle and stores flat in a plastic bag on my case, just need to be sure not to wet the fretboard side chamois. Still, I wipe down with a cloth after use to dry up.
  11. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    After Jimmy and Roxbororob answered your question that it cleans out the gunk that makes your string sound dead, I gave you an option that works even better (although not as quick).
  12. LetItGrowTone


    Apr 2, 2019
    Don't use methanol. Much more dangerous but with no additional benefit.
    Acetone also more dangerous but with no additional benefit.
  13. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    I’ll throw another thing into the mix. Wipe your strings down with a tiny rag (like a gun barrel cleaning patch) wetted with a little bit of deoxit liquid (from a bottle or spray can). Cleans, and removes some corrosion, and leaves a coating that prolongs the life of a string. Dirt and skin particles arent the only things that deteriorate strings. Corrosion encourages loss of “tone”.
    LetItGrowTone likes this.
  14. I use Dunlop blue 65 too. After playing, I put it on, keep it there for some 5 minutes, then wipe it. If I do it always, the string lasts about twice as long before it goes bad. I think it works something like WD40 - cleans the threads, and oils the surface to prevent rust; both just a bit.
    Sometimes when I finish practising, I remember I forgot something important. So I play the bass immediately after using the Dunlop, and I also can hear it rings more. I don't think a thin layer of oil can really affect vibration of heavy string with some 20kg tension. I think it's because the oil remains on the fingers, and the contact process between strings and fingers is altered. I don't think it's a good thing though.

    So I don't use 65 before playing, and if I do, I wipe it away. I don't want to zing, I want to be myself. I want to be able to rely on my fingers. I don't want to rely on some oil.
  15. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Cleaner takes out the junk that builds up in the windings of your strings. In other words, you get junk that has a dampening effect inside your strings that keeps it from ringing out like it used to. Kinda like it's being muted. Slightly, but still. When you clean your strings with just a cloth, you get some out, but a cleaner helps loosen it so you get more out. Just like soap. Wash your hands with water, and you get loose dirt off. Wash your hands with soap, and you get everything else.
    Clemouze likes this.