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How many BOIL strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by 80'sRocker, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Many many years ago I was reading a Rudy Sarzo magazine article where he had mentioned that he boiled his bass strings when they became dull sounding. I had also heard of this through others. I've been doing it ever since! I try not to do it more than 1-2 times, after that they get chucked. Are there any other cheapskates like me out there who boil their bass strings? Note: Don't boil coated strings!
  2. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I typed 'boil' into the search function, and guess what?
  3. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    Tried it. Made them sound worse.
  4. sorry I didn't search it out, newbie here for posting. relax
  5. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Not anymore. Denatured alcohol soaks work much better and you can do it more than twice without risking string integrity.
  6. Yerf Dog

    Yerf Dog

    Jun 29, 2009
    Carol Stream, IL
    Only when I run out of pasta.
  7. Corevalay

    Corevalay Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    New Jersey
    I've never tried it but a friend of mine always did it. He swears by it, I'd personally rather just get a new pack of strings.
  8. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Yes. Saved thousands of dollars worth of new strings this way over the years. For the price of strings (over time), which eventually get thrown in the trash, I've taken that money and bought basses (which aren't thrown away). I just need the strings to be spanky for the gig, on some basses. So I boil a set, sometimes, for certain basses, for certain gigs. I may boil a set 10 times or more. I toss the set when one of the strings in the set breaks.

    It's a great idea, and I highly recommend it to anyone.
  9. BRfan


    Oct 21, 2010
    I've heard about this a million times before but have been afraid to try it. How long do you need to boil them for? Do they really get their brightness back? Seems a bit fishy...
  10. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    Yes, it works great. I didn't want to eat out of that pot again, but the strings come out great. Keep spares in your case, the boiled strings are more likely to give up and break, but it only takes a minute to install a string that has already been used, it has been cut and wound already.

    If you want spanky bright, this is the cheap tune up.

    10 minutes at a boil will do it, wipe them down with a rag. Clean your bass up while you wait for the strings.
  11. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    Same here.
  12. lowendgenerator


    Mar 26, 2006
    I boiled a set ONE time, the mess it made of my noodle pot and the smell was enough to not try it again. Denatured alcohol is the way to go. I have DR Lo-Riders that are over a year old and after coming out of the bath, they still sound 95% new.
  13. I give them 1 boil. Any more and the strings become brittle and break when I bend them. It does bring back a lot of life though IMO and saves 1 lot of new strings.
  14. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Boiled strings for 15 years, with NO problems of smell or to the pot itself. I boil mine for twenty minutes, but leave the top ends where the post winding section is, out of the pot. I bundle them together with a plastic-coated metal tie, like the kind you find with a loaf of sandwich bread. BTW, use an oven mitt to pull them out of the large stock pot while the water is still boiling. Immediately, with the other hand, double-up clean paper towels, and run the paper towels down the strings tightly, ensuring the paper towels get in as many grooves as possible. You will look at the paper towel and see dirt. Do this as many times as you can to pull the dirt off before the string not only dries, but also cools and the metal shrinks slightly.

    Brightness DOES come back. Nothing fishy about it. The boiling, and the treatment immediately upon removal from boiling pot allows the crud to come off. Brings back the zing. I like zing, and slap a lot. It always works for me.

    Want an exact, moment by moment highly detailed method? PM me.
  15. ster


    Oct 18, 2003
    New Jersey
    Yup. Not frequently but I have done it a few times and IME it brought back about half of the life back. I haven't tried using denatured alcohol. That sounds like a better idea to me. Curious to see how that works.
  16. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Commercial FREE!
  17. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I did this once and was surprised and how much life it returned to the strings. Only down side for me was that strings get notched over time where they vibrate against frets and when you remove a set and boil them and put them back on you will not get them back in the same position. Looks kinda weird - but still sounded good.
  18. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Tried it once years ago and decided it was more trouble than it was worth before I ever put the strings back on the bass.
  19. Mofo-Kang


    Aug 26, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    I saw an idea posted on these forums a while back that I've been meaning to try. Get a PVC pipe a bit longer than the strings. Cap one end permanently (sealed and all). Cap the other so you can unscrew it. Take a hook and put it through the cap so the hook side is on the inside of the pipe when the cap is screwed on. Make sure the hook is thin enough to go through the ball ends of the strings. Now hang the strings by the ball ends inside the pipe. Fill with denatured alcohol, screw the cap on, and lean the pipe up in a corner for a day or two. Remove the strings, wipe 'em down, and you're done. You can save the alcohol for the next set of strings, it can be reused several times.
  20. Shaky


    Jul 6, 2006
    Roanoke, VA
    I started boiling my strings a few years back. What I have discovered is that it did not help any of my standard guitar strings, but it does wonders for breathing new life in my bass strings. I use a small pot dedicated to non-food items. I get the water boiling rapidly and carefully drop my bass strings (coiled up) into the water and boil them for around 15 minutes. I use a wooden dowel to fish them out of the boiling water and hang them up to dry. I have found they dry almost instantly when pulled straight out of the boiling water instead of giving the water a chance to cool. I am amazed at how much junk you can see in the water after boiling a set. I have boiled some sets numerous times with success, but it does seem like the amount of time it takes for them to start sounding dead again gets shorter with each boiling.
    All the bass strings I have boiled have been round wound. I did boil a set of DR "Red Devils," that were on a bass I bought used. They came out sounding almost new, but the red coating became blotchy and looks like crap
    Andrew Thomas likes this.

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