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how should i keep strings clean, fresh, new?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by stewlyons, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. recommendations? what should i do after playing a set, or practicing? i like that product called fast frets, but it's very expensive...i go through an applicator in about a week...i have been using a "rod and reel" cloth (available and hunting and fishing stores) to clean off/wipe down the strings after each session (someone recommended this to me)...it's basically a piece of cloth impregnated with silicone...seemed to work okay...but i've been told silicone is impossible to get off a guitar finish or wood, so even though i wasn't wiping the body of the bass with the "rod and reel" cloth, i don't know maybe i shouldn't have even been putting silicone on the fretboard...so, what's the best thing to wipe strings down with? i've been told a microfiber cloth is what i should use...good idea? any particular brand or product for a microfiber cloth? and remember being told a while ago that plain old motor oil is the best thing to put on strings...and then what about soaking strings in methyl alcohol after they've gone dead? what is everone's experience with this? it sounds like if you do this you'll never need to be another set of strings...so you get the idea...i sure would appreciate any suggestins...thanks...
  2. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    The best way to keep strings new is to not play your bass.
    If you play it, they'll get used over time, but that's a worthwhile tradeoff, isn't it?

    With that said - I don't use any crud on my strings, and wipe them down after every use with a relatively clean cloth. The acid and oils on your fingers is the main culprit, so just wiping them down will do a lot.

    Many people swear by taking them off and soaking them in denatured alcohol for a week or so (put on a new set, soak the old, then reverse the process putting the cleaned set on and soaking the other, etc.) Denatured alcohol definitely does a nice job of cleaning the strings.
  3. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Silicone is tough to remove..

    Clean cloth.. old diapers or felt shirts work well.
  4. +1 on denatured alcohol... I can't remember the last time I actually put a new on of strings on.
  5. oggdawg


    Oct 25, 2009
    I used to boil my strings every couple weeks until I realized that they sounded better with all the grease and crud on them. To each his own.
  6. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Zippo lighter fluid..Put a dab on the corner of a wash cloth and run it down each string...really cuts the "peanut-butter" off!
    Evaporates very quickly...won't rust the string core.

    (edit) Stanley Clarke uses "Skin-Bracer" aftershave to clean them!
  7. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Wipe them down after you play, including under the strings, with a soft cloth, then rub down with Fast Fret. My strings keep the broken in sound, but that's what I like.
  8. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    If lighter fluid works, I assume anything with naphtha in it will work. Just don't try it around anything flammable, for goodness sake!
  9. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    Wash your hands before playing, dont eat while playing, wipe the strings after your play, I use fast fret once every two weeks. Thats all I do and works for me.
    MrLenny1 likes this.
  10. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Since I like some slappity zing to strings, and also I can't keep on spending boucoup $$ to replace them everytime I perform, I boil a set of strings on the bass I want to use, the day of the gig. Much of the zing is brought back, enough to get me through the gig. and I let those strings be, until the next gig, aside from just wiping down the bass and strings after each time I play. Saved major $$$ doing it that way.

    Eventually, you will need new strings, as breakage will occur, as rust will happen around the windings of either/both ends of the string, but you could still get perhaps a couple years good use out strings this way. Once one of the strings in my sets breaks, I just go ahead and bite the bullet, and buy a new set, as the others are sure to follow...
  11. behndy

    behndy Inactive

    Nov 1, 2008
    hurm. i was under the impression that low B strings "die" after awhile. something about the core only lasting so long? i could be talking (writing) out of my *** tho. but i do know that the B on my sixers goes all thwuddy instead of pop-blinkety before any of the others.

    is this something that can be fixed by cleaning them?
  12. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
  13. SnakeKappele


    Sep 20, 2010
    NOTE: I use flatwounds!

    I play for 3 or more hours almost every night and when I finish playing I always polish up my bass with a Dunlop finish cloth, clean the back of the neck well with the finish cloth, and then I do the strings...

    I use "The String Cleaner" for bass (http://www.amazon.com/String-Cleaner-SC-GB-Bass-Guitar/dp/B002NU5VFO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1286741366&sr=8-2). I keep it closed and run it up and down the strings basically scrubbing them. Then I clamp it on and run it up and down the strings some more. Then I lightly run the Fast Fret applicator down the tops of the strings, the upper side of the strings, the lower side of the strings, and then the tops again. Then I gently run the cleaning cloth over the strings once.

    My strings stay like new and I can go for 6 months or more with the Fast Fret.
  14. Wash hands before playing and at breaks. Wipe strings down properly, with a CLEAN and DRY lint-free cotton cloth, at any opportunity.
  15. "The gunk keeps the funk". -- James Jamerson
  16. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Inactive

    May 26, 2010
    Just play the bass and replace the strings when they need to be replaced. Strings are meant to be played and replaced. they're consumables. Dont over-think it and give yourself a headache.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
    danesdad likes this.
  17. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    The only time I change strings is by getting a new bass.
    Babydave likes this.
  18. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Yes, clean your hands before playing.
    Wipe down with clean dry towel.
    Replace them on a regular basis.
  19. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    Try leaving some silica gel sachets (the ones you find in consumer electronics packaging) in your guitar case.

    Place a bar towel over the neck/strings when you put your bass back in the case.
  20. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    My thoughts:
    • If you play loud and long enough without earplugs you won't hear the difference between old and new strings any more. You'll be able to keep the same strings on for years :).
    • Only time I ever broke a string in my life was after boiling them.
    • Putting $1 a day in an envelope marked "strings" can get you a new set of strings every 2-3 weeks if you keep your eyes open for sales.
    • Washing hands thoroughly before playing helps.
    • I would never put motor oil on my strings, and I wonder who ever told you that was a good thing. 30 years on bass, almost 20 daily on Talkbass and that's the first time I ever heard that.
    • Dirty strings can be gotten used to. I used to think I HAD to have new strings all the time on my bass. Then I just stopped thinking that, and nothing else has changed. Cranking the treble on my amp just a little bit helps when needed.
    • I used to use fast fret, and couldn't imagine using it up in a week... if you like it, maybe you can tame your fast fret habit. I think you may have been over doing it a bit.

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