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How to quickly kill flats

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by curbowkid, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    It's not really the best approach but while working on my custom bass, I have discovered that Tung Oil absolutely KILLS strings. Guitar or bass. But I thought hey some of them dudes over there on that talkbass thingy like dead flats so I figured id share.

    I guess the best way to do this is lightly soak a rag in tung oil and run it down the length of the strings. Then use either 1000 grit sandpaper and pull each string through it once or twice, or use Dunlop string conditioner for a slightly brighter but still dead sound. I prefer the sandpaper because you get mega silky flats ;)
  2. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I like to prepare flats with Scotch Brite and Steel Fix. The Scotch Brite makes them a bit smoother. The Steel Fix makes them super slick. Afterwards I clean them thoroughly with alcohol. Steel Fix is sold here for polishing stainless steel sinks. For me it makes the strings less 'sticky'.
  3. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    I have always thought that what kills flats is just the tension on them over time. Dirt really can't get in those windings like it does with rounds.

    Has anyone tried just tuning them up and down maybe a half step gently about 25 times?
  4. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011
    Step one: use Yelp.com to find the best local fried chicken establishment
    Step two: Order a huge amount of chicken, whatever pieces you prefer (I'm a thigh man myself :eyebrows: )
    Step three: eat your chicken. No napkins allowed, get them hands greasy as can be
    Step four: Sit down and play some bass for a while

    Step five (optional): Wipe off the neck and body of your bass that are now covered in grease
  5. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Practice for a couple of hours?
  6. FunkRenegade


    Jul 7, 2012
    Tuning and detuning a few times kills strings pretty easily. I wouldn't want tung oil to seep in and harden.
  7. lburton2

    lburton2 Les Is More

    May 15, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    A lot of times you can just hand stretch a string. Don't try and pull the string off the thing, but pull the string about an inch off the board around the 12th fret a few times on each string and re-tune.. That should help break em in a bit.

    I'd do that before the tune and re-tune method, because I think it'd make a break less likely at the tuning machine
  8. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Now there's an idea! :p
  9. rythman6969


    May 29, 2007
    I've only heard the exact opposite, that flats never change sound or feel different. I have heard that people use them , never changing them for years until they break.

    I have only used TI flats and they haven't changed in sound or feel in three years on one fretless.
  10. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I change my flats after about a hundred hours of playing. And, oh boy, do those new strings sound bright and feel flexible!
    If used flats are laying around for a while, not being under tension, they recover partially and can be used as spare strings.
  11. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    It was just something I observed. I'm not saying do it
  12. Heck, my TIs are 12 years old and I'm still waiting for them to lose their zing.... reckon I might try that fried chicken grease... :hyper:
  13. Stainless flats take a while. Sometimes I break them in on a spare bass, because they are scratchy until broken in. Low output. I am going to try 9050CL on my main bass because it has 5% overwounds.

    TIs break in faster. But as Marty says, they never lose that Spirocore kind of liveliness. However when they are brand new, they are a total hoot, way different from anything else, and are fun to break in on gigs. Output very near roundwound levels.

    Pyramid Gold (pure nickel) are dead right out of the bag. The deadest. Also the darkest, like pure cocoa chocolate. Very low output. I have a set around here somewhere. Nothing like them. I want to eventually have a bass dedicated to them.

    But to address the OP, it is unnecessary to introduce harsh foreign substances that will work their way down into the windings. The chemicals and debris from the fingers are bad enough. Play, and the uneven tensions in the windings will resolve.
  14. To me , flats sound dead and old when brand new. Not a fan
  15. It's an acquired taste for most. Me, I started on flats.
  16. G.Bisson


    Feb 26, 2009
    Read a T.M. Stevens interview where he recommended this method. It works!
    Fill your belly, practice bass, and lube your strings at the same time :)
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    TI's are an anomaly. For some reason, most likely the silk wrap, they don't die like other strings. But other brands of flats most definitely die and sound thuddy after time...you just bought the one set that doesn't.
  18. BearCave

    BearCave Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Milwaukee, WI
    LOL! Awesome.
  19. Coolhandjjl


    Oct 13, 2010
    I have a set of LaBella DTB 760FS. The G is still pretty bright even after lots of play time. I will carefully consider these options, but most likely it will be nacho chips that fixes it. :D
  20. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I find that a bolt cutter is quickest if I only have one or two strings to kill. For a larger number of strings, I fire up the chainsaw.

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