I Boiled My Bass Strings Today

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by HG1180, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. Yup, I did it, ill just list the steps i took.
    1-Soak in 90% Ethyl alcohol for 10 minutes
    2-Rinse with water
    3-Boil for 10 Minutes
    4-Wipe down strings with alcohol soaked napkin
    5-Fresh Clean Strings!

    The amount of gunk and dead skin i successfully removed was astonishing

    Anyway, tell me how im wrong with your comments! :D

    Also the tone was significantly more bright and lively after the boiling.
  2. If it didn’t do any damage, and you like the sound better - what could be wrong?

    How old were these strings? We’re they flatwound or roundwound? Stainless or Nickel? It will be interesting to see how they hold up in a few weeks or months, and whether they rust or get dirty faster than before....
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
    BrentSimons, Williethump and HG1180 like this.
  3. They were Ken Smith Strings Slick Rounds, essentially flatwounds with a larger winding gap than normal, theyre about 2 years old? not too sure. But they have been given a new lease on life cause i was gonna throw em out cause they were dead, in a bad way, and then i just said “oh hell why not”. And it worked!
  4. I believe all Ken Smith strings (I just bought some today) have silk wraps on both ends. Did yours? If so, how did the silk wraps hold up?
    HG1180 likes this.
  5. The silk on the ball end was perfectly fine after the cleaning, the tuner end is another story. They were already starting to come off, but the boiling water took quite a bit more of them off, i dont mind though. As long as they work its all good by me.
    It is a bit disappointing though cause the purple of the silk is a very nice shade of purple!
    dkelley and Guild B301 like this.
  6. Nice to hear. Keep us informed of how they hold up.
    HG1180 likes this.
  7. Will do!
  8. They're actually half-rounds/groundwound, not flatwound as such.
    HG1180 and Slater like this.
  9. They feel very much like flatwounds to me, hmm...I suppose a bit of research is in order!
  10. That's because the outer round wire is ground down to a flat surface.

  11. dpaul

    dpaul Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2015
    Hamilton, NJ
    Next time, try soaking your strings for 24 hours in denatured alcohol. It will thoroughly clean the strings, have them sounding like new, and is far less destructive than boiling. And if you strain the alcohol through a filter afterwards, you can reuse it.
  12. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    6-Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and two basil leaves. :D
  13. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    I’d wash that pan a few times, boil plain water a while and rewash again before considering reusing the pan to cook food
    formulaz, Novarocker and Vinny_G like this.
  14. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    You’re braver than me. I would scratch “Nasty ole string cauldron” on the pot and store it in the garage.
  15. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    You mean you washed off all the mojo? :smug:
  16. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    Next you’re gonna tell me you wouldn’t eat scrambled eggs cooked on your engine exhaust manifold.
  17. klaymaster


    Jun 10, 2016
    I've done this a few times and I like the sound for like 2 weeks afterward and then I have to change them.
  18. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx!

    Oct 31, 2006
    Western Hemisphere
    Keep in mind that used strings have a lot less elasticity to them than new ones even when they’ve been boiled, so this may affect their ability to stay in tune and will probably feel a little bit lower tension which may result in fret buzz, plus they will ‘die out’ quickly.
    RocknRay, HolmeBass and Vinny_G like this.
  19. Yools


    Jul 24, 2009
    Perth WA
    I've been doing this for years - not the alcohol soak, but a good 10 min in boiling water with a little bit of baking soda. In fact one of mine is in need of a good boil treatment right now. They do come out sounding almost like new, but it won't last that long - generally after a few practices/shows they will be noticeably deader. I've tried doing it a second time, but it generally only has a nominal effect.

    Oh, and I definitely use that pot again for making spaghetti, etc. After a thorough cleaning, of course.

  20. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    trothwell, SunByrne, wboyd68 and 9 others like this.