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Looking for advice re gut string maintenance

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Blisterfinger, Nov 29, 2018.


  1. Blisterfinger

    Blisterfinger

    Feb 13, 2011
    Ireland.
    As the title suggests, I'm looking for some help with my guts. Specifically, my Lenzner G. I've been oiling it using unscented almond oil, trimming hairs and sanding it (using very fine sandpaper) to keep it as smooth as I can. I don't have much experience with guts but lately it's been buzzing so badly, particularly around the Bb in thumb position, that the note is almost indiscernible. It's not an old string so either I've been doing something wrong in maintaining it or there's a flaw in the string itself. The bass is fine as far as I know, I had the fingerboard planed by a very good luthier whom I trust only a few months ago.
    My suspicion is that perhaps I've been too generous with trimming and sanding it. My gut D is behaving well enough.

    Is there anything I can do to save the string?
     
  2. What is your string height set too?

    When I had guts on my ply I had some new buzzes and ones that were there with steels were much more prevalent with guts. I just kept raising the adjusters until the buzzing went away. They sounded great like that (I might go back to them on that bass).

    I don't think its a maintenance thing. My gut bass was the communal house bass that everyone played on and the strings got pretty gnarly between maintenance sessions (every two weeks-ish). Didn't seem to affect it too much (especially in a band mix).
     
  3. Blisterfinger

    Blisterfinger

    Feb 13, 2011
    Ireland.
    The string height of my G is about 8mm, measured at about the mid way point of the string.

    I'll try adjusting the height a little but as I said, it's only very recently that the problem popped up; surely if it was a string height issue it would have been there from when I put the string on?
     

  4. Oh ya good point. String height seems fine. When you sand are you making sure to hit the bottom of the string as well? Also what grit of sandpaper? I found 400 and 600 worked well.
     
  5. Blisterfinger

    Blisterfinger

    Feb 13, 2011
    Ireland.
    I'm using p1200 grade sandpaper, I'm hesitant to use anything too coarse as I'm afraid to take too much off it. Seems smooth enough to me, anyway. Yep, I sand the bottom of it too.
     
  6. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    Go easy on the oil and sandpaper, you don't want the strings to be any more than not dry and obviously only remove the hairs. A green scrubby works really well.

    Second, if there is not an obvious flaw with the string in that specific spot it could also be a finger board issue.
    Depending on how much effort you wanna put into it, you could loosen the string and twist the the knot 360 degrees at the tail piece to tighten the twist and change which part of the string actually touches the board. And/or add a washer or knot to the string below the tail piece to slightly shorten the overall length and change where that section is on the finger board.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  7. Blisterfinger

    Blisterfinger

    Feb 13, 2011
    Ireland.
    UPDATE the string died a death....I woke up this morning to discover the string had snapped of its own accord overnight. ***?! I think the onus may be upon me but I'm honestly quite stunned. I'm almost embarrassed to post this but may it stand as an example.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    Did it snap where the buzz was?
     
  9. Blisterfinger

    Blisterfinger

    Feb 13, 2011
    Ireland.
    Nope, snapped close to the end of the fingerboard. Where I'd normally play pizz...
     
  10. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    You might be able to re tie the string
     
    james condino likes this.
  11. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Many years ago, I asked Oscar Zimmerman how to best maintain gut strings. He suggested rendered lamb fat, so I went to a butcher and got (I think-it was 1975 or thereabouts) 5 pounds and rendered it on the kitchen stove. It gave me the equivalent of 3 Pop's containers of lamb lard and worked great. Kept my fingers from their usual winter cracking as well.
     
  12. Reiska

    Reiska Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Sorry to hear about your string. I have only killed plain gut G`s by overdoing the maintenance. Nowadays i approach each hair and rough spot individually, use lighter only when necessary and sand very carefully with a fine grit sandpaper. I`ve read here that Ph value of the oil used makes a difference, it should be as neutral as possible, and so I switched from oliv oil to linenseed oil a while ago.

    Plain guts that are about to snap can have a blond coloured spot in the problem area. Keep an eye for sudden changes in their colour, treat it as a warning sign. They do behave weirdly every once in while, and especially when weather / other surroundings goes extremes, but keeping them well oiled goes a long way.
     
  13. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    Basic mineral oil does not go rancid...
     

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