1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Making strings sound new again.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bigbadbuck, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. bigbadbuck


    Jun 28, 2005
    southwest iowa
    Let's face it people bass strings are very expensive. Now, I realize that when you play on a set of strings for a while you are going to deform them somewhat. Especially over the frets, creating flattened areas that don't allow the string to vibrate as freely as a new set, making your strings sound dull. There is no getting around that.

    However the other leading cause of dead strings seems to be oil and dead skin dirt and what ever else clogging the windings.

    Have any of you found an effective way of bringing your strings back to life?

    I've boiled my strings in water and also vinegar. The vinegar had better results. I've also tried soaking strings in denatured alcohol, but nothing seems to do an exceptional job.

  2. Basshoofd


    Jan 14, 2009
    Denatured alcohol works for me. I have a set of stainless steel strings that I've soaked about 10 times over the last few years, and each time they sound almost like new. I get back plenty of zing and it lasts for about 2-3 weeks for me. The first few times will last longer.

    I have a long pvc pipe filled with denatured alcohol. I attached a hook to the lid of the pipe so I can hang the strings. I removed them after 24 hours, wipe them off a bit and I let them dry for a few minutes. Works great for me.
  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    This is a good topic to search on, as there are many, many discussions on this topic.

    Personally, I can't wait for the strings to get a few months old and lose that obnoxious brightness.
  4. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    Burning incense and sacrificing a live chicken works in some cultures. ;)

    But seriously you can only revive them to a certain extent and then only for so long. Removing the dead skin and oil is the easy part but that doesn't restore what playing them and stretching them into tune many times takes out of them.

    Flats last forever and I've found that pressure wound alloy strings will give me a lot longer wear at and efficient level than rounds without sacrificing anything tonally.

    If you prefer bright rounds you're gonna be replacing strings more frequently. It's the nature of the beast.
  5. Geroi Asfalta

    Geroi Asfalta

    Aug 23, 2011

    I boil me flats for 3 hours once a week then replace them after 2 boils. Maybe I'm just super anal about tone. The fender flats on my P/J have been boiled twice, about to swap them out for some (almost) new chromes.

    After 3 hours and a few wipes with 91% rubbing alcohol they're about as new as they get without dumpgin $40 on a new set
  6. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    A 24-48 hour soak in denatured alcohol is my usual ritual. The results I've gotten have always been better than the boiling method.

    Google "bass string cleaning tube"
  7. najko


    Aug 7, 2012
    I don't like them way too bright, so I'm fine just rubbing them with GHS fast fret: it brightens up the sound a bit and I can play slightly better. No need to remove, soak and put them back again, plus I can do it in a couple minutes before rehearsals.

    I'm not too pesky on tone, I prefer them rather dull.