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Old Gut Strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by MollyKay, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. MollyKay


    Sep 10, 2006
    Southern PA
    Bass Hobby'ist
    I have a full set of old gut strings that came off one of our vintage plywood basses. These strings maybe from the 1950’s for all I know. The G & D are varnished and the A & E are silver wound (very tarnished) with purple winding top and bottom…the really unique thing is the end with the knot had a black rubber washer that says “golden” and then a leather disk behind the washer. The strings are thick and look to be in good shape. I have read threads on TB that say oil the old gut strings with mineral oil and re-install them, but what is recommend to clean the A & E string (the E string is massive) to re-use them.

    Also how do you know when a set of old gut strings are past their prime and need to be retired?

    The little disk of leather at the tail piece end of the string threw me…maybe it was a home remedy for a vibration or the slots on the tail piece were too big for the knot on the gut string. If anyone knows what kind of strings these might be chime in and are they worth re-installing…also I think I read Gamut will re-wind strings (A & E?)…it that any string or just their strings?
  2. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I once found an old, very tarnished but unused "Roth" brand E string. I used some kind of ( I forget the brand) silver polishing cloth that came in a package and was pre-moistened with a light amount of polish. I cleaned it well with that and then used alcohol to clean off the polish residue. That seemed to do the trick and the string was great.

    I think you can use old strings as long as you like the sound and they don't break. A really old, worn out, wound gut string will not have much pitch or sustain, just thud. The plain ones will tend to get very frayed and dirty.

    I'll bet that Dan Larson would rewind the strings for you, even if they aren't his.

    Good luck!
  3. MollyKay


    Sep 10, 2006
    Southern PA
    Bass Hobby'ist
    Thanks Bobby! I'll give a cleaning to the A&E strings and oiling to the G&D strings and see what I get. I have an old set of Artone guts that I could do the same thing too. I guess old gut strings are a pretty good investment because they last so long.

    Us bluegrass pickers just need a big, fat, thump... thump;)

    Thanks again!

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