Removing strings to clean bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bajistaman, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. Sorry for the basic question but If I remove the strings to clean my bass, should I need to setup my bass again?


  2. LilRay

    LilRay Commercial User

    Dec 27, 2007
    Between my Roscoe and Leather
    Owner: Cockeyed Cow Custom Leathercraft
    I don't think so. As far as I'm aware you only need to setup your bass once (as far as the bridge), unless you change string types/gauges.

    You'll need minor tweaks of the neck now and again but I don't think changing the bridge settings are neccessary.

    God Bless, Ray
  3. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Restring it, tune to pitch, and let it sit for a day. It should be pretty dang close. FTR, you should be able to stick it in the dishwasher with the strings on, don't know why you're taking them off.

  4. mrjim123

    mrjim123 Supporting Member

    May 17, 2008
    I always check action and intonation, even when re-installing the same strings. Wait at least 24 hours after putting the old or new strings on before doing this.

    Usually, no adjustments are needed after re-installing the same strings, but after installing a different string gauge or brand you may finds that adjustments are necessary.
  5. LOL! :D

    I'll throw this in there too. When you take your strings off, it's also a good opportunity to clean/wax the fretboard. There's fretboard cleaning products and I often hear the suggestion of lemon oil... HOWEVER, I go with what a local luthier told me: use a paste wax, not an oil, a couple times a year (I use Minwax Paste Finishing Wax) and "wax on, wax off. Mr. Miyagi style." He also said you don't need a lot.

    A big can is roughly $8 at your local hardware store, versus the tiny little tin that Warwick sells for like $20 or something. ;) It helps protect the fretboard and prevents it from drying out and shrinking.

    Just throwing that out there, FWIW. :)

  6. I am always cleaning the places where I put my hands on after using my basses but there are some places where it's difficult with the strings on. I will remove the strings, clean, wait for at least one day and check that everything is ok, anyway this is not something that I will do every week.
    Thanks for the advice!
  7. I do the same... wipe down my strings after playing, clean knobs, etc. But simply cleaning and using the wax are two different things. The wax protects and seals moisture in the fretboard so that the wood itself doesn't dry out.

    The luthier I was talking with (Mark Tenorio, Tenorio Werx) was explaining that when wood dries out, it tends to shrink or contract. He showed me on a fretboard in particular that if you run your fingers lightly along the edges of the board and can feel the frets sticking out even a little bit... it's too late.

    I clean my basses regularly, but I live in Denver and it's pretty dry out here so, I've taken his advice and wax my fretboards about twice a year. You can replace a fretboard of course, but it's much more expensive than my $8 can of wax. I take pride in taking care of my gear and I'd rather not take the chance.

    Just wanted to pass along the knowledge! :)

  8. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    With a maple fretboard, I take the strings off every 10 days or so. I use toothpaste/brush on the fretboard and rinse the strings with alcohol occasionally (too messy).

  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Every 10 DAYS?

    How much do you play that thing?

    I have basses I don't even touch every 10 days....

    Sounds like radical overkill unless you play 8 hours a day.
  10. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    I give my bass a good wipe down after I play it but as far as a deep cleaning would go, I only do that when I change strings, which is about once every 3 months.
  11. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I suggest that wax be applied as well.
  12. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    I play all the time and gig regularly. I usually 'work at home' on a fretless (ebony fretboard) but gig with the maple neck and I like the way it looks when it is clean.

    Never been a fan of waxing a varnished fretboard. It is sealed. I wax the body, wipe down the chrome with Q-Tips and polish the tuners. I just use water and a paper towel on the back of the (unfinished) neck (MM Sterling).
  13. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    No. But unless you've some pretty grunged up frets there's no need to remove strings. What COULD happen is that you'll weaken the strings at the winding posts and/or the saddles. Not likely, but I've only ever broken a guitar string after restringing.
  14. SiReZ


    Jun 21, 2009
    what do you guys clean your strings with after playing?alchohol??
  15. bui


    Feb 24, 2009
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Every time you remove strings, you increase the chance of breaking one, because metal can only be flexed so many times before it breaks.

    I leave them on. My oldest were installed in 1972. The rest vary from 2-9 years old. Most are flats, but there are a couple-three sets of rounds in there, too.
  17. gyt lowend

    gyt lowend

    Aug 14, 2009
    I've always thought you should change strings often. I change once a month or so. I like the sound of fresh strings. I can never eq the life back into dead ones.
  18. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    Not normally, but with some basses (well one of mine!) the saddles move. I have a Hohner Jack and when you take the strings off the saddles arent fixed in. They are just held in place by the tension of the string and the width of the other saddles. So they slide back and forward when the strings are removed, and my intonation goes off.

    I doubt you will have this problem, but its possible - on that bass anyway.
  19. PluckyThump


    Jan 4, 2008
    The Hammer
    Once strings are taken off they're never quite the same again. I don't take the strings off unless absolutely necessary, and then I'm very particular about putting them back on exactly the same way, without bending them in a different direction. If there's light dirt underneath the strings just leave it there until the next string change. Excessive cleaning just wears out the finish faster. Jamerson and Dunn never cleaned their basses.
  20. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    No. This, "Never take all your strings off, your bass will explode", myth, is a bunch of crap.