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Soaking time for strings in denatured alcohol...what's the word?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by funkythumb, Sep 26, 2008.


  1. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Atlanta
    Hey,
    I've successfully tried the string cleaning method using denatured alcohol and couldn't be happier. I feel reborn :)
    I didn't build the pipe but rather just put the strings in a Tupper Ware filled with just enough denaturated alcohol to cover the strings.
    As a side note, I used to boil strings in the OLD days with Isopropyl alcohol. That all stopped for me when Elixirs came out.
    Anyway,....:) I've read different soak times on TB. Some people say soak for up to but no more than one week and others say only soak for 12 hours.
    As I only have successful experience soaking for 5-7 days, I'm not sure if less time will work as well.
    Can you guys chime in and give me an average or safe amount of time to soak. Also, minimum and maximum times would be appreciated.
    I've got really sweaty hands and thoroughly kill the strings.
    thanks
     
  2. iamthebassplayr

    iamthebassplayr Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    I usually just leave them in there for 12-24 hours, though occasionally I will forget about them until the strings on my bass die (I have really sweaty hands too, I feel your pain). So after a few days I will go in and get them, I can't say that they lasted longer or were any brighter than 12-24 hours of soaking.

    I used to use the pipe, but I got lazy and use a Tupper Ware dish now too =P. Also, if you coil them, and you have a large enough tupper ware bowl, you can put them on a funnel, so then you don't have to go fishing for them, and you can just set the funnel on a plate somewhere and let it air out and dry.
     
  3. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Atlanta
    thanks Kevin. That's encouraging to hear from a guy with sweaty hands. :)
    The web site says 12-24 hours but like I said, some people have gone longer. Well, I can always experiment. :)
    thanks
     
  4. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    I was wondering if it's possible to do the denatured technique with coated strings (e.g., DR Black Beauties).
     
  5. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Atlanta
    I always thought NO, BUT, I'd like to officially hear the answer to that question as well. THAT, would be off the hook!!!
     
  6. nemo

    nemo

    Mar 19, 2004
    Czech
    Overnight. Works perfect.
     
  7. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Atlanta
    sweeeeet
     
  8. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    +1 to overnight. I coil mine in a mason jar and leave them a whole day; after 24 hours they don't get any cleaner.
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't think I agree with the 24 hour thing. I've done that only to put them back in. Takes my strings a good 4-5 days to clean enough to the level that I'm happy with. If you just want to get rid of the dullness, 24 hours works, but if you want them to sound almost new, well let's just say I can't do it unless I soak them for a good half a week.
     
  10. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Maybe my dirt is cleaner than your dirt.

    Next time I'll leave them a week and see if there's a difference. I've saved a fortune on rounds since soaking them, the only way I can keep using Rotos without breaking the bank.
     
  11. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Atlanta
    I was amazed at how well the process works. The strings are definitely in better condition than they were from boiling in alcohol. One again, a process that some bass players used many years ago.
    So far so good. I used my first soaked pair this weekend and things went well.
    For now, I'm sticking with soaking the strings for 4-5 days and will experiment doing it for 24 hours.
    peace
     
  12. vision

    vision It's all about the groove!

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    I leave them in the PVC pipe for at least 48 hours. 24 hours will clean them good enough most of the time, but you will have certain times doing that when you'll think they are clean but once you get on the gig you realize that your A string doesn't have enough zing in it, or your B string will be lifeless after a couple tunes. If you leave them soaking for at least 48 hours though they will be completely clean like a brand new set of strings.

    Another thing I've noticed that will give you the best results is to allow the strings to fully dry before putting them on the bass (not just wiping them down.) The alcohol will evaporate quickly, so it won't take much longer than an hour with them hanging to fully dry.

    I've never noticed a negative effect from leaving me strings in the alcohol for too long, and I've had mine in the pipe for up to a month at times. (Unless you are using strings with silk windings, because the windings will get ragged.)

    Once you get your own method/routine down it works perfectly. I started out just using the Tupperware method, but with that it takes longer because you have to coil/uncoil the strings, and you can end up spilling some alcohol doing this. The PVC pips method is cheap, and easy to do, and ends up being more convenient. I've been rotating the same 3 sets of DR's for around a year and a half now. I always have one set on the bass, one set in the pipe being cleaned, and one set that is clean and dry, waiting to go on the bass when i need it.
     
  13. Yapser

    Yapser

    Aug 14, 2007
    Soaking them in ethanol works great :) Makes string life a lot longer until they -really- weaken out.

    Just- When soaking stainless strings, the colored wrap on the end of the strings will come off for a bit after a few times. Don't know if every brand has this 'problem'.
     
  14. FatalNewfieNick

    FatalNewfieNick

    Aug 2, 2008
    Something I have tried that works was coiling each string up one at a time and putting them in a pot with water and vinegar...let the water boil for 10 minutes with the strings in. All the dirt will float to the top of the surface instantly, empty the water with dirt and put strings back on bass. When boiling, after emptying the water, the strings ARE NOT HOT, you can instantly touch them without burning...must be the metal its made of. Try the boiling method :)
     
  15. nemo

    nemo

    Mar 19, 2004
    Czech
    Dude, most of us came from boiling to soaking and never looked back :)
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, especially boiling with vinegar. I tried adding vinegar to the boiling water once, and it killed the strings so dead that nothing brought them back. Soaking in denatured alcohol is by far a superior method.
     
  17. So 4 us Aussie dudes - is "denatured alcohol" same as METHYLATED SPIRITS??? or do I need to go get sumthin else? I'm a sweaty hander too. Use EXP coateds mainly, but nice to be able to use Roto's again & with that extra snap!!!
     
  18. nemo

    nemo

    Mar 19, 2004
    Czech
    Make sure it has at least 90% of alcohol.
     
  19. iamthebassplayr

    iamthebassplayr Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    Denatured is 100%, but I used to use rubbing alcohol at 70%...I still use two sets of strings with orange stains on them... then I moved to 90-99%...
    But just go with Denatured Alcohol and all will be good :smug:

    Yes it is the same.
     
  20. iamthebassplayr

    iamthebassplayr Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    So I soaked my strings for a 4 days this time, and you are definitely right about there being a difference...

    I guess when I first started doing it I obviously didn't have a very sensitive ear... They also have lasted a bit longer (or at least this set has)... I've been surprised at how long this set has been on and I keep twanging the strings when I walk by and they still ring bright, couldn't think of why, then I saw this thread pop back up :smug:

    Thanks Jimmy :hyper:
     

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