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Sticky Fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Maj. Lee FUBAR, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. Maj. Lee FUBAR

    Maj. Lee FUBAR Supporting Member

    I was playing a gig last night (which I haven't done in quite awhile), and since I started playing again I have switched to flatwounds. I noticed as the night wore on that the strings where I was plucking with my fingers seemed to get very sticky. I tried wiping it down, wiping my fingers, washing with water, etc., but it didn't seem to help. Maybe the skin on my fingers was just getting chewed up some, I don't know. Would something like Fast Fret or FingerEase work with flatwounds? Any other suggestions?
  2. what kind of flatwounds are you using? some have more "tack" than others, especially when new. This usually wears down after a few weeks use.
  3. Maj. Lee FUBAR

    Maj. Lee FUBAR Supporting Member

    Sorry, I should have mentioned that I am using D'Addario Chromes.
  4. those aren't one of the tackier flatwounds (which would include thomastik and rotos), but you may still find that it improves as you wear them in. Or maybe you'll get used to it.

    this thread probably belongs in the stings subforum
  5. superiorpine

    superiorpine Superiorpine Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2007
    Milwaukee WI
    I use TI flats, and they are kind of sticky in comparison to other strings. I treat them with silicone, sprayed on a shop rag and then wiped up and down. Seems to help quite a bit, and, it cleans any oxidation off the string as well. Its not expensive and can be bought at a variety store, hardware store or automotive parts store.
  6. i've had the same issue w/ flats. if there is even a drop of moisture in the air I'm in trouble on a 3 hour gig (and my hands dont sweat)

    In all fairness I never let flats break in before I got frustrated and ripped them off. but now I have 2 4 strings so I'm keeping one w/ flats. I just love the tone too much, hoping they will break in and all will be well . . .
  7. some of us actually LIKE the tacky feel of some flatwounds. But I personally find SS rounds to feel much tackier
  8. sleepytime


    Nov 10, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    Don't know if you had soap available, but I find that I have to wash my hands well with soap and water to avoid tackiness.
  9. Samsound


    Sep 28, 2010
    Final step - Angel of Mine from the dollar store. Lot's of folks on the FDP (myself included) swear by it.

    It's a liquid baby powder. Use a very tiny drop (half the size of a dime or less). It dries fast, with no greasiness and leaves a slight powdery feel that won't clump or stick. Great for sweaty hands and sticky necks, too.
  10. Maj. Lee FUBAR

    Maj. Lee FUBAR Supporting Member

    Good tips. Thanks guys.
  11. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I think you just need to build the calouses up on your fingers since you haven't been gigging. Flats have more contact surface than rounds.
    My opinion is the worst thing you can do is repeadedly washing your hands, you need to keep them dry not soft. Also the string surface will take a long time to 'break in', meaning it will get eventually slicked up just a tad from your dead skin and finger gunk, and that's when things will feel tight.
  12. Rub your finger along your nose or across your forehead and get a little grease on it.
  13. Tape the part of the string you play on?
  14. pandaman37

    pandaman37 Banned

    Sep 17, 2009
    Clovis, CA
    wipe your fingers with the grease from your face. im a teenage boy, so theres no shortage of face grease ha, hope it works
  15. S. Katz

    S. Katz Guest

    Oct 24, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Flats feel "stucky" because they present more surface area against your skin than rounds (think about it). The harder you dig, the stickier they feel. You have to get used to them. (IMHO, once you do, you'll never go back).
  16. makkE


    Jan 19, 2010
    Normandie, France
    I have been playing flatwounds for about a year now - chromes, just like you.
    It gets better the more worn they are.

    I still sometimes use fastfret, if I can't get the stickiness go away by washing my hands/wiping the strings. Some days, they feel more sticky than usual, maybe it's a weather thing.

    Anyways, fast fret helped at first, and still does when necessary.
  17. bluesbass99


    Jun 14, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I use flat chromes and had the same problem with the stickyness/tackiness of the strings. I think it is largely a humidity thing, but I started using Finger-Ease spray lubricant and it really works for me. I used to worry about the residue effect on the pick-ups, but I soon got over that. I have not had that problem since I've been using the lubricant. I spray the entire fretboard all the down down past the pick-ups.
  18. Doug1as


    Mar 3, 2010
    This topic has a long life on this site. Rocco Prestia has to put lotion on his fingers (what kind I don't know) to deal with it. Oddly enough, lutenists want that tack to get a cleaner release of the light string they play.

    I have the problem big-time on my P-bass, which is strung with LaBella Jamersons. Using Nylon Tapes or Roundwounds fixes it, but if you want that sound you have to play that string. I've been playing since 1968 and prefer that sound, so I have to compensate.

    If I have enough amp I can get my knuckles almost over the strings (ala classical guitar PMI) and play lightly enough, it minimizes the effect of the tack. If I have to dig in to compensate for not having enough power, nothing will keep things from sticking for long.
  19. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    fast fret! spray your strings and some on your plucking fingers ....problem solved!
  20. I had a similar experience at a nighttime outdoor festival. Fret Ease will work but I found a little baby powder on the hands worked better for me. YMMV

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