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Sticky strings after denatured alcohol bath

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JimmyM, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I decided to try the denatured alcohol thing, and I will say that it does bring the strings back fairly close to new-sounding, but I hate the feel of the strings after they've been soaked. They feel sticky like after you sweat all over a set of strings and don't wipe them down. I can wipe them down and 5 minutes later they feel sticky again.

    So my question is is there something I'm doing wrong in the process? I'll take them off, then put them in a tupperware bowl full of denatured alcohol for 2-3 days, then I take them out and let them air dry until I'm ready to use them. Should I rinse them with water or something? Does anyone else have this problem?

    BTW, I'm not looking for answers like use Fast-Fret or furniture polish on them. I don't like the feel of lubricants on my strings. So thanks if you were going to suggest it, but it's not a solution for me.
  2. CElton

    CElton I'm a new note finder...

    What kind of strings did you try it with? I put my strings in a mason jar with the denatured alcohol and I have never had a problem with them feeling "sticky". They feel cleaner and thus the winding has a little more grip, but not sticky.
  3. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand Commercial User

    May 25, 2003
    Redlands, CA

    In my case, to dry them, I use an hair dryer...

  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Um, some people consider "a little more grip" as being "sticky" ;)

    Thanks for the reply, though. Glad to see it's not just a thing with me. Unfortunately, I find that little extra grip unacceptable, so I guess I'll jsut have to suck it up and buy new strings.
  5. lhoward


    Apr 27, 2003
    Western NY State

    I was just wondering what kind of strings you have. Do they have any kind of non-metal wrap between the windings. Just a thought that maybe there's something that doesn't like the denatured alcohol.

    I sometimes wipe my strings with a cotton cloth soaked (not dripping wet) in 91% rubbing alcohol, but I've never soaked them with anything.

  6. Jimmy,

    that feeling should go away quick enough with some playing...but if you must have a slicker feeling straight away...use a litte fast fret on loose strings and then wipe the strings down with an alcohol-soaked cloth before putting them on...

    there is a very small amount of lubricant on strings out of the box...used during manufacture of the wires...what you'd be doing is returning some of this without putting on so much that they feel "greasy"...

    BTW...I know that you use D'Addario XL's....I do too...if you don't like the results of alcohol cleaning and MUST get new strings...send your old strings to the "Central Queenland Depository for Old Strings" (pm me for the address) ;) :D
  7. CElton

    CElton I'm a new note finder...

    Um, what exactly where you expecting the denatured alcohol to do then???
  8. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Same here. I don't think the alcohol would interact with the Tupperware, but anything is possible. Try a Mason Jar.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Not make my strings sticky.

    lhoward, I use D'addario XL's. All metal.

    Pilbara...LOL, you cheapo! My fret dents won't match up with yours. How will that look to all your groupies???
  10. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Back when I played 3+ hours a day I used to boil my strings in tap water and blot dry them with a towel. Don't use a pot you plan to cook in mind you, the crap from your hands will build up along the pot walls and it's a bear to clean, very nasty. Boil them about 10 mins to get all the gunk out from within the wraps and then straighten them out to dry. This will cause damage to cloth wrappings and the strings I used to do this with were Rotosounds. I'd boil the strings every other week or so to keep them fresh and replace them about a week before important gigs. Nowadays I don't play enough to even warrant wiping them off it seems. I dunno if this is considered a good practice or not but I did it for years with no ill effects or rust (used to wipe down after practice and I used fret-ease).
  11. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I've not encountered a problem with stickiness after soaking strings. I only soak them for 24 hours or so, and use a long PVC pipe with a plug at the end. It's measured so the silk wraps of the strings remain outside of the pipe and away from the alcohol.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Welp, I just changed the strings on a couple basses with soaked strings, and they have the same problem. However, they really do sound close to new. They actually sound like I want strings to sound...a little broken in with that initial zing gone. I think I can learn to live with the drag to save $15 a week. I mean I can afford it, but why spend money if you don't have to?
  13. skidrawk


    Jan 21, 2007
    Space City, TX
    I'd never waste my alcohol in this manner. Can you say Alcohol abuse? You need AA.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You drink denatured alcohol and you'll learn the meaning of "spontaneous combustion" on the next hot day!
  15. CElton

    CElton I'm a new note finder...

    Apparently you missed that day in science class. I find that the "sticky" feeling goes away in about 30 minutes of steady playing.

    Good luck...
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You know, I can't remember when bass strings were ever discussed in science classes, so yeah, I guess I did miss that day, smartass. Didn't you read my first post where I said I wipe them off and they get sticky again in 5 minutes? If it went away after a half hour, I wouldn't have even wrote this thread. So stop being obnoxious.
  17. CElton

    CElton I'm a new note finder...

    Denatured alcohol is a solvent, it cleans things especially things that are soaked in it. I am trying to let it go, but when something seems so simple to understand it baffles us that get it.

    So you want clean strings AND you don't want them sticky, tacky, rough whatever you want to call it AND you don't want to use a lubricant either to rid the problem you have, so I guess you have found soaking wasn't for you. It is ridiculous that a thread has gone on so long just for you to realize that you won't be able to have your cake and eat it too.

    As you can see from the other posts, I wasn't the only one that thought the tupperware may have lead to the issues of being sticky. We were all just trying to help but we can't put and end to stupidity here so are work is done.
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I think this quote speaks for itself with no extra commentary.
  19. CElton

    CElton I'm a new note finder...

    Yes...in your case, it is a lost cause.:scowl:
  20. lowendgenerator


    Mar 26, 2006
    ROFL. Increase the peace, homies.

    Jimmy, try a glass jar. Also try rubbing them down while they are on the bass. I was thinking...If you had a lot of gunk on the strings, then letting them sit in the alcohol would be like taking a bath in dirty water.

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