String Boilers Anonymous

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by The Navigator, May 18, 2001.

  1. The Navigator

    The Navigator

    May 17, 2001
    Tucson, AZ
    who boils 'em? Show of hands.

    (I do. Specially when I'm poor)
  2. I dont, but I might try, I heard they make great soup! Hahahahahahahahaaha!
  3. i don;t know of a situation when i have no money to buy them, then again i don't gig every week, i only buy 2-3 sets a year,,

    i have boiled them,, but only a newish set i was taking off to replace with a different brand
  4. I used to boil them, but.....

    .... they didn't last long after boiling. Not nearly as effective as new stings.

    .....the water stinks!!!!!!

    .....the wrapping at the ends (don't know technical name) gets all messed up.

    Thank goodness I can afford new strings. Wiping them off after playing does help preserve them though.
  5. anon5458975


    Apr 5, 2001
    I boiled for the first time a few weeks ago, figured I'd give it a shot. They sounded brand spanking new afterwards, but like GrooveRocket just mentioned, it didn't last for very long. I just got a couple extra weeks out of them.
  6. Agreed guys.

    To be honest, when I first heard of this I thought somebody was taking the p*** by suggesting boiling strings. :D

    It does make a difference but is very temporary.

    I can't afford new strings so the old ones stay on!!

    Rockin John
  7. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Guys, there's a MUCH better way. I've been using this method for years and it works like a charm if you need to clean strings instead of replacing them. All this stuff can be had cheaply from your local Lowe's or Home Depot.

    Get a piece of PVC pipe about 3/4" in diameter, just about the same length as a new string, wrappings and all....cap one end of it, leave the other end open (they make'll find them in the same area as other PVC fittings). Cut the pipe so that the length so that when you put the straightened strings into the pipe, the top of the pipe just reaches where the wrappings on the strings start. Get some Denatured Alcohol, which is found in quart-size cans in the paint section. With the strings uncoiled and standing in the pipe, fill the pipe to just below the top. The idea is that only the areas touched by your hands are submerged in the alcohol. Stand this up in a corner somewhere out of the way.

    A couple hour's soak will make your strings good as new....much cleaner and better sounding than boiling. Your wraps won't get wet and deteriorate. When you're done, pour the alcohol from the pipe back into the can for later use. Works like a charm. Works especially well if you're a touring can just carry the can and pipe with you. This saved me major-league $$ on the road. I could keep a set of strings sounding good for literally years.

    Some cautions: This stuff won't really irritate your skin or anything, but it's poisonous so DON'T DRINK IT! (Do I really have to even say that?). It's also flammable, so keep it away from open flame. In short, treat it like any other household chemical...with common sense.
  8. But but but....!

    The funk is in the dirt! :D

    I tried boiling my strings once. I wasn't really happy with the results.

    Fortunately I like my strings old and usually only replace about once a year now.

    Had a set of flats on my first bass for around 8 years. Still have those strings in case of emergency.

  9. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    No less than the great James Jamerson himself said, "The dirt keeps the funk." I think I remember hearing that he NEVER changed the strings on the famous "Funk Machine", the P bass he played on all those hits.
  10. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Jamerson never had to play "Roundabout", "My Generation", or any slap bass in a cover band, either!
  11. anon5458975


    Apr 5, 2001
    Thanks a lot for the string tip Mchildree, I'm definitely going to give that method a shot.
  12. Yeah, I use rubbing alcohol too, it works good for me. Although I never used the PVC pipe idea, I just coiled mine up and put them in an old margarine container full of rubbing alcohol, it worked great.
  13. After buying a new set of DR "Marcus" at $60 Aus (they wanted $69, but I knew the guy working there) I think I might have to try the PVC/Alchohol suggestion. I replace my strings every 3-4 months and it costs a fortune.
  14. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany

    Use turpentine or alcohol instead (no boiling!!!!!). Fill it in a large jar, put the strings in, shake. Wait for 10 min or up to the next morning (experiment). Repeat when needed.

    Wooten/Hamm tone 'til the strings break. Mine last for up to a year....
  15. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Right...don't use water! But the alcohol can still erode the wrappings, which degrade when wet with anything. That's why I chose the long-straight pipe to soak in. If you have a top-loading bridge, you won't even have to uncoil the tuner ends.
  16. Maybe I am out in left field here, but I don't even take my strings off to clean them. I loosen them, put a sheet of cardboard or plastic between the neck and the strings (to protect the finger board and body from the chemicals) and rub the strings down with a rag wet with rubbing alcohol. It seems to work great for me. I just need to do it once every couple of weeks and my strings stay sounding new. The only reason I buy strings now is to expirement with different brands.
  17. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    My strings don't have silk wrapping, so this is no problem here, but you idea is cool, gonna try that :)
  18. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Ive tried boiling a few sets in the past, it makes them sound a little better after I did it, but nothing to really brag about. I dont do it anymore. I like your idea there mchildree about the alcohol, I never wouldve thought to use that. I saw other people here say they use rubbing alcohol, im assuming they me isopropol alcohol? Will that really work too?
  19. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    No, IMO, rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) doesn't work nearly as's almost all water. It'll also rust your strings if you don't wipe it away completely. The Denatured Alcohol is the ticket. Lots more alcohol to water content, and it evaporates quickly if you don't wipe it all away. The solvent properties are much stronger than isopropyl. It's not that much more expensive, either. It just takes a little more effort to going to a home supply or hardware store.
  20. your idea sounds good mchildree, and im deffinitely gonna try it, but (maybe im just stupid and didnt notice) i dont think you ever mentioned whether or not you wipe the strings off once you're done soaking them or just let them dry on their own. if you've tried both, can you tell any difference between them?

    also, let's say you play elixer strings (i dont, but i plan to try them) do you think it would ruin the coating on the strings if you were to do the pvc thing with elixers? if anyone has tried it with elixers, i'd appreciate some feedback. thanks.