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Strings get loose with aging?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by maturanesa, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. Im using a Rotobass 040-100 set since October 2012 when i recived my new custom bass. I remember the tight feeling when they were new and having to adjust the truss rod to get the neck straight and low-mid action. Then sometimes the feel was a bit more loose, then tight again, etc...
    Now they become more loose than ever and the action get lower.

    The bass is a custom made that was finished in October (i never changed strings on this bass)

    Is this a common issue with roto strings?

    Is the new bass that is getting stiffer?

  2. Adjust the truss rod again.
  3. I adjusted it sometimes, several minor changes in this 6 months (tighten, loosen, etc). Just wondering if its normal to tweak the truss rod that much or is just the strings getting old...
  4. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Sounds like the bass is susceptible to seasonal changes in temperature and humidity. Strings don't lose tension with age in my experience.
  5. Basses take about a year (one full seasonal cycle) to settle into position, as the materials will compress in some areas and decompress in others under the strain of having strings on under full tension. The weight of the tension is roughly equal to an average-sized man, so it's a pretty hefty force and wood just isn't accustomed to it when cut fresh from the tree.

    Hence, the first few months of any guitar's life will involve a number of truss rod adjustments. Some guitar's necks will always move a bit, even once broken in.

    Regarding strings, I do notice that they stiffen up with age, IF not played regularly. I've also noticed that Rotosounds are particularly succeptible to this. However, if you play them at least once every 2-3 days, they stay pretty loose and yes, maybe even loosen up more over time. My current set are three months old, heavily played in, and feel dull and stiff if I leave them for a few days with no attention. But as soon as I start bashing away on them again, they start softening up and even sounding a bit brighter.

    I have to say though, Rotosounds DO exhibit this more than D'Addarios (the only other brand of string I've used for a long time), which leads me to believe that they're engineered slightly more towards people who play their instruments very regularly, and very hard (look at the list of endorsees: Billy Sheehan, Geddy Lee, Steve Harris...). They're definitely tough as nails, so it'd make sense.

    I don't see how old, stiff strings would pull harder on the neck though (and thus cause a flat neck with lower strings), because the tension/weight force won't change. "Stiff" just means they won't flex so easily.
  6. Ian_Flash


    Jan 17, 2013
    Strings, just like rubberbands and underwear elastic do lose their elasticity over time with use. Tuning, retuning, plucking, slapping, bending, picking all modify the core wire structure causing it to develop thin spots, twists and oval areas. As new guitars settle in, they often will become more rigid since the woods go through a few seasons,, the grain settles and the resins harden. Keep tweaking and trying different strings as needed.

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