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Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ZXCV, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. ZXCV


    Nov 5, 2004
    :help: Hi, I have a gig tomorrow night and today I was practicing and my A string broke. The thing is, I have another string I used to use on my bass, but it is more or less oxidized I would like to know if I could do something to in a way "fix" it, to make it sound decent. Thank you :help:
  2. Rhythmalism


    Sep 25, 2004
    You've got time to get to a shop then if they are open on Saturday :).

    Or you can boil the string in water, or give it a nice soak in alcohol to clean the gunk off.
  3. ZXCV


    Nov 5, 2004
    Thank you
    Do I pour some alcohol on cotton and then rub it on the string, or I put the string in a glass of alcohol??
    How many minutes do I boil the string?
  4. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    don't ever boil your strings

    don't ever use regular alcohol

    use denatured alcohol found next to the paint thinner
  5. ZXCV


    Nov 5, 2004
    why? I will use that string only for the gig I have tomorrow and then by some new ones.
  6. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    well, you asked for help and you got it

    do what you want
  7. Bayou_Brawler

    Bayou_Brawler The most hurtful thing ever realized

    Oct 23, 2003
    Ann Arbor, MI
    why can't you boil strings? i boil them all the time and never have any problems.
  8. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    Why not boil your strings? I've done it a number of times. Works magic.

    I suggest boiling ALL the strings, (so they are ALL nice, bright and even,) in a mix of 2/3 water to 1/3 white vinegar, (if available, otherwise just water,) for aboot 10 mintues.

    Your kitchen will smell like vinegar for an hour or two. S'well worth it.

    Oh, and dry them THOROUGHLY before stringing up again. Wipe'em off with a towell a bunch of times, then let'em air dry for a bit. Hang'em if you can.

    And invest in a new set ASAP.
  9. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    :confused: So if you're going to anyway, why don't you just buy a set tomorrow and be done with it?

    If it's a money issue, other people in this thread have offered advice.

  10. ZXCV


    Nov 5, 2004
    thank you!!!!
  11. The fact is NJL, that you can do this, at least once, and give strings a little extra zing - especially in the event of emergency like Stevie G has on his hands . I boiled my first string in 1978 and do it occasionally even now.

    I've also done lots of experiments with alcohols, evaporative solvents, petroleum solvents, water based solvents, and heat. There's some good and a little bad in each technique but you can usually get the results you need. There isn't the least bit of harm in using a solvent that totally evaporates from the windings.

    Hey it's just one more gun in the arsenal.

    Why won't you tell us you opinion why NJL?
  12. Just buy a new string. Better yet, a new set. Boil your strings and keep around for back up set. What's up with this thread's title? You made it sound serious. Lame.
  13. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    sorry guys, had to take my Rottie out for a pee


    boiling, for some reason or another, will weaken the string and since the thread starter may have a problem breaking strings (technique, nut issues, bridge issues....don't know, the only string i have ever broke was my G string, i guess my fat ass shouldn't be wearing Speedo's anymore) - i know this from boiling for quite some time until i found out about using denatured alcohol. i have also found out that boiling will only last me about a couple of hours, at best (i have oily hands).

    with denatured alcohol, it lasts me up to a month (using DR Lo-Riders). the main thing, keep away the water, it seems corrode the strings very quickly - and BTW, you can just roll the strings up in a Tupperware container and leave them in there overnight, pull them out, let them dry (evaporate) and put them back on your bass.

    if i were you, i wouldn't boiling anything, wouldn't chance it, plus you just may ruin your favorite cooking pan.

    once again, do what you want

    btw, if you want some info on the denatured alcohol thing, do a search, there's some really cool info on it
  14. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
  15. Well, if you guys are just going to state that "boiling is bad, don't do it" and not offer any reasons why - I'll stick to my guns and state it:


    Here's how boiling has an advantage over an alcohol bath. It's the constant agitation of the water that lifts out the solid material - you know, the skin cells and junk. Alcohols work great on oily stuff like NJL notes.

    Now, here's a newsflash. I have NEVER had a string corrode from the effects of boiling. In fact it's absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for it to happen with my method. It's not rocket science and it just involves a second step. You ready...

    Just preheat your oven to 300º while boiling and put the strings in there for a few minutes to totally evaporate ALL of the moisture out of the windings. With no moisture (and presumably no gunk since cleaning) there won't be any corrosion. 300º is high enough to easily burn off the water but it isn't high enough to do anything else - that should ease the feeble minds of the "it'll mess with the temper" crowd. And if there's anyone that wants to argue the baking idea - all I have to offer is that I corresponded with Peter(?) D'Addario several years ago concerning another string matter and he recommended that I bake the offending string in the oven at 450º to burn off the machine oil that is used for lubrication during the winding process. He says that is what the factory does and sometimes a string won't get the full treatment. I did what he suggested and it worked like a charm.

    So I've got to challenge the "NO BOIIL" crowd. How does boiling a string at 212º have this devastating effect when the manufacturer (of my faves at least) bakes them at over twice that temp as part of the manufacturing process?
  16. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    here we go:

  17. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    If a string isn't properly dry'd after boiling, (thanks for the info on the oven drying, Hambone! I'd often wondered aboot the temper, so I never really tried,) then it's possible that the string core could corrode, weakening the string considerably. Just one thought.

    And, as someone who boils strings on occasion, I will say- the refreshening effects ARE temporary, and it's not a permanent fix. But even if it only lasts for a couple of hours, that SHOULD get you through a show.

    But I think the moral of the story is- always have a backup set of strings floating around. Or maybe just a few backup basses.
  18. If you do decide to use Denatured alcohol, be VERY carefull with it, open/use it outside if possible...the stuff is way nasty.
  19. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i have been using it for a couple of years, and yes the stuff is very, very nasty! :D

    it goes in a very special place (a special place in my heart, too :D )
  20. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Like NJL, I use denatured alcohol and don't boil.

    Besides the fact that water is corrosive and will damage your strings if left in contact with them too long, I find, from experience, that when you boil a string, it is a little brighter for a day or two, but then it goes dead, and is deader than it was before being boiled.

    When I soak overnight in denatured alcohol, my strings are a lot brighter than if I boiled them. Almost as bright as a brand new set. And they stay bright for 3 or 4 weeks. At least quality stainless steel strings do, anyway. DRs, Dean Markley SRs, Prisms, etc.