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WD40: Pros and Cons?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bassicinstinct, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. (Mod: I hope I am in the right place. If not, please relocate me. :) )

    I've done some gigs and rehearsals recently where the heat and the humidity in the atmosphere (not to mention 2 Smoke Machines and Stage Lights :eek: ) have reduced my strings to feeling like sticky washing lines. :meh: :meh:

    I remember seeing The Hamsters a few years ago (UK based long running Blues/Rock trio) at some particularly "sweaty" gigs and Slim the guitarist was using WD40 after every song and absolutely drenching his strings and fingerboard in it. I remember thinking this was possibly a bit questionable as the can does advise you to use it only in "well ventilated" spaces as I think there may be one or two toxic elements in it. :eek: :eek:

    I wondered whether any of you guys have any experience of using this product, or anything else, to keep your strings "playable" during a gig. Maybe by spraying the WD40 onto a cloth and then wiping the strings with it? Are there any drawbacks/dangers with using it? I already use FastFret before the show but, by half a song in, it's as if I hadn't bothered.

    FYI, I'm currently using Rotosound Jazz Flats and the set I have on are only a couple of weeks old (brand new in my terms ;) )

    Any advice would be much appreciated. :)
  2. Bump.

    Sorry, but I REALLY need help with this. ;) ;)
  3. groove100


    Jan 22, 2005
    in my personal experience. I didnt like the results. i have sweaty hands so i just try to wipe the strings with dry cloth.
    plus wd40 can damage your fingerboard.
  4. That's what I suspected. :meh:

    Did you actually try using WD40 and, if so, what was it about the result that you did not like?

    I'm really struggling with just wiping the strings down though. I'd have to do it about every 30 seconds which is kind of impractical. :D :D

    Anyone got any other ideas? :meh: :meh:
  5. Automatic string wiper?

    I'm interested in the WD-40. It does protect metal from moisture, so it might be a good part of a string maintenance program in smaller doses. I'm thinking about metal coating my fingerboard, so I'm not to worried about damaging that.

    On a practical note, I hear good things about the grease on your nose. You can lube your fingertips with it.
  6. Really?? :confused: :confused:
  7. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    I heard that too - It works for me! Jaco ate fried chicken to achieve the same results.
  8. But surely the problem isn't the LACK of lubrication on my fingers but rather the fact that they are DRENCHED in sweat and therefore "gumming up" my strings. :meh: :meh:
  9. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    Hmm, it's a long shot, but try dipping your fingers in a tub of baking soda before you play... I tried it once or twice to try and preserve my strings but I didn't like the super dryness it caused... Worth a try I guess?
  10. Blimey!! :)
  11. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Try some different strings. IME, Rotosounds are tend to slam on the brakes when moist. You might try some nickels, I think you will feel an improvement. You also might try sweat bands, two on each wrist and maybe even one on each forearm. I personally go "raw-dawg", the sweatier things get the faster, as long as I wipe it down really well after so I can start off dry at the beginning of the next set.
    WD-40 sounds like a really bad idea. Besides the harm it can do to your bass it is could get in your eyes and who knows where else.
  12. billio

    billio Bass Head

    hehehe, I thought I was the only weirdo that did that! If I have a quick-sharp-slide-up-a-string (dunno the technical term) coming up, I run my finger down the line where my nostril joins my face to pick up a bit of "lube".

    Other than that, I use Elixr strings that are coated with some fancy stuff and I've never had a problem with them being too wet or too dry even though I am a "cronic" sweat-er!
  13. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I used WD40 to get the sticker crud off of my pickguard after I took of the pickguard sticker. Worked alot better than all the other methods I tried before that. I guess wd40 for pickguards and wd40 for strings are two different stories though.
  14. MAWBassist


    Jul 18, 2005
    that sounds like it would be like unhealthy for the strings. I used to use guitar polish on the strings after polishing the rest of it. Needless to say 1) the cloth had little thin black lines from all the dirt. and 2) the strings seemed to last a bit longer. It's worth a shot
  15. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    They make a thing for Gui*** that's called finger ease

  16. My suggestion, other than getting coated strings and whatever else people are suggesting, is to make sure you can play adequately under adverse conditions. Despite any precautions you take, it’s likely that a situation will arise in the future where you will have to play on sticky strings anyway, or worse. For example, a light rain in cold weather will not only mess with the friction of your strings, but cause you to lose feeling in your fingertips.
  17. Man, I've been thinking about using WD40 myself during gigs.

    I have used it in the past on guitar strings (but not during gigs), I sprayed a cloth then wiped the strings with it. Seemed to make them slippery enough to play while noodling around the house.

    It shouldn't hurt the strings one bit, it's petroleum-based. Can't be any worse than sweat!!

    In the past I would douse my left hand with baby powder, but that was with a P bass with the maple neck and the hard poly finish. Now my main axe is a Warwick with a wenge or ovangkol (?) neck so the wood is "open" grain and I'm reluctant to put baby powder on it.

    P.S. Finger-ease only seems to last me about one song. And it's expensive.
  18. billio

    billio Bass Head

    A light rain in cold weather??? :eek: You wanna hope your electronics cavity is well sealed or the loss of feeling in your fingertips will be the least of your worries...
  19. Thanks for that, but I can't really see that it is down to anything which is lacking in my technique. I am more than capable of "playing under adverse conditions" - I just don't find it very pleasurable. :meh: :meh: I'm certainly not planning to play in any "light rain" though. :eek: :eek:

    I've done a bit of research on the web regarding WD40 and it seems that, in some circles, it's actually known as "Poor Man's Finger Ease" and there is actually a book which was written about all the uses ther product can be put to including "cleaning and de-greasing g****r strings". :)

    I think I'm going to at least give it a *careful* try and hope that, maybe in conjunction with some Elixirs, I will be OK.

    Thanks guys for all your suggestions. Any more would also be very welcome. :)
  20. billio

    billio Bass Head

    I'd be a bit dubious putting anything on Elxirs. I use them and think they are a great string and find they last loads longer than anything else I've tried but I'd be worried about putting any chemicals on them in case it damaged the "Polyweb" (or whatever it's called) coating. I think they're too expensive to experiment with. If you're thinking about trying them, run a set first and see if you even need to spray anything on them at all. My humble opinion is that you won't need to. :D