Which kind of alcohol?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by old_skool, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    I remember a while back people mentioning that they wipe there strings down with alcohol after use to prolong the life of the string. Some said certain kinds are better than others (i.e. Less water…etc). I use GHS Fast Fret right now…and it does an alright job, but Im looking to try something new. I use stainless steel string now, I don’t know if that makes much of a difference or not. Thanks guys.
  2. FunkSlap89


    Apr 26, 2005
    Albany, NY
    do a search. i think i remember reading that they used denatured alcohol, which can be bought at places like home depot.
  3. jimbob


    Dec 26, 2001
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Acoustica Mixcraft; Endorsing Artist: DR Strings
    I use the Store Brand rubbing alcohol...works fine
  4. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Denatured alcohol is a solvent. :scowl:
  5. TomAngelripper


    Aug 30, 2005
    Well that's new!!!I tried that ghs thing but it's too bad and my fingers can't move easily though it's excellent for guitar!!!
  6. Yea... I've found this works pretty well... I occassionally rub my strings with methylated spirits (equivalent of denatured alcohol in the states)... it makes them last longer overall...

    And I used to also do the thing where u tip some metho into a PVC pipe and soak ur strings overnight... I must say, it worked pretty great for me it gave the strings a whole new life.... of course, I found that once you had actually worn a string out, soaking them will only make them bright for less than a week.... so, i found it to be too much of an inconvenience...

    Besides, you can get really cheap strings off the net that are surprisingly good quality, so I've resorted to that now... my personal favourites (not that ive tried that many) are web strings, IMO they sound pretty similar to d'addarios and have cheap shipping to overseas (bonus for aussies :D )

    EDIT: Sorry to wander off topic with the string thing: but yea... rubbing your strings with metho can increase the string life somewhat, I also wash my hands before i practice at home and stuff.... but I wouldn't get too caught up in trying to make them last forever when theres plenty of good cheap strings out there
  7. 513rocks.com

    513rocks.com Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2004
    Mason, Ohio
    ive read about denatured alcohol beening the way to go on many threads here. i went out and bought some. when i do it, i wind the strings up like they came in the pack and put them in a round tupperware bowl, fill it with the denatured alcohol and put the lid on. let them soak for about 24hrs. but like the above poster stated, i think the strings sound newer using rubbing alcohol. ive tried both many times and i gotta go with rubbing alcohol.
  8. I used to use methyl hydrate to "clean and revitalize" my strings, but now I just put a new set on when they become dead and dirty. It's just too much of a hassle, and you increase the chances of actualy breaking the strings, which is never good. Since I stopped soaking and re-using dead strings, my string breakage is basically nil.
  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Yes, it is!

    That's the point. You need a solvent to make the oil/grease from your fingers disolve and lift from the string wrappings.

    I'm sure what you're trying to get at is that wiping a bass down with a solvent is a bad idea...and yes, it can be depending upon the finish of your bass or its neck.

    That's all beside the point, since rubbing the strings down doesn't work. The stuff you want to get out of the strings is deep in the wrappings...a quick wipe down does next to no good.

    You have to take the strings off and soak them so the solvent lifts out the bad goo.

    Also...using denatured alcohol/mentholated spirits (same thing, differnt name) is better than rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol isn't as volatile as denatured alcohol due to a high water content (most over the counter rubbing alcohol is 30% water). You want a solvent that's going to evaporate quickly and completely once you take those strings out.

    I've heard tell that acetone is probably the best, but its not as easily available as denatured alcohol.
  10. jimbob


    Dec 26, 2001
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Acoustica Mixcraft; Endorsing Artist: DR Strings
    After reviewing the post, I only use the Rubbing Alcohol for a quick clean up....between sets, after practice and so on. I have not done the "let them soak" program you have discussed. I have boiled them in water for revitalization...
  11. togo002


    Jul 19, 2005
    I used lighter fluid on mine once brought back some of the brilliance of the strings and after I applied it the strings were smooth and not at all hard on the fingers
  12. Rubbing alcohol. The clear, plastic bottle.
  13. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses

  14. howie


    Aug 29, 2005
    my old bass teacher used to boil his old strings to revive them and said it worked pretty well. i have yet to try this so i can't give you a first hand account, but i will give it a shot soon and let you guys know about the results.
  15. Denatured alcohol just means they put something in the alcohol so that it tastes bad and you won't drink it.

    I believe acetone is probably better for dissolving fat.
  16. Crockettnj


    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    acetone would work like a charm, however it is really volitile and the resulting dor could giveyou headaches.

    as far as alcohol, isopropyl (rubbing) works fine, and imo you should use the highest % (proof!) possible . 97% is cheep in the drug store. it's weakly polar, so if you soak em you will dissolve out the embedded oils and waxes and such from your sweat n oil and skin.

    low proof ismostly water, which is polar and ownt do the trick for real dirt.

    very very hot soapy water soaking should work too, though i havent tried it.

    Boiling the strings heats up the solid waxes, melting them. Being les sdense than water, they can then rise to the surface of whatever you are boiling them in. some may still stay in there since water wont dissolve the fatty substances mentioned above.

    degreasing agent used in uindustry and dry cleaning such as tetrachloroethane or trichloromethane or the such would be perfect for this... no mess, no cleanup, as it evaporates. however, its really quite dangerous for humans to breath/touch, and its one of those ozone eaters that we arent supposed to use.

    oh well.
  17. uh yea... we don't really want to be endangering ourselves to save a few bucks on strings, surely :p

    And in my experience (hoever limited) I've found that the alcohol works better than boiling, I don't have an explanation for this. But I would tend to agree with the one given by crock
  18. boiling strings in mild soapy water (dishwashing liquid) works...

    so does the alcohol thing...

    but NEVER BOIL ALCOHOL...!!! that would be dangerous!

    also, acetone is not a very friendly solvent (high vapour pressure)...i wouldn't want to keep any of that stuff around the house.

    I never tried reviving old strings...I have 3 sets employed right now that are a few years old (16, 8, and 2) and a new set (3 months) of XL's on my only roundwound bass.
  19. I just put my strings in 100°C water! (don't know the word...s***)
    For some minutes, I dry them and I put on the bass, miracle, new strings!