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keep strings in freezer

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When the steel is frozen a lot (the basic home freezer does not mean much here), it shrinks a bit. This video is about hot and cold (liquid nitrogen, -160 degree centigrade) and a shrink fit:

 

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On 05/12/2020 at 05:42, Tim "King Conga" said:

 didn't find a clear answer to my inquiry here.

the clear majority say it's a stupid idea. THAT is your clear answer.

what you really mean is that you didn't find the answer you wanted to find.

move on

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On 22/01/2013 at 21:48, 3below said:

 My Roto Tru Bass strings on my Eko acoustic bass are the originals and are still good to go. I bought the bass in 1979? so 34 yrs old or so without use of freezer.

34 year old strings? You are my new hero 😁

Edit - now looking at the date of your original post - 41 year old strings! I can only dream... 😃

Edited by Conor&Bass
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Just an update, the Rotos are still going on the Eko bass :) it doesn't get much use these days though.

Edited by 3below
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If your moisture concerns are accurate, put the strings in a sealed plastic bag with a handful of uncooked rice.

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Can't see a domestic freezer being cold enough to do anything tangible to steel in terms of making an improvement. Plus, the moisture might not damage windings (they're generally Stainless Steel, Nickel or Nickel plated.) but it'll not do the cores any favours at all.

Do they do small vacuum storage bags? I'd keep them in one of those with some (previously mentioned) silica gel.

No air. No moisture.

Probably the best conditions for storing any materials that might be even remotely ferrous.

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Last page, please:

https://www.additive.sandvik/globalassets/5.-news-media-stories/publications/meet-sandvik-mot-sandvik/archive-pdf/meet-sandvik-pdf-archive/2013/meet-sandvik-2013_2.pdf

Some material data:

https://www.steelestores.com/grade/qb-sandvik-audioflex-a.html

5.5 % Nickel

0.18 % Nitrogen

3.2 % Molybdenum

22 % Chromium

The rest is plain Iron (Fe), 69 %

https://www.steelestores.com/grade/qb-sandvik-audioflex-e.html

1 % Titanium

9 % Nickel

4 % Molybdenum

2 % Copper

12 % Chromium

The rest is Iron, 72 %

Here you have two recipes with varying ingredients. These are not the only ones, but represent the family of stainless steels. Stainless steel includes nearly always Nickel, although there are few exceptions to this. Electric instrument string cores do always contain Nickel and the materials are magnetic. Please remember that the core can be very different material from the winding (from plastic tape to SSRW).

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stop refrigerating your chili sauces while we're on an adjacent subject

Any chili sauce worth having is its own preservative.

 

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I can't resist these, as a retired science teacher i used to love the curve-balls the kids used to throw at me.

Strings are going to deteriorate by chemical processes mainly oxidation but will also react with environmental substances of which I would think most will be coming from your fingers. There will also be a slow build up of dirt between the windings wich will affect the strings physically adding mass, affecting the flexibility of the strings and maybe adding some damping and lowering the Q of the string. Only the chemical processes will be affected by freezing the strings, if you don't play 'em they won't get mucky.

Metals are extremely stable, any effect is likely to be extremely small. The chemical processes will go much faster if water is present so keeping them dry is crucial as you know. The chemical reactions take place when molecules collide and all molecules constantly move at any temperature above absolute zero. In fact they roughly double their movement for every 10 degree C rise. If you lower the temperature from room temperature to  -10 in the freezer you will slow the chemical processes 30 degrees or by a factor of 8. If they are't in a sealed pack then condensation will build up on them and ice will form. IMO that would be worse than the gain in slowing chemical processes.

The only way to test this of course would be to take a significant number of strings, store half in the freezer and the rest at room temperature and test them after a significant period of time. I've used string sets 6 years old and they've been fine so eight times that would be 48years later. As far as I know nobody has done this as a serious study. It might be possible to spot deterioration much earlier of course but I don't think it would show up as a change in the sound. Without a proper study the answer to your question is nobody knows. 

As a bass player rather than as scientist my answer would be that it probably isn't worth bothering. Within a couple of weeks of playing the deterioration of use is going to overtake any advantage you might gain. Set that against the unlikely probability of your freezer being a stable environment over many years and why bother. I certainly wouldn't put paper wrappings in the freezer over years and I'd expect plastic wrapping to become brittle and tear over time too.

FWIW I use the previously mentioned Dean Markley Blue Steels which I buy in batches when they are cheaper. I store them in a cool dry cupboard and they last me about a year per set so i guess the oldest ones are 5 years old. As far as I can tell no deterioration at all happens over 5 years of storage. I've used 15 year old strings on my banjo (yes i know :) )and they have been fine too. 

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1 hour ago, Phil Starr said:

Within a couple of weeks of playing the deterioration of use is going to overtake any advantage you might gain.

I think you've probably identified the real reason not to bother freezing your strings right there. 

Too little lasting return for too much effort. 

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I've decided the solution is to keep my basses in the freezer.

Can anyone make a suggestion for what I should do with the bodies?

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26 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I've decided the solution is to keep my basses in the freezer.

Can anyone make a suggestion for what I should do with the bodies?

Why are you only putting the necks in the freezer? 😉

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