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LITTLEWING

How do you clean strings?

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I can definitely say from experience that boiling strings for about 15 minutes brings a good bit of life back into them, but has anyone found a sure solution, home made or otherwise that just sprays or wipes on and gets all the crud out and makes them sound reasonably clear again for a while?

I've tried just about everything out there on the market over the years and all they do without fail is kill the string dead rather than actually breathing a little bit of life back into them.

The only thing I haven't tried yet is suspending one fairly taut on some sort of frame and using a pressure washer on them on the hottest setting.  Hmmmmm........

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Not that helpful, but I try to keep them wiped down in between performances or, in between songs if it's a particular 'hot' evening. When they sound dull, I ditch them! I suppose there's the option of coated strings to extend tonal life. I should give those a go again as I've been gigging so much recently, the strings are naturally getting used way more.

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I'm not even convinced wiping them down does much apart from push any dirt into the windings, unless you use your cloth 'with the grain' so to speak, so as to wipe dirt out of the windings. I'm sure any wipers on here wipe 'against the grain', up and down the length of the string, and probably never underneath anyway where most dirt will collect. 

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I like my strings when they are worn ln  but if they get a bit grimy especially in this weather I use a few alcohol wipes that I use for my glasses the moisture evaporates 

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These days I just put on a new set but a while back when I needed to conserve funds, I always gave strings an overnight soak in meths. It worked brilliantly.

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I use Elixirs now and that last about a year but before I switched I used to use ‘Fast Fret’ which worked well. 

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Those anti-bacterial foam hand sprays are excellent to wipe grease and sweat off the hands before playing. Leaves no residue so your hands are crystal clean, at least for a while.

Doesnt need water or a towel. Spray on - rub off  ( matron )

This will do more for your strings than waiting till they're full of hand sweat and oil and trying to clean the strings after the dirt has wound its way into the windings

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FLATS

 

seriously if funds are tight, put Chromes on, plenty of bite and they'll last a decade

Edited by bazzbass
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2 hours ago, bazzbass said:

FLATS

 

seriously if funds are tight, put Chromes on, plenty of bite and they'll last a decade

Nor just any flats Steve Harris rotos😉

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You can buy industrial degreaser from Halfords. Spray the string and scrub with a fine brush or kitchen spong ( hard side). Degreaser strips all the grimE out of the windings. Like new. 

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I have flat wound on one of my basses, which 'seem' easy to clean, but even better, maybe, are the black tape wound on my EB3. Nowhere for grot to collect, so a regular wipe should suffice?

Discuss.....

off topic, but similar, I noticed my shower hose was getting a bit inflexible (and dull to look at).  So I gave it a liberal spraying with limescale remover, a good rub down (!), and it’s as good as new.

Edited by Baxlin

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10 hours ago, ped said:

I use Elixirs now and that last about a year but before I switched I used to use ‘Fast Fret’ which worked well. 

Another vote here for Fast Fret on uncoated strings. It won't bring a set back to life, but they'll go for a lot longer before they start to sound dead if you're diligent with the stuff. Back when I still had flats on my fretless, I found it was pretty nifty on those as well (anyone else find that flats get a bit "sticky" if you don't clean them?)

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10 hours ago, fleabag said:

Those anti-bacterial foam hand sprays are excellent to wipe grease and sweat off the hands before playing. Leaves no residue so your hands are crystal clean, at least for a while.

Doesnt need water or a towel. Spray on - rub off  ( matron )

This will do more for your strings than waiting till they're full of hand sweat and oil and trying to clean the strings after the dirt has wound its way into the windings

+1 to the above. IME any string cleaning remedies only last a very short time before the string resorts back to it's original grimy state. The best way to prolong string life IMO is to always wash your hands before you play. I have seen people picking up a bass or guitar with their hands looking as if they'd just been doing some gardening. 😄 Otherwise....it's new strings...

 

 

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11 hours ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

We’ve definitely been around the block with this one before, including....

 

I tried 'literally slapping the sh*t' out of my strings. Didn't work for me

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13 minutes ago, MoJo said:

I tried 'literally slapping the sh*t' out of my strings. Didn't work for me

It might vary between string brands, but I tried it and it did make a difference, although it doesn’t last particularly long. Lasted long enough to get through a gig though.

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15 minutes ago, MoJo said:

I tried 'literally slapping the sh*t' out of my strings. Didn't work for me

I find it's better not to s**t on them in the first place.

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I don't sweat much and wash my hands before every gig. I can't remember ever cleaning strings.

I change my strings every 12 months, whether they need it or not. That's enough maintenance for me.

I don't particularly like the "zing" of new rounds. My DR Lo-Riders have been on since last Christmas and are just coming into their prime.

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I use flat and nylon wounds where I can, but I do have a couple of basses that crave round wounds. I actually don't bother even wiping them down after gigs, I don't sweat much when playing, so the La Bellas I use last ages. When they're gone, I just change them.

Si

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As mentioned before, meths. I just half fill a suitably sized plastic sweety tub (mine is an old Haribo box - 2 liter ice cream tub would probably work), coil the strings up and drop them in. Leave them overnight, hang them up until dry and refit.

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I make sure to play only with clean hands, and use one of these after each gig.

Image result for string cleaner

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I'm convinced that when stings go dull, it's mostly because of the flat spots that are created in contact with the frets, not the actual accumulation of dirt in the string...

Any fretless people have a view on this?

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