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String boiling recipe


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5 minutes ago, Dad3353 said:

Edit : Ignore the fatuous posting from Frank, above; he's not taken his meds again. :ph34r:


You’ll be hearing from Cynthia Dente’s solicitors and yes, where are my pills?

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8 hours ago, Dood said:

So whereas it's a temporary fix and certainly would seem a good way of recycling the string and saving money, the nature of it can not stand in the way of inevitability.

Indeed. Whenever I change my strings, I boil the old set (in a dedicated pan @Rich - follow me for more domestic harmony tips 😉) and pop them in my gig bag to serve as emergency replacements. They only have to last until the end of the gig / jam / rehearsal if they're needed to replace a broken string.

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So, most of You prefer buying new strings than boiling old. I think it differs how long You play Your new strings. Someone consider old strings after 2 mounth, someone plays half year. I think the more giggers and recorders prefer buying new ones, more home and rehearsals have nothing wrong with boiling. 

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Total waste of time in my opinion. I tried it once a long time ago. I could barely hear any difference after boiling and wondering why I had wasted a good 1/2 hr of my life staring at a saucepan.

What with the convenience of buying from the internet, wide availability of long life and cheap strings it just makes better sense to buy new ones. Personally I just go to Amazon, buy my favourite Rotosound strings at a reasonable price , and delivered next day. I change strings as often as I need to, usually every 4-8 weeks. ( and I am definitely *not* made of money!)

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36 minutes ago, lozkerr said:

Indeed. Whenever I change my strings, I boil the old set (in a dedicated pan @Rich - follow me for more domestic harmony tips 😉) and pop them in my gig bag to serve as emergency replacements. They only have to last until the end of the gig / jam / rehearsal if they're needed to replace a broken string.

Is a 'dedicated pan' one which follows you around the house?

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I've never boiled them - I've found cleaning with isopropyl alcohol is effective if they need freshening up a little. Some people soak them, but just slackening them off a bit and wiping up and down them with an alcohol dunked cloth does about as well IMO. Though once they're really on their way out, nothing will buy you very long.

Though my current TI Jazz flatwound are coming up for 4 years without more than a simple wipe down, and I feel they're doing fine!

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8 hours ago, musicbassman said:

Well, interesting topic. I've boiled strings occasionally for many years.

Yesterday, I boiled a set of Ernie Ball Cobalt flats from my P bass that had been pretty heavily used the last couple of months , and its embarrassing to see just how much crud floats to the surface of the water. And I don't suffer from sweaty hands.

I don't leave the strings in the water for long, about a minute or so, then pat them dry and replace.

Excellent! - tone restored completely. And I take the opportunity to give the fretboard a good clean while the strings are off as well.

If there's a downside to this technique, I haven't discovered it yet.  🙂👍

I thought the whole point of flats on a fretted bass was to save you the 'breaking in/crudding up' period for rounds?

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7 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

I thought the whole point of flats on a fretted bass was to save you the 'breaking in/crudding up' period for rounds?

Nah, @Downunderwonder,  - I know what you mean, but the EB Cobalts are a sort of halfway house tonally between rounds and flats - they're naturally very bright. I really like them.

First time I've boiled these EB Cobalts and the results were way better than expected - really bright and zingy again. 🙂👍

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Posted (edited)

I have always boiled my strings. I have tried wiping them, soaking them in methylated spirits and used string cleaner but always return to boiling. I get about three gigs out of new strings before I feel the brightness has gone. I boil them and get at least another gig, maybe two. I have tried boiling for a second time and never got favourable results. So boiling for me is a once only job in the life of my strings.

Edited by ubit
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I've had good success in the past, boiling stainless steel rounds (nickels don't seem to work quite as well, but still ok), with a little washing up liquid and dash of vinegar. Smells foul, but actually almost miraculously rejuvenated old Roto's for me....screws up the silk windings though.

 

These days I tend not to bother and just change strings less often, but I'm tempted to try some Elixirs, just the price of entry is off-putting.

 

Fwiw the string 'snapping' thing works pretty well for me too - I do that fairly regularly. I find it gives a bit of definition back to the tone of faded round wound strings.

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1 minute ago, Barking Spiders said:

Rather than boiling, my solution now to keeping strings in top playing condition is to keep the bass in the corner of the room just as a piece of furniture. They now never get gunked up.

My spare bass gets taken out of it’s case every 6 months or so, and actually gets gigged even less frequently.

It’s had the same set of D’Addarios on it ( rounds) for a few years, and I can’t remember if they were new

when I put them on. Strings do seem to last a long time without regular human contact. 😆

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15 hours ago, Bigwan said:

Coil them, place them in a large disposable plastic tub and cover with meths. Put on the lid and agitate a little bit. I usually leave overnight. Remove, uncoil and hang to dry. 

This is similar to what I was going to ask about. I want to try putting them in my ultrasonic cleaner with isopropyl alcohol. I don’t know why it would, but I wanted to check that it wouldn’t damage the strings.

 

I actually want to do it with guitar strings (double ball ended on a guitar I don’t use that often), most of my basses have coated strings.

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One thing that hasn't been commented yet is the hand hygiene. Wash your hands, and if you sweat a lot, use some alcohol based washing detergent. After all, the dirt is mostly skin and grease.

 

M. Miller was changing his strings after three hours of playing in the studio. This may be just a rumour, but I like it.

 

I tried boiling (and washing machine and couple of other things like ultrasonic cleaner), but it is useless. A set of new strings is so much better option. No more worn out strings. Frets bite the strings quite a lot. Old strings affect fine tuning as well as the setup.

 

A box of sets can be pretty affordable in the long run. I have made very economical deals.

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16 hours ago, Bigwan said:

Coil them, place them in a large disposable plastic tub and cover with meths. Put on the lid and agitate a little bit. I usually leave overnight. Remove, uncoil and hang to dry. 

 

Coil them, place them in a large plastic container and wait for the bin men to empty it.

 

Then fit some new strings to your bass.

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15 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

 

Coil them, place them in a large plastic container and wait for the bin men to empty it.

 

Then fit some new strings to your bass.

What am I, made of money?

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Or...use coated strings. I have had a set of Nanowebs on for at least 2 years, and have played them pretty much every day. They still sound great. 

 

This reminds me (thread hijacking alert)...why do techs insists on installing new strings with a fret leveling? I have refitted used strings bunches of times with no problem. 

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As a formerly impoverished musician, I've boiled a few sets of strings in my time.

 

It's a temporary fix as the boiling cleans out the gunk which may be deadening the tone, but can't reverse the effects of constant tension on the string. I found that the rejuvenation worked for a gig or two, which might be useful if you're skint or you can't get to your local music shop to get new ones. 

 

It's great to be in a position to buy a new set of strings at the first signs of zing-loss, but if you're having to fund your purchases with pocket money, or you have other slightly more pressing concerns (i.e. putting food on the table and paying for electricity, gas etc), little hacks like this can help you eek out your disposable income until payday. 

 

No pans from the Rushbo kitchen were ever harmed during the process. A diligent scrub with fairy liquid and/or a spin in the dishwasher kept the saucepans sanitary.  Unless of course, I'm harbouring some deadly bacteria and will be struck down with some appalling Rotosound gunk related illness further down the line. I'll keep you posted. 

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I get your point @rushbo, but saving some time and buying a box of sets has been far more economical, than boiling and buying a single set every now and then at the list price. Go and ask your local dealer!

 

If you want to clean string sets, having several gives sets extra time to rest. This gives slightly more zing than putting the single set back just after the cleaning.

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13 minutes ago, itu said:

 but saving some time and buying a box of sets has been far more economical, than boiling and buying a single set every now and then at the list price. Go and ask your local dealer!

Sensible advice.

 

However, there was a time in the mid-90's where I spent more money on cat food than man food, so bulk buying strings, even at a good price per set, was out of the question. Generally, I had to boil the strings to do the gig to get the money to buy the strings for the gig...

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2 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

Rather than boiling, my solution now to keeping strings in top playing condition is to keep the bass in the corner of the room just as a piece of furniture. They now never get gunked up.

What's the difference for strings, keeping instrument on a stand or in the corner of the room?

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, nilorius said:

What's the difference for strings, keeping instrument on a stand or in the corner of the room?

 

On a stand one might be tempted to pick it up and play it. In the corner, it can be (and often is...) totally forgotten, so saving the strings from any harm. -_-

 

...

 

:lol: :P

 

(Be aware that the original post from Barking was intended as a joke, rather than serious string-saving advice. Just sayin', I don't know the Latvian for 'tongue in cheek' :friends:...)

Edited by Dad3353
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