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#2876722 - 09/03/17 03:19 AM String cleaner
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 9632
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Usually, I've never bothered too much with it before. By the time my strings needed cleaning it was time to change them anyway, so....



But now, these ELIXIR strings I use don't need to be changed as often, and they're not really dirty enough( I don't think) to worry about cleaning them however.....



I know there are products out there made special for that task, but was wondering if any of you have a "homemade" solution for the job. Something around the house that works just as well(or better) than some "product" that costs more than it's worth. And won't do harm to the fretboard or anything else.



So, whaddya got?

Whitefang
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#2876778 - 09/03/17 07:50 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: whitefang]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 9991
Loc: Northern California
I use a string cleaner product by GHS called Fast Fret. It can be used on all metal parts and on the fret board as well to keep it from drying out. It won't hurt the finish. If you're looking for a homemade product you might consider white mineral oil. Although Fast Fret says it's specially formulated it only lists that one ingredient. It only costs $5 bucks for the product and it lasts a long time, so I just buy it. Works good on coated strings as well...takes about 2 seconds to clean the strings. cool
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#2876790 - 09/03/17 08:18 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: Larryz]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 3144
Loc: Inside the Beltway
I remember friends using this stuff called Finger Ease(?) a long time ago, and a quick check online shows that it's still out there. It just felt . . . well, greasy to me, didn't see that it really cleaned anything. OTOH, I never use coated strings, and I change strings on a fairly regular timetable, so maybe I'm not the market for these products.

Way back, I'd heard of players using rubbing alcohol to clean strings, but I'm not sure how good that would be for the fretboard? I've also heard of people boiling strings (usually Bass strings), to get a little more life out of them, but not in years.

FWIW, I tend to follow the guideline of changing strings after about 20 hours of playing time, a little less in hot, humid weather.
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#2876802 - 09/03/17 09:05 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: Larryz]
hurricane hugo Offline
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Registered: 10/01/08
Posts: 2640
Originally Posted By: Larryz
I use a string cleaner product by GHS called Fast Fret. It can be used on all metal parts and on the fret board as well to keep it from drying out. It won't hurt the finish. If you're looking for a homemade product you might consider white mineral oil. Although Fast Fret says it's specially formulated it only lists that one ingredient. It only costs $5 bucks for the product and it lasts a long time, so I just buy it. Works good on coated strings as well...takes about 2 seconds to clean the strings. cool


Seconded. Stuff works great. smile
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#2876875 - 09/03/17 01:59 PM Re: String cleaner [Re: hurricane hugo]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 4349
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
I never use string cleaner myself. I wash my hands every time I am about to pick up a guitar and I change the strings on my 4 guitars once a year because they never seem to need attention truthfully.

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#2876957 - 09/04/17 03:42 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: desertbluesman]
whitefang Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 9632
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
What I could find out online is that Fast Fret is cited as a string cleaner while Finer Ease is referred to as a lubricant. I think it's designed to make someone play better somehow.

How oiling
the strings would help, I don't know.
Whitefang


Edited by whitefang (09/04/17 03:43 AM)
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#2876987 - 09/04/17 08:08 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: whitefang]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 9991
Loc: Northern California
I have used both products and can say that I do not care for Finger Ease. Fast Fret works fine for me as a string cleaner and lubricates the fret board. It's mostly white mineral oil. Neither will make you play better though... cool
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#2876997 - 09/04/17 09:02 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: whitefang]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 3144
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Originally Posted By: whitefang
What I could find out online is that Fast Fret is cited as a string cleaner while Finer Ease is referred to as a lubricant. I think it's designed to make someone play better somehow.

How oiling
the strings would help, I don't know.
Whitefang


Makes 'em feel slicker, that's about all. The ad copy does suggest using it to oil and even clean your neck? I don't see it, personally: I would think spraying that glop onto your strings would eventually cause build up on the fretboard.

I'm with DBM on the hand-washing ritual, ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, and all that. I keep a couple of old, cotton t-shirts in a drawer for cleaning rags, too. If I've come home from a particularly funky gig (heat & humidity, or someplace where they're cooking greasy food), I'll clean the whole Guitar, top to bottom.
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#2877001 - 09/04/17 09:25 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: Winston Psmith]
Scott Fraser Offline
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Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 4968
Loc: Los Angeles
A client of mine is a mountain dulcimer player. She hoses down her fingerboard with FingerEze several times throughout a recording session. On her end it makes it a bit easier to play, due to reduced friction. On my end it makes for a better recording, due to a lot less string squeak.
As far as reduced friction, many many years ago I read an interview with Robbie Basho, where he said the best string lubricant was the skin oil on the bridge of one's nose. Been working fine for me for 30 or 40 years now.
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#2877009 - 09/04/17 10:06 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: Scott Fraser]
JuJu Kwan Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/08/16
Posts: 197
Loc: Shenzhen, China
I used to use finger ease. I bought 4 cans before I went home last year and they where confiscated at custom. Maybe the customs agent was a guitar player.
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#2877015 - 09/04/17 10:57 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: JuJu Kwan]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 24507
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Originally Posted By: whitefang
Usually, I've never bothered too much with it before. By the time my strings needed cleaning it was time to change them anyway, so....

But now, these ELIXIR strings I use don't need to be changed as often, and they're not really dirty enough( I don't think) to worry about cleaning them however.....

I know there are products out there made special for that task, but was wondering if any of you have a "homemade" solution for the job. Something around the house that works just as well(or better) than some "product" that costs more than it's worth. And won't do harm to the fretboard or anything else.

So, whaddya got?


I have to wonder if any lubes and cleaners might seep in under the coating of Elixers and similarly "coated"/"treated" strings and make them sound duller instead of helping restore their tone...


Isopropyl alcohol, the higher the percentage strength, the better, or naphtha fluid, seem to work great fro such cleaning, and they evaporate. Flammable and fumy, be careful!


Besides occasionally cleaning my guitar and its fretboard as-needed between string changes and set-up adjustments, I have often just wiped-off my strings with a clean, dry all-cotton cloth, usually an old T-Shirt, sliding the cloth underneath the strings along the entire length and breadth of the fretboard, as well as on top of the strings, all followed by snapping each string against the fretboard. I have occasionally tightly twisted said cloth around individual strings and run it along the entire string-length, as well.

But more often, besides the typical wipe-down with a dry, clean all-cotton cloth, I just replace my strings with a fresh set. Once in a while, I've changed only the three wound "bass" strings- the 4th/"D", 5th/"A", and 6th/"E", as they go dull and dead sooner than the plain "trebles".

I really love the zingy sound of fresh, new strings, particularly the harmonic-overtone rich swirliness of fresh wound-strings. Many years ago, I would change the strings on my electric and my acoustic every two weeks, sometimes even once a week! I went through a lot of strings...


Originally Posted By: JuJu Kwan
I used to use finger ease. I bought 4 cans before I went home last year and they where confiscated at custom. Maybe the customs agent was a guitar player.


laugh grin Haahh! I don't mean to laugh at your expense, I'm sorry that your cans of Finger Ease were effectively stolen from you- but your quip that "Maybe the customs agent was a guitar player' was funny! thu


Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
A client of mine is a mountain dulcimer player. She hoses down her fingerboard with FingerEze several times throughout a recording session. On her end it makes it a bit easier to play, due to reduced friction. On my end it makes for a better recording, due to a lot less string squeak.


I suppose that could be a benefit, but, personally, I really dislike the feel of any such stuff on my guitars or strings...

Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
As far as reduced friction, many many years ago I read an interview with Robbie Basho, where he said the best string lubricant was the skin oil on the bridge of one's nose. Been working fine for me for 30 or 40 years now.


He's not wrong! laugh
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#2877016 - 09/04/17 11:25 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 9991
Loc: Northern California
@ Caevan, your last quote was from Scott, not JuJu...+1 Scott, I've heard of using your own nose and hair oil as a lube...

@ JuJu, funny quip on that customs agent LOL! thu
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#2877028 - 09/04/17 12:55 PM Re: String cleaner [Re: Larryz]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
20k Club

Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 24507
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Originally Posted By: Larryz
@ Caevan, your last quote was from Scott, not JuJu...


D' oh! Whoops. Thanks for the heads-up; duly noted and changed.
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#2877032 - 09/04/17 01:29 PM Re: String cleaner [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
DocPate Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 632
Loc: Virginia
Back when, I worried more about those old Black Diamond strings rusting and the gunk buildup on the frets after a night of picking at square dances. But I guess wiping down the neck with that cloth furnished by Gibson that had a waxy type material did the job.

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#2877042 - 09/04/17 02:31 PM Re: String cleaner [Re: DocPate]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 9632
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Whenever I do change strings, I give the Epi a good cleanin'. Wipe the body down with a good soft cloth( currently an old dish drying cloth appropriated for the job that I cover the front of the guitar with over the sound hole before closing the case.) and any prints and smudges this doesn't remove are taken care of by the Martin spray polish.

I use an Old English wood cleaner for the fretboard, so I'm guessing since it's designed not to damage or adversley affect the wood, it might do well for the strings too an eliminate the concern of what something else might do to the fretboard.
Whitefang


Edited by whitefang (09/04/17 02:31 PM)
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#2877077 - 09/04/17 06:17 PM Re: String cleaner [Re: whitefang]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 4349
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
I use the same stuff that I use to clean my glasses to clean up the back of the neck and wipe off the fingerprints. It works and I already have it to clean my glasses.
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#2877116 - 09/04/17 11:56 PM Re: String cleaner [Re: desertbluesman]
kat1 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/04/17
Posts: 4
Loc: india
Can someone please tell what is the theory behind a minor chord becoming a major in a major scale like now i am playing a bollywood song called senorita which is in the key of a major but in the song there come some parts where c minor becomes c major ,f# minor becomes f# major and b minor becomes b major.Please explain the theory behind it.
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#2877127 - 09/05/17 03:46 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: kat1]
whitefang Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 9632
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
?
I'm guessing possibly the composer liked how it sounded and discovered it one day while cleaning his guitar strings? crazy
Whitefang
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#2877161 - 09/05/17 07:32 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: whitefang]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 9991
Loc: Northern California
Welcome aboard Kat1! A little OT from string cleaner, but I really dig using the major and minor chord in the same song. Santo and Johnny used it in Sleep Walk going from Fmajor to Fminor in the bridge. They also used the Fminor throughout the song instead of C Am F G, they used C Am Fm G...another tune Since I Fell For You which I play in the key of E, does the same thing in the song going from Amajor to Aminor. It's also used in Pretty Woman (which I play in the key of E) in the bridge your using an Am and then switch to Amajor. The sound change is used in a few other songs that as Fang said I "like the sound of."

The only theory I could explain is the major triad chord uses a 1 3 5 and to make it a minor you flat the 3rd and use a 1 b3 5. Enjoy the sound change, it's one of my favorite chord changes to play and to improvise over! cool
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#2877262 - 09/05/17 02:16 PM Re: String cleaner [Re: Scott Fraser]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 2840
Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
A client of mine is a mountain dulcimer player. She hoses down her fingerboard with FingerEze several times throughout a recording session. On her end it makes it a bit easier to play, due to reduced friction. On my end it makes for a better recording, due to a lot less string squeak.
As far as reduced friction, many many years ago I read an interview with Robbie Basho, where he said the best string lubricant was the skin oil on the bridge of one's nose. Been working fine for me for 30 or 40 years now.


When I play bass with my fingers, this is what I do... an old jazz bassist shared the secret with me.

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#2877263 - 09/05/17 02:23 PM Re: String cleaner [Re: Winston Psmith]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 2840
Originally Posted By: Winston Psmith
[quote=whitefang]
I'm with DBM on the hand-washing ritual, ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, and all that. I keep a couple of old, cotton t-shirts in a drawer for cleaning rags, too. If I've come home from a particularly funky gig (heat & humidity, or someplace where they're cooking greasy food), I'll clean the whole Guitar, top to bottom.


Yeah, I try to wash and dry my hands before playing.

I do have acidic sweat, but I've been using Dunlap 65 String Glide string cleaner, plus a little gadget called the Tone Gear String Cleaner and it helps the strings last for quite a while... then again, I don't mind them a little tarnished and less bright (I am a Neil Young fan, after all)... I used to break strings all the time, right around the bridge (where I rest my palm and mute) but since using the cleaner and to most people's confusion on seeing me doing it, using it on that end, I don't really have that problem anymore.

Now, if someone would just invent something to protect the screws and bridge pieces from the acid that pours out of my pores.

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#2877268 - 09/05/17 02:35 PM Re: String cleaner [Re: p90jr]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 9632
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
I've heard of that "acidic sweat" thing before. Some peopple have a higher acidic quality to their skin oils than most people normally do. I found this out from my ex's brother, who wondered why the painted markings on his stereo reciever seemed to look like it was many years old due to fded and worn out looking markings. And this was after only a half year of ownership. The guy at the sound store told him about this and explained why it was why HE always wore gloves when showing customers floor stock. He had the same issue.

The only thing the sweat on my hands does is cause me to drop pens and pencils and cause my fingers to slip off my guitar strings when I really don't want them to. Which is why I usually do more playing in cooler weather, or at least in front of a fan. wink
Whitefang
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#2877270 - 09/05/17 02:39 PM Re: String cleaner [Re: whitefang]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 2840
Yeah, the "rhythm" and "treble" markings on Gibson switch plates always wear away really fast on my guitars.

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#2877389 - 09/06/17 07:30 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: p90jr]
jimmac Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 192
Loc: Jackson, Michigan
One of my grandsons has the acid issue and breaks a lot of strings. I have to tell him about Dunlap 65. Jim

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#2877391 - 09/06/17 07:42 AM Re: String cleaner [Re: jimmac]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 9991
Loc: Northern California
I use the Dunlop 65 Cleaner and Polish product on my new LP bridge each time I play the guitar (and remember to do this on my other guitars as well). A bottle will last me a year or more. It works on everything from strings, neck, body, tuners, bridges, etc. I have acid hands and back in my gigging days I could wear out the top 3 bridge saddles within 3 years. I can see how I should have been doing this all along... cool
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