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Sticky Fingers


J. Dan

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...and not the good kind.

 

I never noticed with my electic bass, but the last couple gigs with my Acoustic bass, about half way through the night, the strings just feel like they're grabbing my fingers - more "sticky". I've been chalking it up to sweating. It makes it really tough to play fast passages, which are already difficult enough on acoustic. Reminds me of that dream everybody has had where you're trying to run, and it's like your legs are stuck in molasses.

 

Anyway, wondering if there are any recommendations for any special cleaners or anything - I see guitar players use that Finger Ease stuff, or whatever. Also, I may just need new strings - these are REALLY old.

 

It probably didn't help today that everybody got louder and I couldn't turn up anymore without my acoustic ringing in the monitor, so I had to really dig in and play harder. My fingers were soar by the end of the gig - but I think that "stickiness" had a lot to do with it.

 

Anyway, suggestions appreciated.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Keep a towel handy and wipe down strings (and your hands) often.

 

Switch to flats, or a different kind of string you can live with.

 

Play your electric on that gig.

 

p.s. I have never had that dream.

 

 

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Keep a towel handy and wipe down strings (and your hands) often.

 

Doing that now, that's why I was kind of wondering if something in addition to the towel would help.

 

Switch to flats, or a different kind of string you can live with.

 

I don't think I would like the tone with flats. Maybe something like Stainless Steel instead of Brasswound. I'm hesitant to change the string type because I really like the tone, and so does everybody else whose heard it. In fact, at this gig, an old bass player came up asking me what kind of bass it what and what I was playing through to get that tone. He was surprised that I was just running direct with no DI or anything.

 

Play your electric on that gig.

 

It's an all acoustic band.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I keep a washcloth size towel in my gig bag that's sort of drenched in baby powder. So during the break you can also freshen up the armpits a little if'n you wish.

 

Someone on this list recommended using the grease that's on the side of your nose. I'm not down with that.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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I was wondering if the fact that they are brass wound strings had anything to do with it since my electric is nickel wound, I believe....wondering if there's any kind of tarnishing effect or something....which is partially what got me wondering if they need any kind of special cleaning.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Also, I may just need new strings - these are REALLY old.

I would start here and see how that goes.

 

I really only get the sticky string thing in the summer, typically on outdoor gigs where I'm sweating buckets. That's where the towel trick really shines.

 

Sounds to me like you're fighting "grime" on the strings. You know, dust, dirt, sweat, body oil, spilled drinks, maybe a little something that you ate with your hands at a gig a few years ago, dead skin you've rubbed off your fingertips (so that's why they're sore! ;) ) and anything else gross and disgusting your bass may have had to endure. Maybe a few hours with detergent (dish soap?) and a brush might clean that off.

 

Or you could just buy new strings.

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I was wondering if the fact that they are brass wound strings had anything to do with it

It could be a reaction between your personal pH, etc., and the brass.

 

Once you put your new strings on try to wash your hands every time before you play your bass. Afterwards, wipe the strings down with a towel. That probably won't prevent it, but it may slow it down.

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Yeah I try to wipe them down fairly often, and I even tried really wiping them down with some rubbing alcohol thinking that might help disolve away any oils. They feel good starting out but mid set start getting that way - it may be like you say...once they get a little nasty and start grabbing more, it takes some skin off my fingers and gets that much worse.

 

I'll start with new strings of the same type, wipe them down a lot, and see how that goes.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I keep a washcloth size towel in my gig bag that's sort of drenched in baby powder. So during the break you can also freshen up the armpits a little if'n you wish.

 

Someone on this list recommended using the grease that's on the side of your nose. I'm not down with that.

 

That was me and if you have nothing else at that moment it's better than having the sticking.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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