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Boiling your strings?


Morning Koa

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May I be the first to say that there have been many threads on this subject, and that you shoudl use that HANDY-DANDY search feature in the upper right of your screen.

 

Thank you,

Have a nice day! :wave:

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I recently tried just baking them in an oven for a few minutes at 450 degrees. Then immediately dousing them in ice water...making sure there was a lot of ice in the sink.

 

After that, I coated them with Lysol, and let them soak for about 15 minutes. Then I put them in the dishwasher for a cycle.

 

I took steel wool and polished them...make sure you use 0000 if you do this.

 

Then, to restore suppleness to them, I used a touch of fingerboard oil and burnished them with a buffing wheel with cloth. I hung them up outside to dry.

 

Next day, I soaked the oil off of them with rubbing alchohol for a few minutes. Then I polished them with Tarn-X. I let them soak for a few minutes, then just wiped them down.

 

After that, I put them in the shower for a week and bathed with them. I made sure that I used my hair shampoo on them every day, and conditioner as well. Then I soaked them in a big tub of water.

 

After that, I ran them through the Gentle cycle on my clothes washer. I let them air dry.

 

After all this, they were almost perfect. Perfect is what they were when they came out of the box.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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I boiled strings alot in earlier years and found, more times than not, that it did put some life back into them. It seemed to work only for a couple of days, which was cool because I'd usually boil them before a gig. If I remember right, they could only deal with about 3 boilings at most, then the boiling had no more effect.

 

Give it a try. I put them in the oven a couple of times, but mostly just towel dried 'em and put them back on.

 

Check out the search function in the forum, as there were some other boiling treatments discussed before, which might flavor your strings nicely. :)

Bassplayers aren't paid to play fast, they're paid to listen fast.
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I boil up strings all the time, it works a treat, just a few pointers.

 

- always make sure the pot you use is totally free of any residues, thoroughly dry with a cloth or paper towels, baking is unnecessary.

 

- if your not putting your strings back on immediately, put them into a paper string package or envelope, if you store boiled strings in a plastic container they will all go dead.

 

PS Low B strings sometimes sound dead when you put them back on but will come good when they stretch back into shape and come to full tension.

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It's really justy too much of a hassle to go through all the steps of boiling strings, and too have the effect last for about 2 days. Soaking them in alcohol is much easier. Here's what you do: Take all your old strings and put them into a clean ice cream pale with 99% isopropyl alcohol (it's like $2 for a big bottle) and just let them sit in there. At any given point if you break a string of if you want to string up with a fresh set just dig some out and let them dry for a couple of minutes. Thi doesn't damage the srings like boiling does and it's so much less work :)
These words, are sledgehammers of truth.
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Dave, your post brought back to me the words of Buzz Lightyear: "You're mocking me, aren't you." :D

 

Once I took a set of dead strings with nice purple silk windings, doused them with WD40, & boiled them a nice long time. When I was done, I had a set of dead strings with ruined purple silk windings.

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Originally posted by 46&2:

It's really justy too much of a hassle to go through all the steps of boiling strings, and too have the effect last for about 2 days. Soaking them in alcohol is much easier. Here's what you do: Take all your old strings and put them into a clean ice cream pale with 99% isopropyl alcohol (it's like $2 for a big bottle) and just let them sit in there. At any given point if you break a string of if you want to string up with a fresh set just dig some out and let them dry for a couple of minutes. Thi doesn't damage the srings like boiling does and it's so much less work :)

Great idea here, but how long can I keep the strings in this solution? Overnight, then take them out to dry? Do tell. Inquiring minds want to know. :)
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Originally posted by dcr:

Dave, your post brought back to me the words of Buzz Lightyear: "You're mocking me, aren't you." :D

 

I just wish we had a graemlin with either tongue in cheek or "over my head"

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Originally posted by davebrownbass:

I recently tried just baking them in an oven for a few minutes at 450 degrees. ...

Dave, I tried to follow your instructions but I have some questions about the boiling process...

 

I ran into problems from the start as our oven only goes up to 300 degrees centigrade, and the door of the oven is too small for the bass to fit in...

 

I was really determined to try the boiling thing out, as I had borrowed a friend's Ibanez Ergodyne bass (you know, the one made from Luthite), and the strings on it sounded quite dead and I really wanted to hear how the bass would sound like with new (or boiled) strings.

 

After a bit of thinking, I remembered that there was a ceramics workshop nearby, and they had a big oven which the people there use to bake their artwork in. So I headed there and explained the situation to the cleaning lady who was the only person I could find there. She looked at me in a funny way when I explained how people could really save money by following the advice given on this thread, I guess she just didn't understand anything about music or instruments, you know how non-musicians are...

 

Anyways, she let me try out the oven after I promised not to tell anyone that she was running a bong factory there during the evenings when the regular workers have already left. So I placed the bass into to the oven, and as I was in a bit of a hurry I set the temperature to 600 degrees centigrade to save some time. After a few minutes of waiting I noticed a strange smell coming from the oven. I opened the door and saw that not all was well... I quickly removed the bass from the oven and poured some water on it to cool it down. Much to my surprise the bass didn't look the same like before I had put it in the oven...

 

I decided to head home after that and abort the boiling project at least for now so I can get some advice on how to proceed. You can see a picture of the bass by clicking this link . I guess now I know why some people can't stand instruments made from Luthite...

 

-Pernax

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Originally posted by Dr. Taz:

Great idea here, but how long can I keep the strings in this solution? Overnight, then take them out to dry? Do tell. Inquiring minds want to know. :)
Hoever long as you like. The %99 isopropyl alcohol wont do any damage to your strings (but if you get something like 70% concentration, you'll get a nice rusty surprise :D ) I've got some strings that have been in there for at least a couple of months and their fine. Just gather up all your old srtings and toss them in, but it will take at least a couple of days in the bucket to get good results.
These words, are sledgehammers of truth.
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Both Jeremy and Dave had brilliant replies. I almost feel like I shouldn't even try, but...

 

When boiling your strings, try adding some assorted seasonings. They taste better that way. I highly recommend sage.

 

*crickets* (tumbleweed rolls by...)

 

Yeah, I knew it was best left alone.

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I liked jeremy ideal for the topic,but anyway I've even boiled mine and let them set in motor oil for a week and when I cleaned them and put them on a basss and gave the first test for a playing session and the were as good as new.
Pete Combs...
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Bump - no way dude - I'm all over that. I recommend chopped fresh garlic and olive oil - when you take the strings out, pour the oil/water mixture over angel hair, and you can feed your family. The only thing I do differently is I skip the oregano when doing the strings - it gets caught in the ridges of roundwounds.

 

Pernax - I'm glad to see that we have someone here that can follow directions.....

 

Morning Koa - the "boil strings" topic is one of the least risky in all of bass-forumdom. You are certain to get 20% useful advice and experience and 80% creative wackiness.

 

I've actually never boiled my strings, and don't anticipate ever doing so. I'm blessed with hands that are gentle on strings, and change them with new ones after a year or so (whether they need changing or not). Also being a hobbyist limits the amount of use my strings have to live with.

 

Good luck!

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally posted by davebrownbass:

I recently tried just baking them in an oven for a few minutes at 450 degrees. Then...

[EDIT]

...

After all this, they were almost perfect. Perfect is what they were when they came out of the box.

Man, Dave! You had me laughing uncontrollably with this. Brilliant.
C.V.: Snowboarder (1983-), Bass Owner (1996-), Chemistry Teacher (1997-) & Serious Bass Student (2003-)
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