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Posted by Rich Laird (220.127.116.11) on February 16, 2002 at 11:51:45:
In Reply to: new life to old (steel) strings? posted by sean p on February 15, 2002 at 19:27:29:
: lately i've seen talk on this board about 'reconditioning' gut strings and it sounds marvelous. i play mostly steel, though, and am wondering if there's any way to pamper an old set of thomastiks or helicores? something to wipe them with, maybe, to remove dirt and rosin and other yukinesses?
Alcohol will get just about anything off steel strings. If you do any bowing at all you probably don't want to use alcohol in the area where the bow touches the strings...they'll just get "too clean" and you DEFINITELY don't want alhohol getting on your bow hair. If you have really major rosin buildup in the bowing area, user some really fine (00 or 000) steel wool.
Be careful about getting alcohol on the instrument itself. Wipe it off right away.
Once you get 'em cleaned up. The best thing is to wipe your strings off regularly (multiple times daily if you're playing a lot). Then you'll never get any buildup of crud. I'm usually wiping excess rosin off my strings after maybe half an hour of bowing.
A clean cotton rag is a regular part of my gear. The strings, fingerboard, neck and the whole body of the bass get a good wiping down every time the bass goes into the bag - or after any playing session. This not only keeps it clean but keeps moisture - from perspiration or whatever - from getting into the wood.
I notice that the harmonics start going off after a set of strings has been used for maybe 18 months or so. I don't know of anything that will correct that. It's time for new strings.
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