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Posted by Bob Gollihur (126.96.36.199) on February 16, 2002 at 14:45:05:
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?
I've heard guys mention alcohol as something to use on metal strings, but unlike bass guitar metal strings (where you hear of boiling and otherwise treating strings to re-enliven them) of which almost all are 100% metal, double bass strings use other materials in the mix.
Dampening materials are typically used in varying degrees based on the amount of sustain desired (orchestra, jazz pizz, hybrids, etc.). While I'm no authority on the matter (I've written an published article on bass guitar strings but not done the same thorough research on double bass strings, though I've done some), doing some of these same tricks will not yield any success with most double bass strings. When double bass strings begin to become tonally unreliable or "dead", it may be a sign of movement within the string, whether it is dirt or an actual physical displacement, which often results in uneven pitch responses -- the game is probably over.
Doesn't seem fair that we have to arrange to carry such a large instrument and pay a fortune for strings, too. ;-)
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