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Re: cleaning bass strings?

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Posted by Andy on April 12, 2001 at 16:20:08:

In Reply to: cleaning bass strings? posted by Chris on April 11, 2001 at 21:54:43:

: hey bass fanatics over the world! my question pertains to the care of bass strings, i have the usual nickel roundwound strings (i beleive) on a great new bass... my old one was a real POS so i wasnt really into changing the strings much, and they got pretty worn out and dirty before finally breaking at a gig :( how can i prevent this and keep the strings clean? i heard a trick about boiling them in vinegar water, but not sure about that one.... anybody know ? also, how often should they be changed exactly? just something i never really thought about until getting a bass i actually care about... alright any help is appreciated, peace out , chris

Chris,a guitar teacher showed me thissome time ago and it works quite well for me.
All you need is:an old tooth brush
:rubbing or isopropyl alcohol 99% proof(you can buy it at pharmacys or drug stores for under 5 dollars,just don't drink it)
Optional: a small hand pump mister bottle( to pour the stuff into and keep it handy in your gig bag or guitar case .
: small cloth
Cleaning the strings: heres how it works.
The beauty of the rubbing alcolhol is that it once applied to the strings,it drys within seconds and without any residue.Also ,it can be applied directly to the strings without removing them from the bass.It only takes a minute after you play to clean and it cleans the fretboard at the same time.
Use the pump mister to spray directley onto the strings and fretboard,then use the tooht brush to brush the strings across the fretboard.Start at the nut and move up to the 12th fret and beyond.Srub the strings getting into the windings .(getting rid of string gunk will help with tone and string life)Clean the fret board as you scrub the strings and get two jobs done at once.
As a precaution, lay a cloth between the strings and the body To prevent excess over spray and wipe off any right away.Note: I've used this method for many years and have never had any problems with the alcohol ruining the fingerboard or the finish of the body,but use a cloth big enough to cover the body around the strings just to be safe and wipe any excess off right away.
Cleaning how often depends how often you play,how sweaty your fingers get,it really up to you.It doesnt hurt evry time after you play just to spray some alcohol on a cloth and just quickly wipe the strings down.Just think,evry time you play,sweat and string gunk clogs the windings ,along with natural wear by use and time.Strings will last longer and sound better longer if you take the time to clean them,as you know.strings aren't cheap.
As for boiling strings,been there ,done that.In my opinion ,it not worth the effort for the results you get Better to clean them as described regularly.Strings are hard to remove and even harder to replace. just imagine tryiny to feed a curly kinked string through the hole in the bridge(with much greif),then trying to rewind the string around the tuning machine head.
Some of the big names change strings after evry gig!,just change them when you can't bear to play them any more ,tone wise.If your bass has active pickups,you may want to chage more often,if you prefer that bright clean tone of new strings.If passive you can change less often especialy if you like that flat dead string "motown James Jamerson sound".
All in all this cleaning method is quick ,easy,inexpensive,through and cleans the fretboard all at once.

Hope this helps Andy

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