Sunday, April 12, 2009

String Cleaning Advice

Up until a short while ago, I’d save a few quid (well, 30 odd per set!) by cleaning Bass strings in a saucepan, boiling them with some washing up liquid, rinsing and drying. While it worked quite well, the strings predictably objected to being boiled in water, and eventually the core would give up on the thinner strings.

Well, recently I came across a new way to clean bass strings online – I suspect it was via the BassChat bass forum site somewhere – using methylated spirits, available from B&Q and other outlets.

In a nutshell, just take the strings and immerse them in meths, at room temp! I leave them for as long as possible (they get a lot of oil and skin in them over time, especially the way I play) in a large plastic pot which I vapour-sealed, and it works really well. The strings come out bright, but not too bright (sort of “ready played in”) and they’ll last 3 gigs or so before they need doing again.

By far the biggest advantage is that the metal isn’t corroded by this: the only thing I think might limit the life of the strings would be the wear of the frets (so I guess the fretless will do well!) and a gradual weakening of the core through age and stress.

I’d recommend it to anyone. With the price of a set of Warwick black labels at nearly 40 quid for the 6 string, it saves me a fortune – and I now have loads of spare sets as the lifespan of the strings has been increased.

Incidentally, we’ve got a few gigs coming up:

  • Sunday 19th April – “the Arches” (or the jazz club underneath the railway line near the fire station on the IDR) in Reading
  • Friday 1st May - “Heroes” club in Maidenhead
  • Weds 13th May – Fiddlers Elbow in Camden, London
  • Tuesday 19th May – Cellar Bar in Bracknell

Good job we’re writing more material, eh? :)

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