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Cleaning upright bass strings

Cleaning your (metal wrapped) upright bass strings is a good way to keep them sounding good for a longer time. Even with our low prices....bass strings are still not 'cheap'!  One way to help your upright strings last a little longer is to wipe them off after playing.  The best way (and only takes a little more time), is to individually grab one string, and run a dry cloth up and down. Some player's skin can be so acidic that it can wear out a string in just a 2 or 3 short months.

Another way to rejuvenate old bass strings: Loosen one string, (for example: loosen the G string down to an 'F'). I loosen the string a little so that I have enough working space that I can get under the string and wrap a cloth to squeeze it firmly with my thumb and first couple of fingers. Then just put a dab of Vaseline or mineral oil on the cloth. Run the cloth (with your fingers and cloth wrapped around the string) up and down firmly, a few times) with a fairly good amount of friction and pressure. This should span about an inch from the bridge, up to the nut. Then tighten the string back up and go to the next string.

If you have too much rosin caked up on the string or dirty 'gunky' strings, you can first use a light steel wool or a copper scouring pad on it. You will notice, that the cloth will definitely turn black from all the soil on the strings, not to mention the burn from the friction! You can finish this cleaning by carefully moistening the same cloth with a little rubbing alcohol. (You can also use this to clean the fingerboard underneath and around the string. I clean the whole board this way and have never had a problem. Take special care to keep the alcohol away from the bass varnish. I actually moisten the cloth I am using in another part of the room, so that I won't knock or splash any alcohol on the bass varnish. This will leave a spot (and will not go away!) so be careful.

When you are all finished, give your old (now clean) strings another try! This should bring back some new life to your old strings and actually make the bass feel much more comfortable and easier to play on. Even cleaning the fingerboard will help the string vibrate more freely. If you have dirt or gunk underneath the string on the board, that can only impede the way the string vibrates near the board. Cleaning your strings actually makes the bass easier to play on. A clean string will vibrate much easier too (less work!) This will help squeeze just a little more life out of a string for a while, but when a string is "played" out....it's 'new' string time!