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rejuvenating old guitar strings.

09 Jun 06 - 12:39 AM (#1755991)
Subject: Rejuvenating Old Guitar Strings.
From: Bugsy

I remember, way back when I was a lad, that some old folkie reckoned he used to boil his guitar strings when they lost their resonance. He said that, afterward, they sounded almost as good as new.

Has anyone tried this, and if so, is there a specific procedure to follow ie, do you boil them and plunge them into cold water, or leave them to cool in the atmosphere, or leave them in the water 'til cold.

I've never bothered with this before and have always just bought new strings, however, now I'm on an invalid pension and things are a bit tight on the $ front.

Any information gladly received.


Cheers


Bugsy

PS; If boiling really does work, can you do it with Elixir strings????


09 Jun 06 - 01:07 AM (#1756003)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Dave Hanson

I've heard this method recommended a few times so there may be some truth in it, it would certainly remove all the gunge which alone would brighten the strings, the only problem I can see is re-fitting them to your instrument, especially if you clip the spare end at the machine head.

eric


09 Jun 06 - 03:34 AM (#1756017)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Richard Bridge

I'd expect it not to work with Elixirs - their coatings need to stay on. If they have dulled, the grease will be under the coating so removing the grease must affect the coating.

My late wife used (before I first met her) to protect the fretboard with plastic carrier bags and then clean the strings with a kitchen cleaner called "Ajax Ammonia plus". That cleaner went off the market and the replacement Ajax liquid cleaning products were not as effective. I had heard her speak of boiling strings too.

You can get bottles of "string cleaner". Use as described above. I have tried them and found them to give a slight improvement that only lasted a couple of days. I suspect the problem is they are only solvents, without emulsifiers so they do not fully "strip" the long chain grease molecules. It might be worth trying some of the "Mr Muscle" cleaners, because they are grease solvents designed to strip the grease. Maybe the kitchen or bathroom cleaner, or the glass cleaner. You could also try methylated spirits - very effective on stubborn grease on mirrors.

If you want to boil you should realise that water left under the windings may tend to accelerate corrosion on the cores, leading to breakage. Subject to that, I'd suggest boiling twice, the first time in a water with washing up liquid, to break down the grease, and the second time in clean water to remove the washing up liquid.

I don't think the temperature of boiling water is going to be hot enough to affect the temper of the strings or to anneal them.


09 Jun 06 - 12:25 PM (#1756115)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,Jim

I don't remember where I heard this, but I think it was in SING OUT! back in the '60s. I tried it a few times and it certainly did rejuvinate the strings, but you'll never get strings to last forever. After boiling they go dead a lot faster than new strings. Someone, I think it was Jason Fowler, told me that Gordon Lightfoot recomended this method of bringing life back into old strings. He said you have to be sure to take them off the guitar before boiling.


09 Jun 06 - 12:29 PM (#1756118)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,Keith(Pegleg Ferret)

After you've boiled them you bake them in an oven to completely dry them. It works a treat! We did this in the 60's when we were young and poor.


09 Jun 06 - 12:30 PM (#1756121)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Leadfingers

Guest Jim - I was wondering where to get a Saucepan big enough for a Dreadnought !!


09 Jun 06 - 12:41 PM (#1756131)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Seamus Kennedy

Bugsy - yes, I used to do this all the time, before I started buying my strings in bulk.

However, I used to boil them with a teaspoon of baking soda.

Other friends boil them with a teaspoon of white vinegar.

Boil them for about 5 minutes, and pat them dry with a towel;

I now use a string-clceaner called Fast-Fret which i wipe on after each show, and I get a little more extended wear that way too.

I'll send you a sample.


Seamus


09 Jun 06 - 01:14 PM (#1756157)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: TheBigPinkLad

Carbon tetrochloride. You can get it at any eletricians shop.


09 Jun 06 - 01:18 PM (#1756163)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Richard Bridge

DO NOT HEAT CARBON TETROCHLORIDE


09 Jun 06 - 01:26 PM (#1756168)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST

50/50 water vinegar


09 Jun 06 - 01:51 PM (#1756179)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: HiHo_Silver

A cold treatment that works fairley well is to soak the strings in kerosene for a few days and then dry them well. Possibly lacquer thinner or acetone would do the same thing. I have also boiled strings but they will never come back to the quality of new strings and is a short term solution at best. Even cheaper brands of new stings will prove superior.


09 Jun 06 - 01:55 PM (#1756187)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: TheBigPinkLad

Wise caution re. not heating carbon tet., Richard. Industrial use requires it to be heated, but under safe conditions of course. It's also a known carcinogen so don't sniff it either. Good degreasant though.


09 Jun 06 - 01:58 PM (#1756189)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Clinton Hammond

It's gotta be WAY easier to just buy new strings....


09 Jun 06 - 02:22 PM (#1756201)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Mark Ross

Way easier is to loosen the string and wipe them individually with rubbing alcohol. Also, if you string up your guitar, tune it and leave it sit, without playing, for at least 24 hours, they will last at least 3 times as long.

Mark Ross


09 Jun 06 - 09:20 PM (#1756410)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: The Fooles Troupe

If you don't play it at all, they'll last forever...
:-)


09 Jun 06 - 11:44 PM (#1756472)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: JohnInKansas

As noted, carbon tet is one of the nastiest of industrial solvents. It is a known carcinogen, and can cause brain damage if inhaled in high concentrations; and it can cause renal damage if exposure is prolonged or repeated. I'd say there are much safer materials to do just as well.

The thing that causes strings to lose their "brightness" is mainly that they get lumpy. It's not so much that there's a bit of grunge on them, although of course that doesn't help; but the gunk isn't distributed perfectly evenly, so you string has lumps that prevent it from producing perfectly harmonic overtones. The "lumps" can occur as local deviations in string density (weight) and/or localized deviations in "stiffness."

The two opposite methods you can use are to get them scrupulously clean, and remove the lumps, or "fill" them with a uniform impregnant that spreads evenly in all the nooks and crannies.

Boiling them in clean water may help, if the grease and grime is made fluid enough to float to the top. What doesn't float off may also be rendered fluid enough to "even out" a bit. Let the water cool enough to skim off the top water, or "decant it," after you've boiled for a while so you don't draw the strings back through a layer of floating crud. (The surface layer will be there, even if you can't see it.)

Adding soap is likely just to put more grunge back, and if it gets into the windings may be very hard to remove.

Soaking in kerosene should have a similar effect since the kerosene should penetrate and will dissolve most "body oils" - if that's what your lumps are - and, if it's a good grade, will evaporate almost completely, although it may take a very long time to get it all out of the spaces in the winding.

If the lumps you've got are from localized "necking" of the core wire, or from displacement of the windings, or from internal corrosion in wound strings, there's not much hope of a significant restoration, and since you can't expect to remove corrosion and replace the "finish" to an original quality, no restoration is likely to last very long.

You can also just tell people you're a "folk artist" and you like the softer sound of old strings.

John


09 Jun 06 - 11:53 PM (#1756476)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: number 6

I'm with CH on this one ... buy some damned strings. Even if you went to all the bother, they would just sound 'rejuvenated' for an hour or so. As John in Kansas says ...

The "lumps" can occur as local deviations in string density (weight) and/or localized deviations in "stiffness."

sIx


09 Jun 06 - 11:55 PM (#1756477)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Anonny Mouse

Used to boil them suckers--usually only the wound ones--for about 5 minutes (wound in a circle like the come), take 'em out, wipe 'em down with a soft lint free towel, put 'em back on...like new. Yep. And agree that Elixers or any coated string would probably NOT benefit by this--unless it boiled all the coating off, then they'd be like regular strings.


10 Jun 06 - 12:54 AM (#1756504)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Bugsy

Thank you for all the advice guys. Loads of ideas there for me to try, and thanks in advance Seamus.

Clinton Hammond - "It's gotta be WAY easier to just buy new strings...."   I Realise this and have always bought new strings every month or so for all my guitars. The problem is that when you're trying to live on the invalid pension offered in Australia, new strings become a "Luxury Item" rather than a "Necessity". When, or if,I get a few more $'s in my kick, I'll definitely follow your kind advise.

Cheers all!


Bugsy


10 Jun 06 - 02:09 AM (#1756525)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Dave Hanson

Reference carbon tet, listen to that great Cyril Tawney song ' Nobby Hall '

eric


10 Jun 06 - 06:27 AM (#1756584)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Richard Bridge

If you can get Elixirs from the USA, they will probably be about half the local price (true for the UK).

My camping/festival guitar I change the Elixirs once a year(!) but it is a bit strident with new ones on anyway.

Unfortunately the nice people in Miami that I used to deal with (MusicWonderland) have ceased to supply Elixirs.


10 Jun 06 - 07:16 AM (#1756607)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Bugsy

Yes RB, I used to get mine, along with a friend, from the US. We used to buy by the box. I've just put my last set on my Maton, but wanted to know about the boiling technique for my wife's guitar and my second one. I'm hoping that this last set of Elixirs will last 'til the cows come home ;>)


Cheers


Bugsy


10 Jun 06 - 02:02 PM (#1756810)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: number 6

Here's another bit of advice ... clean your hands before you play your guitar, after playing wipe off the strings. This should prevent gunk build up on your strings.

sIx


10 Jun 06 - 06:47 PM (#1756986)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Clinton Hammond

"when you're trying to live on the invalid pension offered in Australia"

Try a couple hours busking! That aughta make ya a few bucks for a pack of strings!   It's good practice too.... and it's good for ya, being out in the fresh air and sunlight....

Meet a lotta cute young girls when yer busking, too...... and EVERYBODY likes cute young girls!

:-)


10 Jun 06 - 09:04 PM (#1757052)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Bob Hitchcock

I tried boiling strings once, back in the 60's it was, I found a few problems with it and so never did it again. Firstly, puttimg the strings back on was a real pain as I had clipped the ends off after stringing and they did not want to go back quite the same way. Secondly, they started to rust right after I restrung and within a day they sounded worse than before. Finally, when I told the other guys in the band what I had done they poked fun at me and called me a cheap bastard, so I gave up that idea. These days I find if you go to a decent size music store and buy strings by the dozen you can beat them down on price, also you can sometimes find good deals through some on-line retailers.

Bob


10 Jun 06 - 11:27 PM (#1757150)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Bugsy

CH,

I might just do that, as soon as I get out after the bypass surgery.

CHeers


Bugsy
;>)


11 Jun 06 - 01:40 PM (#1757307)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,w. pint

This isn't meant to be a plug, but, if you are going through all this trouble just because of the high cost of strings -- you can get strings online from a place called webstrings.com -- if you buy a bunch of sets at one time (go in with your friends?) the price gets as low as $2.35 a set for phosphor bronze --- Good strings too! And no boiling, soaking, baking wiping required. If, however, you're trying to save the planet by recycling strings several times -- carry on.


11 Jun 06 - 03:47 PM (#1757370)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: redsnapper

You can avoid all this with Rohrbacher titanium strings which do not corrode and seem to hold their (extremely good to my taste) tone almost indefinitely. They are expensive but I much prefer them to Elixirs which I used to use. They do not take tuning up above normal pitch as well as steel core strings though.

RS


12 Jun 06 - 07:01 AM (#1757849)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Bugsy

GUEST,w. pint, have you tried these strings yourself?

How do they match up against other proprietry brands?

CHeers


Bugsy


23 Jun 06 - 04:34 AM (#1767284)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Bugsy

Seamus, Thanks a million mate, (See your PM)

Cheers


Bugsy


23 Jun 06 - 06:54 AM (#1767348)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Strollin' Johnny

Redsnapper - tried those Rohrbacker things, sounded completely dead right out of the packet. Don't suppose they'll go any deader with age though! :-) LOL!
S:0)

PS - and yes, I tried another set just in case the first set were duds. Exactly the same. Complete waste of time and money. I'll stick to Newtones (about six quid a set) and change 'em every five or six weeks.


23 Jun 06 - 07:26 AM (#1767372)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,HipflaskAndy

Very interested to see folk say above that their Elixirs last a year or whatever...
Elixers don't last for me at all.
I use 'em on one of my guitars (standard tuning) but phosphor bronze on the other (kept in C modal permanently) where I need custom heavier gauge strings.
Yes, they (elixer) keep their 'sound' for longer than all conventional strings I've ever used... but...
They WEAR OUT on the area where I strike 'em with my thumbpick.
The coating frays and if left long enough (cause they're still 'sounding' OK) snap at that point.
My friend Robin Garside pointed this was a problem to him too.
The coating can be reet nasty too - a wee sliver of it can get embedded in the skin while playing and is as painful as a splinter or shard of metal - not easy to see to remove either!
OK, the sound stays good all the while, but I play that much that I wear 'em out, as said, ending up changing a set (say) every third month instead of about every third or fourth week for the phos bronze strung guitar.
Are we alone in this, Robin and I?
How are you guys making them last a year?????
I rarely use a plectrum by the way - I finger pick (and use a thumbpick) - but surely folks that strum a lot must eat through the coating in the same area?
Cheers - Duncan


23 Jun 06 - 08:25 AM (#1767400)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,DonMeixner

I once restored the entire Autoharp inventory for a large school district in central, NY. I used Copper Brite to clean all of the strings and they looked great. HOWEVER, the liquid penetrated the windings on the bass strings and corroded the cores to the point of universal failure. Luckily for me the decision was out of my hands when the music department head said to just restring them all.
So naturally I question the wisdom of boiling strings. Water equals rust unless you can completely dry them before they can corrode.
I realize this may be counter intuitive but you could clean them with
ammonia and soap water, if you are boiling them anyway. (That is how I degrease my jewelry after it is polished) Then spray them with a water repelant like WD-40 or a desicant like alcohol. In the case of the WD-40 you would have to spin them about like a lasso to get the excess off.
Or just buy new strings when the old ones are dead. Or play dead ones like I do.

Don


23 Jun 06 - 09:05 AM (#1767435)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Bugsy

Duncan,

I stopped using a thumbpick. Took a few days to get used to it but now I only use a thumbpick if I'm at a jam session and it's really noisy. It makes a big difference to the string life.

CHeers

Bugsy


23 Jun 06 - 09:51 AM (#1767468)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,HipflaskAndy

Thanks Bugsy.
yep - I guessed the thumbpick's mebbe the problem - but it's how I play I'm afraid.
Tried many times to give it up (hah, sounding like a baby with a dummy) - but it's no use.
Thirty five years of hand position won't be retrained in my case.
My thumb is parallel to the strings with a thumbpick - but has to be at more or less a right angle to 'em to play wi my thumbnail.
...and if I use the fleshy side-of-thumb, I dinnae get the attack my own percussive style requires. Grrr - it's all problems innit!

But is the answer to my question, then, that these 'ere folks that say elixirs last 'years' are not using picks or plectrums, but just soft flesh?
Cheers - Duncan


23 Jun 06 - 05:22 PM (#1767663)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: captainbirdseye

There is avery cheap way to rejuvenate your strings.slacken a string till its very loose,get a chamois and buy using friction rub the string vigorously,this will remove all the crud ,it is much better than fast fret.I was told this by the amazing mr smith.it works.


24 Jun 06 - 02:55 AM (#1767881)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Strollin' Johnny

HFA - I've asked the same question myself, how can anyone make any strings, Elixirs or otherwise, last a year? Apart from the corrosion aspect, the damn windings loosen anyway so the string goes dead within a few weeks. The best I ever did with Elixirs was about eight weeks, by which time they'd gone 'frilly' where I hit them and they'd lost the 'ring' - I guess because the windings loosen just the same as with 'normal' strings.

I can get two sets of Newtones for the price of one set of Elixirs, and the Newtones sound far better, so I just change them every four-five weeks and the cost's the same. Knowing your playing style quite well by now, I'd guess you might kill them a bit quicker than me, but I'd still go for Newtones. I use their standard sets and also the 'C' set, which is excellent.

All the best mate,
S:0)


24 Jun 06 - 07:21 AM (#1767974)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Wilfried Schaum

Never thought of rejuvenating my strings so that they nearly sounded like new ones. As long as I played I always changed them for new ones, that's the real sound.


24 Jun 06 - 07:49 AM (#1767987)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Strollin' Johnny

Right on Wilfried - yo' de man!
S:0)


24 Jun 06 - 07:55 AM (#1767993)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,W. Pint

<
How do they match up against other proprietry brands?>>

I've been using these for several years. Before that I always used D'addario Phosphor Bronze and I could not tell the difference between them and the WebStrings -- except for the price. I would add that when buying many sets at once (to get the lowest price) I found that the last sets I got around to using did develop a bit of tarnish and didn't last quite as long as they did when new. (I never thought of 'freshness' counting for strings.) There's probably a way to store the unused sets to avoid that problem. Or -- go in on an order with another player and share.
I'm over in England right now and the price of guitar strings is mind-blowingly expensive! I'm glad I brought a dozen cheap sets with me.
Cheers.


24 Jun 06 - 05:50 PM (#1768275)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton

Use a little WD-40 on the strings before playing. Pour a little on and work it in. Not too much. It'll be better than the standard string-ease products and it will clean your strings.
Some say it gums up the strings. Not in my experience. It's not a popular idea but it works for me.

Also, loosen each string slightly (about a whole step or more) and snap it against the guitar. It snaps life into it.

Brand new strings don't always sound the best. Sometimes it takes a little playing-in period to make them sound good. Re-tuning new strings is no fun either.

There is a difference in the way certain strings sound. I've heard otherwise but don't believe it.

Some will retain life more. A lot has to do with the guitar itself. The strings have to be a good match to the instrument. I've tried different brands with different instruments and some will not work well with some instruments even if they are high-priced strings. Sometimes even Black Diamonds will make some guitars sound good.

Don't believe the hype about guitar strings. They have to fit the instrument.

Frank


25 Jun 06 - 04:53 AM (#1768547)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Bugsy

This has turned out to be a really interesting thread!

CHeers


Bugsy


25 Jun 06 - 09:02 PM (#1769034)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Richard Bridge

My "camping" guitar, on which Elixirs last me a year, pretty much only gets played when I go camping or to a festival etc. So it may get played almost non-stop for two to five days, and then not go out again for a couple of weeks, and the earliest outing in the year will probably be Miskin (at Easter) and the latest Tenterden in October. Some months will be busier than others. Also it is not a great guitar, and honks a bit on the B string so string deadness is not a huge loss.

But I have eight acoustics in the house and the three I play most (and like best) will get new strings more often than once a year - perhaps about every three or four months, and because of the fact that there are three of them they will not get the same amount of use that a single one would.

Mostly I use a plectrum, but not a very hard one - a Jim Dunlop 60. If I used a very hard one I would expect more fraying of Elixirs but although I get some it is not a big problem. I have never had a sliver of the coating get into a finger. Although I play pretty hard I almost never break strings.

I don't know if that constitutes the secret of how I get Elixirs to last a year, then there it is - secret no longer!


26 Jun 06 - 04:42 AM (#1769159)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,HipflaskAndy

How you doing Strollin' One?
Thanks for the reply, lad .....but how are you?
PM me (aaargh - no cookie - seek a thread where I'm logged in properly? - this network here has reset everything again and won't play ball - as ever!)
- or email me via the website please,
for I hear you are having a spot of health probs again... sorry to hear it. Do let me know - when you've time.
Apologies for digression from thread, but I cannot find your email address at this place of torture (work) and seem unable to PM due to inability to log on - curse these networked PCs!
Hugs - Duncan


26 Jun 06 - 03:49 PM (#1769544)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST

refresh


26 Jun 06 - 04:58 PM (#1769575)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,redsnapper

SJ

I use Newtones too on most of my other instruments but the Rohrbachers sound better than anything else I've tried in 40 years on my main guitar.

Matter of taste I suppose...

RS


27 Jun 06 - 08:25 AM (#1770072)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Strollin' Johnny

Yep, guess you're right RS! If they're good for you, carry on McDuff! One man's meat etc., etc. :-) :-)
S:0)


18 Apr 15 - 10:57 AM (#3702701)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,flippinthemadstyles

I started using John pearse strings a while ago and have noticed a "night & day" difference in longevity and tone. When you first put them on they will seem noticeably squeeky and overly alive, which fits in with most people's comments about them. However, after a break in period, the most pleasant characteristics emmerge. They have a twang that rings out and seems to last longer than any other strings I've ever used. In the past I've used (for comparison) D'Addario, Elixer, Martin and a few others.


18 Apr 15 - 12:42 PM (#3702726)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Mr Red

Surely there are a few mechanical engineers in this parish that understand the concept of cold flow.
Stretch a lump of metal (say - a long and thin lump) and before it snaps it starts to stretch beyond the point that you would say it could not return to its original length.

Now - one thing I know is that life is not binary, what (in this context) are called the elastic limit (a guitar string) and the plastic limit (over-stretched) are notional. The measurements might be small, but that plastic component gets incrementally bigger the closer you get to "snap".

So a stretched wire that resonates rather tunefully will have elongated permanently, that is why you let them settle after putting them on. (yes yes the guitar has a say in it).

And not all the deformation occurs as soon as you stretch the wire. Some of it takes time, and a bit of bashing out the chords. ie "cold flow".
So when the strings are deemed "tired" - maybe they need some manufacturing work to revive them. Which is probably "tempering" - temperature and swift cooling.

On an over-wound string? Hmmmm.

I would suggest that any reviving by other methods is going to be partial and not that successful, but cheap.


18 Apr 15 - 02:45 PM (#3702746)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,#

Fast-Fret (mentioned by Seamus) works.

Elixirs are not as 'bright' as most other types of strings, but they will last for a few months, even playing daily. However, I think the best advice given on this thread is to

1) wash your hands before playing
2) wipe the strings with a dry cloth after each set


18 Apr 15 - 05:59 PM (#3702784)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: tritoneman

There's such an enormous - and certainly for any new player, probably bewildering - choice of guitar strings on the market. I suppose it was much simpler when the choice for a lot of us in the UK seemed to be limited to 'Cathedral' or 'Rotosound' - or Gibson or Martin (if you were rich enough!!). Guages weren't often discussed..... I eventually discovered Ivor Mairants Bronze strings. They weren't expensive and sounded good and to return to the main theme of this thread, I boiled them perhaps two or three times before putting a new set on.
Graham


19 Apr 15 - 03:33 AM (#3702850)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Musket

Certainly, elastic limit could be a factor if this is reached. My work up till fifteen years ago was with designing and building vibrating structures, feeders, screens, compacting tables etc.

When you tighten bolts on vibrating motors, you retightened them again after an hour and then they were OK as the elastic limit of (8.8) bolts had been reached.

Same with strings? Not sure. Pulling them when you fit them is more to do with bedding them in than stretching to a limit. If you reach the limit, then they would break easily.

I also don't think boiling water would be hot enough to stress relieve them but would be delighted to be proved wrong. I reckon the removal of gunk is the factor here.

To be honest, strings aren't stupidly priced versus the lotions and potions, heating costs etc. I put Elixir on those I want to last and D'Darrio on those I change often. I bulk buy the latter at just over a fiver a set.


19 Apr 15 - 06:35 AM (#3702870)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,DTM

Re Elixir strings. The first set I bought lasted well over a year. The second set (bought off eBay) lasted a few weeks. I don' t know if they were cheap copies or just a rogue set of real Elixirs. I wrote to Elixir and they kindly sent me a new set of strings.
I should add all subsequent set of Elixirs have not had the longevity of my first set. Don't know why.


19 Apr 15 - 10:57 AM (#3702938)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,gillymor

I use Dr. Ducks .It pretty much does everything they claim. I put it on the strings and fretboards when I change them and about once a week thereafter and it gives fast action and keeps the strings lively for a long time. I've put it on the bodies of older instruments whose nitro lacquer finishes have gotten mungy and it's cleaned them up considerably though I haven't worked up the nerve to apply it to my higher end instruments.


19 Apr 15 - 02:24 PM (#3702986)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,jan burda

The 2 principal reasons for strings going dead (Not breaking) are !. Work hardening of the wrap, and core. The metal becomes brittle/crystallized. Annealing at very high temperatures is needed to reverse this..not practical. 2. Multitasking players (eating pizza while playing) will most certainly effect the tone. This can be dealt with by the various cleaning methods mentioned.


20 Apr 15 - 02:41 AM (#3703080)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Musket

I presume most people give the guitar a wipe after playing? I clean the fretboard with lemon oil when changing strings and towards the end of the life of them run a little Fretfast on them, remembering to wipe the excess off.


20 Apr 15 - 08:19 AM (#3703133)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Stanron

I don't remember ever boiling strings back in the 60 or 70s. Other people talked about doing it but it seemed too much like hard work to me. What I did do was wipe them with a small piece of cloth soaked in methylated spirit or white spirit. I didn't unwind them or de-tune them, just soaked the rag in the solvent, wrapped the rag around one string at a time and ran it up and down the string a few times. It made a terrible squeaking sound on the unwound strings.


20 Apr 15 - 08:39 AM (#3703136)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,gillymor

One other step I use when changing strings is to rub the fingerboard with a fine Scotch Brite pad. This gets rid of the grunge that builds up against the frets and in the grain of the wood and gives the board a polished and fast feel. Be sure to wipe the board down good after doing this and before applying oil.
I tried boiling strings w/ baking soda back in the 70's when 3-4 bucks meant something to me but never noticed a significant difference.


20 Apr 15 - 09:04 AM (#3703138)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: The Sandman

I loosen all strings but one at a time and get a chamois cloth and use friction to remove crap


20 Apr 15 - 09:26 AM (#3703141)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,gillymor

One other thing. Occasionally I lift each string at the 12th fret of a guitar or the center of a string length and let it snap down onto the frets then run a cloth between the strings and board. You'll be surprised at the amount of grunge you pick up on both sides of the cloth.


20 Apr 15 - 10:41 PM (#3703283)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: olddude

I don't know if it is me or common but old strings I change they have wear and flat spots you can feel so Iddon't think you can do anything but change them


21 Apr 15 - 03:18 AM (#3703294)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Mr Red

Musket
Certainly, elastic limit could be a factor if this is reached.

Elastic limit is a notional one in all metals, permanent stretch happens with increasing value as the string is tensioned. And cold flow has time and tension dimensions. At the tensions put on strings, elongation is happening immediately and with time. The amounts are going to be small in percentage terms but in musical terms it is noticeable to all but beginners. The excessive plucking after new strings is going to add to it, and teasing out whether the effect is from the guitar, the nut, bridge, machine head, fold of the string round the post, kinks anywhere or pegs - or this mythically "absolute/binary" elastic limit is impossible.

When the strings are new the crystal structure of the metal is "as manufactured". After putting on the guitar and tensioning them it will be modified, slightly. With time the crystals will have slipped past in places. This is another way of describing cold flow but the change is permanent and is heard as a "tired string". cold flow never stops while the strings are in tension, its value will depend on the brand - hence the reputation/price of some brands. And is not metal fatigue just another manifestation of the same process? Vibration causing failure - and increasing evidence as it nears? Music - vibration: spot the link.

cold flow can be demonstrated very easily in a metal that exhibits a lot (ie ductile metals). e.g. Solder wire. If you unfold a length from the reel and place the reel at the edge of a desk, the wire sticking out in thin air. It stays there. Come back tomorrow - where is it now? In the days of tin/lead it would be vertical, and even with modern RoHS compliant tin/antimony solder wire it falls overnight.

I have known several guitarist who hate others using their instrument, citing the acid in sweat that they lovingly don't have! (as much of presumeably). Their solutions are "not with mine you don't", dry cloth and "Fast Fret" et al.


21 Apr 15 - 03:48 AM (#3703303)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Musket

Elastic limit is indeed notional. On four out of six strings, you have torsional stress on the coils and common or garden stress on the core.

You know when you go over it....

In addition, it is variable. Playing strings anneals them anyway. We used to sell systems for vibro stress relieving in industrial applications.

I am more inclined to blame manufacturing quality of the strings rather than a notional limit exceeded. The ratio of csa to length would allow far more drawing out than a guitar allows anyway.


21 Apr 15 - 04:33 AM (#3703313)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker

As a primarily electric guitarist I'm perhaps more comfortable
with what a lot of acoustic players would consider to be dead strings.

The duller sound is more controllable for my purposes.

There are even products for muffling the harmonics of open strings at the nut.

Also consider Bass guitarists who traditionally stuff foam under the strings at the bridge...


23 Apr 15 - 09:47 AM (#3703628)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: Bugsy

This thread really has come a long way from "Boiling strings in saucepans". It's what I like to think Mudcat is all about.

Cheers

Bugsy


23 Apr 15 - 02:49 PM (#3703675)
Subject: RE: rejuvenating old guitar strings.
From: olddude

Nothing sadder than a beautiful martin d28 with worn out strings. Loss of all that beautiful tone. Changing strings is a small price to pay