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Help! Need quick ideas for cleaning strings!

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Ignatius, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a fairly early gig tonight which means there's no time to hit the music store. I always bring two guitars. I just changed the strings on my #1 and then checked my #2 guitar and it has pretty ratty strings from an outdoor gig we did a couple weekends ago. But I'm out of strings!

    What's your best suggestion for cleaning the strings on my #2 well enough to get me through tonight? Hopefully I won't even need to use the guitar - I usually don't - but I'd like to have the strings cleaned up as well as I can in case I do.

    So I don't have any of the commercial string cleaning products. I have isopropyl alcohol, WD40, and maybe some naptha somewhere.

    Which should I use?
     
  2. guitarzan13

    guitarzan13 Friend of Leo's

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    I would use WD-40... then the alcohol.
     
  3. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    So WD40 doesn't harm the fingerboard (maple)?
     
  4. andrewr

    andrewr Tele-Meister

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    I used to use WD40 on strings all the time after gigs - put a cloth under the strings and don't use too much in one go. You'll be fine (other band members will complain you smell of it though!!)

    I think it's more of a worry on bare rosewood boards than on lacquered maple, though.
     
  5. strumminsix

    strumminsix Tele-Meister

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    Not being a jerk here but I really think you need to call in a favor for a trip to the music store.

    Think this through with me... You are going to a gig with no extra strings (problem #1), your #2 guitar's strings are shot (problem #2). Essentially you are going to a gig with only 1 guitar and no extra strings.

    For your #2 guitar, Finger Ease. Put a clean cloth between your fingerboard and strings. The apply FE on the side sticking out. Press down so you have both sides folded in half together and up the neck you go!

    Can anyone else in your band (or friend) hit a music store or bring an extra pack of strings?
     
  6. guitarzan13

    guitarzan13 Friend of Leo's

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    That is what the alcohol is for.....To clean off the WD40
     
  7. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I use naptha lighter fluid works great.
     
  8. bingy

    bingy Friend of Leo's

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    WD-40 on a rag...skip the alcohol.
     
  9. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Lens cleaner or tape head cleaner or lens wipes i.e. isopropanol cleans grease, dirt and grime off fast and leaves no residue. Wipe on, wipe off.

    WD40 dissolves rubber and plastic...
     
  10. bingy

    bingy Friend of Leo's

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    You spray the WD-40 on a rag not the pickguard...and in several decades I have had no problem. It will not dissolve plastic and there is no rubber anywhere. I doubt if it would hurt the rubber either.
     
  11. Octave Doctor

    Octave Doctor Tele-Afflicted

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    If you check at auto parts stores or Big Lots, you can get WD-40 Shop Cloths--usually in packs of three. Cheap. These are impregnated with WD-40, so there's no drippage or excess aroma, but will clean up old strings pretty well.

    If you see strings on closeout, get some, even if they're not your regular brand--you'll need them later.
     
  12. Ormond

    Ormond Tele-Afflicted

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    Elixer's just need water.
     
  13. teleman55

    teleman55 Tele-Holic

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    Alcohol works great. Put it on a T-shirt and rub it up and down the strings. You can even use vodka in a pinch.
     
  14. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm afraid I have had WD40 dissolve both rubber and plastic. It does turn rubber into chewing gum. It will turn most plastics brittle.

    It is a collection of petroleum distillates, pet-ether, naptha and the like. It may not touch a poly coating but will have a go at nitro, the pickguard, pickup coils and insulation and will not do a rosewood fingerboard any good. Nor your fingers, it may cause dermatitis. It is a de-watering agent, a penetrating fluid, it is not a good lubricant, it dissolves grease in bearings and washes out oils, it is intended for cleaning heavy military equipment. It belongs in the tool shed, with the lawnmower, nowhere near your guitar.
     
  15. Dave_O

    Dave_O Friend of Leo's

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    When I was playing bass, I'd clean strings at least once, sometimes twice with methylated spirits.
    Then leave them to dry out outside. No residue, no smell, and I'd get 2 more gigs out of a set of strings.
    However, I've never done it with guitar strings, because for about 10 years I've been buying D'Addario 3 packs:D
     
  16. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Lighter Fluid works very well. On a rag, of course. Just grab each string and wipe it along its length with a couple passes. But, don't try any Hendrix tricks.
     
  17. Hollmanp90

    Hollmanp90 Tele-Afflicted

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    WD-40.....Naptha...Everclear.....Alky-hall.
     
  18. Brad Miller

    Brad Miller Tele-Afflicted

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    Go to your local pharmacy and buy a box of alcohol swabs. Fold them over, wrap them around the string and slide them up and down the length of the string. Works great! No pouring any fluid on a rag that you will have to carry around, it's all self contained.
     
  19. stxrus

    stxrus Poster Extraordinaire

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    LPS not WD-40. a bit on a cloth and wipe each string down. works in a pinch

    steve
     
  20. mudshark

    mudshark Friend of Leo's

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    I've always used those wet baby wipes with nice results.
     
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