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 How to make strings last

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georgeslilly

United States
5 posts
since 4/9/17

04/19/2017 16:31:30 Reply with Quote

My fingers are very corrosive. I don't have money to keep buying new strings as quickly as they lose their tone, so i only buy when one breaks. However, by this time, my strings have long since lost their tone. How can I extend the life of my strings? Is wiping them down after each use or putting talcum powder on my hands advisable? 

Chops Chomper

United States
4235 posts since 2/14/08

04/19/2017 16:51:12View Chops Chomper's MP3 Archive View Chops Chomper's Classified Ads View Chops Chomper's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Nah George don't put no powder on them. Just rub down your strings really good..shoud be good enough. You mentioned how dead your strings are..how old are they. Sometimes strings just have to settle down a bit..you know get the edge off them..make that thwang go away. Me, I don't like new strings...thats why I leave my strings on for a very long time. There's nothing that sounds sweeter than a old string giving life to the fiddle. Just depends on the fiddle. Nah...I wouldn't put no powder on them. Jerry

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UsuallyPickinPlayers Union Member

United States
1657 posts since 10/1/08

04/19/2017 20:53:41 View UsuallyPickin's Blog Reply with Quote

Firstly ... what kind of strings have you tried? Are you washing your hands before you play. Talcum powder helps a sweaty sticky hand but may do little to help your strings. Some stainless steel strings may help with your ph problem......... R/

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Lee M

United States
5695 posts since 3/19/09

04/19/2017 22:07:44View Lee M's MP3 Archive View Lee M's Photo Albums View Lee M's Blog Reply with Quote

George, I see that you are new to both the fiddle and the Hangout.. While I take you post seriously, I DO from time to time like to inject a little humor into things...SO... forgive me if I try to do so HERE:....

 I am the Official Fiddle Hangout EXPERT and as I see it you could learn something form ME...(wink) indecision What I do is that when I notice that my strings are starting to wear or corrode  in the first position, well, then I  just play in the second position...then the third, and then I jump to the fifth position..Problem solved.. usually.

At other times I just take the strings off and turn them end to end ..those little round thingys that  normally go into the tailpiece hold the string nicely if the string is threaded through the peg first.  

There is still a THIRD thing you can do.. loosen the strings and Rotate them 180 degrees and just play then on the other side.

And, if you believe those things... I have a real Stradivarius that I can sell you at a bargain price.wink


Edited by - Lee M on 04/19/2017 22:11:46

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Tobus

United States
168 posts since 5/7/15

04/20/2017 05:31:41 View Tobus's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I have corrosively sweaty hands too.  Thankfully, fiddle strings last longer than any of my other instrument strings (banjo, mandolin, guitar).  I can turn a set of new steel strings black and rough and rusty within 20 minutes of playing.  On fiddles, the aluminum winding tends to protect all but the E string.  There are a few things I do to extend string life:

First, I always, ALWAYS wash my hands before playing and dry them thoroughly.  I take regular breaks during playing to wash my hands again.  In between hand washings, I keep a handkerchief or hand towel nearby to wipe my hands off.  I also keep a microfiber cloth handy to wipe the sweat off the strings, neck, frog, and anything else I'm touching. 

When I'm finished, I wipe my strings down with a cloth (including the undersides).  I use FastFret, which is just mineral oil, to coat the strings and protect them against corrosion before putting the instrument away.  If you put your instrument away with any skin oil, salt residue from sweat, or other foreign substances on your strings, they can eat the strings while you're sleeping.

On plain steel strings, when they start to get rough, black, and rusty feeling, I will either take them off or lay aluminum foil underneath them (i.e. between the fingerboard and the strings), and use Nevr-Dull to polish them up.  I wouldn't recommend trying this on strings with an external winding, but it works wonders on plain strings.  It makes them feel new again.  Just make sure that after polishing, you completely clean and oil the strings.

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Dan Gellert

United States
307 posts since 6/26/07

04/20/2017 07:48:19 View Dan Gellert's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

 

maybe you are mashing down on them too hard?  maybe your playing action is too high...fingerboard needs planing, nut or bridge cut down some?

 a bit of 0000 steel wool (finest grade) wrapped around a string can be used to gently rub off crud, rosin buildup, and minor corrosion...

I sometimes use fast-fret myself, but many fiddlers are shocked at the idea of putting any sort of oil on their strings... you do need to be careful to keep it away from the area of the strings where the bow contacts! 

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Snafu

United States
13 posts since 2/2/14

04/20/2017 13:19:24 Reply with Quote

I suggest taking a natural cork from a wine bottle or such and make a slit in it with a knife. Don't use a composite cork made from chips of cork - the glue binding the chips together can heat up and deposit itself on the string. Use only a real cork.

Rub the string in the slit the full length of the string from nut to bridge if necessary. Takes all the rosin off and leaves the string like new. If the slit get rosin build up just cut a new slit. I have a single cork that has lasted me three years.

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ChickenMan

United States
3040 posts since 9/26/08

04/20/2017 14:17:30View ChickenMan's MP3 Archive View ChickenMan's Photo Albums View ChickenMan's Blog Reply with Quote

Second what Tobus said.  As a guitar player I use Fast Fret EVERY time I play, before and after. Used to say if I ever got famous, I'd fully endorse Fast Fret, because clean strings last longer. Like Mr. Gellert said, keep it AWAY from the bowing portion of the strings.  A cork will not remove the corrosives from the strings but it's very good at getting off rosin build up. 

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stumpkickerPlayers Union Member

United States
88 posts since 6/21/07

04/20/2017 15:05:53 View stumpkicker's Photo Albums View stumpkicker's Blog Reply with Quote

I'm surprised nobody's given the obvious answer. If you want to make stings last......................

Make The Fiddle First!!! 😂

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RinconMtnErnie

United States
86 posts since 6/3/16

04/20/2017 20:33:12View RinconMtnErnie's MP3 Archive View RinconMtnErnie's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

You might consider trying an anti-perspirant for hands. I don't have this issue, but I see there are a number available (for example Obadan hand cream).


One thing I know about anti-perspirants in general is that they don't work immediately. In general, you have to apply them regularly for a few weeks before they have an effect. My experience with this is for winter mountaineering. Your feet may sweat inside winter boots with lots of socks on. This sweat does no good and only makes the boots wet. So one trick is to spray anti-perspirant on your feet. But you have to do this regularly for weeks.

So, you might try try an anti-perspirant on your hands. But don't necessarily expect it to work overnight.

I have no personal experience with anti-perspirants on hands. I'm just making a suggestion.

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Tobus

United States
168 posts since 5/7/15

04/21/2017 05:22:16 View Tobus's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Anti-perspirant on hands is a bad idea.  It is often recommended by people who don't have sweaty hands, and it just doesn't work the same way as it does for other areas of the body where it was meant to be used.

Most commercial anti-perspirants work by using aluminum to clog the pores.  This can't really be done with a part of the body that is constantly in use (and in contact) with things.  It just comes right off, and will get on everything you touch.  And also, even if it were able to reduce the sweating, it probably won't reduce a person's corrosive skin chemistry.

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Lee M

United States
5695 posts since 3/19/09

04/21/2017 08:00:48View Lee M's MP3 Archive View Lee M's Photo Albums View Lee M's Blog Reply with Quote

Are there strings that are made with anti-corrosion surfaces??

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Chops Chomper

United States
4235 posts since 2/14/08

04/21/2017 15:29:45View Chops Chomper's MP3 Archive View Chops Chomper's Classified Ads View Chops Chomper's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Yes there is Lee a way to have a string that is anti- corrosive. Never use them

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Addie

1744 posts since 6/6/12

04/21/2017 15:41:26View Addie's MP3 Archive View Addie's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

The Lisa E is stainless steel.

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