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Apr 19, 2017 - 4:31:30 PM
13 posts
Joined Apr 9, 2017

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? 

Apr 19, 2017 - 4:51:12 PM



4630 posts
Joined Feb 14, 2008

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 old are they. Sometimes strings just have to settle down a 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

Apr 19, 2017 - 8:53:41 PM

1807 posts
Joined Oct 1, 2008

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/

Apr 19, 2017 - 10:07:44 PM

6041 posts
Joined Mar 19, 2009

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 - TuneWeaver on 04/19/2017 22:11:46

Apr 20, 2017 - 5:31:41 AM
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233 posts
Joined May 7, 2015

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.

Apr 20, 2017 - 7:48:19 AM
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343 posts
Joined Jun 26, 2007


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! 

Apr 20, 2017 - 1:19:24 PM



22 posts
Joined Feb 2, 2014

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.

Apr 20, 2017 - 2:17:30 PM

3334 posts
Joined Sep 26, 2008

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. 

Apr 20, 2017 - 3:05:53 PM

113 posts
Joined Jun 21, 2007

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

Make The Fiddle First!!! 😂

Apr 20, 2017 - 8:33:12 PM

93 posts
Joined Jun 3, 2016

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.

Apr 21, 2017 - 5:22:16 AM



233 posts
Joined May 7, 2015

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.

Apr 21, 2017 - 8:00:48 AM

6041 posts
Joined Mar 19, 2009

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

Apr 21, 2017 - 3:29:45 PM



4630 posts
Joined Feb 14, 2008

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

Apr 21, 2017 - 3:41:26 PM
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1778 posts
Joined Jun 6, 2012

The Lisa E is stainless steel.

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