String cleaning


pesetas
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Joined: 08/04/11
Posts: 16
pesetas
Registered User
Joined: 08/04/11
Posts: 16
08/12/2011 8:14 pm
I have a new acoustic (Ovation) that I've been playing for about two weeks now. I've noticed that the metal strings are leaving dark smudges on my fingers. I wash my hands before I play so I wonder if the humidity causes the strings to tarnish.

Anyway, is there some product I should be using to clean/protect the strings? While we're at it, should I also be polishing the wood with something?

Thanks...
# 1
pixelbox
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Joined: 06/29/08
Posts: 28
pixelbox
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Joined: 06/29/08
Posts: 28
08/12/2011 8:51 pm
Strings get dirty and tarnish over time due to humidity. Even more so because of dirt and oil from your fingers. Washing you hands DOES help, but not a lot.

There are several string cleaning products on the market. The two I've used off the top of my head are "Finger Ease" http://www.amazon.com/Finger-Ease-Guitar-String-Lubricant/dp/B0002OP80G and "Fast Fret" http://www.amazon.com/GHS-A87-Fast-Fret-String-Cleaner/dp/B0002D0CQC.

Both advertise as a string lubricant, but they also clean your strings too.

Personally, I think Fast Fret gets a little too greasy, so I use finger ease.

What I do is before I play, I spray a quick pass of finger ease across the strings, I rock out and do my thang, and when I am done, before I put my guitar away, I'll give it another pass with the Fast Fret, and then wipe my strings down with a soft bandanna that I use ONLY for the strings. That seems to keep them nicer longer.

As far as the rest of your guitar, any store-bought guitar polish for the body and a lint-free polishing cloth will be fine. For your fretboard, some lemon or linseed oil will do nicely. Dr. Kyser's Lem-Oil is what I use for my fret board. Polish/clean your fretboard each time you change your strings. Same for your whole guitar. Give it a good polish each time you change your strings.

Another little helpful tip - go buy a nice 1.5" - 2" soft hair paint brush (not expensive at all), and keep that in your guitar case. It's PERFECT to get dust out of those hard to reach places, like under the strings near the bridge and headstock!

Hope this helps!
# 2
wingman23
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Joined: 07/21/11
Posts: 68
wingman23
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Posts: 68
08/12/2011 10:41 pm
ive just bought a new fender acoustic and i noticed the same thing, i think its coming off the staining on the fretboard itself whatever they put on it to darken the wood, as im playing it more, the fretboard is getting lighter in colour and the staining is stopping now, so it could just be that if its brand new.
:-)
# 3
pixelbox
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Joined: 06/29/08
Posts: 28
pixelbox
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Joined: 06/29/08
Posts: 28
08/12/2011 11:25 pm
Originally Posted by: wingman23ive just bought a new fender acoustic and i noticed the same thing, i think its coming off the staining on the fretboard itself whatever they put on it to darken the wood, as im playing it more, the fretboard is getting lighter in colour and the staining is stopping now, so it could just be that if its brand new.
:-)

Well, I'm not saying you are wrong, however...

If your fretboard is Brazilian rosewood (which is the most common dark wood used for fretboards) it's typically kept at it's natural color. There is a dye that is used to "black" fretboards, however that is mostly used to even out the color of ebony fretboards. I have seen some luthiers use it to give their rosewood an ebony look, but I've personally never experienced it rubbing off through regular playing.

Hopefully, this isn't a new trend in cheapness from the major manufacturers!

What kind of guitar is it?
# 4
wingman23
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Joined: 07/21/11
Posts: 68
wingman23
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Posts: 68
08/13/2011 12:23 am
Well i bought my electric and that didnt do it, but this new fender is. it is a rosewood fretboard with a black dye on the fretboard by the looks of it because you can see where ive been playing mostly because the fretboard is lighter as the dye seems to be rubbing off, so could be them cutting corners or something, but i dont know, as i dont know that much about guitars.
its this one, but my one has (or had) a black fretboard where this one seems not to have,but mine is turning this colour as im playing it more now...

http://www.piens.be/product/fender/dg-60-ce-black/en/067487

:-)
# 5
pesetas
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Joined: 08/04/11
Posts: 16
pesetas
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Joined: 08/04/11
Posts: 16
08/13/2011 12:36 am
Thanks for the advice! The small paint brush is an especially creative idea and I will definitely try the "finger ease"...
# 6
sixpicker
Telecastered Instructor
Joined: 03/12/04
Posts: 756
sixpicker
Telecastered Instructor
Joined: 03/12/04
Posts: 756
08/13/2011 9:40 am
Hey all,
I rotate my guitars, and put new strings on the ones I use most often. I use 4 of 8 guitars mostly, so I end up changing a set of strings on one of them twice a month.

If you just have one guitar, I would change them every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on how much you play, or practice. If you play several hours each day, I would change your strings every two weeks. I wipe mine down with the material from an old t-shirt that I cut into rags. These work great, and I just cut them in 6x12 inch pieces. After you finish practicing, or playing you just wipe them down. This will save your strings, and they won't go dead as quickly. I've tried other material, but they mostly left pieces, and threads hanging on the strings.

I used to use finger ease, and another one called fast fret when I was on the road. I don't remember these products being very eco-friendly though, so as a favor to my daughter, Daddy only uses the rags now. I wipe my strings down after I play, and if I'm playing a gig after every set.

It's just a suggestion.
# 7
3donkey
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Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 105
3donkey
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Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 105
08/13/2011 9:19 pm
Hi Pesetas,

You don't need to buy any product to clean up your strings, just get a piece of old tissue ( clean ), pinch the string and wipe them one by one aftern your done to play every day.

Davide
# 8
TheElectricSnep
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Joined: 03/06/02
Posts: 316
TheElectricSnep
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08/19/2011 9:37 pm
Fastfret really annoys me because it comes on that stick thing that always leaves fluff on the strings so I end up having to clean that off too, in other words I'm cleaning up after using a product that's supposed to be for cleaning....where's the sense in that? I only use it because so far I've not found a good alternative for lubricating strings. I've got Dunlop 65 Lemon Oil which is supposed to be for fretboard treatment but I've found you can clean strings with it as well but it's not quite so good as a string lube.

One thing I've heard of is that some people use WD40 as a string lubricant but I've never been sure that's good for the fretboard wood and never dared try it. Anybody done that and what sort of effect does it have?
'There's no such thing as bad weather, there's only the wrong clothes...'
# 9

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