In this bass how to article I’m going to show you how to build a simple tube in which you can soak and clean your bass strings. It’s very easy to do and can save you quite a bit of money over time. It also gives you the opportunity to try a lot of different types of bass strings.
Essentially, we will take a PVC pipe, cap it on one end and add a screw top to the other end. You fill it with denatured alcohol and drop your bass strings in for 12-24 hours. When you take them out, they’re as good as new!
Remember: denatured alcohol is poisonous! DO NOT DRINK DENATURED ALCOHOL! Keep it away from heat sources, too!
What You Need to Make the Bass String Cleaning Tube
- 40” to 55" length of 1” diameter PVC pipe (measure the bass strings you use to estimate the best length)
- 1” diameter PVC end cap
- 1” diameter screw-on PVC cap
- 1” diameter matching threaded male PVC adaptor (the counterpart to the screw-on cap)
- 4 oz. can of all-purpose cement (for use on PVC)
- cork from a wine bottle
- 1” brass cup hook
- super glue
- 1 gallon can of denatured alcohol (a.k.a. methylated spirits)
Before proceeding, make sure you are in a well-ventilated area. Use protective goggles and gloves.
Make the String-Holding Cap
Instead of dropping your bass strings in and having to fish them out, we'll make a cap with a hook where you can hook the strings on by the ball-end. Instead of drilling into the PVC cap, we'll glue a cork inside of the cap and screw the hook into the cork.
- Shape the hook with pliers so that it can evenly hold the ball-ends of all your strings and still fit through the cap.
- Screw the hook into the cork making sure the hook is well centered.
- Super glue the cork/hook to the inside of the screw-on cap making sure it will smoothly go in and out of the male adapter.
- Let it dry.
You should end up with something like this:
Make the Tube
- Clean the tube ends and fittings with a little bit of alcohol and let dry.
- Apply the cement to the outside of one end of the PVC pipe and the inside of the plain end cap. Coat well all the way around. It needs to be leak-proof.
- Put the cap on the pipe making sure the pipe is as far in the cap as possible. Hold it for about 30 seconds so it doesn’t slip out.
- Similarly, cement the male adaptor to the other end of the pipe.
- Let it dry for 2 hours.
Check for Leaks
Once the tube fittings are dry, check the tube for leaks. Fill the tube with a little bit of water and screw it closed. See whether either end leaks. If it leaks you’ll have to try to plug up the holes with more cement if you can.
Put It to Work!
- Fill your new bass string cleaning tube with denatured alcohol.
- Place your strings on the hook.
- Slide the strings into the tube and screw the cap on.
- Let it sit in a corner for 12-24 hours.
- Take them out, wipe them off with a paper towel and let them dry out the alcohol will evaporate.
- Screw the tube closed and leave your denatured alcohol inside. If it’s closed, it won’t evaporate and it should work for many bass string cleanings to come. It'd be a good idea to mark the tube poison and keep it away from kids (and drummers)!
- Put your bass strings back on your bass.