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How to Clean Bass Strings

Bass String Cleaning Solution

By far the best method to clean bass strings is to soak them in denatured alcohol. You will be amazed at how well cleaning your bass strings this way works. In some parts of the world denatured alcohol is called methylated spirits.


Let me stress that denatured alcohol is poisonous! DO NOT DRINK DENATURED ALCOHOL!!! Denatured basically means poisoned. They add poison to pure wood alcohol so they don’t have to pay hefty liquor taxes and it can be sold at hardware stores. So, keep your drummer away from it. They're hard enough to find!

Not only is this stuff poisonous, but it is also very flammable. Don’t use or store it near any heat source – cigarettes, water heaters, fireplaces, etc. Use it in a well-ventilated area or outside because the fumes stink and can be irritating. Also avoid skin and eye contact with it. Use some rubber gloves and protective goggles. Don’t be scared to use it. It’s not dangerous to use if you follow simple safety precautions.

Don't Substitute Anything Else to Clean Your Bass Strings

Denatured alcohol, or methylated spirits, has no water in it. You don’t want to put water on your bass strings like I warned in the boiling bass strings article. Some strings may rust as a result. Rubbing alcohol, as from a drugstore, has water mixed in it. So, don’t use rubbing alcohol as a substitute. Just use denatured alcohol from your local hardware/home improvement store. It can be found next to the paint thinner products. In many places you need to be 18+ years old to buy it.

How To Clean Your Bass Guitar Strings

Just soak your bass strings for 12-24 hours in the denatured alcohol, wipe them off and they’re like new. You can clean them as often as you like. Each time they are like new. Over time they will wear out from frets chewing into them. If you do a lot of popping, you will also wear out/weaken your bass strings more quickly. On a fretless bass you can use the same set of bass strings seemingly forever.

I highly recommend building a bass string cleaning tube. Then, you should buy a bunch of different brands and types of bass strings to have around and experiment with. Now you don't have to fear buying some of those pricier bass strings!