Boiling Guitar Strings - Does Cooking Guitar Strings Work?





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Published on Jun 2, 2012

Read my full article on Boiling Guitar Strings by clicking on the link below.

So, does boiling guitar strings, or I guess some say cooking guitar strings, really work? Well, as you have seen in my video review I have some doubts. But I will say this, It is quite possible that I simply didn't do it the right way. Because it seems that there are some folks out there who have recipes a la "boiling guitar strings with vinegar" and swear that this is the best thing ever. As I said, it is quite possible that I didn't do it right.

First, let's discuss why one would even consider to cook guitar strings. Since I started playing guitar and became more and more interested in music, I heard of people claiming that they were boiling bass strings or guitar strings. Mainly for one reason, because they were too poor to afford new strings and they believed that by putting them into boiling water, it would extend their lifespan. For instance, I know that Tony Iommi wrote in his autobiography that Geezer Butler was cooking bass strings on a regular basis and he claimed that it seemed to work well. The strings apparently sounded fresher and a that new feel to it.

How to boil guitar strings? As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, I'm sure that there all different methods out there. And some are probably more effective than others. But here is how I cooked my guitar strings: I just threw them into boiling water and let them cook for about 10 minutes. When I took them out of the water and after they had cooled down, I had a close look. As you can see in my video, boiling guitar strings didn't really work for me. Looking along the individual guitar strings there were still spots that were severely dirty. Now the question is, should I have left them cooking a little longer? Or perhaps I should have added some vinegar, like some other guitarists suggests. I don't know the answer, but as far as I am concerned, I don't thing that boiling guitar strings is worth the effort. When you think about the time involvement and compare it with the results, as far as I can tell, there really is no incentive of cooking your guitar strings over just buying a set of new one. Of course, I do understand the argument that buying new guitar strings can get costly. On the other hand, if you order in bulks, you can actually save some decent money on new strings.

Do boiled guitar strings sound better? Again, as demonstrated in the video there was no noticeable difference as far as I can tell. The strings I boiled in my test were several months on my dobro resonator guitar. I played and recorded them right before and after I boiled them for 10 minutes and I could not notice any difference.

Alternatives to boiling guitar strings: I believe that the most effective way to get your guitar strings clean is by the use of a regular household cleaner. Those cleaners contain alcohol and that is the secret ingredient. Of course, alternatively, you may just want to use rubbing alcohol or I heard some folks suggesting to use perfume. I don't like the latter, because the thought of scented guitar strings is just wrong. Anyway, cleaning your guitar strings with an alcohol based cleaner seems to be a viable alternative over cooking them in hot water.

Boiling guitar strings is something you should try out for yourself. Who knows, you might be much more successful at this than I was. If you find or already heave a good method of how to boil guitar strings, please let me know.

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Thanks for watching, happy strumming.

Dieter Ulrich Peise
Founder of GuitarIngenuity.com, Acousticalley.com and GitarreGenial.de

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