If there’s one thing about playing I’ve always had trouble with, it’s going through strings. My hands sweat. A lot. And sweat really breaks down strings, especially in places where the humidity can be really bad (such as the Midwest, where I live).
I’ve played every brand and type of string: coated, uncoated, steel, nickel… the whole spectrum, and I’ve never found strings that could hold up. I just started playing strings that were cheap so that I could replace often (in the heat of my tours, I would replace strings about every month, and sometimes more often). Having string endorsement deals really helped this, but it isn’t an option for everyone.
I must concede, however, the thing I didn’t do often enough was wipe down my strings. Any time I ever tried to do this, it was a very tedious task to wrap a cloth around each string and go up and down a few times. After doing this once, I got fed-up with it, and just started wiping down the front really quickly with a cloth, then not at all. I just deal with having to replace my strings.
I was recently presented with the ToneGear’s The String Cleaner. I’ve seen these used, and never really picked-one up because I wasn’t convinced it would work. When I was wiping down my strings with a cloth, I could never get every angle of the string, so I thought this piece would be just another piece of gear that would find a spot in my junk drawer. After trying it out, I have to say, I’m pretty impressed. It’s simple, but does the job and does it well.
The String Cleaner is easy to pop open, just use your thumb and first two fingers. With a gentle squeeze, it pops right open. Then you close it around all your strings, give it a few passes up-and-down, and all the strings are free of sweat and grime; no solution required. It even hits your fingerboard! So no more grime building-up on the fingerboard from dead skin cells.
Plus, you only have to clean the cloth every two months, or when you change your strings. The important thing to note, however, is that this is purely a preventative measure, and can’t clean rusty, corroded strings. By that point, it’s too late. But it is a hassle-free, much more effective method of preventative maintenance.
The Bass String Cleaner fits all standard 4 and 5-string models (I tried it on my Lakland 5-string with broad string spacing), and is a must for every guy who sweats and hates wiping down their strings. It’s also good for those of you who hate fingerboard gunk! The Bass String Cleaner is a small investment that will pay for itself in the amount of money you’ll save on strings.