Guitarists on a budget become some of the most creative guitarists of all. One of the many things the budget guitarist has created is the string boiling technique. String boiling is exactly what it sounds like; boiling your guitar strings to make them ‘new’ again.

string boiling

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So Does Boiling Your Strings Help Or Hurt?

First off, let’s talk about how boiling guitar string actually works. Our fingers are covered in oil, dirt, and dead skin. Can’t see it? Neither can I, but I assure you, it is there.

Boiling your guitar strings is the same principle of ideas as boiling a needle before piercing; you kill the germs, oils, dirt, and all other impurities. Just like all metal, guitar strings will also expand, which means low and behold, your strings are now just a bit longer, which makes the job of fitting them back into the post that much easier.

This would all be great; in fact, it would be fantastic if there were no possible downsides. We would be able to buy a single set of strings a year, which would add roughly a hundred-plus dollars into our wallets.

Only, there are downsides. When you boil strings, you risk relieving stress in the strings winding, which can in turn create dead spots on the string.

What Does This Mean?

It means that you will possibly lose some of your notes due to your string no longer making noise. Imagine playing your favorite lick, and then all of a sudden one of the notes is missing. You’re fretting it and picking it, but nothing is coming out! A guitarist’s nightmare if there ever were one.

But There’s More!

Strings can become more brittle after boiling, which means that they will be most likely to snap. Also, because of calcium and mineral deposits in the water, you will have to use de-ionized water to avoid the risk of eroding the core of your string. This means that your string has an even more chance of becoming even more brittle.

Plus, if you wash your pan with soap (just like all of us do) there are even further chances that the deposits will enter your strings and erode the core.

Now, all that being said, the pro side to boiling strings, besides the above-mentioned, is the fact that you will most likely be boiling tarnished strings. This means that if they break, no harm no fowl; you just wasted a bit of time, but you’re still in the same position.

Boiling strings can help, yet it has an equal chance to cause just as much hindrance. The best thing you can do is to prolong the life of your string to the best of your abilities. This means washing your hands before every playing session and between breaks, thoroughly wiping down the strings after use to rid them of impurities, and keeping your guitar in a case, or another stable environment.

As for boiling, it is a fifty-fifty shot, although it is best you wait until the last possible session to perform your boiling, just in case!


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