string cleaning


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I use a cork. Something like a vine bottle cork cut in half lengthwise works great. Just rub it over the length of rosined area of the strings. I always worry about solvent taking rosin into the core of the strings.

I use the edge of whatever hand towel is in the bathroom. Don't laugh, it works. The thick edge does a great job of getting the rosin off the strings. The towel gets washed so it's always clean (and if not, I'll grab a clean one).

I don't over-rosin to begin with - which really helps as well.

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I remove rosin from the bowing area with a dry paper shop towel but cleanse the fingering area every so often with a towel with some alcohol on it to remove finger oils, but only if the fingerboard is real ebony (or other solid uncoated wood).  If it's not real ebony, you'll find out really fast  B) .

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Thanks folks.... appreciate the comments...

I used to use a dry cloth then moved to an alcohol dampened cloth but what I have been using for the last few years  is 0000 grade steel wool and find that it works exceptionally well by cutting the rosin off rather than flattening it out on the string, or soaking anything into the string windings.... 

So the purpose of my original post was to see what others do. 

As far as my customers are concerned, the steel wool idea seems to be safe advice.

My final question then is to see if anyone has any reason to believe that the steel wool option is not a good idea.

 

Thank everyone!

Cheers, Mat

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Microfiber dust cloth. Does a wonderful job.

After reading that some strings are made with soluble stuff under the windings, I gave up on alcohol. And with a microfiber dust cloth, alcohol isn't needed anymore. Why use solvents that can damage the finish when you don't need them?

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Steel wool does seem like overkill. I just use a dry cotton rag with my finger/fingernail behind it to scrape the rosin off. I do this at the end of every day, along with a thorough wipe down as I'm putting my violin away. Since it does the job perfectly adequately, I can't see any reason to take more aggressive actions.

Keeping the strings clean isn't just about hygiene. My feeling is that they quickly become "false" because any rosin buildup causes an unequal distribution of mass along the length of the string. That may be a long held figment of my imagination, but the effect seems pretty real to me.

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Microfiber dust cloth. Does a wonderful job.

After reading that some strings are made with soluble stuff under the windings, I gave up on alcohol. And with a microfiber dust cloth, alcohol isn't needed anymore. Why use solvents that can damage the finish when you don't need them?

 

I clean with cloth dampened with cigarette lighter solvent. But now, after read that, I am hesitating. Regards

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I am in the midst of trying to figure out a new ritual of strings/cleaning.  In my old days of a funky old fiddle and Dominants, it all seemed so simple...Now I've got a really nice instrument and I've been experimenting with Obligatos.  I love the sound of these strings, but they seem to go about three months and then get slippery. 

 

In the first month or so, I get several days from rosining the bow, cleaning with the microfiber cloth after each time I play.  When I see rosin on the strings that doesn't come off with the cloth itself, I follow up with alcohol, maybe once every week or two.  At the end of two months I find myself cleaning the strings with alcohol most days and adding a touch-up of on the rosin to get a good response.  When I first went through this, I thought my bow needed rehairing, so I had that done and still had issues, so I changed the strings, and all was well.  Now it's three months later and I'm back to the strings getting slippery--it has seemed that the D string is always first to go.  

 

I wonder if anyone else has this experience with Obligatos.  When my new strings show up, I am going to look at a new and old D strings under a microscope and see if anything is apparent.  Is the alcohol cleaning melting something, as was suggested?  I can't understand why a string cleaned with alcohol would get slippery, why alcohol would be a problem at all.  What is soluble in a string? 

 

I suspect that under a microscope I will see some sort of goop made up of alcohol-melted rosin coating the windings or trapped between them, that rosin sticks too much to that, and thus I have to use the alcohol treatment to remove it more frequently once the coating has been established.

 

Or is the deal that these $80 strings just poop out in three months?  ...sigh...

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......

Keeping the strings clean isn't just about hygiene. My feeling is that they quickly become "false" because any rosin buildup causes an unequal distribution of mass along the length of the string. That may be a long held figment of my imagination, but the effect seems pretty real to me.

Absolutely right... its all about clarity of tone.

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I occasionally throw out the cork so I have an excuse to open another bottle of wine! :D

Occasionally!!!!!!!???????Really???  Should be a nightly ritual. Oh, it is.   We all need those fresh corks.   :)   Seriously though, I used to have to maintain a HUGE amount of fractional rentals and I have always used 0000 steel wool.  Granted, they had steel strings, but it always worked well.  Since whatever I used had to be fast, nothing seemed better. I never considered anything else, I'll try the cork-that seems like a good idea.  jeff

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I don't like to have a string perfectly clean of rosin in the bowing area.  It may be purely psychological, but when I clean off ALL the rosin it seems to take a while to have as good a grip with the bow.  I wonder if other violinists sense this too.  So when I do use steel wool, I'm only loosening and removing most of it, not trying to get right down to the metal and take off ALL of it.  That might be one good reason to use steel wool instead of alcohol.  Most of the time I'll knock it down with the fingernail, only using steel wool sometimes.

 

To me the bowing area is one thing, and the area where the fingers contact the strings is another.  For the fingerboard and fingered areas, I'm happy enough with damp alcohol.

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Speaking of rosin grip, with the cooler weather descending on this part of the U.S. I am having an issue with rosin performance.

 

Awhile back, I changed to a rosin that offered a moderate bite, lasted for at least a week of typical play and practice, and had only a modest build up on the strings and dust on the violin.

 

But now that the temperature in the music room is typically in the mid-60F (I like it a tad on the cool side), it feels like the strings are skating on ice. If I play a string hard for a few seconds, the rosin again responds. But when I take a break or cross over to another string for some play, the previous string returns to its super-slick state.

 

Has anyone encountered a rosin that has decent cool-weather performance characteristics?

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