There are a few reasons that the sound of metal musical instrument 
strings become dead and thuddy as they get older --- but by far 
the main offender is the accumulation of finger oil, dirt and 
other crud in the string's windings that builds up over time.

Boiling removes most of this crud and dramatically brightens the
tone, often to near-new sound.

Simply coil stings in a coffee can or other pot that you don't 
mind getting dirty (you'd be surprised how much grime boils out 
sometimes) and boil hard for five or ten minutes. I've never had 
this boiling process harm strings in any way. While still hot and 
wet, wipe them down thoroughly with a cloth (protect your hands 
with leather gloves). Make sure the strings are amply dry before 

This boiling method, which only works for wound strings (it has no 
effect on plain, un-wound strings which don't have winding-grooves 
for crud to hide), is nothing new, but in every case I've ever 
tried it over the years, it greatly improves the tone.

I've read some postings on the internet that claim boiling strings 
dosen't work -- Huh!!? -- I don't understand why anyone would 
claim this, the "before & after" difference being SO remarkable. 
Another claim is that any improvement caused by boiling is 
short-lived --- I have never found this to be the case. Makes me 
think these people never really tried boiling strings. In any 
event, the "proof is in the pudding" -- try it! - there's little 
to lose and a whole lot to be gained. Brightens the sound right up.

Dennis Havlena

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