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Old 07-10-2017, 07:24 PM   #1
james on bass
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Remedy for "Sticky" flats?

So, my two main basses now sport EB Cobalt Flats. I love the tone, both from what I hear through my rig and through FOH.

The problem?... We're now in summer outdoor show season and I'm finding it a little sticky manoeuvering around the fingerboard with flats during these outdoor shows. I've always been a stickler for washing my hands before playing, so it isn't that. I always have a towel on stage and am giving the strings a rub-down in between sets.

Any suggestions?
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:37 PM   #2
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Does the rubdown clear up the problem and then it gradually returns, or is it consistent from start to finish? If it's the latter, I'd say the rubdown isn't doing the job on its own and maybe try a diluted rubbing alcohol to see if that de-schmutzifies things better. I'd also pay attention if there's a certain 'catalyst' - humidity, heat, both equally, playing time, etc. If it's the former, um, rub them down more often?

Maybe if it's just a 'fingers in the summer' thing and it's within a song or so and it's not the strings but your fingers, keep a dish of rubbing alcohol with a sponge in it so you can swipe your fingers to clean them between songs?
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:53 PM   #3
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Does the rubdown clear up the problem and then it gradually returns, or is it consistent from start to finish? If it's the latter, I'd say the rubdown isn't doing the job on its own and maybe try a diluted rubbing alcohol to see if that de-schmutzifies things better. I'd also pay attention if there's a certain 'catalyst' - humidity, heat, both equally, playing time, etc. If it's the former, um, rub them down more often?

Maybe if it's just a 'fingers in the summer' thing and it's within a song or so and it's not the strings but your fingers, keep a dish of rubbing alcohol with a sponge in it so you can swipe your fingers to clean them between songs?
Thanks. I also should have mentioned I've done the alcohol rub-down a couple of times as well, but not actually at a show. I'll bring some with me next weekend as I have another outdoor show and there is a good chance it will be humid. It's worth a try.

And I should note, I used one of my basses with rounds for one set on Saturday and it felt just fine.

I really hate to give up the flats though. I'll keep trying.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:06 PM   #4
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Maybe if it's just a 'fingers in the summer' thing
This was my conclusion when I was playing regularly in my country band. Used a fan on stage and tried to keep my hands from getting wet/clammy.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:29 PM   #5
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:18 PM   #6
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Odorless Mineral Spirits cut grime and goo better than alcohol.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:59 AM   #7
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Eat fried chicken before show...don't wash hands.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:05 AM   #8
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boil them. for best results, do NOT remove them from the bass. just boil the whole thing. 60 to 90 minutes should be enough.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:52 AM   #9
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I use baby powder on my hands when playing the URB in summer. Its messy, but effective. I keep this size in my cables box and it is essential:
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:56 AM   #10
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i was going to suggest talcum powder or gold bond ball powder
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:13 AM   #11
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A bucket o' steam works pretty good.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:07 PM   #12
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boil them. for best results, do NOT remove them from the bass. just boil the whole thing. 60 to 90 minutes should be enough.
Do you recommend potatoes and carrots as well, or does the bass itself produce a hearty enough broth?
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:07 PM   #13
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Flats ALWAYS feel sticky to me. Ima roundwound guy.
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Old 07-12-2017, 07:54 AM   #14
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A bucket o' steam works pretty good.
Don't forget blinker fluid.
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Old 07-12-2017, 08:00 AM   #15
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Do you recommend potatoes and carrots as well, or does the bass itself produce a hearty enough broth?
the bass will render its fat and proteins to the boiling fluid (might I suggest kerosene?) and it makes a tasty broth, especially good for warming your insides on a cold winter's night.
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Old 07-12-2017, 08:07 AM   #16
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Flats ALWAYS feel sticky to me. Ima roundwound guy.
I had flats put on (PawnShop Jag, 32" scale) recently for the first time in at least 30 years......promptly removed them. Put it down as lesson relearned.
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:07 AM   #17
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Odorless Mineral Spirits cut grime and goo better than alcohol.
You could always get a 3 1/2-foot or so piece of 3/4" PVC pipe, cap one end, put whatever solvent you like - Everclear, 95% isopropyl alcohol, odorless (or pre-odored) mineral spirits, put the strings in there and let it sit overnight.

Forget who it was who mentioned that first but it was years ago. I thought it was kind of a cool idea.
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:54 PM   #18
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You could always get a 3 1/2-foot or so piece of 3/4" PVC pipe, cap one end, put whatever solvent you like...
I think solvents like acetone and MEK will dissolve PVC pretty quickly, so I'd recommend to stick with alcohol for this setup.
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Old 07-14-2017, 12:02 AM   #19
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I have the same issue with the DR Neon orange strings. Love the look, and like playing them when it's cool, but if I start sweating I just can't seem to pluck the notes right. I've tried sticking my fingers in my mouth and licking my fingers/spitting on them between songs and it does help temporarily but halfway through the song they're drying and sticky again.
I guess if I improve my aim I could just spit on the bass strings where I'm playing.
It happens on both hands, but I seem to notice it a bit more with the right hand, although most of the color has worn off the strings in that spot. I'm currently not sure whether that makes it better or worse... I either need new strings or different strings on that bass, but I really want to keep the neon orange.
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Old 07-14-2017, 05:39 AM   #20
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You could always get a 3 1/2-foot or so piece of 3/4" PVC pipe, cap one end, put whatever solvent you like - Everclear, 95% isopropyl alcohol, odorless (or pre-odored) mineral spirits, put the strings in there and let it sit overnight.

Forget who it was who mentioned that first but it was years ago. I thought it was kind of a cool idea.
Or you could coil the strings up like most are packaged originally and use a stainless mixing bowl.
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Old 07-14-2017, 06:26 AM   #21
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You could always get a 3 1/2-foot or so piece of 3/4" PVC pipe, cap one end, put whatever solvent you like - Everclear, 95% isopropyl alcohol, odorless (or pre-odored) mineral spirits, put the strings in there and let it sit overnight.

Forget who it was who mentioned that first but it was years ago. I thought it was kind of a cool idea.
I've been doing it for years. Doesn't exactly 'fix' the strings, but it does extend the lives significantly. I end up rotating strings from bass to bass as they go dead.
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Old 07-14-2017, 06:44 AM   #22
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When my strings start to get a little dead, I get a new bass.
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Old 07-14-2017, 08:29 AM   #23
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Or you could coil the strings up like most are packaged originally and use a stainless mixing bowl.
You could, but it wouldn't be nearly as cool.



edit: Just thought of this but an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner would probably be the coolest thing ever.

https://www.amazon.com/Magnasonic-Pr...s_7301205011_4
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Old 07-16-2017, 02:29 PM   #24
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So, the baby powder trick worked very well last night. Just a very light dusting before I took the stage and my hands and strings felt great!
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:38 PM   #25
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DoYou should get one of those rock climbers chalk bags


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Old 07-17-2017, 10:39 AM   #26
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DoYou should get one of those rock climbers chalk bags


That would be a great idea. What could possibly go wrong?!
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:43 AM   #27
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I've tried sticking my fingers in my mouth and licking my fingers/spitting on them between songs...
Eew. Remind me never to buy a used bass from you
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