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Thread: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

  1. #1

    Default Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Well i have not plenty of time to play my mandolin but it bothers me when i bring it out of the case and begin to play strings have that rot smell which passes on my fingers despite i use liquids such as Dunlop 65 and fast fret when i stop playing it.
    How do you get rid of that?

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  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Don't use those products?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Not sure what "rot smell" means. The brass or nickel windings of strings can pass along a metallic odor. Body oils and sweat from fingers can linger on strings and turn a bit rancid; these substances also can accumulate on the fretboard and be picked up by your fingers.

    Best tactic, rather than applying some other substance after playing, is just to wipe down strings and fretboard with a clean cloth, even a microfiber, after each time you play. Removing all unwanted substances from the neck should minimize any odor.

    When you open a package of new strings, give them a sniff; do you smell a metallic odor? Is that in any way related to the odor you're getting after you play? Individual body chemistry does come into the picture -- that's why some players deaden their strings after a few episodes of playing, while others' strings stay un-corroded and "new" sounding for months. My late brother John could make a set of guitar strings sound dead after a couple days, while I can keep strings on infrequently-played instruments for a year or more.

    I would try decreasing your use of lubricants, as Charles E suggests; these may be contributing to the problem rather than solving it.
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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco Mancini View Post
    ...despite i use liquids such as Dunlop 65 and fast fret
    first of all: whatever cleaning agent you put on, must not stay there. I must be wiped off thoroughly after letting it work for, say, a minute. And not just on the upside of the strings, but all around.
    Then: I have tried Dunlop 65 and found it brightens up the strings for a short time but makes them sink into a deeper dullness than before in the long run. I have returned to Dr Duck's applied with a cloth and wiped off again with a cloth and I am happy with it.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    In over 50 years of playing guitars and mandolins I’ve never felt the need to put anything on a set of strings. When guitar strings went dead, we used to take the wound ones off, boil them (which cleared the gunk out) and put them back on again. This made them last for a couple more weeks but We never did it because of a bad smell. If they’re really that bad, you may wish to consider changing them.

  8. #6
    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Would it be the oxidation of the strings ? The tips of the fingers are black and that smell that lingers on the fingers. ?

  9. #7
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Copper can have an odor as it oxidizes, and bronze is primarily copper. I have some bass strings with a lot of copper in the windings, and they will make my hands smell. Just wipe them down often with a clean cloth.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    All right then folks thanks to everybody even tho i must admit that those strings are on the instrument for at least six months or more i should say. :-/

  11. #9
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    I dont use anything on strings except to wipe occasionally (should always), I always found using anything on strings is like using Rain-X. Once you use it, its worse when you stop. I usually change my strings more by the way they feel than how they sound.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    I dont use anything on strings except to wipe occasionally (should always), I always found using anything on strings is like using Rain-X. Once you use it, its worse when you stop. I usually change my strings more by the way they feel than how they sound.
    I don't use anything on strings, either, but I'm a big fan of Rain-X. I don't think I've used wipers in 40 years. I don't see any downside, just put more on, right?

    FWIW, guys with cars worth 6 figures or more do this "super-detailing" thing when cleaning a car. First, don't ever let the car get dirty. Secord, there is something called a clay bar that you rub over the paint to remove stuff that soap and water doesn't remove, then your waxes, etc, BUT the same goes for the windshield and other glass -- first you "clean" the glass with a razor blade in soapy water to remove fine road film, then "wax" the glass. Supposedly, if you get it that clean, you don't need the Rain-X, the water just runs right off and won't cling......

    I say supposedly, I don't have a car worth 6 figures and I'm happy with Rain-X........but, some guys really spend a lot of time with their cars, so......
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Jul-13-2020 at 11:33am.

  13. #11

    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Fast Fret.
    Before and AFTER you play it.

  14. #12

    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Yes Fast Fret and sometimes Dunlop 65 for strings , they seem to do the trick but if ,say , i don't use one on my guitar for a month which has happened with a Paul Reed Smith the rot stench of the bronze string passes over my fingers even tho the last time ,before finishing play ,i put it through the strings the fast fret or the dunlop.65

    Cheers

  15. #13
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    oops

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I don't use anything on strings, either, but I'm a big fan of Rain-X. I don't think I've used wipers in 40 years. I don't see any downside, just put more on, right?

    FWIW, guys with cars worth 6 figures or more do this "super-detailing" thing when cleaning a car. First, don't ever let the car get dirty. Secord, there is something called a clay bar that you rub over the paint to remove stuff that soap and water doesn't remove, then your waxes, etc, BUT the same goes for the windshield and other glass -- first you "clean" the glass with a razor blade in soapy water to remove fine road film, then "wax" the glass. Supposedly, if you get it that clean, you don't need the Rain-X, the water just runs right off and won't cling......

    I say supposedly, I don't have a car worth 6 figures and I'm happy with Rain-X........but, some guys really spend a lot of time with their cars, so......


    I just recall when it would start to wear off, my blades would skip. Same with my fingers

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    Mando Mando Sperry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    You could boil the strings. I used to do this with banjo strings to get a little more life out of them. And skip the product.

  18. #15
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    A new set of strings only cost $6.....

  19. #16
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sperry View Post
    You could boil the strings. I used to do this with banjo strings to get a little more life out of them. And skip the product.
    I have tried this once and decided to make it a one-of-a-kind experience.
    I clean strings to minimize the hassle of putting them off and on, which is OK for putting on new ones, but not for putting on old ones again for another week.
    The lifespan of strings is limited, but so is mine: time is much more valuable than money.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  20. #17

    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    My strings smell fine, but sometimes my playing stinks!��������

  21. #18
    Mando Mando Sperry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    I have tried this once and decided to make it a one-of-a-kind experience.
    Yes. I did it once when I was 14 years old. And once again while camping near a remote town for a summer.

    My thinking is Depression Era practices exist for a reason and we should remember them. But not necessarily practice them.

    Another thing I noticed is really old-timers have a way of tying the string to the machine post. Which makes it REALLY annoying when you change strings, as the ends are snipped where ever instead of neatly tight-to-post. This could have ben a carry-over from gut strings. As well as a way to keep one of your strings from being stolen while you're on the vaudeville circuit. The pork chop circuit. Earning your beans and bacon and grits as a trade musician.

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  23. #19

    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    Still not sure what "rot smell" is..................but, I sure don't want it!

    Start with fresh strings.
    Clean fretboard with lemon oil and 0000 steel wool.
    Stop using those other products -- those are for guitar players.....
    Wash hands before playing.
    Wipe strings with soft DRY cloth after playing.

    IT SHOULD BE NOTED that most of us DON"T have to do any of those things and DON"T experience "rot smell" so it might be a chemical reaction between you and your mandolin/strings, that is, some people produce an acidic sweat that destroys metal fairly fast, both strings and tarnishes plated metal parts. Somewhat rare, but as a repairman I see the result of this condition on a fairly regular basis. Remedy: strings replaced, fingerboard cleaned, usually the plated metal parts (tuners, bridges, tailpiece, etc.) can be replaced if the instrument is recent, but not always possible on vintage instruments, so sometimes you have to live with some ugliness. Like I say, a longshot, might not be the case, but ACTUALLY the first thing that came to mind when I read your thread.....

    On a lighter note and in this age of popular television shows such as "The Walking Dead" ...............I would say don't let Zombies play your instrument under any circumstances -- those dead fingers just seem to break off and get ground deep into the string windings -- yep, causing that ROT SMELL!!!!

  24. #20
    Mando Mando Sperry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rot smell on strings how to get rid of it?

    The wrong sealer may have been used. Linseed oil vs. boiled linseed oil. I had a 1920s door which really stunk to high heaven; the paint had a solvent in it which smelled like piss 80-100 years after application. The 0000 and lemon oil or 0000 and naphtha fix may do it. Get down to ebony and try it au naturel.

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