Something which may mildly excite gut string nerds with similarly poor foresight
I found myself in a familiar predicament: false strings, no spares, and a handful of minor performances in the next 10 days.
So I discovered that it's possible to refurbish "gently-used" gut strings (ie still in one piece) by scrubbing them down with denatured alcohol, polishing them with 0000 steel wool, and then rubbing in a little bit of almond oil to moisten the gut again. The strings came out crystal-clear and with a factory polish. And most importantly of all, not false (albeit they are a little thinner and therefore the tension is less). The tone is obviously better compared to a string clogged with sweat and grime, too.
Maybe one of you will find this knowledge useful if you find yourself down a river without extra strings, as I seem to so often.
Cotton, very interesting!
No more than five minutes, I think. Few seconds to get all the dirt out with the alcohol, a couple minutes of polishing, and then they're pretty much ready to go once you've oiled them. In terms of tuning, they're already stable, since they were fully stretched before I renewed them.
This is bad news for the folks who make gut strings. They want you to buy new ones every week.
While this is a great solution if the strings haven't broken, having spare strings on hand in case one breaks is something that I thought every violinist did as a matter of course. Even an old string is better than no string, so when putting fresh strings on, keeping the most recent set of removed strings can help in a real emergency when a string breaks.
And by the way, three cheers for the DIY discovery. Seriously!
Almost reviving this thread....
how long have you been playing on these gut strings Mr. Anzlovar?
About 2 months.
2 months is about the max for a gut E, but see the next paragraph. However, I would expect rather more for the A, depending on playing style, fingering, setup etc.
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