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Do Bass Strings Rust?

Wear and tear is always something you have to take into account when it comes to working with guitar strings.

You have to know when it is time to replace them.

Most newbie bass players I work with usually ask if bass strings do indeed rust.

This post will therefore discuss this to give you insight and a good understanding of this.

With that said,

Do bass strings rust?

Bass strings like most strings do rust and you can usually see them start to corrode. The most common type of corrosion on bass strings are rust spots. When you start to see such wear and tear, it is time for you to replace your bass strings.

Causes of Rust on Bass Strings


How you store your guitar has a lot of impact on the strings and the overall instrument itself.

What you want to avoid is storage spaces that have too much moisture in them because moisture will rust your strings.

So pay attention to the humidity of the storage space, because the basic idea is that too much humidity is bad as well as too little humidity is bad.

So you need to basically strike a balance.

Highly humid spaces can easily cause rust on your strings due to the Hugh concentration of water in the air, so you’ll basically want to avoid that.

Ensure that you store your bass guitar in a room with proper ventilation to allow for good air circulation, avoid stuffy rooms with poor ventilation.

Because your bass strings react to everything in the atmosphere

Type of strings

Another thing that can cause your strings to rust or what determines whether your strings will rust or not are the type of strings you’re using.

Generally cheap strings are more susceptible to rust and damage than better priced ones.

This is why it’s always a good idea to go for coated strings.

Coated strings are corrosion resistant which makes them pretty much ideal because they don’t easily let dirt and any unwanted atmospheric material to build up on them.

Cheaper strings don’t have such protection which makes them pretty much weak, especially if they are being handled with very little care.

Coated strings are a better bet.

Before you go for coated strings, it’s a good idea to get an in-depth explanation from the seller with regard to the material coated on your bass strings, how long the coat can protect your strings and how to maintain the coated strings.

Playing with sweaty hands

Your hands are ever accumulating dirty, oils, sweat etc because you’re constantly using them.

Sweat from hands has a very negative effect on your strings. It can make strings of any sort start to rust….

This is one of the more overlooked things, especially by beginners that don’t know much about strings.

The fact is some people produce more sweat than others therefore, you should know if you do or not.

Either way, clean your hands by washing them and then drying them with a towel.

How to protect bass strings from rust

Clean your strings

A great way to protect your bass strings against rusting is to always clean your bass guitar strings after playing.

This may seem like a no-brainer but most people over look this fact until its too late.

Rusted strings can be dangerous to play with so it’s always a good idea to do right by your bass strings and prevent this from happening by taking good care of them.

Using a lint-free microfiber cloth, gently wipe down your strings.

This method isn’t going to remove much visible dirt or debris, but it will remove moisture which is harmful to strings.

That’s why it’s an efficient way to protect your strings from rusting.

You can also use alternative string cleaners, just remember to go for high end string cleaners that actually make a difference.

Most cheap string cleaners are pretty much ineffective.


Anti Rust

Finally, You could consider using guitar strings coated with an anti-rust chemical or compound. 

Elixir is known for their rust-proof strings, feature a patented coating that protects against corrosion and extends the life of the strings.

Other strings are produced with a chromium coating, which also protects against corrosion.

Cheap strings on the other hand are not rust protected, so they will wear and tear that much quickly.

Even if you follow all of these tips and keep your guitar strings meticulously dry, they may still rust after a certain amount of time.

Assuming the rust is minor, you can usually clean it with some rubbing alcohol.

Most guitar experts however do not recommend using running alcohol because it can cause damage to your guitar. So if you plan to use alcohol, you may want to use it to a very minimal level.

Once the rust on your bass strings become severe, though, you’ll need to invest in new strings to avoid them from snapping off which could be dangerous.

Do Bass Strings Rust?
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