Boiling guitar strings is something that a lot of guitarists swear by. They say that it makes the strings expand, releasing oil and dirt from them so that instead of sounding flat and dead they sound just like new.
Is it true that boiling guitar strings give them a new lease of life? Well, sort of. Boiling your strings will make them sound better than they did before, and it will help them stretch a bit so that they have better tone and more tension.
If you boil your strings, then they will sound sharper, crispier and have a better spring and tone to them. Some oil and dirt will come out, but they won’t end up ‘like new’ not by a long stretch of the imagination.
It’s a good idea to use filtered water, rather than just tap water, because there are a lot of minerals in tap water, and they can actually damage the strings.
Only boil the strings for about 5 minutes for standard guitars, and 10-15 minutes for bass guitar strings. If you boil them for any longer than this, the strings will get weakened and could snap.
Boiling guitar strings is a little risky, and it’s probably not worth doing if you have relatively cheap strings; just replace them so they don’t break at an inopportune moment. Even expensive strings should only be boiled once or twice at most. Boil them any more than that and they are highly likely to break. Really, boiling strings is something that people do to revive old strings if they can’t get new ones, rather than something that you should do on a regular basis. New strings sound better, and they are far less likely to give out on you in the middle of a performance.