Welcome to part two where members from Ensiferum and Stam1na share their expressions about the topic. This method will improve how your guitar and bass will get in tune. You will also save money on strings as you do not need to change them as often. Our instructional video shows how the coolest tuning tip works so you too can start enjoying its benefits.
Comments from Ensiferum and Stam1na members
It’s time to let Petri, Markus, Kai-Pekka and Antti share their feelings about our tip. They all have a pretty thorough knowledge of studio work and live shows. Both bands have been active since the 90’s with several albums in professional studios with professional producers along with countless tours and liveshows.
Ensiferum and one more magic potion
Get in tune using alcohol – guitars in studio and voice in karaoke!!!
We were introduced to this on the Two Paths album session and it was surprising how efficient it is. When we started recording the rhythm guitars I mentioned the strings being old. Didn’t have a clue when they were changed. I had played several rehearsals and live shows to say the least. Still, they sounded ok and the guitar got in tune. After few days tuning problems were creeping in and it took a lot longer to tune. Kippo showed me a small bottle and said: “Let’s try with alcohol!!!”.
-“Sure! Why not!” I replied.
We poured a drop on a cloth and cleaned the strings that left black marks on it. Guitar sounded like it had new strings and the tuning was immediately there. We were flabbergasted!
This method brings the brightness back and lengthens the use of strings and you don’t have to change them as often. Which is great especially in studio as changing strings during session can change the sound sometimes even pretty much.
When Two Paths album guitar recording with Anssi Kippo at Astia-studio started, we bumped into a very common problem; getting guitars in tune wasn’t happening, until Anssi brought a bottle of isopropyl alcohol and used it to thoroughly clean the strings. After that the chords were exactly in tune even without touching the tuning knobs. We used this tuning tip as soon as there were any signs of detune. We didn’t change any strings during the session and the tuning knobs needed adjusting only few times.
–Markus Toivonen / Ensiferum
Tuning with Stam1na
Cleaning the strings with isopropyl alcohol was something I had never heard before. During our studio session last summer I probably saved one set of strings. The time spent on tuning seemed to be less than what we were used to. The biggest test will be the tour. On sweaty conditions of a club tour a new set of strings is good for 1-2 shows and then, no matter what brand it is, it becomes un-useable. Let’s see if isopropyl alcohol makes miracles also on the live show strings.
–Kai-Pekka Kangasmäki / Stam1na
Stam1na recorded the 8th studio album Taival during spring and summer 2018 in two different locations; Astia-studio in Lappeenranta and SF Sound Studio in Lehmo. During the first single Elämänlanka session in Astia-studio Anssi introduced me to an almost too simple a way that would make our routined studio work a lot easier. It was about string instrument maintenance using isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth.
As victims of modern heavy metal, our curse is a heck-load amount of strings in guitar. After using 7-string guitars for over 10 years, we decided to make the transition to 8-string guitars on the new album. When you realise the amount of strings used during rehearsals, touring and going thru different studios, any tip that helps to reduce the amount is more than welcome and not least from the financial point of view. I tour with at least two 7-string ESP Custom Shop guitars. Each guitar gets new strings after 2-3 shows depending on how intense the shows are (the amount of sweat, water, blood, saliva and alcohol spilled on the instrument).
Anssi showed me a method that not only lengthens the age of strings but also delivers better tuning. A small drop of isopropyl alcohol bought from pharmacy is absorbed to a cloth that is pulled back and forth on a string until the scum from strings comes off. You can hear the dirt coming off by a sound that is a high-pitched squeal that goes away when the dirt is removed.
On the studio session of our new album I used this on my guitars and was happy to learn the method truly is onto something. During the album recording I used the strings on my ESP- and E-II guitars twice as long or maybe even longer. A bottle of isopropyl alcohol (100 ml, around 6,5€) and a proper cloth were at reach by the playing chair thru-out the session. I cleaned the strings during production discussions. We saved money, time and nerves, everyone of us including our producer Janne Joutsenniemi. In studio you need to be able to concentrate on what is of essence!
We tour abroad with reduced technical staff, tight schedule and a lot more moderate circumstances compared to Finland. Especially when your nerves and the schedule are shredded to pieces, fast and efficient string maintenance is more than welcome. I have managed to get my instruments ready in few minutes by cleaning the strings with a small bottle and a cloth.
End of part two
If you too suffer from the pretty common guitars-are-not-getting-in-tune problem, please try our tip and comment your expressions below. We also recommend reading our other blog posts for more cool tips and other sound related topics. Thank you for reading. We truly hope this tip will help you as much as it helps us. Take care, stay tuned and get in tune!
Astia-studio is a full analog recording studio located in eastern Finland with 25 years of experience working with bands and artists from all over the world.