Is My String Dead?
In a word, No! In two words, Probably No! What is “dead” string anyway? This word “dead” has been associated with resiliency of a string. Resiliency, is, of course, the ability of a plastic material, such as string, to stretch and return many times. So it stands then when someone says “My String is Dead” they are saying the string is no longer resilient.
I have no evidence that this, lost resilience, is the case, however, and have created some short videos to confirm this. In the videos you will see the bounce height of a ball off of a string bed that is over twenty-three (23) years old and one off of a string bed that is about three (3) months old. What the videos show is the ball is bouncing higher off the 23 year old string bed than off the 3 month old string bed. We know, then that the string has not lost enough resilience to be “dead”. So what is happening?
For this discussion string looses tension, and that is about all. Lower tensions can provide a little more energy return to the ball and you can see this in the ball height off the old string bed. Lower tensions will increase dwell time, that is the amount of time the ball is in contact with the string (very short!). This increase in dwell time can contribute to the perception that the string is “dead” because it will not sound the same and the ball may be a little less controllable.
Can I make a string “dead”? Sure, if you exceed the elastic limit of the string but this would put you in the tensile strength (maximum weight the string can hold) area, and there are very few strings that will encounter that stress in stringing or playing.
Take a look at the video and let me know if you have any questions. In the meantime rest assured that your string is not “dead”.