Black coloring on strings after few hours of play

Victorius

New Member
Joined
May 11, 2022
Messages
26
Hey there,

My PRS arrived on Thursday, and hardly had I started to play on it, black coloring appeared on the 3 thin strings, above frets I play the most.

I don't think this is normal and would like to know how to address this.

3472_ea813df9c0c0.jpg


Anybody any ideas, please?

(For comparison, my noname Chinese strat replica does not have any coloring on any strings after 5 months of play)
 

Doug B

Basic Hack
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Messages
138
Clean the neck and frets, put on a fresh set of strings. Or just try wiping down the strings and see if that helps.
 

Victorius

New Member
Joined
May 11, 2022
Messages
26
Clean the neck and frets, put on a fresh set of strings. Or just try wiping down the strings and see if that helps.
Again, it is a brand new guitar. :(

It is the same as if someone told told a person who just bought a brand new car to change the tyres. :oops:
 

Dedalus

New Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2022
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47
Location
Iowa
It looks like oxidization to me. New guitar yes, but how long was it in the shop? How many people may have played it?
 

Tone-y

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Jan 22, 2018
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1,119
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It will be the brand/make of strings that are on it. Different string brands/types are made from different alloys to different specs. You've probably got low alloy (high steel) strings that corrode very easily. The acid from your fingers has corroded the areas that you play regularly and isn't really anything to be concerned about - it happens with some sets of strings.
When I first started playing guitar 25 years ago I used to buy all kinds of different guitar strings to try them out. Some sets used to blacken up at the frets just like this (and basically come of as a corroded mess when I changed them). Over the years I've learnt what strings I like and I only buy them. To address the issue, as you've asked, change the strings with your preferred brand.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 5962

Guest
Again, it is a brand new guitar. :(

It is the same as if someone told told a person who just bought a brand new car to change the tyres. :oops:
No, its like driving your new car for a week and then complaining that it’s dirty and requires a wash.

I’ve pulled brand new strings out of the package and found black spots on them.
 

sergiodeblanc

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Apr 26, 2012
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26,549
Your guitar got strung at the factory and then spent 2 months in a shipping container on a boat. Just put new strings on it.

Again, it is a brand new guitar. :(

It is the same as if someone told told a person who just bought a brand new car to change the tyres. :oops:
I mean… factory tires are trash too. I’m not even a car guy and know this.
 

Herr Squid

I was severely impressed
Joined
Aug 19, 2012
Messages
2,021
My fingertips turned a little black in the first few hours of playing most of the new PRSi I've bought in recent years. After a day or two (I might have washed my hands once or twice) it was no big thing. I figure it's either string/skin chemistry or maybe some remnants of materials used at the factory. It didn't last. Worst case, changing to your favorite brand of strings will fix it up.
 
D

Deleted member 5962

Guest
I’m not selling anything, but anyone with this problem, stings or fingers turning black, etc., needs to use that polishing cloth I recommended! Stings feel better, look better, last better, etc. if you do that simple trick.
 

László

Historical Entity
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Apr 26, 2012
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32,065
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Michigan
It's just stuff that lots of new guitars get on the strings, from the polishes, etc., and dust floating around factories. Most guitar makers use strings from open shipment boxes so they don't have to open little packages during assembly. In a factory, the strings pick up lots of dust.

It's NORMAL Happens with guitars made all over the world. If it didn't happen to your other guitar, consider that luck, not intent.

Clean the fretboard. Change the damn strings.
 

Dirty_Boogie

Still got the ol' tagger on it
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Oct 28, 2017
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Agree with all the other posters here. But I will say that both my guitars I bought last year from the PRS Chinese manufacturing facility left my fingers (not the strings) blackened for the first few weeks of play. Both have ebony fretboards (SE Angelis and Hollowbody II), so I assume they apply a little extra dye to make them none more black. ;)

Blackened is the end... dirty fingers it will send -- James Hetfield
 

Aahzz

Bluebeard Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
6,268
I've found that with a lot of brand new guitars I've bought - Reverends in particular, but several other brands as well.. I've been told that it's either residue from the fret polishing process, or the fret board itself. Generally goes away after a few solid hours of play time, never bothered me. I always change strings the first day I get the guitar home, because while they may be new, they're not my preferred string, so they get changed very quickly. Generally at the same time I add strap lock buttons - both are done before the guitar sees any significant play time.
 
D

Deleted member 5962

Guest
The only set of M-steels I put on a guitar turned gray (wound strings) in a matter of 2 weeks. That's out of sealed packages. I have strings on several guitars that are over 2 years old and are still silver. Even my magic polishing cloth didn't turn those things silver again. And, I do not have the acidic hands some players have. A friend of mine uses only coated strings because his hands eat strings alive. He made what thought were outrageous claims until we did a big guitar weekend and he played one of my guitars for several hours every day. Brand new set of strings was corroded after one weekend! That WAS before my polishing cloth trick though, so maybe that would help some. But he gave up and plays all elixers on even his electrics.
 

László

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Agree with all the other posters here. But I will say that both my guitars I bought last year from the PRS Chinese manufacturing facility left my fingers (not the strings) blackened for the first few weeks of play. Both have ebony fretboards (SE Angelis and Hollowbody II), so I assume they apply a little extra dye to make them none more black. ;)

Blackened is the end... dirty fingers it will send -- James Hetfield
It probably isn't dye - I'm 100% certain they don't dye the US fretboards, and can't imagine they'd dye the overseas ones, but I have no personal knowledge on overseas models. I think it's just what happens in factories to strings that lay out on a cart or pallet in a factory where sawdust, polishing artifacts, and other stuff is in the air.

And if they apply a little something to the fretboards like tung oil, that alone will attract dirt and not wipe off quickly the way it will on a hard=-painted surface.

Every single guitar I've ever bought from 1967 on - including (but not limited to) high-end guitars, US Gibson Custom Shop, Fender, Martin ( including 40 series), Taylor 800 and 900 series, Collings, PRS, Anderson, and so on - has gotten my fingers a little dirty on Day 1. And I'm talking about a LOT of guitars bought new in that 55 year period.

If it lasts more than a day, change the strings, and it goes away.

Perhaps the OP is inexperienced in new guitar buying.
 
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