Changing Strings

  1. HonketyHank
    I was window shopping in Brad Laird's online store and noticed a neat freebie: a downloadable pdf-format excerpt from one of his instruction books on how to change strings. Here's a link and you can figure out how to navigate his site from there (I don't want to sound like his press agent). .

    Brad is one of those internet instructional gurus who stops in here every now and then. I have purchased several of his books in pdf format and I have found them to be quite useful. He's a good guy and a good teacher.

    A new mandolin player may wonder what is the big deal about restringing. The problem is that the obvious (and easy) way to put on a new string works fine for the wound strings but can allow the plain strings to slip under the high tension that is required to get mandolin strings up to pitch. And some of the 'tricks' to prevent string slippage work fine except that they can make it difficult to get strings uninstalled.

    Anyway, there are several ways to restring a mandolin without slippage and there are several threads in the main forum on the topic. From the picture shown on the listing from Brad's method, it looks like he is using a method I used and found to be quite effective. But I switched to a different one which I find to be as effective and slightly easier.

    It looks like Brad uses a technique I would call "thread and lock". Basically you thread the string through the eye in the tuning post, pull it taut, bring the free end of the string back around the post and tuck it under the taut end, and then turn the tuner knob to lock the free end under the taut end.

    What I do is what you might call "wrap and then thread". I take the string and just wrap it two or three times on the post and then thread the end through the eye and pull it tight. Those wraps before threading the string provide enough friction to prevent slippage. Usually I do two wraps for the A string and three wraps for the E string.

    Why did I switch? Like I said, I find it to be slightly easier for me. But I do like both methods.
  2. Tommcgtx
    I think the way Brad does it is the same way that Frank Ford shows here:

    That's the way I do it too.
  3. FredK
    I've done similar to this on guitar but with a few more turns of the peghead. I like Mike Marshall's method of locking the string in place when you turn the string back in the opposite direction after threading through the tuner post. As long as there's no slippage and my E string doesn't break as I bring it up to pitch, I'm a happy camper. Trying out D'Addario Monels for the first time when I re-string tonight.
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