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Thread: Headstock Scratches

  1. #1

    Default Headstock Scratches

    Iíve been playing the mandolin for years, but despite my best efforts I canít seem to avoid the occasional tiny headstock scratch while changing strings. The tiny string ends just seem to have a mind of their own. Is there a strategy to avoid these tiny scratches or do you guys just consider it normal play wear and just live with it?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    I suppose you could make a cardboard guard with slots in it to fit around the tuner shafts while you change the strings.

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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    Quote Originally Posted by Rbaer View Post
    I can’t seem to avoid the occasional tiny headstock scratch while changing strings
    Yep. I'm careful changing strings but have put a slight scratch on my Ellis headstock. If small enough I don't care. I kinda like the evidence of use on my mandolins tbh.

  4. #4
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    I cut my strings to length before winding them. Never had a scratch.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	173262 I love the look of Reischman's headstock.
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    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    I've said this before! You play em they will get used! Get used to it or put em in a glass case to look at!

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  10. #7
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    You have several options:

    1) Just live with the scratches! They are, basically, normal wear and tear.

    2) Be much more careful when your re-string your mandolin using your current favored method, making sure to catch the string end as it emerges from the post with your fingers, then bending it lightly, to keep it away from the headstock faceplate at all times.

    3) Learn a new way to re-string. Several other re-stringing methods are less prone to scratching the headstock than yours, in all likelihood. Among these are are methods where you first wrap the string around the post and THEN pass it through the hole. This method is fast, and has several other advantages, too!! Or use the method where you cut the string to length early on in the process.

    4) Protect the headstock when you re-string. You could always mask off the headstock with some blue painter's tape (or any other type of masking tape) before re-stringing, then remove the tape afterwards. You could even use Post-It notes for this purpose.


    Personally speaking, I'd recommend that you go with #2 or #3. But always keep #1 in mind. If all else fails, try #4!

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  12. #8
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    This is a totally avoidable situation with proper technique. Many years ago I worked for a guitar shop as a repairman and builder. While stringing a new build or restringing a customers instrument, if I scratched the peghead there would be hell to pay.

    So, what I do is remove the G course first, put the first string on and put a piece of tape over the loop at the tail end. Pull the string over the bridge to the tuning post and go past it to the third tuner ( about 2 inches). Cut the string to this length. Insert the string in the post hole so that 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of string length is past the post, make a bend to lock it and wind the string. For the second G string go to the fourth post (again about 2 inches) and cut the string, insert to the post and wind. At this point the end of the string is to short to affect the peghead. Use the same procedure for the D courses. On the A and E courses I leave a little extra length.
    Last edited by Charles E.; Dec-08-2018 at 7:27pm.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    I do the same as Charley,cut the strings to length before i wind them on.Even then,over the years you're bound to get a few tiny scratches. My 13 Year old Weber "Fern" has a few of them,but they are 'small'. I do strongly suspect the the scratches happen when i remove the strings as they tend to spring off the tuner posts. Putting them on,i poke the strings through the post hole until about 3/16" is sticking through,& then wind on. The string ends get nowhere near the headstock,
    Ivan
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  16. #10
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    Not quite sure how this is happening. Since one has the string end go into the tuner from the middle of the headstock outward away from the headstock. No scratch there. Then around and under the string and then straight up, again away from the headstock when locking the string as you wind the tuner to tighten the string. No scratch there. Maybe, it's just a matter of slowing down and being more careful. I never rush when changing my strings. I consider changing strings just more alone time with my instrument, so no need to rush. P.S. I do not cut my strings prior to stringing them up. I like having the length to work with.
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    This is a totally avoidable situation with proper technique.
    That is good news

  18. #12
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    Hi Paul - I've been pre-cutting my strings on Banjo/Mandolin & Guitar to length for 50 + years. I've found that 'long enough is long enough'. As long as you do make sure that the length is enough to give you some friction around the tuner posts ie. more on the A & E strings,less on the G & D strings,pre-cutting them is a good idea = less unwanted string length flirting around. When they are pre-cut,you know exactly what you have to work with. For me,the danger lies in not cutting the strings,& having more string on the wrong side of the posts when you begin to wind on, Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
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    Rbaer 

  20. #13

    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    Don't have a lot of problem with headstock scratches to really worry too much about it.

    I am particularly careful on running strings through the tailpiece on my Weber mandolin and mandola. You run the strings through/under the tailpiece. It is easy to scratch the finish going up to the bridge. So, I always stick the string package card, or paper string envelope, under the tailpiece to avoid the string hitting the finish when pushing it through.

  21. #14
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    I do it a lot like Paul.
    It doesn't take long, especially using a string winder, to turn the empty tuner post until the hole through that post is roughly parallel to the nut. Hook the string on the tailpiece and put the end of the string through the hole in the post. The end of the string goes out of the post and into the space beside the peghead. No scratch. I like about 3 (roughly) wraps around the tuner post and I know how far to pull the string up in the center to gauge that, so I pull up lightly on the string somewhere near the middle to my desired height, then kink the string at the tuner post, pulling the string tight between the tuner and tailpiece, and pulling the other end of the string in the opposite direction, then pulling it up away from the peghead. Grab a string winder and tighten the string. The loose end of the string is up in the air, whirling around far from the peghead (I don't "lock" strings by hooking the end around the string. I see no need for it if there are at least three wraps on the post and I hate taking strings off when they've been "locked" like that!)
    When the string is tightened, clip the loose end. Simple, quick, easy, no scratches.

  22. #15
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    Cutting the strings before fitting them seems illogical to me. Scratches are usually caused by the ends of strings and the strings still have ends whether theyíre cut or not. The only difference is that the floating ends are likely to be further away from the headstock on strings which havenít been cut.

    I suspect that more scratches are caused by the old practice of keeping spare ends coiled up on the headstock although I can appreciate the amount of damage caused by trying to get locked-on strings off again.

  23. #16

    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    I have a guitar made in 1941 and it is fitted with "SafeTiString" tuners- which was a new patent. The string post end is drilled- there is no hole in the side and the post is slotted. You just bend the top of the string to an L shape- put it into the hole and slot then wind away. In fact, I changed the strings earlier, today- it is a dream- so easy- with no end to puncture your fingers or scrape the headstock and you can keep the headstock clean with ease. These tuners were on Oahu guitars- mine is not an Oahu, it is a Kay- the company that made most Oahu guitars, so, perhaps some were used on this model guitar- the Louise Massey guitar, sold by Wards. These tuners were sold by Oahu as after-market accessories- you can find them in this catalogue (page 24) and I think they are fantastic. Jake Wildwood loaded this up:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8q...Q5UnR6Ym8/view

  24. #17
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    ...fitted with "SafeTiString" tuners- which was a new patent...
    Yes, but mandolin tuners have to be four-on-a-plate, have posts with straight shafts (not capstan-shaped), slotted screws (not Phillips), "arrow" plate ends, and preferably screwed-on pearl knobs (using, of course, slotted screws). Nothing else will do.

  25. #18

    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    Yes, I know- the more tricky the better, it seems! No chance of something like those tuners that eliminated the end sticking out to catch the unwary! I have lost count of how many times I have punctured my fingers on a mandolin and I do try to take care!

  26. #19
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock Scratches

    Ray - If you cut the string to length prior to fitting it,you only need to push about 3/16" through the hole so that it sticks out of the other side of the tuner post, & then wind on. That way,the string is so short that it's impossible for it to get anywhere close to the headstock. The end of the cut string stays exactly where it starts off.

    Here's my Lebeda headstock - Those string ends are where they were when i 'poked 'em through' the holes. That's as close to the headstock as they ever got (get). However,as i mentioned,when you come to remove them,they can spring off the posts & may cause scratches - if you're not careful.
    Ivan
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    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
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