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Thread: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

  1. #1
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    I know that there was a recent string about changing strings, but I can't find it now. So I'm following up with a separate thread. Sorry. (I should'a asked this before I replaced 9 strings on my octave, but late is better than never.)

    One thing I remember was that there was a discussion about how some people wind the string around the post several times ... which sounded pretty smart. But now that I'm starting to change strings on my instruments, I can't figure out what that means. Winding before you thread through the hole? Winding after you thread but before you tighten? And do you put the bitter end up vertically where the string under load will act as a brake?

    Second: how much of the excess string do you leave "on" after you cut the excess off?
    belbein

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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    There is a range of opinion, but here's my experience. Extra turns around the peg reduce slip, and modern tuner pegs are concave to drive the turns tight against each other. (Boats have capstans that have the same profile. for securing ropes.) I like two turns for the fat, wound strings, and three for the plain strings.

    I begin with excess outside of the peg, and a sharp bend at the peg.

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    Hold the string down as you turn the winder.

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    I trim the excess, near the peg, keeping the bent portion for good holding.

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    I never have strings slip, or break at the peg.

    It can be a little tricky holding those loop-end strings in place at the tailpiece while messing with the pegs--a large piece of that removable masking tape, like the blue stuff, is one way to secure the strings at the tailpiece and bridge while winding.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    There are a ton of different ways you can do it, try a few of them and decide what you like best.
    I like to wind the strings around the peg 2-3 times, then put the end through the hole and tighten up. For me they usually end up looking neat and it saves a lot of turning the pegs.
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  5. #4
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    +1 What Drew said.

    And now ...

    Some tips for changing strings: First off, it does help if you have three hands. Unfortunately, I'm one of the billions who were born with the standard two. Another thing, if you are a smoker, you should quit for health reasons. If, like me, you refuse to quit, then refrain from starting a cigarette during the process. It will probably go to ash, as string changing does require a bit of time and concentration. It might also be a good idea to refrain from an excess of alcohol. There have been rumors that alcohol in excess may impair your abilities, and though I'm not one to follow after every rumor, it is best to err on the side of caution.

    Another helpful tip is to keep a tiny screwdriver handy. I have a cast tailpiece that has little "posts" on it, over which you put the loop ends, and I find a tiny screwdriver comes in handy to push the loops down the post flat against the bottom once a little tension is on them.

    If you use D'Addario strings, this tip might help you: They have begun to put little colored pieces of paper with goo holding them together on many of the string sets. I have no rational explanation for this, only theories and more rumor. Perhaps they are for persons (who are not color blind), whose vision is such that they can discern color, but cannot distinguish between fatter and thinner string gauges by looking at them. Or, they are there for the people who have color coded tailpieces (which I haven't yet seen in the wild). Or perhaps the company that provides these paper tabs is owned by a child or grandchild of some D'Addario heavyweight (aka the so-called "nepotism theory"). Your guess is as good as any. No matter. Some folk have complained that they have trouble removing these paper tabs without leaving a sticky residue on the strings. So here are two tips ... (1) Don't worry about the residue, it won't hurt and may even help dampen unwanted sympathetic overtones [another rumor], and (2) I have found that if you hold the tab carefully with your left hand, and pull only one string through the fold of the paper saddle, breaking it free of the paper saddle, then remove the second string through that same open flap, you can get around the residue problem completely. Note: If you simply yank both strings at once, well, hello residue city.

    I have a great number more tips for changing strings, but have written too much already. Enjoy your down time. Watch out for what you call "the bitter end" as it has been known to bite.
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  7. #5
    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    Has anyone tried one of these?
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  8. #6
    (not my heart rate!) 40bpm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    I like the method mentioned by Drew above. If you wind the string and then put it thru the hole, only a few turns of the tuner are needed.

    After I get the string looped to the tailpiece, up the neck and across the nut slot, I put a capo near the nut to hold everything while I take up the small amount of slack.
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  10. #7
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    What Tom Said. I would just add to hold the string tuat while winding.

  11. #8

    Default Re: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    When I found this clip by Brad Laird a few years ago, my string changing life changed forever. Nothing could be easier or quicker, no slipping off at the loop end, no three hands, just easy and quick string changing. In all these years and multi mandos, I've never had a string slip or break. Give it a try.

    TOM LAIRD VID: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2Hk34p2OBA&t=6s

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    Last edited by Dillon; Mar-21-2020 at 10:19am.

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  13. #9
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    Default Re: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    Yeah Dillion that's the way I have been doing it for decades other than adding a capo to act as a third hand. R/
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  14. #10
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    RE: electric string winder

    I don't know if I should admit this publicly, but I use a manual one from my misbegotten banjo days.
    belbein

    “Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

    See my latest blog post: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/en...lay-for-People

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  16. #11
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing strings--winding and leaving?

    I use a manual winder. Find it works better. Otherwise, am like most others, although I do like to pull the A and E string through the hole, wrap it counterclockwise around the post and bring it up underneath the string before winding. Learned that from an old Bob Taylor sheet in the early 1990's. Been my standard on both guitar and mandolin since. It seems to slow down slippage for me.

    Also, if using EXP or other coated strings, found that I needed to do that on all 8 mandolin strings. At least on my vintage Gibson oval hole without a concave surface on the tuner. Otherwise they would keep slipping.
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