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Thread: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

  1. #1

    Default Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    I changed my mandolin strings for the first time, and only had a pair of pliers with the wire cutter towards the base of the jaws. I used the pliers to cut the string, but it's a clunky tool and I couldn't quite trim the string as close to the tuning peg as I would have liked.

    Is there a tool that works better to remove the excess string?

    Also, I noticed it left a sharp burr on the end of the string and feels like it might cut me/someone in an accident, is there a way to eliminate that? Will a file work?

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    "Side cutters" and "end nippers" are about the best tools for clipping string ends. To avoid jabbing people (or things), clip the strings a little long, and with a pair of needle point pliers bend double about 1/8" of the string end. (It makes removing the string a little harder later, but it saves people and things from jabs, and it helps avoid "picking" the fabric inside gig bags.)

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    I understand the problem. I have an inexpensive pair of diagonal wire cutters in my mandolin kit, that leaves a little burr as you describe. Diagonal wire cutters may be slightly better than pliers, but not a solution. I have never sought to do anything about it. I just stay away from it.

    My soft side mandolin case has an internal panel just over the peg head to prevent scratching of the internal fabric.

    On the occasions where I have accidently poked a finger on one of the string ends, I immediately got out my diabetes blood glucose meter. I don't want to waste a good finger poke.
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  6. #4

    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    Bending it back 1/8" is a great tip! Anything to avoid the feeling and the sound of the pricks and scratches when I take it in and out of my soft sided mandolin case AHH!

  7. #5

    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I understand the problem. I have an inexpensive pair of diagonal wire cutters in my mandolin kit, that leaves a little burr as you describe. Diagonal wire cutters may be slightly better than pliers, but not a solution. I have never sought to do anything about it. I just stay away from it.

    My soft side mandolin case has an internal panel just over the peg head to prevent scratching of the internal fabric.

    On the occasions where I have accidently poked a finger on one of the string ends, I immediately got out my diabetes blood glucose meter. I don't want to waste a good finger poke.
    Yeah, the scratching of the inside of my mandolin case is the biggest nuisance it's causing (flashbacks to my toenails snagging on the inside of my sleeping bag )

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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

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  9. #7

    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    Flush cutting end nippers. Hard to find and expensive but they cut the string flush with the tuning post. I only have a pair because I'm a luthier and do fretwork.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    Quote Originally Posted by rchapman View Post
    Yeah, the scratching of the inside of my mandolin case is the biggest nuisance it's causing (flashbacks to my toenails snagging on the inside of my sleeping bag )
    If there isn't already some kind of patch there, it might be an idea to use some duct tape on the inside of the case. Duct tape comes in some funky designs so it doesn't have to look like fire sale luggage.
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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    My method uses no tools. I just bend the excess length of string back and forth until metal fatigue causes it to snap right at the post. You'd be surprised at how quickly the metal fatigues and snaps - usually 5 or 6 bends. The wrapped strings might require a little "twirl" to get the wrapping to give, but it doesn't take much. Result is zero sharp ends to poke you.
    Mitch Russell

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    I knew guy that did lots of “kid” shows, he showed me a fingertip saving tip.
    Simply work harden the string by bending it back and forth a few times until it snaps. The post end almost always snaps below the winding height. Yes retuning is required but, so what, that’s a constant!
    I’ve shown that to lots of folks and it’s a head snapper, no tool required! Much kinder to pegheads too, the tail is pointing up and away from the veneer so, no scratches!
    Great minds Mitch!
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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    The cheap winder/cutters for guitars have a surprisingly effective cutter. You could also just wind the excess up into a circle, as is done on many classical guitars,


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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    The pass-by scissor cut is the best kind. It leaves a less deadly end on the plain strings. Diagonal cutters leave what is really a tiny chisel point, guaranteed to penetrate.

    I do not cut against the peg, because I want the bend coming out. I do bend the small exposed bit downward to make it less likely to poke something.

    I wish my favorite sealed-back tuners (Gotoh) had split-post designs. That hides the cut end inside the post.it does make the post weaker, and Fender guitars were prone to that. But they're replaceable so it's not really a big deal, except that it is a challenge to buy just one. I have considered, and usually back away from sawing into my Gotoh tuners.
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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    To go back to the original post, although I don’t use them myself, it is possible to use a pair of pliers to trim string ends. Most pliers have a feature which, unless you’ve been told about it, you’d probably not notice.

    Apart from the jaws and the cutting feature, which rchapman has used, if you look at the hinge on a “proper” set of pliers, you’ll find a small slot in each half. Open the piers ‘til the slots line up, insert whichever bit of wire you wish to cut, squeeze the handles and “Robert is your mothers brother” as we say on this side of the pond.

    Apologies to those who already know this!

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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    I use similar to this
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    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    Use plain wire cutters with never a problem !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  19. #16

    Default Re: Clipping/Cutting Excess String

    Zero risk of the string being pulled through the post, I guess? Assuming you have 3-4 good wraps around the post...

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