Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

  1. #1
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    2,626
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    Hey there…,

    Any easy tips on how to make a string’s ball end into a loop end?
    Hamlett Two-Point
    Eastman MD805
    Schertler DYN-M + Yellow
    http://www.youtube.com/ktbriggs
    https://www.facebook.com/kevin.briggs.1213

  2. #2
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    322

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    I use the other end of the string. Wrap it around a nail and twist a few times. Then trim off the end with the ball on it.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,760

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    I use an awl and a very fine needle nose pliers. You can break the loop so be careful. Use the awl to widen the loop on the long end of the string at the ball. Then take the pliers and grasp the ball and twist it out. I have done this when I need to for years and rarely break one. You will get a feel for it, but some strings that are wound tight are harder to do. You may need to pinch the ball with a wire cutter on those, tho I rarely have to do that.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  4. The following members say thank you to pops1 for this post:


  5. #4
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    14,377
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    You can just crush the ball, using a pliers. They're made of brittle material, so it's easy enough to do it. You do want to apply pressure across the hole in the middle of the "ball," so that means the string will get pressure as well. Might want to put a little cloth in there to avoid damaging the string - or use a pliers with no teeth.

    In a pinch I've been known to thread the other end of the string through the ball's hole, making a loop that way. It's not optimal, but it works. Make sure you pull the string all the way through so it won't slip later.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Celebrating her birthday 10/1 and her surviving Hurricane Ian: The lovely Miss Dagmar in her prime, captivating all in attendance - muse, inspiration, friend - a true avatar

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to journeybear For This Useful Post:


  7. #5
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    1,130

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    If you have a ball end string and need a loop end, you can simply remove the brass ball from the loop at the end of the string.
    The safest way to remove the brass ball is to "bite" it with a pair of wire cutters, chipping the brass.

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Jacob For This Useful Post:

    DavidKOStree 

  9. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    You can just crush the ball, using a pliers.
    I broke E strings recently while retuning a mando after bridge replacement. Went to my string stash and pulled out some singles. WHAT?! They were ball ends. DANG! But Google led me right to this, as described by JB. The resulting loops were smaller so I was careful to get them adequately hooked.
    Girouard A
    Silverangel A
    Eastman 615

  10. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2022
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Briggs View Post
    Any easy tips on how to make a string’s ball end into a loop end?
    unorthodox idea. trade them in to somebody who desperately looks for ball-end mandolin strings.

    (I just revived an ovation mandolin, it takes ball-end strings, was to MC post "how to add balls?!?", by miracle local store has a stash ball end strings, I am probably the only one who can use them).

    (I also use Thomastic "JB" flat wound guitar strings, and I remove the balls by crushing them with huge pliers. they are very brittle and crush easily, but beware sharp splinters).

  11. #8
    Confused... or?
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Over the Hudson & thru the woods from NYC
    Posts
    2,706

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    I've always been a "crush with pliers" kind of guy but, being overly practical, I really like ...
    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    ... In a pinch ... thread the other end of the string through the ball's hole...
    Thanks, JB!

    BTW, nothing distinguishes guitar strings from most mandolin strings except that ball, and -sometimes- the cut length (that you'll cut more of anyway), so guitar strings are always available (beg, borrow, steal...) in a gauge close to what you need. FWIW, I tend to think in terms of specific gauges (.010, etc.) rather than of pre-packaged sets (EJ74, etc.), as most here seem to do.

    REALLY aside: 30 years ago, I found a (then) $50 micrometer at a yard sale for $3. It still gets lots of use.
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
    - Ian Tyson

  12. The following members say thank you to EdHanrahan for this post:


  13. #9
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    14,377
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocello8 View Post
    (I just revived an ovation mandolin, it takes ball-end strings ... I am probably the only one who can use them).
    Perhaps on acoustic mandolins. But then, Ovations are acoustic/electric. All my electric mandolins take ball-end strings.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocello8 View Post
    unorthodox idea. trade them in to somebody who desperately looks for ball-end mandolin strings.
    Not that unorthodox. There are plenty of reasons why one would want to do as the OP asks: ordered the wrong strings, have too many ball-end strings left over from playing electric, local store only carries ball-end, not loop strings, etc. Who knows? Doesn't matter. Anyway, fixing one's own problem is usually easier and quicker than finding someone else with just the right complementary problem.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Celebrating her birthday 10/1 and her surviving Hurricane Ian: The lovely Miss Dagmar in her prime, captivating all in attendance - muse, inspiration, friend - a true avatar

  14. The following members say thank you to journeybear for this post:


  15. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2022
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Perhaps on acoustic mandolins. But then, Ovations are acoustic/electric. All my electric mandolins take ball-end strings.
    Right. I cannot get individual plain loop-end string locally anymore, both local stores only carry ball-end strings. And Thomastic individual strings are all ball-end. I use large plumbing pliers to crush the balls. (careful with sharp splinters!).

    On your electric mandolins, I expect you use ball-end electric guitar strings, not brass/bronse would "acoustic" strings? And I always thought the DAddario ball-end mandolin strings set was done specifically for Ovation/Applause mandolins, is there any other mass-produced mandolin that would take them?

    FWIW, my Japanese-made acoustinc/electric mandolin has a normal clam-shell tail piece and takes
    normal loop-end strings (my last set of FT flat-wounds, right now).

  16. The following members say thank you to mandocello8 for this post:


  17. #11
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    14,377
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    Actually, I use D'Addario nickel-wound ball-end strings, I think that's J-62 (those might be loop-end). Anyway, not guitar. Though, as someone pointed out, gauge is gauge, regardless of intended instrument.

    Back in the day - like 2013-2015 - I played in a band that played so ferociously I was breaking strings every gig, sometimes every set. Mostly E and A strings. (I'm actually proud I broke a couple of G strings during this time. )I bought single strings from a member, mrmando, whose emando.com site offers a dazzling array of choices, at reasonable prices. In addition to standard sets, you can also design your personal druthers set, choosing exactly the gauges you want.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Celebrating her birthday 10/1 and her surviving Hurricane Ian: The lovely Miss Dagmar in her prime, captivating all in attendance - muse, inspiration, friend - a true avatar

  18. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,760

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    I can remember back in the 70's breaking 6 strings on my 12 string D 1235 in one song. Had to take a break and change all the strings. Playing into a microphone is way different than using a pickup. You had to play harder then, there were pickups, but no preamps. Sound wasn't good without the pre, but we made it thru, kept folks happy, and changed a lot of strings.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  19. #13
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    14,377
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    Ouch! I know whatcha mean. I was breaking strings even with a pickup and preamp. The band was just so raucous. I think there were a few nights I was breaking a string per set, sometimes two. But in one song? Yikes!

    My genius solution was to get a second mandolin so I could swap out mid-set and deal with strings during the break. Thanks to Eddie Sheehan (is he still around?) I got one within a year in age, with the same pumpkin finish. 'Twas just the thing. An expensive solution, for sure, but things were going pret-ty well at the time.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Celebrating her birthday 10/1 and her surviving Hurricane Ian: The lovely Miss Dagmar in her prime, captivating all in attendance - muse, inspiration, friend - a true avatar

  20. #14

    Default Re: Strings - Ball end to Loop End

    When faced with this situation, I get heavy pliers or side cutters (used as pliers) and grab the side of the ball and crush it without disturbing the wire loop. Works fine without damaging the loop that way.
    2009 Eastman 505
    2011 Collings MTO GT
    2008 Toyota Sienna
    2018 Sawchyn mandola

    Mandoline or Mandolin: Similar to the lute, but much less artistically valuable....for people who wish to play simple music without much trouble —The Oxford Companion to Music

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •