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New re-stringing technique

Postby Lala » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:36 am

Hi all,

For the first time in what must be over 30 years I restrung my steel string acoustic this morning using a new method.

The main reason for this is that I need to show someone new to the guitar how to restring their instrument and I felt the method I've been using all this time (quite successfully I should add) is so fiddley that they're going be in tears by the end of it !!

The method I used today is the one described on D'Addario's website, namely pushing all of the string through the string post, bringing it around the back of the post, under the string, then up at 90˚to the headstock so it's trapped and held in place as you tighten the string.

This all went smoothly but the only thing I've noticed is that there is now barely one turn of the string around the string post, in fact on the bass side I'd say the post has only turned about 3/4 round before the string is at pitch.

I know you don't want excessive amounts of string wrapped around the post but is this too far the other way ?

Your reassurance would be appreciated !!

Cheers,

Nick
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:01 am

I like a few turns round the post but I've no particular science behind it. I do a few winds (keeping an eye on the hole) then push through and tuck under as you describe.

Might be time for a rethink depending on advice here.
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby IvanSC » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:32 am

Okay. The anal version.

Stick string through hole and leave enough slack for a couple of turns.
First turn goes OVER the free end, the rest go under. This gives you pressure from above and below the string once it is all tight, plus it gets the best break angle over the nut.
So the string is gripped between the loop above and the other loops below.
Works for me.
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby grab » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:37 pm

As Ivan says. Which means you need to allow enough slack to get at least 2 full turns round the binding post. There's no maximum number of turns of string you can have on a binding post, except that you must *never* have so much that you start coiling string on string. (It's not very secure, so your tuning accuracy suffers as the reel of string slips around on the binding post.)

It's always a bit of a game when you're restringing, trying to leave exactly the right amount of slack. Bottom E and A usually take two shots at it - I always start with too much, and shorten it by however much it seems to need. It's better doing it this way around, because the kink you put in the string at the binding post will create a weak point if you start too short.
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:02 pm

grab wrote:...you need to allow enough slack to get at least 2 full turns round the binding post.

This seems quite instinctive to me but thinking about it I have nothing to base this on. Can you elaborate?
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby zenguitar » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:20 pm

Many years ago I was taught by Norman Reid to fit strings. For the plain strings he used the same technique as D'Addario, but the secret is to allow enough slack to get 3 complete wraps around the post. For wound strings he taught us to pull the string straight from the bridge, over the nut, to the tuner post. Then wrap one complete turn around the post, and then thread the end through the post hole to exit between the two wraps of the string and pull tight. The string is trapped in place by the windings. Harder to describe than it is to do, takes about 10-15 seconds to fit a wound string.

However, Eltham who posts here from time to time has put up some useful references with diagrams on his web site here. And he is spot on, the shape of the tuner post is what does the work on modern machines and what makes the more complex methods I was taught so long ago unnecessary. Definitely a recommended read.

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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby Music Wolf » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:44 pm

I know that not everyone likes them but for me it has to be locking tuners. I've got a couple of guitars that came with them as standard (Patrick Eggle Berlin Pro and a Parker Dragonfly) plus I've fitted them to my US Standard Strat. Never had a problem with them and they make re-string a breeze.
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby grab » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:05 pm

shufflebeat wrote:This seems quite instinctive to me but thinking about it I have nothing to base this on. Can you elaborate?

Actually to be completely accurate it needs a turn-and-a-half plus a little bit. If you're doing the "above then below" technique then you need half a turn until the string crosses the pokey-out end (above the end), then another full turn before it crosses the pokey-out end again (below the end), and then a little bit more to make sure the lower turn grips the pokey-out end.

This is only really relevant for steel strings, of course, because they have concave binding posts where the tension on the string pulls the string windings into the middle and hence grips the string end.
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby Lala » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:39 pm

Many thanks for all the replies and cheers Andy for that link, interesting reading.

I have to say after a very frustrating day performing four complete string changes across my two steel string acoustics, trying out different methods, wasting a lot of strings, doing absolutely no practise and missing most of the tennis, I'm back to where I started !!?!

By far and away the easiest method is the one on D'Addario's website (what I now know to be called the 'Nashville Wrap') the big problem though is it doesn't lay enough turns around the post for my liking.

The problem I have with the other methods is the wrapping turns around the post BEFORE poking the end through the post hole, I find it virtually impossible to retain enough tension on the string in order to stop the windings springing loose whilst I'm fiddling around getting the end through the hole and pulling the slack through. I end up with the windings laying across each other, not neatly stacked side by side, when I tune to pitch.

The way I've been doing it for years is to trim the string about 1" past its string post, I then poke about a 1/4" through the hole, lay one wrap around the post ABOVE the end sticking out through the hole, I can then keep enough tension on the string with my right hand while I turn the machine head with my left, ensuring all subsequent windings lay BELOW the ending sticking out.

Perhaps someone who's never changed strings in their life before will just accept it as being a bit fiddly at first, certainly they may well find ANY method fiddly first time around, I was just looking for a more simple method.

Cheers all for your input.

Nick
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby Ant Gamble » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:28 pm


Don't forget to clamp your strings if you cut them shorter - especially on bass stringes. They keep better tones if you use some grips to make a very sharp 90 degree bend, then clamp the string together - this is because strings are mostly round wound and it stops the 'round winded' string from moving around the 'core'.
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby Ollie's dad » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:10 pm

I found that if you pull the string tight and cut it @ 2 posts past where you're going to wind it this gives you enough to get 2/3 winds on the post. Obv need to estimate on a couple of them. Definately recommend stretching them after winding.

Have fun!
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby 4TrackMadman » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:26 pm

I usually do the one over and one under technique for the 3 low strings. Lately I also started buying and retrofitting locking tuners, best investment I've ever made.
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby zenguitar » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:23 pm

Ollie's dad wrote:I found that if you pull the string tight and cut it @ 2 posts past where you're going to wind it this gives you enough to get 2/3 winds on the post. Obv need to estimate on a couple of them. Definately recommend stretching them after winding.

Have fun!

+1

But as far as locking machineheads go, with the exception of a few EXTREME trem abusers, a complete waste of time. For 99%+ of users they are a solution to a non-problem.

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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby Lala » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:31 am

After sleeping on this topic overnight so to speak, it struck me this morning that the 'wrapping around the post before pushing end through hole' technique may well be easier to execute with the guitar on a bench.

Attempting this technique with the guitar body gripped between your legs is not easy !!

I suppose I could invest in a neck support and lay a blanket on the dining room table but still feel I'd need to lightly pull against something to get some tension on those wraps and a guitar on a blanket, on a table, is just gonna move towards me.

I feel more investigation/experimentation is required on my part !

Nick
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby Alfie Noakes » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:46 pm

I've been doing it like this for more than a decade, and can change string sets very quickly. Have never broken a string on acoustic or electric in what must amount to several thousand playing hours.
http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/SteelStrings/Stringing/ststringing2.html

By pulling the string all the way through, then backing it off by about an inch, the number of windings on the post always seems to be pretty good.
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby artzmusic » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:46 pm

zenguitar wrote:
However, Eltham who posts here from time to time has put up some useful references with diagrams on his web site here. And he is spot on, the shape of the tuner post is what does the work on modern machines and what makes the more complex methods I was taught so long ago unnecessary. Definitely a recommended read.

Andy

Andy, this was informative to see how the shaft contributed to locking the string in place. Something I'm going to try next time.

Thanks
Rick
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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby zenguitar » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:31 pm

Cheers Rick

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Re: New re-stringing technique

Postby Alfie Noakes » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:30 am

The other disadvantage of the lock wrap is that having locked the string onto the tuner the only way to increase the number of wraps is to laboriously wind the string on by cranking the tuner. Not only is this time consuming but it increases wear and tear on the tuner's gearing.


How is this any different to his preferred method? Get it right and you don't need lots of windings



Modern tuners are designed with a concave radiused profile which is intended to enhance coil compression by causing each coil to seek the narrowest part of the radius as it tightens. Subsequent coils slide into place alongside and are forced into contact by the radius so that the string is clamped effectively on perhaps three or four sides as well as the inside surface of each coil. !


Exactly the same whether you use a locking wrap or not.


It also reduces contact between the inside of the coil and the tuner spindle, limiting friction hold and introducing a point of stress where the coils cross over it.


As opposed to a point of stress where string is against the edge of the spindle hole, which is (especially with cheaper heads) usually sharp.

I'll be happy to change from my supposedly unstable, time consuming and inefficient method once someone can come up with fact based evidence to support this arbitrary reasoning.
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