restringing

restringing

OK, funny thing. I’ve been playing fiddle for about 7 years and i still don’t think i have the whole restringing thing right. I just can’t figure out how to do it where it makes sense. Things are rubbing and it just doesn’t look right. But maybe it is. Anyways, so to make sure, for example, how should the A-string peg look?

Re: restringing

It’s important to get the strings onto the right pegs, if they’re wrong this will make the strings cross over each other. So, make sure the A and D strings are attached to the pegs at the top end of the scroll, so E and G are nearer the fingerboard. Also, try not to turn the tuning pegs more than necessary when tuning your fiddle. It’s worth the small expense of fitting fine tuners, so you can avoid using the pegs much of the time.

Good luck!

Re: restringing

Fine tuners, in my experience as a cellist and fiddle player, aren’t all that useful if
you’re using synthetic core strings - they need too much twiddling to have the
required effect. If the pegs and strings are properly fitted, the pegs turn smoothly and stay in place when you stop the turning, and the strings glide smoothly through the grooves in the nut, then peg tuning is still the best. Of course, if you’re using steel core strings then fine adjusters are almost always essentlal.
Important points to remember when fitting strings:
1) The string should be angled from the nut to where it goes onto the peg so that it
will tend to pull the peg into the peg holes. There should be no problem doing this
with the A and D, but the G can be a little more difficult, depending on the geometry of the pegbox and fingerboard nut. In this case try to get the final run of the string on the peg as close to the pegbox wall as possible without actually touching it. In the case of the E, you almost never tune from the peg because of the string tension, so it makes sense to have that peg in fairly tight. But again, try to get the final run of the string close to the pegbox wall.
2) The A string should never contact any peg lower down the pegbox. Likewise
with the D string. If it does and it can’t seem to be avoided no matter how the
string is routed then it seems to me that attention will be required by a luthier.
3) The final run of a string on its peg should never touch the inner wall of the
pegbox. If it does then trouble in the shape of tuning problems or a snapped string will ensue sooner or later.
4) You don’t need a large number of windings on the peg - three or four is quite
sufficient. Just let the surplus end of the string hang free (don’t cut it - that can
cause the end to fray and the outer layer to unwind). If you have a large number of windings on the peg with a new string you’ll find that the string will take longer to settle in because the windings will be stretching on the peg for quite a while. Also, those extra windings could impede the free run of a string from another peg.
5) It may seem obvious advice, but when fitting a new string make sure you turn
the peg in the correct direction! Clockwise for the E and A; anti-clockwise for the
D and G. In the past, when I was a cello coach for a regional schools orchestra I’d find the occasional cello with one or more pegs turning the wrong way. The violin coaches also came across the same phenomenon. It was usually due to parents - well-meaning but with no idea about fitting strings - putting on new sets of strings for little Tarquin or Samantha. I was once shown a violin bridge that had been glued in place!

Re: restringing

Just to add a cupla rudaí eile, never take all the strings off at once (or even 3 off at once, I think) - the loss of tension can affect the positioning of the sound post (and bridge), which is never a good thing. Also ‘tug’ your strings gently one at a time when you have them on, which can help them to ‘settle’ quicker and not keep going out of tune. Don’t pull hard though!! Good luck 🙂 Lizzy

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Re: restringing

It took me nearly 2 hours to change the strings on mandolin last Sunday….it was my first time doing it and I was nearly in tears by the end of it!!

How the f**k do you wind the string tightly whilst keeping the string hooked at the bridge end?

Two hours well spent though 🙂

Re: restringing

Two hours! Strewth! Believe me it gets a lot quicker with practice and a couple of simple techniques. It takes me about 10 minutes.

Do a search on thr Mandolin Cafe disscussion site (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi). I remember some chat about restringing there.

Also look at: http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/Mandolin/MandoString/mandostring1.html
THis is a four page articel with pictures of one technique for restringing your mando.

I do it a bit differently. I hook on my strings at the tailpiece and pull them along the fretboard and then put three full turns around the post (always go to the ‘inside’ of the post and then round). This keeps the tension on the strings at the other end. Then tuck the loose end through the hole in the post. Make a little 90 degree bend in the string where it emerges and the crank the tuner until it is approximately in tune. Repeat for all the others removing and replacing one at a time (don’t take them all off at once unless you want to have to reposition your bridge for correct intonation).

I’ve never needed to do the little ‘lock-loop’ thingy described in the article and many other ppeople don’t either. I’ve almost never had a problem with strings slipping.

Whatever method - keep the windings neat and don’t let them cross over each other.

Hope that helps.

Re: restringing

Those short string ends on your mandolin can give you or your small child a nasty cut, so I always loop the strings ends back into the post, cut them at the other side and let the loop tension pull the end back into the post where the string end is completely hidden.

Re: restringing

Nice idea! I’ve not come across that before.

The 1970’s approach is to coil them up like they were before you put them on your mandolin/guitar.

I have once found this useful in an emergency when I broke a string on my guitar. It broke at the ball end so I made a new loop, fitted the ball, wrapped the frayed brass winding over my loop to help stop my hand-made twisting coming undone and the extra string I’d saved by not cutting it meant I had enough length to restring.

Yes it did work 🙂

I have to say this was a one off on a Sunday when the music shops where all closed and I was due to play in my church band in half an hour’s time. I hadn’t coiled the spare string specifically in case I needed to do this, though. That was just coincidence 🙂

Re: restringing

Another tip for those who want to tune from the pegs and use a tailpiece with integral micrometer adjusters. The twiddly tuning screws aren’t necessary (except for the E), so you can unscrew them and put them away in a safe place. Less weight on the the tailpiece, and it looks neater.
As for winding the string onto the fiddle peg whilst ensuring the ball end remains attached to the tailpiece/adjuster as you do so, all you need to do is to gently pull the string into just sufficient tension with your free hand about halfway along the string until the string is wound onto the peg and some natural tension is now in the string length.

Re: restringing

It took me nearly 2 hours to change the strings on mandolin last Sunday….

Mrs Conclusion: Hello, Mrs Premise.
Mrs Premise: Hello, Mrs Conclusion.
Mrs Conclusion: Busy day?
Mrs Premise: Busy? I’ve just spent four hours burying the cat.
Mrs Conclusion: Four hours to bury a cat?
Mrs Premise: Yes! It wouldn’t keep still, wriggling about howling its head off.

Re: restringing

Dear Mrs Premise,

It’s all about technique. Thread the loose end of your E string through the loop end. Insert the cat’s head and pull hard and fast. I think you will find this will reduce the time it takes you to bury your cats in future.

Yours sincerely

Mr Non Sequitur

{no real cats were harmed in the production of this posting}