Before Installing...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by kirbywrx, Mar 24, 2002.

  1. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Before you put on a brand new set of strings, what do you guys do? Do you stretch them, or do you do any other techniques to make them sound better/last longer? Im going to get a new set of warwick red labels and I want them to last longer and sound better. Any suggestions? thanks ;)
  2. Naw, not before.

    But once I tune them to pitch, I pull up on each string at the 12th fret, and let go so it snaps back to the fretboard, (NOT violently snaps back but each one smacks the fretboard with some force).

    Of course, then I'm not in tune any longer. Why? Because I just stretched the strings. Then retune and intonate them.
  3. I do as rickbass said, but then I push down right before and after the saddles on the bridge. Then I push down after the nut. Then retune. And that'll do.
  4. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I make them dinner, rub them down, then take them to bed.

    Not really. I usually skip the dinner and rubdown.
  5. tuf - EGGSELENT addition!!! I forgot about that, probably because I mostly use tapered strings these days.

    Giving that bridge break point more definition should be on the "to do" list.

    Thanks for reminding me, tuf. After stringing `em up for several decades, sometimes I forget the small but valuable stuff. :rolleyes:

    I'm still waiting to see if anyone says they heat their strings in an oven before putting them on. That myth was going around at one time.
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I just put them on, tune them and do some careful bendings.
    I repeat that several times, until they stay in tune.
  7. No Way! Man, I gotta start coming up with some folklore then.
  8. No!

    Never, never, never, never stretch your strings.

    Every object has a modulus of elasticity, where it will stretch then return to its normal pre-stretched state. If you exceed this point, the object is destroyed, and will never return to its normal state.

    For strings, this means they will never hold a tune.
  9. Well, Modulus of Elasticity (Young's modulus / E) is a relationship between stress and strain (Stress/strain) and is in units of pressure (psi, Pa). What you have described is Yield Strength.

    But you are correct when it comes to the heart of the matter bruce! What you're talking about is Yield Strength which is a material property dealing with stress. It's generally defined at +0.1% after the Young's modulus is no longer valid, or what's called percent offset. Once you go past this point, then the material will not be able to elastically return to it's origional shape. The ys is Yield Strength, UTS is ultimate tensile strength, f is Fracture strength.

    I'm not trying to correct ya outta spite man, I really respect your acoustical properties knowledge. I just have a very good understanding of materials...and I need to be a nerd sometimes.:D

  10. Getting back to the real world - I'll stick by what I said previously about stretching and leave all that theory crap in the lab.

    These guys know a thing or two about basses -

    "The Right Way to Install Strings" - Bass Player March,`96: stretch it (each string) as shown"-
    Snapping the string by pulling it up slightly at the 12th fret...."

    Fender Basses - Adjustment & Care: "After the whole set is changed and tuned, make sure that you stretch the strings properly". (then they go on to describe how it's done).

    Warwick Basses - "Grab each string around the 12th fret and pull it away from the fingerboard about 2" or 3"

    Lots of other resources, such as Fernandes Basses, D'Addario Strings, Peterson Strobe Tuners, Planet Waves, et al), will tell you the same thing.

    Going out of tune, onstage, in the middle of a song is pretty embarrassing.
  11. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I still insist that when you yank up on the strings, you're not really stretching the strings themselves -- you're pulling the slack off the tuning pegs.

    That having been said, I do EXACTLY this exercise (though I lower them gently rather than letting 'em smack down) and it WORKS -- so I guess it really doesn't matter WHY it works, but that it DOES work, and it's what you need to do after putting on new strings if you want your bass to stay in tune.
  12. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    Stretch too much, too hard and you are killing your strings. Essentially you are loosening the wraps around the core which does all kinds of bad stuff to intonation, tone, etc. Do I stretch mine? Yes, but gently, and I enhance the bend at the bridge and nut. Overstretching is just shortening the life of your strings. This isn't just IMO, but info I got from my prefered string manufacturer, DR's.
  13. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    So, of course, the question becomes: How much IS "too much"? Does DR actually say?
  14. I think they just err on the side of caution for all the bozos out there, eli.

    I yank mine up a good 3 three inches and let those suckers thwap back down against the board. Not hard like my goal is to put a dent in the fretboard. But not like I'm doing retinal surgery either.

    Maybe I'm just lucky, but once I do it, only weather changes or knocking the tuning gears against something requires significant retuning. And I'm not dealing with boutique basses either.
  15. rsautrey

    rsautrey Inactive

    Jul 27, 2000
    >how much IS "too much"? Does DR actually say.

    When you buy DR roundcore strings (Hi-Beams, Fatbeams, or Sunbeams), they come with a brief statement that basically says that stretching is highly destructive to any string and to try not to stretch the DRs at all, or as little as possible. I use stainless steel DR Lo-Riders and I have yet to receive this statement inside any of the string packs. Lo-Riders are hex core and all the others are roundcore. I'm going to assume that the roundcore strings are more sensitive than hex core to stretching, especially the core wire separating from the wrap wire. Just my .02.
  16. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    I think most of the TBers that have responded to this thread know what they are doing. Obviously in the course of playing, the strings get stretched when you bend notes, pop, or just plain tune. I think the point is they aren't indestructable. You can damage them, and shorten their life with overly zealous "breaking in methods".
  17. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I would agree, Eli. It is probably mostly what you suggest and also a slight stretching of the string.

    I always stretch out the strings after installing them. I am not that gentle with it. I give it a decent yank. I have never worried about strings dying, then again, I usually string the bass about every 6 weeks or so.

    One other thing that I do with a string before installation:

    I take the string and squeeze it in my right hand at one end then drag it through my squeezed hand a couple of times end to end.

    I have found that this takes that edge off the sound and give the string a "played-in" sound right out of the package.

    I don't know what this does to the string as far as life, but again, I don't worry too much about it.

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