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Changing strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Daniel921, May 28, 2020.

  1. Daniel921


    Apr 28, 2020
    I'm about to put on a new set of strings on my 5 string bass. I've read something about "stretching" the strings while putting on a new set. I was wondering is it actually necessary to stretch them and if so what is the proper way? I'm putting on a set of Ernie Ball Super Slinky if that matters.
  2. bolophonic

    bolophonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I have never “stretched” my strings. I just make sure that they are not twisted when I install them and then I set my witness points once I’m all set up.
    sonojono, BassinCT, MonetBass and 6 others like this.
  3. Daniel921


    Apr 28, 2020
    What do you mean by witness points?
  4. bolophonic

    bolophonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    J_Bass, MonetBass, DavC and 2 others like this.
  5. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    I always stretch my new strings when they are being replaced and initially tuned. Been doing it that way for many decades. That process helps the string to stay in tune better as they get broken in. If you don't, you keep tuning the string constantly.

  6. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    New strings will stretch for a while until they settle and hold their tuning. What I've always done after putting on a new set is give each string a few good tugs above the 12th fret, then above the 5th fret and the (sometimes imaginary) 24th fret. Tune up again, repeat as required. I'm aware there may be magic involved, but it's worked every time before a gig.
  7. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    I don't put on the strings anything like that. I'd be concerned about twists in the string.
  8. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    I don't stretch new strings, I'm comfortable letting them settle in naturally.
  9. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Yep. If nothing else, your newer strings will hold tune better.
    I'm not sure if I am doing it properly but I overwind about a quarter turn and try to make sure the strings come off the tuner post straight as possible.
  10. Glynn Murray

    Glynn Murray

    Apr 1, 2020
    My method - over 50 years - put strings on individually, I start with G string, wind it on about one and three quarters leaving about an inch to then cut and stick into the tuner. Try and make sure that when you put the string on from the bridge that it twists in a natural way to lie on the fretboard, not poke up. Not easy to explain but you will know what I mean.
    Everyone will be probably different but the one thing I recommend is when the string is on, wind it up to pitch and then PULL it upwards to do a GOOD two or three stretches at 12th fret. Then re-tune. No-more should be needed as long as you have a decent bass guitar with good tuners and strings. Personally, I use Elites Nickel 40-100 and find them good and not a silly price (£20 UK price).
    LostJohnny and Gearhead17 like this.
  11. underwhelmist


    Nov 16, 2018
    Me neither, it looks like a recipe for twisting and overlapping wraps in the tuner post.
    DigitalMan likes this.
  12. Thegrandwazoo

    Thegrandwazoo Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    West Virginia
    I don't know if I do it the right way, but I stretch them. I put them on properly, untwisted, wound properly on the tuners, all that deal. Upon tuning to pitch, I then lay the bass across my lap on its back and stretch each string upwards, wiggling back and forth as I do, about enough force to JUST start to pick up the weight of the bass. I do it down around the bridge pickup, up around the end of the fingerboard, and at three or four more points along the scale. I'll usually do that four or five times per string, and I find that my basses usually stay in tune pretty damn well after a string change, so I guess it works? I dunno, I just always have. Made sense to me.
  13. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    I stretched many years ago because someone told me I needed to do it. Now, I put the strings on, tune to pitch, play for a few minutes, tune again, play again, tune etc... after about 30 minutes I’m comfortable enough that they won’t go out of tune.
    BOOG and Vinny_G like this.
  14. "Stretching" is mostly about taking up slack from around the tuning pegs. I play pretty hard and I bend sometimes, so getting that out as much as possible is important to me; as I change each string, I bring it to tune, and then pull up on it gently but firmly around the twelfth fret while holding it down near the nut, and I repeat that until the slack is out and it stays in tune through the process.
    One Way, boggus, 96tbird and 2 others like this.
  15. Never stretched my strings, just make sure they are applied correctly is all and ever I have done.
    eriky4003 and MrNylon like this.
  16. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    I did it when I changed strings before a gig. Now I just keep playing them until they settle in. I think DR had something printed on their paper envelopes the strings came in suggesting NOT stretching the strings, I think that was the thing that put me off stretching them. You need to play them for a bit though, keep checking your tuning, they should stay in tune after a little while.

    Actually, I think a lot is taken for granted here. Why stretch the strings? I always thought it was to get them to stay in tune quicker. And if that's the case, then I find that it isn't necessary unless you don't have time to play them in, then stretching may help.
  17. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Not this:
    J-Bassomatic and BOOG like this.
  18. BOOG


    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    J-Bassomatic likes this.
  19. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
  20. Phyzzbin


    Aug 14, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    This guy. :bassist:

    John has a video series on bass setup and… he's a legend so I'd start here. :thumbsup:

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