Changing strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Al Cheatham, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. What is the proper method of changing strings on an upright 3/4 bass. I have never done this, and I am sure there must be a particular procedure that must be followed in order to properly install new strings. I would be most appreciative for help in this area. :help:
  2. THE SAW


    Sep 14, 2006
    I always change the e and g first, all the while making sure the entire instrument stays in tune. I have a drone "A" usually going on during the process. Hope this helps.
  3. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    There was an article by Gage a few years back in Bass Player Magazine (I think) that was very well written and included illustrations. This may be the same one, but I don't remember exactly. Maybe someone else here knows for sure? The photos definately make it easier for someone new to stringing a big bass.

    Anyway, I change my strings from g down to e, one at a time so my sound post doesn't fall over....:eek: It's also good to have a big peg winder or a peg winder adapter for a hand drill. This will save you lots of time and arm cramps!
  4. Baleen


    Nov 8, 2006
    The David Gage article appeared in the October 2002 Bass Player magazine. For some reason it's one of the only Gage articles I can't find on the site. The Bass Player article did have photos. And they did help. The complete article saved my skin on a theatre gig when I broke a string in the middle of a show.
  5. pierre


    Jun 3, 2005
    Médoc FRANCE

    I build a little internet site to explain, with some pictures ,my way of installing strings

    It may help someone. Sorry but it is in French but the pictures (like music) don't need understanding French.

    here it is :hyper:
  6. LeslieD


    Jul 25, 2006
    Pierre's photos are good, but I'm clueless about French so I translated his instructions with Alta Vista's Bable Fish at

    Sorry these are so long (and they're rather funny since Bable Fish didn't understand all the words and it's a literal translation by a computer program); (See Pierre's webpage for the illustrations). And if anyone wants to edit/fix this, PLEASE have at it!

    1.) - to place beautiful the, lying one on the back on a cover or your lit.(cela begins hot) Eventuellement to roll up the rope-maker in a rag to avoid any wound on the level of the table; in fact only if one must slacken all the cords (for a work on the rest or the rope-maker for example)

    2.) One can mark the placement of the rest on the table with a soft lead pencil (attention not to damage varnish) because the setting in tension of the new cords will tend to make it go up; it will be then easier to give the rest to its initial place.

    3.) One will change the cords the ones after the others; to maintain the heart (it is the romantic moment) in its place, by preserving a pressure on the table by the other cords. The order of the change is of no importance, one will take care has what the cords do not overlap in pinning it. One can start with the cord of G, even if it means to slacken that of D if some difficulties are had so that the cord of G passes under that of D in the head (it is the case on my double bass) and to pass then to the cord of D then A and finally E even B (there it is the catch of head, one is far from the erotism of the departure) One thus will remove the cord of G; a small trombone worked in hook to make little the task easier. Then one passes the end of the new cord in the hole of the gun, which one will have directed to the bottom and towards the volute. One recovers the end of the cord and one passes from there 1/4 to 1/3 of the part not spun (i.e. that nonmetal coated with its soft coloured wire) out of this hole. The loose lead is brought under the vibrating part of the cord; thus the cord will be blocked on this level against the gun.

    (text under illustration)
    (the flêche shows the direction of rotation of the gun of ankle)

    (text under illustration)
    Now it is enough to roll up the cord around the gun while turning ankle. I maintenances the tended cord and I direct the cord towards the interior (compared to the hole of the gun in pinning it), then towards the extérieur(by crossing the turns of cord), so that at the last turn of gun the cord arrives about opposite its slide of sillet. (there frankly one thinks that the language of the words is not enough any more, look at the diagram rather)

    (text under illustration)
    to note on the diagram and the photograph: no the rotation of the cord towards the intérieur(par report/ratio with the hole of the gun) only towards the outside because the thickness and the length of the cord did not make it necessary.

    4) One will give in each slide of the sillet and the rest a good layer of pencil quite fatty 6B or more, for each cord. That will allow good slips of the cord at the time of the settings in successive tensions at the time of the réaccordage. (less wear and less movement of the rest) The loose leads could be possibly divided; if one is on more not using the cords on another double bass. If not one will be able elegantly to roll the ends in loop, by paying attention so that it cannot create unwanted noise by their vibration on another cord or pinning it.

    5.) One will maintain the rest with right angle compared to the table, with the whole hand posed above at the time of the setting in tension of the cord, so that higher end of the rest does not go up towards the sillet.

    Some rules: For the placement of the rest: the center of the foot of the rest must pass by an imaginary line between the notches of hearing. The rest must be vertical; the lower face of the rest (with dimensions rope-maker) must be with 90° compared to the table For the placement of the cords: the cords extreme E and G must be at equal distances of the edge of the key On the rest the depression of the cords in the slides should be to the maximum of 1/3 of the diameter of the cord (to allow a good vibration of this one) On the level of the notches of the sillet: their width should be just higher than the diameter of the cord (to avoid the wear of the cord on this level)

    they is not finished, it but does not remain any more to give pleasure with our new play of cord.
  7. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Here they are, I scanned the original article and put them up on my server:




    From David Gage article in the October 2002 Bass Player magazine
  8. littlekatie


    Jul 14, 2004
    London, UK
    I saw Christian Laborie today and he said that when you put new strings on a bridge or change them or whatever, you should use a 6B pencil on the groove in the bridge. Apparently this is helpful for tuning and stuff - Francois Rabbath was there as well and seconded this. Amazing! Just passing on the tip. :)
  9. deadsled


    Apr 6, 2006
    Greensboro, NC USA
    Endorsing artist: Gallien Krueger, Innovation Strings, Blast Cult Bass
    It's the graphite in the pencil, it helps lubricate the saddle and helps reduce the forward tension on the bridge and nut when tuning and what not.
  10. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I normally use a standard #2, but if they say 6, then I guess I've got to dig out my old sketching kit.
  11. pierre


    Jun 3, 2005
    Médoc FRANCE
    if this page have help someone, i'm already happy.

    thanks leslie for the translation and interest.

    but maybe should I try to translate my page myself ( it's just this horrible computer translation.. aie):D or with the help of some TB.
  12. pierre


    Jun 3, 2005
    Médoc FRANCE
    Here's the first step of the translation in english of my view of how to change strings
    My english is very bad but i Try... and thanks to Timo (another french TB and friend and doublebass fanatic) fo his help.

    be sure your correction will be wellcome.
  13. Lou Cicconi

    Lou Cicconi

    Feb 28, 2006
    The key is ONE STRING AT A TIME...To maintain tension on the soundpost...I would MOST SERIOUSLY suggest don't ever take the "G" & "D" off at the same time...Resetting the sound post is almost always a "take it back to the shop job"...Even with the correct tool...
  14. Be careful about winding them around the peg. I did not wind it correctly once & it snagged - when I tuned it to pitch it broke. That REALLY sucks, considering how expensive they are!
  15. tyggis


    Mar 11, 2008
    Change them one by one, forget everything else, its no magic to this at all :D
  16. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    While it's not magic, the David Gage article referenced above in post #2 has been helpful to me and apparently others as well. It does appear to me to be the same article that appeared in BP in 2002. And thanks to Bob G. for scanning and posting the corresponding pics.

    The article contains several tips and interesting things many people might not already know. It is very much worth taking the time to read (and print for reference) IMO.

    For me, this is the part that saves a lot of time and makes the whole process much easier:

    Pull the string through the hole so about one-third of the fabric-wrapped portion is sticking through. Wrap the end around the fabric-wrapped section that has not passed through the string roller (see Fig. 2) [ in post #8 above; this is where you wrap or twist the loose end around the other part of the string a few times as shown in the pic ]. If you aren’t using a winder, pull the string through so only a little slack is left in the string; about three quarters of the fabric end should go through the roller. You’ll need to wind the string around the roller only a couple of times before it grabs.
  17. VegasGutPlucker


    Oct 14, 2008
    Does anyone else use the fanned string method? Using this tech, the E string goes to the tuning peg farthest from the nut, the G goes to the peg closest, and the A and D fall in the middle respectively. Much like what the compensated tailpiece does, but at the opposite end of the string. The Bass Shop in Sydney uses this technique on all its instruments, apparently he learned it from a bass shop he visited in France...
  18. I've been doing this for a while now. I think it is beneficial for the way the strings respond, especially the E and A, but I can't explain why scientifically. I like the fact that the E isn't crammed in there right next to the nut and you don't have to wind the fat part of the string around the peg as much. It takes some time to get used to tuning up, WRT remembering which peg goes to which string!
  19. VegasGutPlucker


    Oct 14, 2008
    I think it has to do with increasing overall string length, allowing the string to come to pitch at a lower tension. Having a longer length of string at pitch distributes the tension across more mass.... I didn't take physics and can't explain it using the proper terminology, but it makes sense to my hands and ears. The E string greatly opens up and is easier to play.