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Cool trick for securing your ball ends

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Tim Zwica, May 21, 2017.


  1. Tim Zwica

    Tim Zwica

    May 17, 2017
    If you have any concerns about the metal ball ends of your strings cutting into your tailpiece and slipping through, here is something to try. My strings are Innovation Golden Slaps and they end with a little metal bar instead of a ball. I was concerned that they might slip through if they twisted. So I cut some disks from a synthetic wine cork and used a leather punch to make clean holes in the centers. I would not do this with natural cork, but the synthetic stuff is durable. If this is not enough to give you peace of mind, you can add a nylon or zinc washer between the ball and the cork.
    upload_2017-5-21_14-30-30.
    upload_2017-5-21_14-37-58.
     
    Don Kasper and Jeff Bonny like this.
  2. When I use Innovation strings or other strings with a bar instead of a ball end, I simply tune up a little bit so that the string is straight but under very low tension, turn the bars so that they are horizontal and tune up further. They never had turned during the final tune up.
    The synthetic cork won't really help, since earlier or later the bar gets through the slot, with or without the cork. The washer does help, but if the string scale or underlength isn't too long you can even remove the bar and fiddle the string through the loop like most velvet strings.
     
  3. Tim Zwica

    Tim Zwica

    May 17, 2017
    I can say that the synthetic cork has help up nicely for about a year. But you are right. My E string has turned just enough to convince me to add the rigid washers. I rather thought the synthetic cork would not only protect the tailpiece but also provide enough friction to prevent turning. Luckily the metal bars can be removed so I'll only have to loosen the strings a little to add the washers.
     
  4. Cool trick!
    I use spare felt rings from Pirastro and D'Addario strings.
     
  5. I felt no need to protect the downside of my tailpiece, so I don't use any padding.

    Maybe I'm lucky with my tailpiece, but when I correct the position of the bars at low tension, I never had a problem that the bars turned away from what I have set before. But if you take the tension completely off the string, then you need to correct the position under light tension or you might become unhappy when the string snaps during tune up.
     
  6. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    FWIW, Innovation is phasing out the use of those bars and is going to a more familiar ball style end. The manufacturer of the bars is no longer making them, and they didn't want to have them manufactured elsewhere; so they've gone to a domestic (to them) source for more typical ball ends.
     
  7. Tim Zwica

    Tim Zwica

    May 17, 2017
    Thanks Mark, that's good to know. The ball ends will be less of a worry for me. I must admit though, the bars were otherwise pretty cool. Innovation makes a great string.
     
  8. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    That seems like an odd statement. Manufacturer? This part is nothing that any high school metal shop student couldn't turn out in bulk during recess. You could even do it at home with just a drill, hacksaw, and file!

    Also, Has anyone considered what civilian web surfers must think when they come across this thread title?
     
    Mark Gollihur likes this.
  9. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    That seems like an odd statement. Manufacturer? This part is nothing that any high school metal shop student couldn't turn out in bulk during recess. You could even do it at home with just a drill, hacksaw, and file!

    Also, Has anyone considered what civilian web surfers must think when they come across this thread title?
     
  10. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Probably true - I took metal shop in high school (is metal shop even still a thing?)

    But something like that can much more easily be created by a specialty shop, and is probably more cost effective to do so - it frees up the small staff to spend their time winding strings, rather than making metal slugs. ;-)
     
    DoubleMIDI likes this.
  11. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Maybe, but that can't be the reason they switched to balls. A ball end involves way more machining than a grooved cylinder. It is not necessarily more expensive, as they may be getting them from the shop which supplies other big string manufacturers, and is turning tens of thousands on a run, but the grooved rods can't possibly cost enough more (because of smaller lots) for that to be the reason. I have a friend in my town with a big automated lathe. I bet he could make this part at a rate of about 15 per minute. I think the switch has more to do with conformity to industry conventions and customer expectations. Also, maybe weight?
     
    Matthew Tucker likes this.
  12. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    I understand your points, and they make sense to me. But for the record, I was told this directly from the folks who make the strings. Whether that is the "real" reason or not, it's the official line from Innovation. Here it is from the email I received back when I asked about "formulation changes" and the silk color changes.

    I can confirm the cores for ALL Innovation have not been altered since around 5-6 years ago. The strings are produced to the exact same string makeup ‘before and after’ the sudden move and are still manufactured by Chris who use to work at the Treorchy factory.


    In regards to the silks, the only changes recently has been the silk colours for the Silver Slaps from mauve to purple.

    The decision to change from the ‘slug’ style ball ends to the more traditional ball end was purely down to sourcing issues as they were no longer produced by the European company. We would rather keep the quality that Innovation is known for by sourcing them from Europe than outsourcing to Asia.


    Hope this clears a few things up!


    Cheers,
    Harry Preston
    Production Coordinator


     
  13. Still the source for bars stopping could very well be the opportunity to change design, even though they would not have done it, had it not happened.
     
  14. isolated

    isolated Zenkaku

    I wondered who needed a whole thread about wearing briefs but it seemed like "Setup & Repair" would be the right place for it....
     
    oliebrice likes this.
  15. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    for what its worth used Innovaton strings for at least 5 years and never experienced any problem with the bar slipping through or damaging the tailpiece