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Do you cut your strings, and if you do how do you do it?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by knuckle_head, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    I have heard from some that they ought not ever be cut, no matter the length that may be beyond the tuning post. I do not subscribe to this.

    There are those that believe that at some specific gauge they should not be cut under any circumstances. If you subscribe to this what is the magic gauge at which you do not?

    If you do lop the ends off of your strings what is your process?

    I have heard some horror stories of late (some of which I have been called to task on/for), and a reference/consensus thread might serve the community . . . . .
  2. I put the ball end into the bridge mount, and then pull the string across the tuning peg - then cut it 3" past.
  3. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    I own over 50 basses, so I change strings fairly often out of necessity. Of course, there are always exceptions, but if the string is longer than about 2 1/2 inches past the winding post, my general rule is it gets cut using a cutting plier tool. :cool
  4. Bassmanmike1

    Bassmanmike1 Sittin' In Limbo Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Cool, CA
    Thomas Kievit and guitarflinger like this.
  5. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Make a 90 degree bend in the string BEFORE you cut it so the outer windings don't get loose.
  6. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Three fingers past the tuning key, as seen here...cut the E three fingers past the tuner. Bend the end over, insert into the center of the tuner, wind.


  7. +1. Been doing it like this for years, read it somewhere, a long time ago.. In a galaxy far far away.
    Alik likes this.
  8. Jefff


    Aug 14, 2013
    I leave them about 6 inches past on the E and A strings on my P bass for a better nut angle. But I am good with 2-3 at the D and G.
  9. What is the reasoning behind this? There should be as few winds on the tuning post as possible to prevent tuning instability. (Unless a string has an insufficient break angle over the nut.)
  10. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    I cut strings to about 4" longer that to reach to tuning post.
    this allows enough wraps (gets to bottom of the post) to get a good break angle (no rattle at the nut). this also gives me enough string length so that I can move string set to a different bass (and re-string) if req'd to find what they work best on. All my basses have angled headstocks, so don't rely on extra hardware, etc for break angle.
    My re-string procedure:
    1- locate ball in bridge.
    2- measure approx 4"- 4 1/2" (maybe 3 1/2" for B) past tuning post for bend/crimp.
    3- bend/crimp 90' angle to keep wraps from loosening- most important with round-core and flats- usually recommended by the manufacturer.
    4- cut string 1/2" to 5/8" past bend/crimp.
    5- place bent/crimped end into center of tuning post, then wind up slack to near pitch.
    6- re-string rest of set following same sequence.
    7- pull up on strings near middle to set post windings and ball end.
    8- tune to pitch
    9- set witness points by pressing both sides of nut and saddles.
    10- re-tune
    11- check action, adjust if req'd, then intonation and adjust if req'd.
    12- Play...
    13- re-tune if req'd.
    Doesn't take long at all,
    NEVER had windings come loose.
  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I do not bend the string before cutting. It's not needed. I've never had a string unravel when cutting it, but sharp sidecutters definitely help. You don't want to be tugging on the end. I cut, then immediately bend the end 90 degrees with about 1/2" of string bent.

    And the above quote is not correct. The point is NOT to have "as few winds as possible". The correct installation is to have enough winds so that the string can be wound down the tuner to reach close to its base. That increases the break angle.

    IME it requires 3-4 winds to achieve this.

    OTOH, it is not desirable to have a dozen winds around the tuner. That's excessive, makes a mess on the tuning post, and can result in string slip since you have a bunch of string wound over itself.

    Wisdom is found in enough wraps (3-4), not too few and not too many.
  12. mimaz


    Mar 1, 2005
    Wheeling WV
    Endorsing Artist: Crook Custom Guitars
    That is exactly how I've done it for as long as I can remember. (And that's a long time. I'm old.)
  13. If the string has tapered, has silk wrap, and is bent 90° then it should be 100% fine to cut past this bend.

    I would be hesitant to cut a full thickness portion of a bass string though, 90° bend or not.

    This story of 'never cut' prob has guitarist origins, where non-tapering wound strings are the norm. It's VERY easy to wrap the unused portion in a coil at the headstock, and I've had to do that at a gig where I didn't have cutters.
    ex-tension likes this.
  14. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    ^^- Fully agree, except that I 'crimp then cut' as per some manufacturer's recommendations for flats and round-cores.
    Just do 'em all the same- no probs.
  15. Whatever it takes to put on 2-3 full winds, which usually equates to about 4" past the tuning post. On the A string I try to get as many winds as possible (4 with my current setup) to alleviate the break angle issue inherent with in-line Fender type headstocks.

    EDIT: and yeah, I always crimp before cutting
  16. + 1000. I learned this about 40 years go when I tried installing a brand new set of Fender flats and cut the E before I bent it and it all unraveled on me.
  17. I never thought about doing it like that. Nice Idea.
  18. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I would like to know how you could possibly properly install an E string on a Fender type bass without cutting it
  19. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Depends on the length of the strings and the size of the tuning pegs. I generally cut about 4-5 inches after the peg, but if they're big tuning pegs and the string can be wound on it without overlapping or coming too far down, I won't cut. My pbass has fat tuning pegs. I'm gonna install a set of ti jazz rounds and if they can fit comfortably without cutting, then I won't cut them.
  20. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Tequila- 2 fingers.
    Extra string length- 4 fingers.