1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Don't Cut DB Strings!

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Ike Harris, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    After receiving a few different sets of slightly used strings and doing a search on this forum, I have to chime in on something that's really starting to bug me. Please don't cut your DB strings! It's no wonder that after spending your hard-earned bucks on new upright strings, you cut off the peg-end tips for an easier installation, you end up not liking the strings. When you cut into one of this type of strings you seriously degrade the quality of the makeup of this product, in particular, the synthetic core type. Maybe someone more knowledgeable can supply the technical explanation of how this works.

    I rec'd 3 sets of nearly new strings lately and one whole set and parts of others were cut for presumably ease of tuning up, and knowing how some of these should play, it was apparent that the cutting made a huge difference in how the strings responded in terms of tone, sustain, and tension. I did a search on this forum and was amazed to see that some people actually advised others to cut their strings. One string I received in the past was cut so short, it wouldn't even reach far enough on my Am. Standard to begin tuning up.

    Passing along slightly used strings at a greatly reduced price is a nice feature not available before internet forums such as these. Let's keep the strings, though, in one piece and keep our DB brethern(and sistern?) happy with what they get.

    I just want to urge especially those new to DB that these are not bass guitar strings, and seem to have more of an integral part of your upright's system in the way it performs. Don't cut 'em!

  2. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    This is why I don't cut mine.

    ot - "sistern" - that ought to raise some hackles
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Yeah, it's spelled C I S T E R N....
  4. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I don't cut mine either, I just tuck then in.
  5. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    I just let them hang out of the peg box. I kind of like the medusa look it has.
  6. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I used to think that trimming the strings was bad but I don't think so anymore. Obviously if you trim them you shouldn't be trimming them so much that you can't install them on another bass. Not everyone installs strings the same way. Some people wind the entire string onto the peg (I used to do that). Others just insert it through so that it's tight, twist it back on itself a bit and then bring it up to pitch from there. If you do this and then trim it but leave a good length, it will install fine in the same way onto a bass with even a long string length. There should still be more than enough length to install it the other way. What you've described sounds a great deal of the length was trimmed. One argument against winding it all on is that it takes longer to settle in and decreases the life of the string. I certainly find it easier to turn the tuners with minimal bulk on the tuner.
  7. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN

    If you had read my post you would have noticed "it's all about the sound" - your very own tag line. Cutting strings made for a DB compromise the integrity of the way they are made - unlike BG strings. If you've always done it, you won't notice a difference, you just get used to replacing them every six months. The first set of Obligatos I had lasted a good two years. I don't know whether it was due to keeping them uncut and clean or they don't made them as well as once before.

  8. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I did read your post Ike. Actually I've not always trimmed strings - I started doing it in the last twelve months after luthier Bill Merchant showed it to me. However I've only done it on guts and metal-core strings and I could not detect any difference in sound before or after. Obligatos are a synthetic core so that may be the difference in our experiences.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I wouldn't ever trim Obligatos. The core is very sensitive and I am sure that they weren't meant to be trimmed. I don't see how trimming gut would be a problem at all, nor a solid or stranded steel core.