E string wrapped to A peg, and vice versa-??

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by rcarter0, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. rcarter0


    Dec 15, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    Hi-- I've come across a couple of basses recently where the E string was wrapped around the A tuning peg, and the A string was wrapped around the peg for the E string. Is there a reason why a bass would be set up this way?

    BACKSTORY (if you're really curious): I moved from Georgia to Austin TX a few years ago, but I travel back to GA enough that I decided to get a second bass, so I now have one here in Texas and one "back home". While I was shopping around in Austin, I was able to borrow a bass from a friend. This loaner was a nice old plywood (not sure of the make), but the strings had been set up in a way I hadn't seen before: the E string was wrapped around the tuning peg for the A string, and vice versa. Nothing wrong with that, although it takes some getting used to when you're used to reaching for that lower peg to tune your E.

    After a couple of months I found the bass I wanted, but oddly enough it had the same tuning setup: E to the A peg, A to the E. Coincidence? A central Texas thing? Or is there some acoustic or mechanical reason for this kind of setup?

    This would be a purely academic question, but I'm going to try a new set of strings on it and I'm not sure whether I should keep the bass this way or change the scroll setup back to the way that is more familiar to me. The current setup gets a wonderful sound, I hate to mess with it but the strings are just a bit too stiff for my style.

    Thanks in advance-- Robert
  2. Greg O

    Greg O

    Aug 11, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    the only thing i could think of would be to get that bluegrass two note bass feel...but otherwise it sounds quite odd.
    greg o
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Bluegrass?.. lol.. No, not even close.. I think..

    Here is the real reason. Many players have Low C-extensions. The E/C string is up on the upper peg and the A on the lower, in reverse of the normal order. These same players also own Basses without C-extensions so to keep things uniform, they string it the same way. Also, some believe the 'E' tension and sound is better with the longer after length to the post. The same is believed by some with 5-string BGs moving the Post itself higher for the Low B.

    Here's some pics to fit the text I just wrote;

    Normal C-Ext;

    C-Ext on a shorter 3-string Scroll;

    C-Ext with reversed tuners, G below the E;

    3-String Scroll with C-Ext removed with Strings reversed, the E on the A peg;

    3-String Scroll modified to 4-string with 4-gears crammed close;

    A BG (Smith 25th) with Reversed Tuners for Low B and E above the G and D; [​IMG]
  4. rcarter0


    Dec 15, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    Good answer Ken, the whole extension thing never would have occurred to me! The pictures help a lot.

    I may experiment with the reverse-peg thing when I put on my new strings and see if I can detect a difference in tone.

    Regards-- Robert
  5. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    A longer string length on the other side or the bridge and nut means the string is more flexible, as there's more "stretchability".
  6. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I've also heard about it being better for the durability of the windings on the E string.
  7. toman

    toman Guest

    I did it originally because it just made sense to put less angle over the nut on the thicker string, and I got used to it. I don't know if it really makes any difference, but if it does, I figure it certainly can't hurt. And playing basses with extensions is a nice bonus, I guess... :smug: