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Number of winds

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by d_town, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. d_town


    Jul 2, 2013
    Is there a 'correct' number of winds that should be kept? Does this differ for each string, as in should each string have a specific number of winds? And if so, is there a reason behind it?
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    It depends.

    On most basses, I try to get 3-4 winds around the post.

    On a Fender, you need as many as you can get on the A string tuner so the string has enough downforce on the nut.
  3. d_town


    Jul 2, 2013
    I'm playing a squier p, yeah
  4. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I'd say wind till the bottom of the peg, so the break angle at the nut will be at maximum.
  5. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    If they will fit without overwrap, wrap 'em all.
  6. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist

    Jul 29, 2013
    +1...I've wasted many A strings forgetting about this rule
  7. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    The number is the same as the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.

  8. klaus486


    Jun 27, 2009
    portland or
    sales geek Portland Music co.
    What it really depends on is the style and diameter of the tuning machine shaft. The skinny shafts can't take but maybe 3. The tapered "modern" 1/2 inch shafts also can't take but 3 or 4. The old style non tapered 1/2 inch shafts can take the entire string on all the strings except the E. You'll need to cut a couple inches off but the other 3 just wind the whole string on.
  9. For some reason, bassists like to overwind, while guitarists quickly understand that the optimal number of winds is the fewest possible without coming unwound. The more winds you have, the more string there is to stretch out, and thus, the harder it is to stay in tune.

    Some people like to overwind the E string's peg to increase the break angle over the nut, so you can find a compromise between break angle, and number of winds. Or you can use a string retainer bar.
  10. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    Huh? This defies logic. Did you hear this on the internet? ;) If you have more wraps, the tension is spread over a larger span. Same overall tension, but less per linear inch. If anything, this would make more wraps less likely to stretch and fall out of tune.

    I typically wrap all of my strings. My smaller posts do require some trimming. I overtighten, let it sit, loosen, and then tune to pitch. My basses stay in tune for very long periods.
  11. What are you talking about? :confused:

    There is some friction holding the winds to the peg, but that doesn't mean there isn't more string to be stretched.
  12. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    I've always heard that 2.5 to 3 winds is optimal. I'm not sure if this is true, but it's what I do and it seems to work.
  13. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    Three for me. My MusicMan can be a pain sometimes, because of the conical posts.
  14. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yes, 3 wraps around the post is what you want. What the wraps do is squeeze the post, creating friction, which reduces the load at the "kink"; the point where you've bent the string sharply to go through the hole or slot. When you bend the string, you've created a weak point in it. With less than 3 wraps around the post, there's much more chance that the string will slip or break early at the kink. Again, the purpose of the wraps is to make the string squeeze the post, rather than putting the tension load on the kink, which is hooked on the edge of the hole.

    More than 3 wraps doesn't hurt anything, but doesn't really gain much in friction. I usually wind 4 or 5 turns on the smaller strings out of habit and neatness. The big strings get 3 turns.

    The main thing is that the wraps need to be smooth and neat, like a screw thread. If you have an overlap, you've created a new kink spot as the string bends over itself.

    That's what lin6man is referring to. If you wrap a whole bunch of turns on there, layering on top of each other, they will slip like crazy. That's more of a problem with those guitar-player types, who use those tiny little strings that you can hardly see. I like strings that are big enough to see from a few feet away!
  15. Different people have different preferences, and it depends on the bass. On my short scale Hofner club bass, I like 3 winds on all four strings. On my US precision, I prefer two on the E and A, and three on the D and G.
  16. offhand35

    offhand35 Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2012
    Western Connecticut
    I have been finding that cutting the string off leaving one index finger length beyond the tuning post seems to allow my strings to wind on the entire post without overlap. This is on my Gibson SG with large posts, and with my Ibanez with medium diameter posts.