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String too short ...

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by darrenmccarthy, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. darrenmccarthy


    Jun 1, 2011
    Hi , I need to put on my own string on a house bass but my string is an inch too short for the bass. I could use a part of another string if need be to use it to extend the string

    can anyone help with this ie. which knot to use or how I could swing it ?
    Any help much appreciated !!
  2. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    You could try taking the ball from another old string, looping some ductile wire around it, and making a loop at the other end, say three inches out, to catch the ball on your string. You'd essentially be extending the tailpiece up into the afterlength.
  3. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    This is a really unusual problem. Do you mean just one string or all of them? It would help if you gave us more details. Location? What string? What sort of bass? What strings are on it now? You could possibly make some sort of loops with braided steel cable and clamps, or even knotted loops out of Spectra rope. Modern bass strings have around 60 pounds (27Kp) of tension, so you can use thinner stuff than you might expect. My guess is that the bass is badly set up though, and the tailpiece is too short. I suppose there's nothing you can do about that though.
  4. darrenmccarthy


    Jun 1, 2011
    It’s an old string that I may have unwittingly snipped to neaten up the appearance back in the day, taken off and saved for a rainy day. Lesson learned.
    Might have to soldier on using the d’adarrio preludes as opposed to the weich obligato g string , life is tough.
  5. If the vibrating part is OK and only the peg box silk end is too short you might be able to add straps there.

    I use 1 to 2 mm spiral or braided nylon straps, put a knot with 3 or 4 windings about 3 to 4 cm from the string end and fasten it with two pliers (be careful not to damage the nylon).
    Works best on the naked core since the windings can slip, but might work on the uneven silk end of a steel core string.

    For gut you can make one single winding knot in the string and one in the strap and fiddle both through the center of the other parts knot.
  6. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    Would nylon cable ties (through the ball end of the string and the tailpiece hole) work to extend the strings? The ones I use typically have a breaking strength of 200 pounds or so.
  7. If you have a hole in the ball end and use the stronger/thicker ones that might work. At least worth a try and if you can get black ones they might hide from the listeners eye.
    But put the thick end on top of the hole in the tailpiece and fiddle through the ball end hole then under the tailpiece and through the tailpiece hole from below through the hole in the cable tie on top of the tailpiece hole.
    Leave the thick end on top of the tailpiece hole when tuning up since that helps to avoid a sharp kink at the tie end.
  8. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I'd worry that the way a zip tie might need to bend would reduce its strength too much. This is a bit more complicated, but would certainly hold. I think synthetic rope would be the best. You just need to know your knots:)
  9. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Let's start with the fact that I'm not knowledgeable about strings. Won't these convoluted ways to lengthen the string affect the sound, tension, general playability in some way? With all the time and effort, would a new/used string of proper length be better in the long run?
    darrenmccarthy likes this.
  10. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I don't think the sound would be affected appreciably with a synthetic rope, but with my Rube Goldberg wire it might. I agree that just buying a new string seems more sensible. The OP asked a question though, and all of us tinkers had to chime in. It's like trying to walk past a bowl of sweets without grabbing one:D
  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Pay yourself $35/hr to make this work and a used set of strings for $50-100 quickly becomes the least expensive option.
    This wire rope extension would be the easiest and best performing extension. Any violin repair shop can make one. To fasten it to the tailpiece I'd capture the ball end of an old string in it.

    Be careful using rope. Rope stretches and knots reduce its strength by 60-75%. A high strength low stretch hollow braid synthetic like Spectra or Technora spliced into a loop would work best. But if you can't splice or don't know knots the results will probably be anywhere from marginally functional to laughable.

    Don't use a zip tie. Even if it works for a while anything small enough to go through the hole in the ball end won't be anywhere close to strong enough to be reliable.

    lol. Agreed on all counts!
    robobass likes this.

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