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String Winding Length

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by NLITP, Aug 8, 2017.


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  1. NLITP

    NLITP

    Aug 8, 2017
    Phoenix
    I have broken 3 out of my 5 DR strings now (all popped right at the tuning peg), so I am looking for answers.

    I found a great thread explaining some common issues with Sperzel Trim-lok bass tuners, such as over-tightening: What am I doing wrong (Sperzel tuner question)

    So, I may be over-tightening for one. But, I have another question. There is the thinner part of the bass string opposite the ball end (I'll call this part the "string wrap"). Sometimes this part is colored (silk?), sometimes not. The Sperzel documented way to use the trim-lok tuners is to pull the string taught through the tuner, lock it with the dial, followed by tuning to pitch.

    If I follow these instructions with my DR strings, the string wrap portion of the string passes completely through and beyond the tuner hole. Therefore, after I lock and begin to wind, the "normal" part of the string is what is taking the sharpest angle on the post, not the string wrap part.

    I'm guessing I'm breaking strings in part because the "normal" part of the string isn't meant to take the sharpest angle(?). Can anyone confirm this is part of my issue, too?

    ** This bass has been sitting in its case for the past 8 years or so. But, I can't recall ever breaking a string when putting on new strings. However, I also seem to recall having the colored string wrap portion visible through the tuner...

    Thanks for any insight.
     
  2. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    What is the scale length of your bass, and what strings (model/scale length) are you breaking?
     
  3. NLITP

    NLITP

    Aug 8, 2017
    Phoenix
    34" scale length Carvin 5 string fretless using DR Hi-beams stainless steel round core mediums

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  4. NLITP

    NLITP

    Aug 8, 2017
    Phoenix
    And picks of popped strings...[​IMG]
     
  5. FWIW, the one bass I have with Sperzels, I prefer the silk (wrapped part) to be the part the tuner locks down on. Don't play that one a whole lot but never had a broken string.

    Maybe a different brand or length of strings where the silks lock in the tuner?
     
  6. NLITP

    NLITP

    Aug 8, 2017
    Phoenix
    Yes... this is what I'm thinking... that the silk/wrapped portion of the string must be the part the tuner locks down on. I'm also wondering if the silk/wrapped portion should be the only portion touching the post (so as not to bend the thicker/normal portion of the string)(?). But, doing so would mean multiple wraps given the length of these strings - not the end of the world to make wraps, I guess, but Sperzel website says I shouldn't need (or want) wraps.

    I'd love to get this working for these strings since I've heard great things about them.

    ** I'm also discussing the issue via e-mail with DR Strings, to see if they can give some guidance using these strings with a locking bass tuner.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Why are you using a 6 string set on a 5 string bass?

    You are right that the thinner section of the string is the only part that should be wrapping onto the tuner post. Otherwise the string breaks just as you have found out - especially on small diameter posts like the locking Sperzels.

    If you have the option to string through the body, the extra string length going that route may place the skinnier part of the string where you need it on the tuner post. If not, you need to find a string that's a better fit.
     
  8. NLITP

    NLITP

    Aug 8, 2017
    Phoenix
    You noticed, huh? ;) I use a high C on my 5 string and there aren't many string manufacturers packaging a 5-string set like this. I heard good things about the Hi-Beams and this was the quickest option... ditching the low string.

    I don't believe anyone posts their string spec details (as in how long is the string from the ball to the winding for each string). Without this, I guess it is just trial and error(?). That could get expensive...
     
  9. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I am of the opinion that string manufactures SHOULD post that info. It can be a critical piece of information. And I think that if you get breakage caused by the wraps on the post, you should demand a new set of strings of the right dimensions from the manufacturer or at least a refund. But if no one holds their feet to the fire, they are not likely to change their ways.
     
    Westsailor and NLITP like this.
  10. @SLaPiNFuNK will be able to tell you the exact length for any string Bass Strings Online sells.
     
  11. NLITP

    NLITP

    Aug 8, 2017
    Phoenix
    Rich Fiscus likes this.
  12. NLITP

    NLITP

    Aug 8, 2017
    Phoenix
    Yeah, DR Strings sent me a free replacement .105 string immediately when I told them it broke, which was the only one that broke the first go round. When I received it and got it on successfully, the D string popped when I went to cut off the excess... and less than 1 second later, the A-string popped. I've since notified them of the additional breakage and am waiting to hear back from them on a resolution.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
    imabuddha likes this.
  13. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Mike_Oh likes this.
  14. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
  15. NLITP

    NLITP

    Aug 8, 2017
    Phoenix
    Finding the correct string length for your electric bass from BassStringsOnline.

    So, from the incredibly useful link above, I discovered I need a string winding length between 35 3/4" and 37 1/4" for my Carvin LB75F ('94). The article says DR long scale strings are 38" to the taper/silk, so this is starting to all make sense. By pulling the string taught through the tuner and then locking the tuner (as Sperzel specifies), the string itself (and not the taper) is being locked in the tuning peg. When I start to tune it to pitch, this part of the string can not handle the sharp bend around the post as the tapered part of the string should be able to handle. Sound correct?

    So, it is no wonder I hadn't ran into this issue before.... of the 20 listed string manufacturers, only 4 of them would be "problematic" for my bass. I guess if I really want a string that is "too long", I'd have to add slack before tightening the locking tuner to ensure what wraps the tuning post is ONLY the taper/silk. This would mean I have more wraps around the post than what a locking tuner should have, but that is probably better than breaking expensive strings. :)

    The confusing bit is some manufacturers definition of "extra" or "super"-long scale is 38", which is DR Strings (and others) definition of simply "long scale."

    <rant>
    This reminds me of how NASA lost a Mars orbiter because they were using miles and a Lockheed engineer was using kilometers for calculations. Why are strings labeled "long scale", "super-long scale", etc. when there is no standardized definition of string length using these terms? Would rather see "37.25", "38", etc. on packaging.
    </rant>

    Thanks for everyone's help. I hope to never break another string (while putting on new ones anyway). :)
     
    imabuddha likes this.
  16. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    The basic problem you're having, and the reason nobody uses Sperzels anymore, is that when you cut the string so short you don't leave enough wrap for the string to stay together. This is especially bad for round core strings which need a number of wraps around the peg just to keep the windings on the core but you can't do that with Sperzels.

    I'd replace those tuners. Carvin branded tuners would be fine and they are pretty cheap from Carvin/Keisel.
     
  17. NLITP

    NLITP

    Aug 8, 2017
    Phoenix
    Thanks, mmbongo. I don't doubt what you're saying, it's just that this is a new issue for me... never broken a string on it until now. If I can make it work with the tuners on it, that is my preference for now. I think the following video may address what you are saying about cutting the strings too short. The small portion of the video I mention below describes a tip for cutting roundwound strings. What do you think?:

    (Start the video at 4:43... ending around 6:20)
     
    RodRy likes this.
  18. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I would say you got it! Correct-a-mundo. When the windings go around the post they put a huge stress on the core. The wrap is going at the post diameter. At the same time the core is trying to go around at the post diameter plus the thickness of the wrap. The same length of string cannot go two distances at the same time and one has to give. Since the wraps can adjust to the variance because they are coiled like a spring, the one that has to give way is the core. It will stretch just so far then ... you know.
     
    imabuddha and NLITP like this.
  19. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    It's very good practice to bend the string before cutting it. But you don't need to cut it so close to the bend. Here's what I do...

    I feed the string throughout the bridge (or body) and up to the tuner post. Before I cut anything, I stick the end of the string into the hole in the centre of the tuning post and bend it down into the slot, then remove it. That will indicate the depth of the hole in the tuning peg. I extend the string past the target post to the second tuner past it, grab it there with my pliers (not my cutters) and make a 90 degree sharp bend. Then using the measurement I got from step 1, I cut the string past the end just a bit shorter than the initial depth measurement I made. That ensures that the string end clears the bottom of the hole in the tuner post - otherwise if it's touching the bottom of the hole, the end can rattle there. At this point the string is in the centre hole and is laying in the slot of the post. I rotate the post so that the slot is at 90 degrees to the string path and bend the string sharply against the post. That sets the initial witness point at the post. Then I wind the string on the post keeping tension on the string to ensure that the string wraps tightly. Once up to pitch I set the witness points at the nut and the last wrap of the string on the post making sure the path from post to nut is straight and not a lazy arc. After that is the usual intonation process and setting the witness points at the bridge.
     
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 17, 2021

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