Swapping strings on the pegs

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Johnny L, Oct 3, 2003.

  1. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Is there any value to swapping the E and A strings at the tuning pegs and giving the E string more length between the nut and the peg? I think this is done when an extension is added, but I was wondering if this is only practiced by those who have multiple basses and want to remove a little confusion from their lives.
  2. I think it depends on how your machines are oriented, and what sounds best on your bass. On mine, what would normally be the A machine is the closest to the nut, and I was having some problems with a wolf tone and getting the A string to speak clearly a while back. So I swapped the A and E, and it did make a bit of a difference. Not really enough to justify the confusion though, at least on my bass.
  3. Interesting concept. I wonder if any of the luthiers have thoughts on this?
  4. I can not think of any conceivable way that switching the A and E pegs could have anything what so ever to do with taming a true wolftone.
  5. heheh... And it didn't have any effect on my wolf tone at all. I just tried it because I'd heard other bass players say it did this or that to improve the way their bass played or sounded, and the idea of changing the overall length or tension of the string seemed like it might make a difference and be worth experimenting with. In reallity... not much difference although it did make winding the strings in my easier in my pegbox. ;)
  6. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Some folks I know do it cuz their other bass has an extention and these must have the two lowest strings reversed.
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Thanks for the replies.
  8. Here is a picture of the scroll of one of my basses:


    - if you look carefully, you will see that the E and the G tuning machine pegs have been swapped, as have those of the D and the A, but the tuning keys are still on their normal sides (E & A on the left, and D and G on the right from the front). The result of this is that the E string has less of a bend from the nut to the tuning peg, which is an advantage if you're using Obligatos which have a tendency to unravel at the slightest hint of a bend...

    Not all basses lend themselves to this modification - it depends on exactly how the holes for the pegs (which are tapered) have been drilled or reamed.

    Here's the same idea applied to a Pöllmann:


    neat idea, eh?

    - Wil