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What would happen without that cotton bit at the end of strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Euies, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. Euies


    Jan 7, 2017
    Will they, more easily, break? Or are they there for aesthetics?
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Mainly just looks, but they also help prevent scratches and gouges to your tuners.
  3. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    With Flatwounds back in the 70s, the silk winding was used to keep the steel tape from unwinding from the core winding which was often on round steel core. With today's newer designs and hex core, I don't know if the silk winding makes a difference, other than look cool, and protect the chrome on the tuners.
  4. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Yeah, the most plausible functional benefit of the silk wraps might be to protect the hardware. Overall, though, I think they're there for aesthetics.
  5. They are called mojo wraps.
    Don't unravel them or take them off or you run this risk of your bass losing all of it's mojo.
    As a side feature, they protect the tuners and well, look nice.
    Ninevolt, twinjet and bassbully like this.
  6. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    What would happen without that cotton bit at the end of strings?

    They would look like Ernie Ball Slinky's.........
    TN WOODMAN and John B jr like this.
  7. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    That's basically it nowadays; aesthetics. The plating on the hardware is much more durable than it used to be, even though the winding processes for strings really hasn't changed.

    In the case of flatwounds (which are silked on the ball end as well), it's meant to hide the unpolished end, and to protect the bridge saddles from the rough flatwire.
    trothwell and barebones like this.
  8. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    ^ What they said, but one caveat:
    silks are there for more than aesthetics on nylon tapewounds - don't attempt to remove them or the tape will unravel!
    barebones likes this.
  9. I personally prefer no silk at the ball end even for flats, such as La Bella/Sadowsky. Besides, I don't like the idea of the silked part riding over the saddle.
    trothwell likes this.
  10. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Eh the silk should never be on the saddle, i guess you mean scratches when installing.
    This thing about 'protecting your hardware' is ridiculous though, who cares about minor scratches around the tuner post or near the ball-end anchoring point? I prefer roundwound strings with no silking, like D'Addarios, don't want to pay for unnecessary stuff.
  11. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    I'm with you, but apparently there are instruments with really soft hardware out there:
    Elixir Stainless still strings vs frets
    (See pics in OP - Mexican Fender there - especially those of tuning post and bridge saddle. Fretwear is a pain but expected, while strings chewing into the post is less so. Big deal, you'll say. Still...)
  12. They're there to prevent you from picking up Spanish AM radio stations through your amplifier. :p
    S-Bigbottom likes this.
  13. Euies


    Jan 7, 2017
    I actually started messing around with my amp once and I heard: Army radio, something in China, & an American weather forecast.
    Paul LF likes this.
  14. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Phil. Well, the last person who took the wraps off his strings got a visit from this guy. If the rumor's correct, the foolish fellow was Darned to Heck, and made to spend 3 hours in a roomful of beginner banjo players. Don't be like that guy!:whistle:
    Paul LF likes this.
  15. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Hm well those marks in the tuner post are tiny, cause no functional damge and are covered by the strings, the post itself is such low quality it makes no difference aesthetically. I would have no problem with marks like that on a quality bass tuner.
    That bridge saddle is not even a proper saddle, it's a threaded cylinder, no surprise the string has cut down into one of the threads with all that force on the narrow ridge of a thread. What sort of bass uses a threaded cylinder for a saddle? there's little sideways stability. It's just crappy old-fashioned design.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  16. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    The silks actually do help the string winding integrity as it winds around the tuner post, but that being said, I've never had string break, even when I was using long scale strings on my short scale.

    As for silks over the bridge saddles, I like the sound. I use cello strings on my Warwick, and silks go way past the saddles. It provides a little of the effect that a string mute would, though far less.
  17. The original saddles of the first Fender basses back in the 1950s (maybe 60s as well) were the so-called threaded saddles. They have one advantage over the modern ones: one can adjust the string-to-string distance very precisely at the bridge. Not to mention, they show signs of wearing easily, so he sideways stability issue can be avoided easily - the strings will make their beds is a week :)

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