How Do You Wind Bass Strings?
If you want your bass to sound its best, starting off with quality strings is key. Which type you select depends on what genre your bass belongs to.
When restringing your bass, start by stringing its thickest string first and making sure that a tuner and wire cutters are within reach. Next, feed the new string through its bridge.
Wrapping the Strings
As a bassist, changing strings is likely part of your regular practice. Over time, they will eventually wear down beyond being able to produce sound; keeping your strings clean and in good condition will extend their lifespan while giving your basses richer tones.
Bassists choose specific string types to fit their playing style, whether that means roundwounds with their more relaxed sound or flatwounds with Motown thump. When selecting their strings, bassists must also consider winding type – different winding techniques affect how it feels and sounds.
When replacing bass strings it’s essential that they are correctly installed and set up. This includes matching up string size with model specifications and truss rod, stretching them progressively until acclimated with their new tension, as well as stabilizing pitch.
Many bassists rely on string winders as a timesaving device when wrapping long strings on their bass guitars. You can find hand powered swivel roller winders as well as electric winders attached to an electric drill or screwdriver; each winder saves both time and can help enhance tone by reducing string noise.
After winding, it’s essential that each wrap go under rather than over the previous one to ensure secure wrapping of strings at the nut and bridge, which plays a pivotal role in their tone and can alter accordingly.
Once the string is wrapped it’s important not to forget tuning it. Utilizing a tuner to raise and then stretch its new tension will enable it to quickly adapt to its new tension faster while stabilizing pitch – this step is especially essential when working with thicker bass strings.
Wrapping the Nut
When winding bass strings, extreme care must be taken when wrapping them. Each string must pass over the nut and under each tuning peg in an even fashion, to prevent gaps where strings might slip out of position or vibrate improperly; also helping prevent strings from coming off the nut and landing on the floor where they could potentially get damaged or lost.
Another key reason to be wary when wrapping the nut is its potential effect on the sound of your bass. Too tight of wrapping could create an uneven contact point between string and nut which in turn alters how the instrument sounds.
Before performing this step on your own, it is a good idea to practice with either a friend or teacher until you master it. Be sure to wipe down your nut and bridge when finished using a lint-free cloth to prevent lint from getting under the strings and leading them out of tune.
Many bassists utilize string winders as an aid for winding the long strings used on their instrument. These hand powered swivel roller winders are available at most music stores for an extremely reasonable price and provide efficient string changes quickly and efficiently.
Though some might view using a string winder as unnecessary, most bassists recognize its benefits for making their job much simpler and faster. Plus, these devices are specifically made for bass string use to avoid damaging delicate instruments.
Before changing bass strings, the first step should be loosening your old ones by turning your tuners in an anticlockwise direction. Next, cut off any old strings with a wire cutter. Play your bass for several minutes after loosening old ones before doing final tuning as this allows its strings to warm up and stretch for accurate pitch.
Wrapping the Bridge
Changing strings to get an amazing bass tone may require replacing them, which is an easy process once you know how to do it. Before beginning this task however, take the time to prep your bass beforehand as this will make the process go much smoother and help ensure its health during and after its transformation.
First, apply some low tack tape to the back of the bridge in order to protect it from being damaged when string ball ends rub against it. You may also choose to add polish cloth under strings and over pickup area as extra protection against potential damages.
Now is the time to prepare the bass for stringing. If necessary, remove and uncoil your old set of strings, while unwinding new ones. Next, identify each string either by its packaging label or color of its ball end; once identified, insert each one carefully into its respective bridge entry before pulling carefully until its designated saddle and nut guides come into contact with its ends.
Once your string is properly in position, you can begin winding it onto the bridge. Be sure to maintain tension on it by holding one hand against it while wrapping; otherwise it could twist uncontrollably around its post and be unevenly wound around its base.
Some players opt for top-wrapping when winding their bass strings, which involves wrapping it at an obtuse angle over the bridge saddle to create a more shallow break angle and allow more vibrant vibration. But most bassists tend to favor bottom-wrapping for easier maintenance while still producing great tone.
As soon as your string has been wrapped, it’s essential that it be tuned correctly. Secure a capo at the first fret and use a feeler gauge to depress it until there is an adequate gap between it and the eighth fret; tune to its proper pitch; stretch so it will settle into its proper place more easily and remain in tune over time.
Wrapping the Tuning Post
When installing a new bass string, it is crucial that enough slack remains that two to three windings of string can wrap around the tuning post before tightening – otherwise the string could slip under tension when tightened further – something common among basses with small tuner holes.
To avoid this issue, simply cut the string with wire cutters a few inches beyond its tuning post, and use dykes to trim away excess from both the post and remaining end of the string. Some bassists prefer doing this before installing their string; it is ultimately up to each bassist!
Not only will this method prevent excessive windings on the tuning post, it will also keep strings taut during re-stringing to avoid unwinding from top to bottom of peg and creating loose strings. Furthermore, using this technique allows you to quickly tighten bass strings at an appropriate pitch without undoing wrappings at headstock and bridge.
While you’re at it, take this opportunity to wipe down the neck, pegs and tuning machines of your bass with a damp cloth and eliminate dust or grime that has accumulated there – this will help ensure longer string life! Additionally, cover it when not playing it or purchase coated strings that provide added protection from environmental elements.
Dependent upon the brand of bass string you use, stretching them out and tuning them properly can take several days or more. While this is normal, you can accelerate this process by regularly boiling your strings in hot water – this removes grime that cannot be removed with cloth alone and also improves their tone – many bassists do this after each concert to restore tone quickly and improve tone quality – often taking only minutes! Boiling is highly recommended when working with acoustic strings which deteriorate quickly when exposed to sunlight or heat exposure – particularly useful when working with acoustic bass strings which can deteriorate quickly if left exposed for too long a time without proper care if left exposed for too long!