Bass String Length

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Bass String Length

Postby Fraidykat » Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:46 am

Hi,

I've never come across this quandary before.
I play regular, 34" scale basses. (Fender, G&L and.others).

I've always bought "long scale" strings. The G, D, and A strings are fine.
However, the string winding goes over the nut and starts to wind around the tuner on the E string.
I never noticed until I tried to put a set on a new bass and the E string wouldn't tune properly.

Then I read that the winding is not supposed to reach the tuner, as it states in this article:
http://liutaiomottola.com/formulae/bassString.htm

I've been to many bass string manufacturer websites to see what they say.
GHS has a medium scale with 34.5" winding length. I've purchased those online.

But the bulk of the other manufacturers strings list a 36" winding length for long scale.

What strings do you buy?

Thanks,
Kate
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Re: Bass String Length

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:20 pm

Welcome to BassesByLeo!

Fraidykat wrote:I've always bought "long scale" strings. The G, D, and A strings are fine.
However, the string winding goes over the nut and starts to wind around the tuner on the E string.
I never noticed until I tried to put a set on a new bass and the E string wouldn't tune properly.


There's obviously something going on here, but I'm thinking that the winding on the E post might not totally be what we're after.

Then I read that the winding is not supposed to reach the tuner, as it states in this article:
http://liutaiomottola.com/formulae/bassString.htm


The author states, "...but the wound portion can not be wound around the tuning posts. The wound portion of a bass string is not flexible enough to go around the narrow post and can easily break if this is attempted." I would agree with this in general, but it will vary depending on the string and the post in question. It is absolutely correct when dealing with those small diameter Gotoh posts. I believe it's much less of an issue with the larger posts seen on G&Ls unless the string is very stiff and inflexible.

What strings do you buy?


I prefer Infeld Superalloys, which leads to a couple pictures:

Image

Image

In both of these images you can see that the full winding of the E string is partially around the post. The same thing goes on with my SB-2. Both basses tune up and intonate properly. I agree that this isn't optimal, but there are a couple reasons that it works well for me. (1) The string's winding is in hard contact with the post and not stacked up on top of the silk-covered part of the string. (2) I don't have excessive turns on the post. There's one more thing I'll get into in a sec.

Here's how I string my basses:

    I trim each string two posts beyond their target post. For example, I'll cut the A string at about the G post. Cut the E at the D post. The D and G get estimated, but you get the picture. Yes, the G post on this bass is special.

    Using pliers, I bend a 90 degree angle about 3/4" from the trimmed end.

    I then stuff that angled end into the post and wind to put a little tension on the string. Repeat for all 4 strings.

    Now I'll give the strings a little stretch, then tune to pitch.

    This is that one extra thing noted above. Read this, then come back.

I don't have your bass in front of me, but I'd guess that you might have more turns on the post than necessary. This will affect how that full-sized winding is contacting the post. You might also need to "Reinforce the witness point" as noted in the linked article, which will certainly help with tuning stability and intonation.

Ken...
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Re: Bass String Length

Postby deltafred » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:04 am

I don't think it is the ideal situation because it rapidly fills up the available space on the tuning peg, especially on the E, but really can't see a problem with it otherwise. The bending stress is less than that caused by the break angle where the string passes over the bridge. (Which is where the one or 2 strings that I have broken have failed.)

Looking along my bass rack I see that 2 basses have the full diameter E string wound round the tuning peg (Fender Precision strung with Rotosound 66's and a fretless Jazz copy with the factory fitted chromes). It has never worried me and I have never had any problems with it.

What strings do I buy, well I am a very recent convert to chromes, my violin bass has D'Addario ECB81M 45 - 100. My L2500 has a completely dead set of strings (the make of which escapes me now) and I have a set Rotosound 66 stainless steels waiting to go on but am starting to wish that I had ordered chromes for it.
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