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Thread: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

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    Default Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    Buying strings by the dozen has been considerably cheaper than buying premade sets but some of the gauges I want are only available in ball end. Crushing the balls with a wire nipper to remove them works but is messy and makes sharp little brass shrapnel fly around the room a little. Could I just clip the ball end off, make my own loop in the unwound part of the tailpiece end, and install them "backwards"? I've seen a cool luthier's looping tool which I could emulate cheaply with a pliers and a little hook. Or maybe there's a cleaner way to get that ball out.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    I will stick an awl into the loop around the ball at the string end and enlarge the loop on the ball slightly. With a small pliers in the ball I will slip the ball out of the loop. It's not easy, but after you do it a few times you will work out a process.
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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    You can slip the string in front of the ball under the hook and bend it around the hook, it will work unless your strings are too thick to fit under the hooks (on some stamped tailpieces). This won't work on cast tailpieces though.
    Adrian

  4. #4

    Default Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I will stick an awl into the loop around the ball at the string end and enlarge the loop on the ball slightly. With a small pliers in the ball I will slip the ball out of the loop. It's not easy, but after you do it a few times you will work out a process.
    Sounds easier than trying to find the tiny brass shrapnel from the more destructive method! I'd like that loop a little bigger to fit on the tailpiece hooks more easily, anyway.

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    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch_M View Post
    Sounds easier than trying to find the tiny brass shrapnel from the more destructive method! I'd like that loop a little bigger to fit on the tailpiece hooks more easily, anyway.
    When I have done this method (to get loop end strings long enough for dulcimer), I line up the diagonal cutters on the ball, then dip my hand with the nippers & ball into a deep trash can before squeezing. The can captures the shrapnel pretty well. YMMV, but it works for me.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    If you crush the ball with pliers, you can generally slip it intact out of the loop –– especially if you use an awl as pops1 suggests. Crush the "weaker" end of the small cylinder, which is what the "ball" really is.
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    Default Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    I've slipped the string through the ball to make a loop and used that. Just had to make sure to pull it all the way through.

    I've also snipped the ball off with the wire snip part of my needlenose pliers, Lay the jaws right in the same groove the loop goes around. Be careful not to cut the string. I don't recall having a problem with flying pieces.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    Break up the ball* with pliers & the loop remains..

    * it's bronze, I believe..

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    Last edited by mandroid; Dec-05-2021 at 4:54pm.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    I clip the just edges of the “ball” off until it just slips through the loop. Just use a small good quality diagonal nippers. Reminds me of Firesign Theater: Don’t Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers.
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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    I'm sold on Curt Mangan strings. They're not cheap as d'addarrio's, but not nearly as much as some brands. He sells individual strings in ball and loop end. I need to make up custom sets for my 25" 10 string mandocello with octave pairs on the C, G and D. I get all loop end from him (even though the cast Allen tailpiece takes loop or ball end).

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    Also, Mapes Strings, a long lived company, will sell you custom sets in whatever gauges you prefer and at decent prices.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    A pair of pliers and a finish nail = string loop winding equipment,
    (+ why Gibson TP have 12 hooks, the loop winding can slip.. )

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wound ball end strings put on backwards?

    I'll keep it in-house and mention emando.com, operated by a longstanding Café member of good standing. A few years back, when I was in a band in which I was playing so often and so frenetically I was breaking lots of strings, A and E strings mostly (though I did break a G string a couple of times, and even one night broke one of each, a memorable achievement ), I bought several 10-packs of each, and also some custom-made sets. The website permits easy ordering of every thickness there is, in various winding possibilities - and in loop or ball ends, scootching over to the topic. NFI, BTW, honest!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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