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Thread: Dealing with pokey string ends?

  1. #1

    Default Dealing with pokey string ends?

    I've used nylon strings on all my guitars & ukuleles before and the mandolin is my first metal-stringed instrument.

    When changing strings how do you deal with the leftover bit that remains on the tuning peg? I've just been cutting them off as close as possible to the peg, but the ends keep snagging on things that get near them (i.e. a cleaning cloth).

    There must be a better way to handle these pokey bits.

    Please give your advice on how best to deal with them.

    Thank you!
    Aldon

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    I push them down with the tip of my needle-nose pliers, which I would have at the ready because that's what I use to snip the strings. If I'm feeling ambitious I might grap the pokey bit and bend it downward. Either/or. A screwdriver would work as well. Just be careful not to let it slip and nick the wood. Now that I think of it, maybe a pencil or a plastic knife/fork/spoon would do. The point is to disable the point by pointing it downward where it won't reach up and snag something.
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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    I cut ‘em about 3/8” - 1/2” from the tuning post then give ‘em a downward bend with a long nose plier. Just do it so the end is clear of the peghead surface.
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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    I simply chop them off level with the top of the tuner post and get over it.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    I usually turn them down but sometimes there is the fishhook effect that is not fun if the bend it not bent enough. Ouch!
    Jim

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  7. #6

    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks,
    sounds_good

  8. #7

    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    Thank you all for your thoughts on this. Bending the ends down is an excellent idea, and pretty obvious now that I think about it. I'm going to try that first.

    When I was a piano tuner the standard practice was to first wind the string onto the peg, then unwind and cut the bent end to fit inside the tuning peg, then put it back on the peg with the cut end hiding inside the peg. This wouldn't work on mandolin because the tuning peg is too slim.

    To sounds_good: I can't tell from the picture what's going on there. Are you looping or curling the cut end around the leading end of the string?

    Thanks again, all!

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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    Once you have them strung up, tuned up, etc, take the leftover length, do a wrap around the post and pull all the extra through the hole on the tuning peg. Pull it tight-ish and snip off the extra. The pokey tip will pull back just enough to be inside the channel of the tuning peg so you can’t get stuck or hung up on cleaning cloths.

    I did this for a while, but now just cut them, pinch down the pointy ends towards the tuning post, and don’t clean the peg head until I’m changing strings. But the aforementioned technique works, even if you do a string lock bend…
    Chuck

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    Registered User BrunoS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    How I get around that issue is that I don't actually cut anything, as I could never get all of the extra string with pliers. I wrap the extra string around the tuning peg and tug on it so it bends at the point where it exits the tuning peg's hole. I do this in a circular fashion, tug clockwise on one end, then wrap it counter-clockwise and tug again. After a few times the string will give and just break off on its own (takes more time on the wrapped strings). I also use this stringing technique so the string is locked in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpfNuGmJe5I, and I've had no tuning issues or string breaks in years.
    Here's a picture of how a guitar E string looks like once I've done this, no excess string at all.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #10

    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    Iíve been using Stanley 84-093 end nipper pliers since the 1980s. They allow me to cut the string off slightly below the top of the peg, which completely does away with the problem. They fit in the case pockets of all my mandos, and will also cut off string balls without damaging the loop (if done carefully).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #11

    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    Quote Originally Posted by daLimuHead View Post
    To sounds_good: I can't tell from the picture what's going on there. Are you looping or curling the cut end around the leading end of the string?

    Thanks again, all!
    I pull the free end of the string around the string in tension
    until it bends. I cut off the extra length. The end springs
    down to the tuning peg.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks,
    sounds_good

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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    Why bend them? In days gone by you could have stuck 8 lit cigarettes on them while playing.

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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimKo View Post
    Why bend them? ...
    Hint: If you leave the strings straight as they come out of the post, they'll poke you when you get close to them and often will break the skin. If you put a ~90į bend in them 1/4" to 1/8" before the end of the string, they may still try to poke you, but the bend adds spring -- and a little give -- to that area of the string and usually it won't break the skin.

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    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    Mandolin string changing equipment checklist:

    1) New strings
    2) cleaning cloth
    3) needle nose pliers
    4) diagonal pliers
    5) polysporin
    6) band aids
    7) current tetanus shot

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    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    I THOUGHT I was going to finish my last mandolin string change without a skin puncture, but a string end caught me before I was done. Iím not sure why, but the mandolin seems to be the worst of my instruments when it comes to getting poked. I wonder if it is the 8 tuner posts (as opposed to four, five, or six) in a relatively tight space?

    I, too, bend the ends down, but I still get poked regularly.
    Doug Brock
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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    Seems to me I nearly always get poked during the changing process, but never afterward. Bending the ends down is the key (regardless of what some folks have come up with as alternative methods) - quick, easy, effective. I figure a little bloodshed is a good sacrifice, makes for a positive invocation of the spirits to ensure a good life for the new strings.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    I was almost a diabetic at one point, so I like to check my glucose occasionally and also have a machine and a strip handy for string changes. Why waste a poke?

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    Default Re: Dealing with pokey string ends?

    I don’t wipe my strings above the nut.
    I don’t play there very much…so they don’t get finger oils, dead skin cells, beer, etc. above the nut.
    But I do wipe down the strings along the fretboard - hoping to make the strings last a bit longer.

    Kirk

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