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Thread: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

  1. #1
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    My mando had a clamshell tailpiece. The strings go under it, and I have a devil of a time attaching the loop ends and a more hellacious time keeping them under the hook while putting the string on the tuner and winding it. I get it halfway wound, and the loop comes off and I have to start over.

    I bend the loop, which helps a little, but not much.

    Is it just a sad fact of mando life? Can you suggest any labor-saving tricks?

    Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  2. #2
    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Use a piece of tape to hole the loop on the post.

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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Not sure if I’m doing it “righter or wronger” than others but I first squeeze the sides of the loop to make it narrower so the string tension doesn’t have to bend it (shortens the time to settle in), thread the string through the tailpiece and hook it on the hook, then keep it tight with one hand while I thread it through the tuner. I hold it up a little to keep the tension and give the extra length needed to get the needed windings on the post while starting to tighten the tuner, and when I run out of room for my finger under the string I set it into place in the nut slot and make sure it’s in the right saddle slot and finish bringing it up to tension.

    I’ve also read recommendations to use a capo to keep tension so you don’t need three hands, but I’m used to tieing a lot of fishing knots so managing the string tension doesn’t seem difficult.

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    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Put the loop on the hook at the tailpiece.
    Keep the string taught as your thread it over the bridge and up to the nut.
    Fit string into the slot on the nut, then hold the neck with one hand, and use that index finger at the nut to keep the string in place.
    Bring the string up to the tuning peg, and from the inside, wrap the string around the peg three times.
    Now thread the string through the hole in the tuning peg, pull it tight, and crimp it. Then trim the excess.
    Give the tuner a couple of turns to remove any slack and keep everything in place.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I think Jerry Rosa has a video where he shows people how he does this.

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    Khaaaan!! Captain Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    Put the loop on the hook at the tailpiece.
    Keep the string taught as your thread it over the bridge and up to the nut.
    Fit string into the slot on the nut, then hold the neck with one hand, and use that index finger at the nut to keep the string in place.
    Bring the string up to the tuning peg, and from the inside, wrap the string around the peg three times.
    Now thread the string through the hole in the tuning peg, pull it tight, and crimp it. Then trim the excess.
    Give the tuner a couple of turns to remove any slack and keep everything in place.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I think Jerry Rosa has a video where he shows people how he does this.
    Here's the video. Stringing starts at 19:25:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNl6...A4JC-x&index=3
    Michael Wilson

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  10. #6
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    I tie a bandana around the neck and string being installed to keep the string from flip-flopping away.

    D.H.

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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Use a capo to hold light tension on the string while you fasten it to the tuner.
    Finished my rookie year and still determined to learn!
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  14. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    All the above suggestions are worth considering. I also bend the loop around the point end of a sharpened pencil so it has a rounded bend vs. sharp. Then hook that bent loop on the appropriate hook. I am assuming you have a modern one piece clamshell style not the one with a separate cover. Also I do two courses of strings at a time, never take all the strings off.
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    I've used pulling on the string, with my left hand to keep it on the hook,
    and the up and over the back of my hand as I pull tension on them winding the knob,
    as I slowly withdraw my hand as the tension increases, the distance over my hand
    results in 4 windings around the peg when a straight pull...
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  18. #10

    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Does anyone have experience with the looped end of the string being cut or broken when installed on an older or cheaper tailpiece?

    I was recently replacing strings on an old Suzuki and the loop snapped where it gets pulled taught against the tailpiece tine, just as I was first tuning the strings.

    Does this happen to anyone regularly? Or was this a freak accident?

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  20. #11
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sorensen View Post
    Use a piece of tape to hole the loop on the post.
    Aha! Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  21. #12
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by NDO View Post
    Not sure if I’m doing it “righter or wronger” than others but I first squeeze the sides of the loop to make it narrower so the string tension doesn’t have to bend it (shortens the time to settle in), thread the string through the tailpiece and hook it on the hook, then keep it tight with one hand while I thread it through the tuner. I hold it up a little to keep the tension and give the extra length needed to get the needed windings on the post while starting to tighten the tuner, and when I run out of room for my finger under the string I set it into place in the nut slot and make sure it’s in the right saddle slot and finish bringing it up to tension.

    I’ve also read recommendations to use a capo to keep tension so you don’t need three hands, but I’m used to tieing a lot of fishing knots so managing the string tension doesn’t seem difficult.
    I do all of that — always squeezing the loop, sometimes using a capo. I also hold up the loose dangle end with my teeth to keep it out of the way of the windings.

    Maybe I'm just not attentive enough. Right when I think I'm winding it right, I notice that the loop has snaked out from under the tailpiece and is crawling toward the bridge. Unwind. Reattach. Repeat. . . .
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  22. #13
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    Put the loop on the hook at the tailpiece.
    Keep the string taught as your thread it over the bridge and up to the nut.
    Fit string into the slot on the nut, then hold the neck with one hand, and use that index finger at the nut to keep the string in place.
    Bring the string up to the tuning peg, and from the inside, wrap the string around the peg three times.
    Now thread the string through the hole in the tuning peg, pull it tight, and crimp it. Then trim the excess.
    Give the tuner a couple of turns to remove any slack and keep everything in place.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I think Jerry Rosa has a video where he shows people how he does this.
    I'm not quite picturing it, so I'll check out Rosa's video. Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  23. #14
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kirk View Post
    Here's the video. Stringing starts at 19:25:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNl6...A4JC-x&index=3
    Thanks! I'll watch.

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  24. #15
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny View Post
    Use a capo to hold light tension on the string while you fasten it to the tuner.
    I do that sometimes. Works a little better on the wound strings. More traction, I guess.

    It took me half and hour to replace one E string today. That's what drove me here.

    Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  25. #16
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    All the above suggestions are worth considering. I also bend the loop around the point end of a sharpened pencil so it has a rounded bend vs. sharp. Then hook that bent loop on the appropriate hook. I am assuming you have a modern one piece clamshell style not the one with a separate cover. Also I do two courses of strings at a time, never take all the strings off.
    Yeah, I don't want to have to figure out where the dern bridge belongs, either!

    And yes, it is indeed a one-piece clamshell. Got it via Ebay for $5.71 from Hong Kong, shipping included. Shock and awe!

    I'll try the pencil trick.
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  26. #17
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I've used pulling on the string, with my left hand to keep it on the hook,
    and the up and over the back of my hand as I pull tension on them winding the knob,
    as I slowly withdraw my hand as the tension increases, the distance over my hand
    results in 4 windings around the peg when a straight pull...
    The up-and-over trick is interesting. Worth a try!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  27. #18
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun Wrightson View Post
    Does anyone have experience with the looped end of the string being cut or broken when installed on an older or cheaper tailpiece?

    I was recently replacing strings on an old Suzuki and the loop snapped where it gets pulled taught against the tailpiece tine, just as I was first tuning the strings.

    Does this happen to anyone regularly? Or was this a freak accident?
    It happened to me a few days ago with an E string, so I got a twelve-pack of E's from Just Strings.

    Maybe in the long run cheap tailpieces aren't so cheap!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  28. #19
    harvester of clams Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Just goes to show how poorly they are designed to handle their intended function.
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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Can you suggest any labor-saving tricks?
    Replace the tailpiece if not the mandolin. I loved the tone of an old Flatiron pancake but had less positive feelings about the little frets, flat board, non-adjustable bridge, lack of a truss rod, and one-piece clamshell tailpiece. When I commissioned my Poe Scout, I asked Andy specifically to address each of those design issues (and sold the Flatiron to cover part of the cost).
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  32. #21
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Replace the tailpiece if not the mandolin. I loved the tone of an old Flatiron pancake but had less positive feelings about the little frets, flat board, non-adjustable bridge, lack of a truss rod, and one-piece clamshell tailpiece. When I commissioned my Poe Scout, I asked Andy specifically to address each of those design issues (and sold the Flatiron to cover part of the cost).
    The tailpiece stays. The mando stays. I need challenges. This one I can get without leaving the house!
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  34. #22
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    I'm sure describing this will take way more time than it takes to do the job

    I begin by doing the start of the job without the loop bend as I don't initially know which side up it'll land doing it my way & I don't want a twist in the string.
    Initially I just hook it to the little peg lightly, then draw the string over the bridge up the mandolin over the nut to the tuning post, while one RH finger holds the loop in place the other end. Once I reach the peg I bend the string around the post as a reference, then let the tail loop pop off.
    I then focus on getting the required number of turns, minus a couple, wound around the tuning post, with the string length beyond my winding hand (right) free to move. The loop needs to be free so it can avoid twisting the string while I wrap around the post at the other end. Once the tuning peg is neat, with room for the last few turns, I draw outside pad of my left hand along the fretboard with the string pinched between index & thumb to keep it tight.
    I then pinch the loop and pop it over the pinwith the RH & pull it tight with the LH pinching fingers while pressing a bend in the loop with the RH index.
    once set on the peg, while keeping it tight with the LH pinch & side of hand, I slot my RH fingers under the string and plant my index finger on the string on the fretboard, taking up the tension from the left hand with the RH fingertips under the string.
    When the RHand has control I then use the left hand to wind the tuning peg to tension while gradually removing fingers from under the string until the peg has control.

    I don't go to full tension until I double check the windings on the peg are still neat. then tighten up. If I didn't already do so earlier I then trim off the excess. & bend the stub so it lines up pointing in towards the centre of the headstock.

    It's actually way simpler than it reads.
    Last edited by Beanzy; Dec-01-2022 at 3:27am.
    Eoin



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  36. #23

    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    I got this suggestion from a hammered dulcimer player:

    Aquarium air tubing.

    It comes in different diameters. Take your instrument to the store and find the tubing that slips firmly over the hook. Buy a foot of it. Cut off a 2-inch section , and save the rest of your lifetime supply.. When restringing, put on the loop, and then the tubing. Those "popping off" problems are a thing of the past.
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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  38. #24
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    I'm sure describing this will take way more time than it takes to do the job

    I begin by doing the start of the job without the loop bend as I don't initially know which side up it'll land doing it my way & I don't want a twist in the string.
    Initially I just hook it to the little peg lightly, then draw the string over the bridge up the mandolin over the nut to the tuning post, while one RH finger holds the loop in place the other end. Once I reach the peg I bend the string around the post as a reference, then let the tail loop pop off.
    I then focus on getting the required number of turns, minus a couple, wound around the tuning post, with the string length beyond my winding hand (right) free to move. The loop needs to be free so it can avoid twisting the string while I wrap around the post at the other end. Once the tuning peg is neat, with room for the last few turns, I draw outside pad of my left hand along the fretboard with the string pinched between index & thumb to keep it tight.
    I then pinch the loop and pop it over the pinwith the RH & pull it tight with the LH pinching fingers while pressing a bend in the loop with the RH index.
    once set on the peg, while keeping it tight with the LH pinch & side of hand, I slot my RH fingers under the string and plant my index finger on the string on the fretboard, taking up the tension from the left hand with the RH fingertips under the string.
    When the RHand has control I then use the left hand to wind the tuning peg to tension while gradually removing fingers from under the string until the peg has control.

    I don't go to full tension until I double check the windings on the peg are still neat. then tighten up. If I didn't already do so earlier I then trim off the excess. & bend the stub so it lines up pointing in towards the centre of the headstock.

    It's actually way simpler than it reads.
    Wind first, then hook the loop? Brilliant!

    Actually, I ended up doing that Tuesday because the loop escaped while I was winding. I see you've fleshed out the whole drill. Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  39. #25
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on installing loop-end strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    I got this suggestion from a hammered dulcimer player:

    Aquarium air tubing.

    It comes in different diameters. Take your instrument to the store and find the tubing that slips firmly over the hook. Buy a foot of it. Cut off a 2-inch section , and save the rest of your lifetime supply.. When restringing, put on the loop, and then the tubing. Those "popping off" problems are a thing of the past.
    A technological solution — and an excuse to buy another accessory. Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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