photograph of a headstock being strung
Edge guitar services

Eltham Jones, guitar repair and technical services :Bristol : Cardiff : Bridgend : Tel. 07971 240296

One of the most commonly taught methods of restringing involves passing the string through the eye of the tuner spindle the hooking it back underneath the string so that it is locked between the string and the spindle. you will find this technique illustrated in almost every book on guitar playing and maintenance, on the little flyers placed in the cases of new guitars, magazine and internet articles...

This method is sometimes called the Nashville wrap I am told but it is a really, really bad way of stringing a steel strung guitar!

Granted there are occasions when it has its uses; it's the only technique that works for nylon strung guitars and on some early tuners with parallel spindles but on modern tuners with waisted profiles coil-compression techniques such as the piano wrap offer better stability and security and less risk of string breakage.

I call the "Nashville" wrap the lock wrap because it effectively locks the free end of the string to the tuner spindle. Users believe that this makes the string more stable but in fact it doesn't; it simply makes it harder to remove the string when you need to change it!

It also reduces contact between the inside of the coil and the tuner spindle, limiting friction hold and introducing a point of stress where the coils cross over it.

Modern tuners are designed with a concave radiused profile which is intended to enhance coil compression by causing each coil to seek the narrowest part of the radius as it tightens. Subsequent coils slide into place alongside and are forced into contact by the radius so that the string is clamped effectively on perhaps three or four sides as well as the inside surface of each coil. This means that a top E with four wraps is clamped tightly by self sustaining pressure over approximately a 100mm length. Beat that. Sperzel!

The other disadvantage of the lock wrap is that having locked the string onto the tuner the only way to increase the number of wraps is to laboriously wind the string on by cranking the tuner. Not only is this time consuming but it increases wear and tear on the tuner's gearing.

Restringing - part 2

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