Tuning out tuning issues

When you put on new strings and are tuning it up, have you noticed how some strings go ‘twang’ and lose tension completely? It happens because the ball-end of the string was not seated properly and was actually stuck to the end of the bridgepin. The tension that you give it while tuning it up, pulls it off the bridgepin and it hits the bridgeplate (where it was supposed to rest in the first place). Fine! Where’s the problem?

Two, actually! One, strings are liable to break due to the sudden loss of tension. Also, when you start tightening them again, you may break them then too.

Secondly, the force with which the ball-end of the string hits the bridgeplate is liable to damage it badly if it happens every time you change strings.

Let’s do it right the first time and every time!

So, it’s time to change strings on your guitar. Old strings are off, the guitar has been thoroughly cleaned, polished, hardware given a tightening, polish and you are ready to put on new strings.

courtesy frets.com

As you slip this bent string into the slot – with the ball-end longitudinal to the hole – the curvature in it forces it on to the bridgeplate and away from the bridgepin.

Also, it is a good idea to take a look at the ends of your bridgepins.

Notice the one on the right has a slight angle to it. It is on the face that has the groove in it, in which groove the string sits. What that angle does is help the ball-end of the string slip off the bridgepin end and rest naturally on the bridgeplate.

Now, notice the one on the left. That is how you get a bridgepin from the shop. That is how they came in your guitar when you bought it new. You have to make the left one look like the right one. How do you do that? Take a small, flat hobby file and file away at an approximate angle of 45 degrees. It should not take you more than 10-15 seconds to get it into shape.

If it is so necessary why don’t guitar manufacturers do this? It increases the time and cost, darling!

Do this for all the strings and all the bridgepins. Once you are through, you are ready to put on new strings and tune up your instrument.

Notice the position of the ball-end as it is going into the hole

No unneeded ‘twangs’ and bangs and you are ready to rock ’n’ roll!

Amit Newton

An experienced guitar tech with over 10 years of experience working on acoustic Gibsons and Martins in the Gulf region. There is nothing that cannot be repaired; the only consideration is the price at which it comes. And yet, if there is sentiment attached, no price is too high! WhatsApp/Call me: 7080475556 email me: guitarguyhelp@gmail.com

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