My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
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Gorn
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My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by Gorn » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:35 pm

I've played many years electric guitars and basses. It's always been "common sense" to wind up as little string as possible to avoid detuning. One example: my Framus Mayfield Custom is equipped with Schaller lock tuners, you only need 1/3 - 1/2 turn (!) to tune up. It's amazing, how hard and frequently strings can be bent without detuning.
So I think it's also a good idea to leave as little rotations as possible on the string capstan of my CGs.

When winding up new strings, I do this sequence:
1. I always start at the head, turn the hole into vertical position and put the string from the head's backside through.
2. Then I sharp bend approx. 1/2 inch (or more) to 180°. Thin carbon trebles might need a bit more. You can cut the overlap later.
3. I push (resp. pull at the long end) both ends back into the hole until there is a small loop.
4. Then I take the string's long end and guide it through the loop. If it's too narrow (E6-string!), I widen it up with my side cutter, a screwdriver or whatever. There's a safe knot now, which easily can be removed without cutting the string for a change the next time.

Image

5. I wind up about 1/2 rotation and attach the long end to the bridge and pull it lightly tight, because there's no need for extra reserves for the bass strings and maybe quite a bit for e1 and b2.
6. Et voilà: this is from the opposite side with E6 in tune.

Image

It works well, I never had problems with strings slipping out and maybe it detunes a little less than having 5 or more rotations on the capstan.

What do you think?
Is anybody doing the same?

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Dave
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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by Dave » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:03 pm

I do the same, different method but the end result is identical.
Dave

Arker
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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by Arker » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:59 pm

Strangely enough I do very nearly the opposite.

I usually install my strings without cutting them at all, winding all the excess length, with the attachment relying on friction not knots. The only knot is at the bridge.

That little bit of extra weight on the headstock is supposed to help a touch with sustain. I start at the bridge, tie them on there with minimal waste, then wrap the string a couple of times before feeding it through the hole in the capstan. Bend the tip over 90degrees and secure it *underneath* those wraps, pull it tight with the left hand from about the nut while winding with the right hand. The basses seem to bind up extremely solidly against each other once brought up to tension like this, they lock in place quickly and I have seen no tuning problems from doing it. The trebles tend to be a little more slippery and I pull through about twice as much slack on those, because half of it disappears before they stabilize, but after a couple of days they also seem to hold tune just fine like this.

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Gorn
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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by Gorn » Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:13 am

Arker wrote: That little bit of extra weight on the headstock is supposed to help a touch with sustain.
Really? Please don't misunderstand: I don't want to challenge that, I'm just curious.
Did anybody make the same experience?
If so, why not putting a small brass plate to the backside of the headstock - maybe 1/2 oc.?
I guess that a clip tuner might even be heavier than 1 or 2 feet of strings. Did anybody experience that sustain improves with a clip tuner put on?
I don't use those devices, so I cannot make a test.
I remember that once upon a time (maybe 70's or 80's) someone invented metal (brass?) plates to be fixed at the backside of a bass headstock to improve sustain. It disappeared from the market, maybe because the basses became top-heavy (?). Coevally, the 80's have also been the decade of headless basses.

To make a long story short: Another important reason, why I try to reduce the number of rotations is very simple: I'm a lazybones, that's all :D !

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James Lister
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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by James Lister » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:04 am

My experience is certainly that fewer windings gives quicker tuning stability. I'm pretty sure the extra weight of the windings is insignificant, and there are certainly better ways to increase the mass of the head, if you think it helps sustain.

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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by Arker » Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:37 pm

Gorn wrote:
Arker wrote: That little bit of extra weight on the headstock is supposed to help a touch with sustain.
Really? Please don't misunderstand: I don't want to challenge that, I'm just curious.
Challenge it, I don't blame you a bit. I thought it sounded like nonsense when I first heard it too. I have verified it's true experimentally or I would not believe it myself.

Ever seen a Fender Fatfinger? Looks like a scam, sounds like a scam, but they actually work. You don't have to buy the one Fender makes either, you can make one yourself for a fraction of the cost at HomeDepot or the like. The wierd thing is they actually do work.

It's not a huge, dramatic difference, but it is a barely noticeable improvement, on most guitars at least. When this was proven to me, that got me thinking, and I tested my electric (which I had already strung B.B. King style - carefully winding the entire string without cutting, for other reasons) against the same model electric, strung with the same strings, but more conventionally with a short wrap and excess cut off, I was able to verify again a just-barely-noticeable improvement in the sustain on the guitar with just a few fractional grams more metal, more weight, on the headstock.

There's definitely individual variation and I doubt it works the same on every guitar - if it was linear we would see people attaching a half dozen of those fatfingers to their guitars but it doesnt work that way - so I wouldnt be surprised if it doesnt work on every single guitar out there either, but it clearly does work on many.

And no I havent done a good test to be sure it's working on the classical, I don't have two classicals to test with, but I have tried it both ways sequentially and I am sure what I am doing now at the very least does not hurt, might even give it a tiny boost. Whether I do a short tie and wrap or a long friction-wrap has not made any difference I have noticed in terms of staying in tune either - but I'll happily grant there might have been a small advantage that I missed. I don't find my strings going out of tune by more than the few cents after playing and putting it away overnight either way, after they have been on a few days at least.

Bill
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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by Bill » Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:52 am

In the late 70's-mid 80's, some after market companies sold brass plates cut to fit the back of the headstock of popular electric and steel string guitars. They probably made them for basses too. The thought was the added mass acted as a stiffener and improved sustain. Ultimately they went the way of the leisure suit. They weren't biodegradable, so they must still be around somewhere.

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petermc61
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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by petermc61 » Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:14 am

Bill wrote: Ultimately they went the way of the leisure suit. They weren't biodegradable, so they must still be around somewhere.
The brass plates or the leisure suits?

:lol:

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Moje
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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by Moje » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:18 am

Dave wrote:I do the same, different method but the end result is identical.
I am now! Fantastic, wish this was Reddit so I could upvote you, thanks for posting.

I always knew additional windings aren't necessary as nylon will stretch enough to wrap around the peg, but this is a beautifully efficient knot using the absolute least amount of string. I found I was able to have the 1st string windings veer to the right rather than the left, allowing for nearly perfectly straight string-pull toward the tuner; the strings are still settling in but in principle that should help with tuning stability.
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uptempo

Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by uptempo » Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:40 pm

I'm not really following the method - is there any chance of a video of you doing this at some stage?

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chrispeppler
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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by chrispeppler » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:24 pm

String through hole in capstan from behind/underneath the head... loop over the top of capstan on one side of string coming up from the bridge.... back under the string so string end now positioned on other side of where it entered hole in capstan ... hold end tight as string tightened up and clamps over the held string end ... and there you have it. By the time the string is fully tuned it will be around the capstan a number of times and you can cut off the excess. I think this is the standard way of attaching new strings, but even if its not it works well and results in minimum string being wound around the capstan.

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Gorn
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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by Gorn » Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:48 pm

uptempo wrote:I'm not really following the method - is there any chance of a video of you doing this at some stage?
It's as simple as this:
Image

It's also possible to fix the string at the bridge first, but starting at the head is very much easier!

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Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:58 pm

Dave wrote:I do the same, different method but the end result is identical.
Likewise. I start from the bridge and use a different type of "knot" at the roller, but always with a minimal amount of string wrapped around. My guitar stays in tune extremely well.

uptempo

Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by uptempo » Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:41 am

Brilliant - thanks very much for posting the detailed picture - I will have a go.

uptempo

Re: My string capstan fixation method - anybody else doing it?

Post by uptempo » Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:41 pm

Just thought I would update.

I tried this method today and I must say it is very good. The guitar seems to come up to tune quickly and the new strings have settled quickly. And the whole thing looks really tidy.

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