Why starting at the bridge?

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
User avatar
Gorn
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:22 am
Location: São Miguel, Azores

Why starting at the bridge?

Post by Gorn » Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:05 pm

I always wondered why it is common sense to start stringing at the bridge. What's the advantage? Please tell me, why it's better to do it that way.
»I (my teacher, my parents, grand-parents…) always did it« or »I'm used to it« is not an argument.
Habits can change - man uses fire since lately. :wink:

The story behind it:
I've played electric bass, electric guitar and steel string guitars for some decades before I started to go for "nylon" in 2012. Although I was used to ball-ended strings, I never started to string up my classical from the bridge. But I also was pretty aware, that the tuning stability (of steel strings) decreases noticeable, if windings cross each other. The best non-locking tuner system I know is the one of my bass: I think it's Schaller (labeled Warwick). It's a slotted shaft + hole in the axis. You simply cut the string (leave about 2 inches) bend ½ inch by 90 degree, put it into the hole and start winding it up. Simple and effective!

Thumb.jpg

To adapt this principle for a classical, I once started to fix the strings like that – some of you will have seen this picture already:
capstan.png

The soft end of E6-strings usually fits into the hole, whereas the soft end of wound strings around my 12-hole block tended to break, so I never will do that again. The remaining part at the bridge is more than enough to fix it easily.
If the string between roller and bridge can be lifted by 2 or 3 inches at the 12th fret, it will make 2-3 windings on the roller. The overhang at the bridge will be cut off as soon as the string is in tune. It's 100% secure, windings don't cross and you don't need more than 1-3 windings at the roller.
Caution: some thin carbons are very slippery, so you need to bend a full inch at the roller and cut the overhang later. They don't slip as soon as under tension, but can slide out before you tune it up.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
bacsidoan
Posts: 2751
Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 1:59 am
Location: Ohio, US

Re: Why starting at the bridge?

Post by bacsidoan » Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:34 pm

I will grant you that the headstock looks very neat with your method. I can see three potential disadvantages:
1. It is a little difficult to tighten the strings at the bridge initially which means that there will be more winding loops at the rollers, more string to stretch, more time to bring the strings to stable pitch.
2. Once in a while a string will break prematurely at the bridge or saddle, particularly the D-string. If you leave an extra segment of the string at the headstock, you can reuse the string. This is not possible with your method.
3. In the same vein, for some frugal people (or people living in areas where strings are expensive or not easily obtainable), your method will prevent the recycling practice.

User avatar
mike.janel
Posts: 751
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:55 pm
Location: Israel

Re: Why starting at the bridge?

Post by mike.janel » Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:33 pm

I like melting the end of treble strings into a little ball, to guard againt slipping at the bridge. That is hard to do if you start from the other end (risk of setting the guitar on flre).
Also tying knots on the rollers like this makes removing the string harder.
Michael
-----------------------------------------------
2015 Dan Kellaway (Spruce - fan braced)
2013 Amalio Burguet 3M (Cedar)
1989 Yamaha CG 110 (Spruce)

User avatar
Gorn
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:22 am
Location: São Miguel, Azores

Re: Why starting at the bridge?

Post by Gorn » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:15 pm

mike.janel wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:33 pm
I like melting the end of treble strings into a little ball, to guard againt slipping at the bridge. That is hard to do if you start from the other end (risk of setting the guitar on flre).
I never had a string slipping at the bridge, neither at my 6 nor 12 hole block. I cannot comprehend why some people melt the string ends or have problems with slips at the bridge at all. Maybe there are different tie block designs - holes too big, no groove at the end, etc.?
mike.janel wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:33 pm
Also tying knots on the rollers like this makes removing the string harder.
No, it's not hard to remove them. If you have only 1 or 2 windings, it's very fast. I usually loosen the string and cut it around the 1st fret, so you don't need to pull the whole thing through the loop.

Jason
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 7:29 pm

Re: Why starting at the bridge?

Post by Jason » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:26 pm

Do whatever works for ya. Be happy :)
2018 Yamaha gc42s
72 Yamaha gc6d
76 Yamaha g220
71 Yamaha g100a
(At the moment)

User avatar
mike.janel
Posts: 751
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:55 pm
Location: Israel

Re: Why starting at the bridge?

Post by mike.janel » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:17 am

Jason wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:26 pm
Do whatever works for ya. Be happy :)
No argument about this.

As far as I am concerned people can bind their strings to the bridge with superglue instead of tying, if it does them any good.

The OP asked what are the advantages of start stringing from the bridge.
Several such advantages were pointed out, but it seems that none were convincing enough.
Michael
-----------------------------------------------
2015 Dan Kellaway (Spruce - fan braced)
2013 Amalio Burguet 3M (Cedar)
1989 Yamaha CG 110 (Spruce)

Bill-stl
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:33 pm
Location: St Louis, MO USA

Re: Why starting at the bridge?

Post by Bill-stl » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:56 pm

I am wondering why you couldn't start with the bridge like normal, then use Gorn's method at the head to finish. Seems like it would be easy enough to reverse the steps, with plenty of string to feed through and snug up. Maybe not quite as neat since you would have a small tag and sticking out, but after watching multiple you tube videos showing assorted methods of wrapping the string, wrap let, wrap right, 1 or 2 or 3 twists, some pulled snug, some leaving a palm width gap of slack at the 12th fret, etc., this seems like a great alternative.
Esteve Fernandez Valencia

User avatar
Gorn
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:22 am
Location: São Miguel, Azores

Re: Why starting at the bridge?

Post by Gorn » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:54 pm

Bill-stl wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:56 pm
I am wondering why you couldn't start with the bridge like normal, then use Gorn's method at the head to finish. Seems like it would be easy enough to reverse the steps, with plenty of string to feed through and snug up. Maybe not quite as neat since you would have a small tag and sticking out, but after watching multiple you tube videos showing assorted methods of wrapping the string, wrap let, wrap right, 1 or 2 or 3 twists, some pulled snug, some leaving a palm width gap of slack at the 12th fret, etc., this seems like a great alternative.
It's a nasty fidgeting if you try it the other way round - I've tried it.

Bill-stl
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:33 pm
Location: St Louis, MO USA

Re: Why starting at the bridge?

Post by Bill-stl » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:44 pm

I just tried doing the head your way but leaving the bridge attached. I just put new tuning machines on. Other than the hole on low E and G being tight, it went pretty well. My strings were previously trimmed and a little kinked from being wound once, but I like the way they snug up. Very clean. Since I was working on the tuners anyway, I opened the hole for the loe E string.
Esteve Fernandez Valencia

Return to “Classical Guitar Strings”