Take the 2-minute tour ×
Musical Practice & Performance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have seen my double bass teacher change strings a few times, but I have a set of solo strings that I would like to learn how to put on by myself. I haven't been able to find much clear advice on the internet - there are pretty much only guides that are full of jargon, or random forum posts of dubious quality. And I would be hesitant to follow a guide for changing strings for a cello, for example, because double basses are constructed quite differently and the size and tension of the strings is much greater.

Can anyone outline a simple, step-by-step process for changing double bass strings?

Some additional questions:

  • Do I need to loosen/de-tune all the strings beforehand?
  • Should I tighten each new string as it is added?
  • Does it matter if start from the lowest string and go up, or the other way around?
  • How do I actually anchor the string into the mechanism in the scroll?
share|improve this question
    
You need to loosen the old strings unless you fancy them exploding when you cut them or whatever else you would do instead; you should tighten each string enough that it's not flopping in the way; order doesn't matter if you don't tighten them all at once. A good instrument won't deform if you tighten the strings out of order, but to be on the safe side I would tighten them all slightly, then slightly more, etc. so that the tension goes up gradually and evenly. I can't answer your last question since I have no idea :P –  Matthew Read Jun 13 '11 at 19:33

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Keep your bass on it's back and do not take off all of your strings at once. Without tension, your soundpost will fall.

Make sure you keep a very close eye on your bridge- it can and will move as you tighten your strings. Most commonly it will bend towards the finger board as you tighten the strings. To avoid having to go back and loosen them when you are done, just firmly grab either side of the bridge and push down steadily if you notice that it is starting to lean towards the finger board.

To anchor in the string, just push the string into the correct hole of the peg box to where there is a little under an inch sticking out on the other side. The easiest way to do this is to stick it in and start to turn the tuner, but make sure you are going in the right direction or you will have to take it off.

If you don't have a string winder, changing strings can be physically painful. I recommend buying one they are around 10 and save tons of time. Some people (to save time) stick the string a few inches into the hole in the peg box, then wrap the end that they just stuck through the hole around the top part of the string, then simply wind it. That was oddly hard to explain with words, but if you try it out it will make more sense. It doesn't look as neat in the peg box but it saves tons of time.

As for loosening strings, you will find that you will have to loosen certain strings to have access to others. Just don't take them all off at once.

Oh! And when you feed the string through the tailpiece, be positive that the ball is allll the way pulled up in the tailpiece.

You will develop your own method for changing your strings, no doubt. Be sure that you have plenty of time for your first try.

Sorry, that was a novel! Have fun with the solo strings!

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for the tips, it was quite easy in the end. In fact, I didn't even need to anchor the strings in at the top, I just stuck it through the hole and started turning the winder and it magically remained anchored. –  Lotus Notes Jun 15 '11 at 21:24

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.