Fitting Strings

Probably the biggest cause of problems with guitars is lack of expertise in fitting strings. As a performing guitarist I want strings that will tune up accurately from new and will stay in tune. My guitars will hold tune throughout a 2 hour performance (almost always) and I can bend strings about as hard as anybody.

Although my guitars, at least those that do not have locking nuts, have Slip Stone nuts, much of the tuning stability is due to putting strings on properly. The method I use is nothing new but I have taught endless guitarists to do it - sometimes more than once.

It's not magic just simple engineering! PRS show the technique well on their site. Click the link below and scroll down to the PRS Vintage Tuners section = click their pics to enlarge them.

How to fit strings perfectly - PRS Website - opens in a new window

The method requires some practise but the results are superb once you have the trick. Plenty of stretching in is essential - one of the reasons I like Sonic Power strings is that they stand up to hard stretching in exceptionally well.

Results: With a slipstone nut and using this method I expect a guitar of mine to play a 1.25 hour set without retuning. A new set of strings won't be this reliable until they have been really bedded in. The pic below is an exact example of how to fit wound strings, plain strings need a little more around turn around the bobbin. I often have a close to full turn on a top string 9.

Extra coils around the bobbin just make a bad spring - this method works as well as a locking tune - but is more difficult to do.

I'd probably have used a little more slack for this string and, if that pic has the lock at 1pm, I'd aim for 10am to 11am - just a tiny bit more turn around the bobbin.