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[Getting started] How to Change Bass Guitar Strings

How to Change Bass Guitar Strings
Knowing how to properly string a bass guitar is basic knowledge you have to master. It will set the right foundations for a pleasant playing while avoiding some other troubles with your sound. Here you have some valuable tips.

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As a guitar tech with 38 years experience, I strenuously disagree with some parts of this article:

Do not ever cut a string with tension on it. Unwind the string until it's floppy, then cut. Think about how much tension a string is putting on the neck and the truss rod. To cut it and release the tension all at once, particularly if you do all the strings at the same time or one right after another causes the neck to snap and may throw it out of adjustment. Do it just right, and you can create a twist in the neck, which can be a bear to get rid of unless you have a neck press (a very rare tool). This is just common sense and physics.

Generally speaking, it is best to do one string at a time, but if you want to clean the fingerboard or do a grind and polish, it's okay to remove all the strings. Just do it gently.

Soapy water is fine to clean sealed maple fingerboards. Do not use it on rosewood fingerboards, maple fingerboards where the finish has worn through or any other unsealed wood. The soap will absorb into the fingerboard and prevent the absorption of lemon oil. It also attracts and holds dirt.

Hopefully, you wipe your strings and fingerboard whenever you're done playing for the day, which will prevent any buildup of dirt. If you have neglected this, spray the dirty area with a little Finger Ease and let it soak in for a minute or two. Scrape out dirt along the fret with a toothpick, then wipe with a clean cloth.

Treating unsealed guitar necks with PURE lemon oil is very important, particularly if you live in a cold climate. The air gets very dry when the furnace is running, and this dries out the fingerboard. If it gets bad enough, the frets can start coming out. An application of lemon oil each week during winter solves the problem. For those of you in warm climates, lemon oil protects your fretboard from absorbing finger oils, which can deteriorate the wood over time. An application every 2 to 3 months is adequate. Make sure you get a pure lemon oil. You don't want one with waxes like Lemon Pledge. I've never heard of using castor oil or paraffin oil on a guitar.

In the photographs accompanying the article, the area of the string that goes into the winder is covered with a green material that seals the winding to the wire core. If you are installing a wound string without this benefit on a guitar or bass, first cut it to length. Push the string through the hole on the winder until about 3/8 of an inch is showing. Crimp the string against the winding post at a 90° angle with the end of the string pointed clockwise. On the other side of the winding post, crimp the string 90° in the same direction. This will bind the winding down and prevent it from loosening. If your winding goes loose, you have a dead string.


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