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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Loops slipping

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

Amateur - Posted - 08/13/2017:  10:49:10

I have this recurring problem with my E strings and it doesn't matter which brand I use.

To preface, I'm new to mandolin and I've got a cheap Savannah A style. I'll get the new string up to pitch and play it, no problems. I check it the next day and it detunes to D. I'll try to bring it back up to E and watch it continue to drop down to D. As I countinue I notice the tied loop continues to slip tighter toward the tailpiece.

What can be causing this? Should I start learning to retie loops?

Thanks for any input.

lappy - Posted - 08/13/2017:  13:39:41

Just keep doing it for a few more days. It has nothing to do with string brand. After a week or so you will be fully stabilized and back in business!

Amateur - Posted - 08/13/2017:  16:34:20

I understand that new strings need to stabilize like strings on any other instrument.

I'm referring to the inability to get the string back into tune due to the knot/twists slipping and tightening to their tailpiece pegs like a noose before giving out altogether. This is something I've never encountered in other instruments(which do not have tailpieces, e.g. guitars/basses).

In not sure how to retie the loops without having the same problem recur.
br />This leads me to believe it's an issue with the mandolin and not the strings causing excess tension and stripping loop ties. Could it be that the string is hanging up on the bridge or nut?

I'm going through E strings due to this issue(the loops slipping and then exploding in the tailpiece). It's getting to the point where I'm considering giving up on mandolin until I can afford to buy one properly set up(no one locally deals with anything that isn't a guitar).

Edited by - Amateur on 08/13/2017 16:44:16

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 08/13/2017:  17:23:24

Well .... I put the string through the post then wrap it back around and under the string so that as I tighten the string onto the post the string traps itself against the post. The wrap around goes toward the center of the headstock. I do this to all my strings. R/

Amateur - Posted - 08/14/2017:  06:37:34

I don't think anyone understands what I'm referring to.

I'm referring to the end of the string that comes with a loop from the factory. Tailpiece end NOT headstock.

And before anyone asks, I know not to bend the loops, the loops aren't splitting. They just keep tightening until the winding that built the loop finally lets go altogether.

This tightening of the loop prevents the string from getting up to pitch as the tension is continuously relieved by the loop tightening.

I don't suppose anyone has advice on retying those factory loops?

Edited by - Amateur on 08/14/2017 06:42:10

Mandodennis - Posted - 08/14/2017:  09:05:13

Ok.  I have heard of this happening too.  This may seem a bit like a game of whisper down the lane though. There were some discussions over on that "cafe" board about it a couple years ago.  I do not remember all the details however a couple of things did come up regarding a specific brand, namely D'Addario.  The strings in question had their name on the packaging.  I took away two things from the posts that I remember.  First, D'Addarrio stands behind their product.  Second, there were counterfit string sets being sold with their name on them.

So, what kind of strings are you using?  If they are a well regarded brand, then talk to the manufacturer about quality control.  They should offer replacement strings.

D'Addarrio has a web page about counterfeit strings.  Maybe other brands do as well.

The Savannah mandolin has its issues which can be discussed some other time. I don't think the mandolin is at fault from what you describe.  The tailpiece on the Savannah, as well as most of the other similar mandolins from myriad other band managers, have pins to mount the high pitched strings which take a 90 degree bend and then hook on a pin perpendicular to the length of the string.  This takes some of the direct pulling pressure off of the loop winding.  I will assume you are mounting the strings that way. Right?  Then I would guess it is the strings failing on their own.  

In 45+ years of playing the mandolin I have never had a string fail as you have described.  I have used Martin and D'Addarrio strings for the most part (and a few other maker's strings on occasion ) and none have had such a loop failure.  They mostly play on until they are replaced with fresh strings.

Just my thoughts.




Edited by - Mandodennis on 08/14/2017 09:06:14

Amateur - Posted - 08/15/2017:  16:06:41

I've seen what you're referring to with other tailpieces, namely the style with the perpendicular hooks in the rear. But mine doesn't have these. The posts toward the E end run straight and where the posts are least clustered. In fact, if I didn't mount the E strings to these posts straight, the strings would cross. Oddly enough, the G end has the posts where such a stringing may be possible. This was also how the strings were from factory.

Anyway, I tried a trick and it seemed to work. I reinforced the twists that build the loop with superglue and it held and came back up to tune.

Amateur - Posted - 08/15/2017:  17:48:02

I added the photo of the tailpiece to my profile. I'd post it on the thread but I'm still getting used to this forum's software. Maybe you can give me guidance as mandolin is still so new to me. Maybe I bend the E strings below and around the A posts?

Thanks for the kind and helpful responses, everyone, and for your patience. This seems to be an unusual problem from what I'm gathering. Hopefully my next discussion can actually be on what makes the mandolin so enjoyable: playing.

Edited by - Amateur on 08/15/2017 17:50:24

Mandodennis - Posted - 08/16/2017:  10:51:43

Yeah, that's not the tailpiece I expected to see.  When Gibson brought out the tailpiece with the 85/90 degree bend it was supposed to help alleviate the problem you describe - loop windings coming loose. String making has moved ahead since then I expect.

If the super glue works, great.  If not a new tailpiece is a fairly inexpensive alternative.

bradlaird - Posted - 08/16/2017:  17:39:55

The super glue sounds like a good fix. Never thought of that. But, I think I've only encountered this a few times over many years and they were 1st and 2nds that I twisted myself. I just never could get the wraps as tight as I wished and I eventually gave up my homemade string making.

I recall that some string makers used to add "chenille" (fuzzy pipe cleaner type material) to the twist. Somebody told me it was to prevent slippage, but not sure.

PS Good to see a little activity over here!

TI_USER - Posted - 08/19/2017:  18:06:45

thIn over 40 years of playing I've never had this happen or known anyone that it has happened to. I will say that is the same tailpiece that the Rogue mandolins use and it possibly the worst tailpiece I've ever seen. That being said, I don't think the tailpiece is the culprit. I am also suspecting counterfeit strings as this was one of the symptoms I read about when players were having problems and blambing D'Addario. The packaging looks authentic and hard to tell the difference. It is a bit strange that it is always the E string. Is it both E strings or just one? I just can't imagine what part of the tailpiece hook would make the string loop unravel. One way to find out would be to install a better quality Gibson style tailpiece and see if it still happens. You would be better off with a better tailpiece anyway. You can get a decent replacement for around $20. If you wanted to step it up even more you could go for a Ashton Bailey tailpiece and have something nicer and easier to use. I think they run around $50.

The advantage of using the Gibson type tailpiece is that you can use the angled hooks for what their purpose was, which was to prevent string winding slippage. That was back in the day when that was more common to happen. Today's string making technology usually prevents this from happening but if it is happening, then the angled hooks will help.

Here is a link to where you can buy a inexpensive Gibson style tailpiece.


Edited by - TI_USER on 08/19/2017 18:18:11

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