Here is what I’ve learned so far about how to safely change the strings on my double bass.
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About Changing Strings
You wouldn’t think there is much involved in simply changing the strings, but there a few things to be aware of which will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
- Change one string at a time. Without the tension from all of the strings pushing on the bridge, a thing called the “sound post”, which is wedged inside the bass between the front and the back, could come loose and fall down. Any my luthier friend tells me it can be a real pain to put back in place!
- Take a picture, or at least remember the string routing inside the pegbox before you begin removing strings. Try to not have strings rubbing against each other as you tune.
- Now is a good time to do any cleaning necessary on your bass. A soft cloth, q-tips and a safe cleaner for fine instruments can be used. I purchased Kolstein’s Clean and Polish kit and it is awesome! Check it out: Kolstein KR-021 Clean and Polish Kit
- Lubricate the bridge and nut slots with some graphite from a pencil to help the strings slide more freely over these surfaces.
- When you insert the string end into the roller twist the end of the string around the part leaving the roller several times to help hold it securely.
- Unless you want to spend the whole day turning the tuning machines, buy a string winder gadget. Be sure to get one made for the bass as guitar string winders are too small to do the job. Mine is the “TurboTune”: D’Addario PW-TTPW-01 Turbotune Peg Winder
- Caution! Be sure to keep an eye on the bridge’s alignment. The bridge has a tendency to lean towards the fingerboard. Make sure it stays vertical and that the feet stay in the location you marked (lightly) with a pencil.
- Break-in time. Strings take time to stretch out. Be patient and give them a few days to stabilize. During the first few days you will find it necessary to retune often.