Making Loop Ends of Replacement Strings

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To get started, you need to make a loop-twisting jig. Below is a list of everything you need.





wire cutters

a clamp or two

locking pliers

Tip: If you don't already have this tool and have to buy it, you can find generic brand locking pliers at discount stores, flea markets, and the like, for next to nothing, and they work just fine for this job; every bit as well as the "name brand" locking pliers, in my opinion. But of course, this is just my opinion, and you may have your own ideas about this. Anyway, you need a pair, whatever brand, to make loops.


making the jig

Making the jig could hardly be more simple. The steps are:

1. Drive the nail into the board, near one end.

2. Bend the nail into the shape of a crank.

The jig is finished. All that remains to do is to clamp it to the top of a work bench or table.

Note: You want to use a nail just larger in diameter than the hitch pins of the instrument you're stringing. If you use one that's smaller, you probably won't be able to get the string on the hitch pin, which would mean you would have to do it all over with a larger-diameter nail. So make sure your nail is big enough.

At this point, you should have something that approximates this:


determining location of the loop

First, set your locking pliers to where they clamp snugly on the diameter of wire you're using, and clamp them on the very end of the wire, in line with it. They only have to be about 1/4" to 1/2" onto the wire, from the end of it; just enough to clamp down tightly on the wire. Now put the wire up against the back side of the nail and pull both ends toward you. The short end (the end with the locking pliers on it) should be about 2" to 3" long. You should now be looking something like the image.


starting the loop

Now make your first turn. We're going clockwise in the example, first under the wire, then over it and back down to 6 o'clock. As pointed out in the photo, it's best to keep from twisting the short end of the wire as you go around; the locking pliers should be facing the same way at the end (6 o'clock) of every time around. Beginning now, keep both ends of the wire pulled fairly tight as you twist the short end around the long end.

At this point, stop, let go of the locking pliers, reach over the wire and take a new hold on the locking pliers, and make the same vertical clockwise circle, back to 6 o'clock again, let go, reach over, re-grip, circle, 6 o'clock, let go, reach over, re-grip...and so on, until you have an approximately 1/4" long "hangman's noose":


finishing the loop

Assuming the result of your efforts looks something like the example in the photo, all that's left to do is to cut off whatever excess you've ended up with in your locking pliers. Even if it's just a little, it's advisable to cut off the excess as short as possible with wire cutters.

Note: The ends of music-type wire are needle-sharp. Be extremely careful...wear leather gloves if you need to.

OK, you're ready to install your new string. If it's a wound string, you may want to "whiz" the winding back at the tuning pin end. Instructions for "whizzing" and for installing are at the Guide to Installing, which I welcome you to consult.