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Thread: "Locking" guitar strings on non-locking tuners

  1. #1
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Arizona USA

    "Locking" guitar strings on non-locking tuners

    I posted this on a thread in the Tech Center forum but thought I would post it here too for everyone to see.

    I see a lot of posts about people wanting to change their tuners for locking ones on various guitars, namely SEs. As a former die-hard fan of locking tuners, this method changed the way I think about them, and now I no longer feel they are necessary on guitars.

    I finally took the time to find a tutorial on how to properly wind strings on a non-locking tuner to make the string "lock" on itself. It's really easy and it works great.

    Winding Strings Around the Tuning Machines

    Step by step guide to restringing your guitar.

    Step 1:

    Bring the string down the center of the peghead and thread it out towards the tuner's knob.

    Step 2:

    Leaving a bit of string length to wind around the tuner, bend the string gently towards the top of the peghead.

    Step 3:

    Pass the string up and under itself.

    Step 4:

    Keeping tension on both ends of the string, fold the string over itself.

    Step 5:

    Continue to hold tension on the string and begin to wind.
    The string should be wound down the shaft to increase the strings angle over the nut.

    The End Result

    The strings own winding "clamps" down on it to prevent string slippage.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2013
    Driffield. U.K
    great tutorial. very helpful for those like me who don't have locking tuners.
    I am not a luthier but i am in my own workshop.

  3. #3
    Wheels cjmwrx's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Crystal Lake, IL.
    That's called a Pro Wrap. I used to use that for non locking tuners. Thanks for sharing, others will find this very useful.

  4. #4
    NJ Devil DISTORT6's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    New Jersey
    I do the same!
    Not like the other kids...

  5. #5
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Warrington, Nr Liverpool UK
    Good post John!

    There's a few methods and that's one of the best.

    To be honest, I just stick with what I've been doing for years which is to thread the string through the eyelet and measure off three fingers width past the capstan and cut the string. I then thread a little through the eyelet and kink it 90 degrees. I then put one wrap over and one or two under and this traps the string between the winds.

    One thing that you should do no matter what method is to give the strings a stretch after installation.

    Edit: Three fingers width gives me two to three turns on the capstan.
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  6. #6
    Bobble Head Moderator JMintzer's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Potomac, MD
    Been doing that for decades. It works like a charm!


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  7. #7
    Mostly Normal AP515's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    It is the best method I have found, but I have added one little tweek. After using PRS locking tuners on my other guitars I thought "Why put winds on it?" Just pull most of the slack out and you get less than a turn on the peg, just like the PRS locking tuners. No winds to move, more stable tuning. The wind you see in the photo is the part of the string making the back loop, not a wind.
    1988 CE24, 1995 CE22, 2000 SC, 2003 Standard 22, 2003 Cu24 AP, 2006 Cu24 AP, 2006 SC AP, 2007 CuRo22, 2010 Mira
    2007 SE Soapy 2, 2010 SE 25th Anni Cu24, 2012 SE Bernie, 2013 SE Angelus Custom

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  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Frome, Somerset, UK
    Hi, we have been recomending the Pro Wrap technique to new guitar players for years.

    It is one of the easiest and quickest ways to restring a guitar, but it is not what the professionals recomend.

    When restringing guitars in the shop, we precut the string to length and then make 3 windings around the post. This gives a more professional finish with no sticky out bits to rip your fingertips open. The 3 wind technique is more stable if you are using alternative tunings and bending a lot.

    However, the Pro Wrap technique is great if you just need a quick change. Check out these guides as they have a few more hints and tips to make your string changing faster -

  9. #9
    Member lgk1208's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northern CA
    OK so I just changed the strings on my SE CU24 and thanks for posting this, it was helpful. I do like your modified method better because it's easier. But I have really decided that I want locking tuners. I have no issues with the SE tuners at all ,but I'm all about convenience. I don't like changing strings, but right now I don't change my strings often enough to get all worked up about it.
    2012 SE Custom 24

  10. #10
    Senior Member Rango's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    The FAR SIDE of the Middle of Nowhere
    Good data!

    Thanks for sharing that!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    That's the way I was taught to string a guitar. I've never understood what the big deal about locking tuners was.

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