A heads up and a question.

The loop end, plain steel, bulk strings I usually order arrived shorter than they used to and no longer work for long neck banjos, for example. Even though they were listed at 42" and say that on the receipt they measure 39". They say they will correct it in the catalogue but I had to switch to a 48 count purchase directly from GHS to keep a full range stocked. Everything is shrinking it seems.

Anyone have a string storage system for straight bulk strings they are proud of or like? I've gotten by with a large pegboard area that needs an upgrade as the number and range of strings I have to keep on hand keeps rising.

I was thinking of making something out of those clear plastic tubes that protect fluorescent bulbs. Ideas? pictures?

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For the last few decades, we've used regular PVC pipe for string storage, glued together in groups, labeled with black Magic Marker.  Simple, cheap and easy.  As to the length, well, it wouldn't be a big issue to drop something down in there as a temporary (or permanent) riser.

Im just wondering why coiling them wouldn't be an option. Seems to me thats the most efficient use of space, and you can ziploc them to protect against corrosion.. Just label the bags and keep em in a drawer.

My bulk string thing.

Box is made of plastic board (used for real estate signs and that sort of thing) (available at home depot), glued to metal dry wall corner stuff. Small strips of wood glued inside to support the top piece. Top piece is plastic mesh available in craft and sometimes dollar stores, normally used for a kind of needle point craft, people make make key fobs and such with it.

One box for acoustic strings, one for electric. I throw the occasional small desiccant bag that comes along into them, great storage place for them also. Just grab the string you need, no opening bags, playing with tubes.



Wow. Inventive design...but doesn't the labor involved in getting them into your device negate (time wise) the benefits of buying strings in bulk? In a shop where time is NOT $$$, that is a clever way to index them.

Andrew: same for coiling the bulk strings. That kind of defeats the time based economy of the 'grab & go' philosophy. If bought in bulk packs of 25 (x 6 gauges  for a 6 string), the mere thought of hand coiling 300 strings gives me the willies. 

I'm not knocking anyone's methods, but just submitting my observation as food for ergonomic considerations. :)

I figured it was something like that.

I used to hang the long bags the bulk strings came in on a row of hooks on the wall, when a complete set was required the strings had to be pulled from each individual bag. Over time the strings would curl down into the bag slowing the extraction process.

It takes about the same time to pull a few strings from the bag as pulling just one and less than a minute to fill all 16 spots available for any given size of string. The larger strings drop in under their own weight, smaller strings (008, 010) need a bit of guidance to ensure they drop straight.

With the box close to my bench, all the strings in one place, and right at my finger tips, it is quick to pull the required sizes to completely restring or just grab a single when the need arises. The wide range of sizes accommodates standard light to heavy gauge sting sets and unusual string size combination requirements of the occasional fussy player. Much quicker than drawing individual strings out of bags to restring, say, a 12 string.

The only real drawback is that you have to be careful when moving the box, shaking can cause the strings to tangle a bit, in that event a little shake will free the string being pulled but does cost that extra moment to be added to the process..

Thanks for the replies.

I thought pvc like Frank F mentioned but was worried about the weight and size of all that pipe.

I think not having a retail shop to grab something off the shelf in a pinch forces me to have a lot of range.

A full gauge range of plain steel ball end, wound ball end, nickel wound, plain loop end etc. The numbers stack up quickly.

Sometimes I crush the ball end out of a string to get a loop end but the small loops don't fit over some tail piece pins. and now I find the length issue.

Not always being able to reach over and grab a string without hunting, fumbling with a bag, or ordering something special is cracking me. That's why I'm trying to finally put the problem to bed.

Interesting set up Fred. I think I need a larger capacity per gauge. I like the charts for set gauges too. I put up charts like that for all sorts of things.

No offence at all Andrew but a drawer full of coiled, zip locked strings, sounds like something out of a reoccurring lutherie nightmare. They'd haul me off in a straight jacket.

I found clear polycarb T8 bulb protectors that look perfect but I'm still looking around.

2 cases=$100.

I can't find cardboard tubes smaller than1 1/2" diam.

Anyone have, or think there would be, reaction/corrosion problems w/ cardboard?

If weight is the issue, there is thin walled PVC tubing available too.  If you want some flexibility you an get 100 foot rolls of  of PEX tubing for around $30 in 1/2 in and about $50 in 3/4 in. It's light weight, you can bundle it in groups and even get it in different colors. 

Every once in a while I actually have a good Idea. This might be one of them.

A few 1"x12" pine boards sitting on there butts in my shop. Couldn't even tell me a good story as I worked.

Slackers in my shop get introduced to Mr. Dado!

Shot a little Shellac that was not fresh enough for instruments to avoid any sap issues.

Secondary uses of the technique:

 off cuts for tool holders and drawer dividers.

 If you want to display the encyclopedia in the cabin of your Lear jet, this yields shelving with the appropriate strength to weight ratio.


I have miles of 1x12s left over from my shop siding. Adding capacity is as easy as dadoing (sp?) another board and gluing on another layer. I can do that faster than I can run to Home despot for more PVC.

I still have the money I was prepared to spend on materials sitting in my pocket ( might use a little on a beer to enhance my self congratulatory mood).

No adding to the great plastic gyre out in the Pacific

Shop now smells pleasantly like Pine. Not cut PVC!

Snazzy! And easy to move around even. Makes me wish I had a half decent table saw - I have to cut my dados with a router. Consequently I just skip that part most of the time.

Necessity truly IS the mother of invention.

Kudos David. :) GREAT work!!!!


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