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I have recently worked with a guitarist who plays in a band that tours a lot. Now he claims that he breaks more strings when I change them, because I use an electric screwdriver with a peg winder attachment. That's what he's been told by other tech he met while on the road.

I don't know what am I missing here? The only thing that can happen is that the nut on a die-cast tuner will go loose when winding up. With some cheap tuners the post can rub on the nut and in turn loosen it. But I know this is something that happens with regular tuning too and I know I am not the first one to figure this out. You just need to double-check it.

Any ideas on what else could pose a problem by using a simple cordless machine that only goes up to 280 rpm? Do you think that winding by hand is superior to a cordless screwdriver?

I am completely confident that cranking by hand or by machine only does one thing - it gets the string on that d*** guitar, that's all. I really don't see a point here, the screw and gear turn and the string gets wound up. One is a bit faster that the other, that's all.

Sorry guys for an emotional outburst, but this one really takes the cake.

Thanks!

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Just plain B.S., the breakage has nothing to do with your winder method. Is he breaking the strings in the same place each time? Maybe trying some new stuff from his bag of tricks? Deep bends, Peter Townshend flywheel picking?

Another "Paul" here claiming bullsh*t.

Your proof: The tuning machine doesn't know what's winding it.

"How" it's wound makes a tremendous difference, but you've been around the block a few times and I'm confident your winds are fine.

I'd love to hear from his "other tech" as to how he came up with this diagnosis. Without that, it's all just baseless jabbering.

Hang in there, Tad :)

Model T engines probably lasted longer because people had to hand crank them too. (Those darn electric starters!!)  I'm also pretty sure that the tires on my car wear out faster now because I use an air compressor to fill them instead of a foot pump.  

  Winding is winding. I can't see how it matters what turns the crank. Sounds like someone else trying to steal your business to me. 

Try the power of suggestion:

Next time he wants the strings changed, give him a "placebo".  Do it as you've always done it (with a power winder) and tell him "There! Done entirely by hand and I'm certain you'll notice the difference"... then let him come back with his glowing report. 

I agree that It does not matter. However, If he is paying well; I would wind them with only my tender loving fingers.

I wind with a cordless at up to 1200 rpm, and can say with full confidence that the notion is pure poppycock.

If the client is having a string breakage problem I would be happy to see if we could reliably determine and address the actual source of the problem. I would make clear that I understand how this stuff works very well (apparently far better than whatever "techs" he's talked to about this), and have no interest in wasting time on red herrings. If they want me to wind by hand to appease their own misguided beliefs, they could pay an additional $5 per string per tightening, or find another tech.

Okay, maybe I'd be a bit more kind and diplomatic than that, but it is a foolish idea with no sense behind it, and I have little patience to entertain such notions. Better to frame it by recognizing that they are breaking strings and you would like to find the ultimate source of the problem, but can state with absolute certainty that the speed of rotation of the tuner has no way to affect such issues, and that you're more interested in solving the actual problem.

How do you think a chef would respond if a client complained that their steak was not tender enough, because they placed the potatoe too close to it on the plate?

I like the string winder done by hand!  Because when I use the power winder I can go to fast and go over tuned and that is where I break the string. f you are winding 6 or 8 times it would be faster to use the power winder .

I use the martin way to winde and you only need one wrap and It is locked over one wrap. That is enough>

Ron

Everyone has their own preferred ways, and that's great, but the I think the main point is that (aside from extremely gross overtightening) this could not be reasonably attributed as responsible for premature string breakage.

I personally prefer multiple wraps over the string lock for a number of minor reasons, but the back wrap string lock certainly works fine as well. I string so many guitars this way though, that I can typically get all the strings within a half step straight from the drill (makes for a great parlor trick when you can almost nail each string from a full speed stop).

My parlour trick was to install the strings so that when tuned, the tuning keys were all flat - i.e. in the same horizontal plane.  I never got it perfect but got close a few times. A customer asked "Why?'.   My answer was "Because I can".  Easier on a bass than a guitar in my experience, but bass is my specialty, so ....

I agree with everyone about the winder. I still feel there may be a question worth answering though... Why is he breaking strings? Is he using different strings? New picks? Changed his playing style? Tight/sharp nut or saddle slot? Just to name a few. Maybe you can figure out why he is breaking strings thus proving your auto string wonder isn't an issue but more importantly that you are the professional and consequently smarter than him and his roadie ;)

I think that someone else already alluded to this but it seem to me that you need to know which strings are breaking and where the strings are breaking before you can assume anything.

I realize that I'm hardly a gauge of this sort of thing, but I MIGHT break a string once every couple of years. When I do, it's such an anomaly that I can't NOT treat it as something that needs to be addressed. To me, I should never break strings so the idea that someone is complaining, not because they are breaking strings but because they are breaking strings more often than usual is crazy.

Maybe my ignorance is hanging out again. Is breaking strings really all that common that some people accept it as just part of playing?  

I agree. I don't have any customers that break strings regularly and if they do they ask me why and there is usually a reason that can be addressed. Like most things I am sure there are exceptions. I think regular string breakage is a thing of the past, if someone is breaking strings regularly there is most likely an issue that can be addressed. I am reasonably certain it is NOT your string winding technique.

If you can't figure out why I AM certain that the members here can help figure it out. I recently had a setup concern that the guys helped me out significantly and I went from feeling like a failure to feeling like a super hero and my customer felt that way too.

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