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Bill Baker vs Gary Brawer Restringing method?

still.ill

Member
Messages
3,205
For years I've been following the Bill baker method of restringing my guitars..

But my friend swears by this gary brawer method after his tech showed it to him:


Any thoughts on which provides better tuning stability?
 

galibier_un

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,641
I used the Brawer method for years (apart from the extra top wrap on the unwound strings), and then switched to the Martin method (skip to 7:00 if you're not interested in acoustic bridge pins):


I don't notice any difference between the Brawer and Martin methods.

I like Brawer's "one string at a time'" philosophy - don't shock the system unnecessarily. I'm surprised more people don't do this.

... Thom
 
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StratoCraig

Member
Messages
3,218
The thing I like about removing all the strings is that it makes it very easy to clean the fretboard and around the pickups. The thing I don't like about removing all the strings is that on Gibsons, the stop bar tends to fall off (or the trapeze falls and hits the front of the body, if it has a trapeze). So now, on Gibsons, I remove five strings, leaving the first string on, and then I do some cleaning, then install the new sixth string, remove the old first string, finish cleaning, then install the other strings.

Gary's point about keeping tension on the guitar sounds reasonable, but I've never had any trouble or needed to re-intonate after changing strings, so in practice the problem he's talking about doesn't seem to be much of an issue, at least not in my experience.

My variation on Bill's method of putting a bend in the string before winding works like this: I turn the tuner so the hole is pointing towards the nut (Gary's method), run the string through, then pull it back a couple of inches and bend it against the tuner post, then pull on the string a bit to keep it taut with my right hand while turning the tuning peg with my left hand. I let the first turn go over the string; subsequent turns go under the string.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,766
Any thoughts on which provides better tuning stability?
yes.

after using the martin "locking" method which was taught to me for years on all the strings, i decided to test for myself; comparing that method with the "one over, the rest under" method and the straight-up "just wind the string on there" bill baker method, i found that "locking" provided no advantage and was harder to remove afterwards and that the "one wrap over" method made the tuning stability slightly worse until the wraps settled against each other.

for me it's the baker "Z-bend" method, simple, rock-solid and easy to remove. the only difference is that instead of chewing up my thumbnail i slide the string back out of the post by that same "3-finger" distance and make both bends against the post itself before commencing to wind.
 

galibier_un

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,641
Interesting, Walter. This makes me want to revisit this. Let me make sure I understand you - from best to worst:

1. "Z-bend" (Bill Baker)
2. Martin method - no advantage, but harder to remove (I definitely agree with this).
3. One over, the rest under (Gary Brawer). I just noticed that he recommends the Martin method for trem guitars (see below).
4. Just wind it, Bill Baker (Taylor also recommends this). This one never made sense to me in comparison with my discovery of the the one over/rest under - Brawer method which I used until recently.

With 1 & 2 being about the same (convenience of removal for #2 notwithstanding), and 3 & 4 being too unstable to care which is worse?

It's interesting that Brawer recommends the Martin method for a tremolo equipped guitar. He obviously thinks it has better locking capability than his over/under method, but that it only matters for trems.


... Thom
 
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walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,766
Interesting, Walter. This makes me want to revisit this. Let me make sure I understand you - from best to worst:

1. "Z-bend" (Bill Baker)
2. One over, the rest under (Gary Brawer)
3. Martin method (takes longer to settle)
4. Just wind it, Bill Baker (Taylor also recommends this)

With 2, 3 & 4 being too close to care (less stable than Baker-Z)?

... Thom
no, "2" is the one that i found to take a bit longer to settle.

ultimately the differences are minor and "4" is really all that matters, 3-4 even winds down the post and it's good regardless.
 

galibier_un

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,641
no, "2" is the one that i found to take a bit longer to settle.

ultimately the differences are minor and "4" is really all that matters, 3-4 even winds down the post and it's good regardless.
Thanks! While you were replying, I must have been re-reading your comments and editing/ re-ordering my post.

Interestingly, I noted above that Brawer uses the Martin-locking method for trem-based guitars, so he obviously realizes the shortcomings of the over-under method. It's odd that he wouldn't settle on one favorite. While I was editing the above post, I found and embedded that video.

The odd thing about all of this is that if the "just wind it" (#4) is good, it's because of the taper in the post forcing the first wind to lock the string in the post hole. It would seem follow that all methods would benefit from the post's taper ... but ... this degenerates into geekery (geekdom?) when all we really care about is the one which works best.

Cheers,
Thom
 

Tommy Biggs

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,176
The Bill Baker Method! I gotta stop in there soon, I'll tell him he's been memorialized!
 

KGWagner

Member
Messages
3,241
I just put lockers on everything. But, I understand there are some guitars you might not want to do that to.
 

kinmike

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,800
Baker's three finger thing is used for all six strings? Maybe eyeball it slightly less for the wound strings?
 

RLD

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,779
Interesting.
I pretty much only play Strats with floating trems and I have never left slack in the string prior to winding.
Nor have I ever "locked" in place with a wrap.
I do change one at a time to keep the overall tension the same.
I use my trem constantly and don't have tuning issues...if I did I might try another technique, but I lube the trees, nut and saddles and that seems to eliminate problems.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,766
Baker's three finger thing is used for all six strings? Maybe eyeball it slightly less for the wound strings?
i find that unless there's an issue with a really short post (historic LP) the three-finger rule works for all six strings, giving you two or three wraps on the fat strings and three or four wraps on the skinny strings.
 

robdean

Member
Messages
214
@walterw is alike to a mighty oak in whose cool shadow humble worms such as I consider it a privilege to bask.

That said, I get by fine with less than three fingers of wound string. What's more, if I use, say, two fingers, that leaves me one well-rested finger to use when driving in traffic...
 

MrGibson

Member
Messages
1,019
Good topic, this is more important than what most people think.

The Baker method is king; fast and compliant.

String locking does not improve tuning stability, on the contrary it can make it worse and make the guitar play stiff.

(Three fingers for all but low E that gets 2,5)
 

Laurence

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,148
Pre-Baker Baker method. I've been using the "just string it", non-locking, method for 40+ years. 3 to 4 wraps, properly stretch the string and it stays in tune very well. Taking strings off a guitar that a locking method has been used on is a drag.
 




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