Technical Library

STRINGING VIII: Winding a hitchpin loop

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Winding a hitchpin loop…

Even if you are replacing a short treble string, unroll at least 1.5 or 2m (6´) of your wire from the coil when winding the loop so you don’t force a permanent twist in your string, making it impossible to tune. Softer wire, particularly the Malcolm Rose type, will require maybe twice this length or more.

Figure 1 shows the angle of somewhat less than a right angle between the loose end held in your left hand, and the long length of the main part of the wire stretching back to your wire brake.

The tuning hammer bisects the remaining large angle.

This is quite important, and if you twist slowly, you’ll be able to see the effect produced by even a slight change in the position of your left hand.

The short end of the wire needs to be allowed to rotate. Don’t grasp it too tightly in your left hand, or you’ll not get good results.

Winding the string loop 7K jpeg

Neatening turns 4K jpeg

The three or four turns for neatness at the end are intentionally wrapped around the core.

Figure 2 shows the change to the angles of your arrangement to allow this to naturally happen: The wire runs straight from the hammer to the wire brake, and the short end runs off this at 90°. For right-handed people, you’ll probably get the best results at this stage if you support the winding junction with your left hand index finger.

After your ornamental close turns, get rid of the loose end not by cutting it—which would leave an edge sharp enough to draw blood—but by twisting the wire once or twice around in a full circle. This will kink it instead. For an Australian, imagine you are winding up the Hills Hoist clothes line in the backyard, only on a miniature scale, and with a little practice, the short end will just fall off in your hand without effort.

You will be able to get an idea of the fluency of the process in our silent string movies below.

Now you’re ready to proceed to wrapping the wire around the tuning pin.

Movie thumb 3K jpeg Movie 1K gif Winding a string loop III — the Greenhalgh Manœuvre
Carey Beebe demonstrating winding a harpsichord string hitchpin loop, using a technique devized by London harpsichord technician Malcolm Greenhalgh.
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Movie thumb 3K jpeg Movie 1K gif Winding a string loop II
A remake of an earlier movie showing Carey Beebe winding a harpsichord string hitchpin loop from a different angle.
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Movie thumb 2K jpeg Movie 1K gif Winding a string loop
Carey Beebe demonstrating winding a harpsichord string hitchpin loop.
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