David Lynch
David Lynch
@david-lynch
8 years ago
34 posts

I use pins which accept both but install ball ends as standard....if a replacement is needed it is a lot easier to get

Skip
Skip
@skip
8 years ago
294 posts

Dusty;

The ball can be carefully crushed if necessary, been there, done it.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
8 years ago
1,508 posts

You are right, Jean. The only difference between the two is the way the string connects to the instrument. There is no difference in tone or functionality. In general ball end strings are easier to find because they fit guitars that use end pins. If ball end strings fit over the little brad nails on your dulcimer, or if you have a dulcimer with end pins, then go ahead and use them. If not, loop end strings are the only option.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
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Jean Van Erem
Jean Van Erem
@jean-van-erem
8 years ago
1 posts

From the comments so far, it appears thatthere really is no functional difference for tone or playability. I'm using ball end strings on instruments that have very slim metal pins to anchor the string. It always looks as though the pin is so slim that the ball (really a brass circle inserted in the loop) will save some stress that would occurif I were to put the "naked" loop on the pin. And I save the old brass circles, too, and re-use themon a plain loop if that is possible. About where strings break, most of the time mine break at the tuning peg, but the last time a string broke, it was at the pin below the bridge. Really. And I was able to save the brass circle since it was still on the pin.

Thanks to everyone who answered, and of course more input is welcome. I've played for about 20 years and never have had a good explanation of loop vs. ball end.

Rob N Lackey
Rob N Lackey
@rob-n-lackey
8 years ago
413 posts

Robert,

Please explain how you use them for bushings on loop end strings.


robert schuler said:

Whenever I change strings I save the ball ends. I always find uses for them. Keep some and use them as bushings when using loopend strings... Bob.
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
8 years ago
1,249 posts
I've saved lots of ball ends!

robert schuler said:
Whenever I change strings I save the ball ends. I always find uses for them. Keep some and use them as bushings when using loopend strings... Bob.
robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
8 years ago
251 posts
Whenever I change strings I save the ball ends. I always find uses for them. Keep some and use them as bushings when using loopend strings... Bob.
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
8 years ago
1,249 posts
Jean,On my instruments that will accommodate both types, I prefer to use ball end. However, I'll use whatever I have on hand when I need a string change. (I also re- tune a lot.)
Skip
Skip
@skip
8 years ago
294 posts

No difference as far as I'm concerned. Strings break near the tuner whenever they break on me, that's the area that the metal is worked the most.

robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
8 years ago
251 posts
I never had a ballend string break at the ball. Loop end strings need a larger pin to support them. I use 1/8" brass as loop string anchors which has the same support as a ball. You should be able to tune to any of the common pitches without string breakage. Check for string pinching and binding... Bob
Jean Van Erem
Jean Van Erem
@jean-van-erem
8 years ago
1 posts

This may have some discussion threads already and if so I apologize for not finding it. My question concerns using loop or ball end strings. The two types seem to be interchangeable on my instruments, in that the little nails that hold the strings will anchor both types easily. Is there some preference based on performance, or functionality, or some other characteristic that would guide me? I like the look of ball ends better, go figure what that is all about. I'm not on good theoretical ground with this idea, but it seems to me that the ball end puts less strain on the string, thus lessening (delaying is more the case) the likelihood of a break. I find myself replacing just the melody string on my Folkcraft fairly often, but I retune that top string a lot to accommodate different tunings. Thanks for all the (anticipated) helpful comments.


updated by @jean-van-erem: 06/08/16 09:24:05PM