Shortening strings for a sub short scale bass - solder threads to keep them from unraveling?

Hello my friends!

After my last experiment to shorten strings failed miserably (see:, I want to try a new appoach.

Short reminder: it is impossible to get fitting strings for my Blackstar Travel Bass, as it is really really really short.

So I know I will not touch the strings at the ball end, but cut them properly at the headstock side.
The issue is, of course, that the thicker strings (I need 125-105-85-65) will not fit the tuners, so I need to make them thinner to insert and “roll” them.

I understand how to do that, but I want to keep the remaining thread layers from unraveling.
I tried shrink tubing, but that did not keep the strings from unraveling slightly, making the strings unusable.

So my new idea is to cut the strings to the right size, add a thin layer of solder “coating” at the location where I want to unravel the strings to make the diameter thinner.

The solder coating should keep the strings from unwanted unraveling beyond the thinned out location.

I hope this sounds clear!?

Does this sound like a feasable idea?
Will solder stick on stainless steal ot nickel palted steel?
As I have destroyed my beloved Dunlop STAINLESS STEEL FLATWOUND MEDIUM SCALE BASS STRINGS 45-125 | 5-STRING in my last experiment, I want to go for something more traditional (and cheaper): Fender 7250/5-M * Nickel-plated steel sides / Roundwound / * Gauges: .045, .065, .085, .105, 125th

Any thoughts?

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Are you 100% sure the string won’t fit in the tuning machine after cutting? Because I bet they will. The taper is nice but usually optional and the full string will fit in the tuner. This has been true of all the instruments I have owned.

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These strings could maybe fit:

No experience with short scale or those strings however. They are certainly on the expensive side of strings :sweat_smile:

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Yep - 100%!

The string gap in the tuners is about 2.9mm. The 125 (E) and 105 (D) strings are thicker than 3mm. I use modified the bass with ESP tuners which seem to be a custom version of the Gotoh GB707, so those are already bigger than the original tuners.

Also I expect that the especially the 125 string will resist winding properly because of its thickness.


You’re using a B string for your E string? And an E string for the D? Is this to add tension for the shorter scale length?

Normally an E is .100 - .105, and a D around .085.

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The aquilas are too thin - and they lack a metal core, right?
I had a bass ukulele with sloppy strings - didn’t like that!

@howard: I just use the gauges that the original strings have, see: Carry-on ST Bass Black - Blackstar

Key Details

  • Finish: Vintage White or Jet Black
  • Body: Poplar
  • Neck: Two piece natural finish
  • Scale length: 23.46″ (596mm)
  • Fingerboard: Laurel, 18 frets
    *** Strings: 125-105-85-65 custom gauge**
  • Machineheads: Chrome sealed tuners
  • Pickup: Offset coil pickup
  • Controls: Volume and Tone
  • Pickguard: One ply black pickguard
  • Bridge: Toploader style bridge
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Yeah they are doing that for the ultra short scale, so there is adequate tension.

For tuning machines to fit above the taper what you would need would be the B, E, A, D tuners from a 5-string set. However I do not remember ever seeing tuners with different hole sizes :slight_smile:

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Yes, they might be a little thin :confused:
Did you try to contact Blackstar about the strings. They must be getting theirs somewhere.

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I love my little Blackstar “sofa” bass - but I really hate Blackstar’s service. At first they didn’t know anything about new strings, then they said they will offer them “in the near future”.
That was a quite some time ago. Still nothing.

And I need strings now - so I getting a little desperate ^^


You could try stringing with a normal .45-105 EADG set cut to length. Should fit, .105" is 2.7mm.

However I suspect the tension will be very low. Try first with cheap strings :slight_smile:

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At least, you’re not the only one having that problem :sweat_smile:
This one seems to have used heat shrink tubes to keep things together.

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@howard : great idea!

In fact I can retune the old strings to test:
old A => E
old D => A
old G = D

Will do that tomorrow - in old Europe it’s getting late now!

I’m afraid that the 105 E will not have enough tension. It’s veeeerrryyyyy short scale after all…


@krescht: my shrink tube experiment failed miserably when I cut at the ball end :frowning:
The strings still unraveled under the shrink tubes and than “wandered” over the bridge.


The author of the video probably used the shrink tubes on the tuner side. Might not necessarily have the same effect.

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@krescht: maybe. I just asked him on YouTube how it’s going now.

But it should not make any difference. Tension is tension, shrink tubes are shrink tubes.
Anyway, in my opinion, soldering (if it works) should be bullet proof. Plan B would be some kind of super glue. Plan C is shrink tubes (again).

And if everything else fails, I will learn the guitar :slight_smile:


I am amazed they aren’t offering strings for the thing. What, did they just plan to make a disposable instrument?


Noone changes their strings on bass :crazy_face:


Yeah, I was also “amazed” (I am using other words, but they break forum rules).

I should have thought about that before I bought the bass. But I travel a lot and I like doodeling on the sofa. So it’s perfect.

Also I made it “mine” by customizing the hell out of it: new machine heads, new pickups, new bridge, new nut. Just because…

Now I LOVE the crazy little thing, except for the $(/%()/%% string issue…

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Carry-on sells strings for that bass.

They seem pretty cheap at 22 euros.