Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ernie Ball PowerPeg String Winder Review


Well, here is something I thought I could live without until I actually used one – the Ernie Ball PowerPeg powered string winder.

If you have ever changed strings on a guitar or bass, you know that most of the time is spent getting the string ends wound around the tuner post. Often times you get a few turns on it and then it pops off, and the whole thing is kind of a hassle. I have used a Jim Dunlop manual string winder for years, and it does a pretty good job of speeding things up and saving my fingers, but it turns out that there really is a better way.

The Ernie Ball strong company introduced the PowerPeg a few years ago, and I did not think much of it at the time. I mean, how much better could this be than my old hand crank winder? Plenty, it turns out…

My PowerPeg winder was included in a promotional deal with a brick of new Slinkies, so I had to give it a try. After removing it from the plastic tray I was not super impressed, as it is lightweight, and the silkscreened logo is fuzzy and crooked. Part of its lightness was due to the fact that the 4 AA batteries it uses were not included. There is no good excuse for the silkscreen appearance, though.

The unit is the size of a small cordless drill/driver, and is an eye-catching combination of red and black, maybe so it will not get lost on the workbench. Controls consist of a rocker trigger switch for forward and backward operation and an ON/FF that locks out the trigger. That is it. The universal head attachment is cleverly designed so that it fits everything from ukulele tuner knobs to big Schaller-style bass cloverleaf tuners. I wish the head attachment would detach so that I could use it in my Dremel cordless driver if this thing ever poops out on me.

There is no drama to using the PowerPeg, as it fits neatly in the hand and the dual-direction trigger is intuitive. I have used it on all of my guitars and basses, and have not found one that will not fit. Despite its lack of heft, it is holding up fine, with no wobble to the head attachment. The original batteries that I put in it are still going strong after dozens of string changes. So, it does everything as advertised.

And in the real world I use this thing all the time. I change at least a few sets of strings per month, and it drastically cuts down the time of this maintenance chore. The true test was putting a new set of strings on my 12-string. I always procrastinate on this one because it is a major league pain to work on, but the PowerPeg made this job tolerable, which says a lot.

Anyway, the Ernie Ball PowerPeg is a good tool, and is reasonably priced. I see them at Guitar Center for about $20 (MSRP is $29.99), and it is worth every penny when you consider all of the time it will save and the aggravation that will be avoided. Check one out if you get the chance!


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