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Author Topic: String breakage  (Read 692 times)
whitevalley
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« on: October 18, 2007, 07:50:41 PM »

Hey guys and gals,

This is my first post here (no need to give the gratuitous welcome...unless your really compelled to by a higher power) and I will most likely cover old ground, so here goes: String breakage! I have owned probably 25-30 Acoustic guitars in the past 27 years, most of them high-end Gibby's, Martins and Custom built. Each and every one at some time has gone through "seasons", if I may use the term, of unbelievable string breakage. I have played live for 25 years on a weekly to biweekly basis and have found I MUST have a backup guitar on hand because of this phenomenon. I've come to the conclusion that my playing is probably the culprit. My luthier and I have covered most of the bases regarding setup and nothing seems to help. I am very careful about slipping the string into the bridge with the string "seam" pointing up, lightly sanding the indentation on the saddle caused by the string, etc. Nothing seems to work.

I admit to playing aggressively but not at all like an animal! Most people equate my right hand technique to Neil Young, I'm a crosspicker/heavy strummer. I use a 1.14 (purple) Tortex pick, and medium (13-56) strings.

The weird thing is that the breakage comes and goes. Last Sunday I broke a B string at the saddle on the first song of the set. Second song the D broke at the nut on my backup (both guitars were J-45's). The last 6 weeks I've broke at least 1 string per set. My band is now taking bets on how fast I'll blow another one. On the upside, I can make it look like nothing happened in about 60 seconds! However, I don't always have the luxury of 60 seconds to do so!

I need advise! What am I missing? Any of you been through this ordeal or am I some kind of anomaly?

The White Valley Trail master.

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Martin D-28CW - Gibson Striped Ebony J-45 (the keeper!) - Larrivee D-50 - Martin 000-15 - 72' Fender thinline Tele - Jazz Bass - 67' Vibro champ (available) - Valve Jr. - 410 Hot rod Deville - SWR California Blonde (available) - Pedals galore - Racks of meaningless sound-bending gear.
PortHueneme
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2007, 08:22:49 PM »

A couple of questions:
   Are the strings old/new ?
   What brand ?
   Do you tune at concert pitch ?
   Change tunings often (standard, open G, open D, etc.) ?
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whitevalley
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2007, 08:49:01 PM »

I buy strings in bulk from "String This" 50 sets of Martin SP's at a time. I haven't always done that, but lately I find it necessary.
I change strings on all three acoustic every 3-4 weeks.
I don't use alternate tunings.

Good questions.
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Martin D-28CW - Gibson Striped Ebony J-45 (the keeper!) - Larrivee D-50 - Martin 000-15 - 72' Fender thinline Tele - Jazz Bass - 67' Vibro champ (available) - Valve Jr. - 410 Hot rod Deville - SWR California Blonde (available) - Pedals galore - Racks of meaningless sound-bending gear.
AtlasHeating
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2007, 10:36:43 PM »

I break strings pretty regularly because I play pretty aggresive. The longer I leave the strings on the better the chance of breakage. If you are playing with a band, are you loud enough in the monitors? If my monitor mix is too low, I will play harder to make up for the volume loss. If you know how long a set will last before breakage, try to change the set before a string breaks on you. I always tend to break the G or the D. I have never broken the B. Once the A. E's are immune to breakage. I know that professionals will change all the strings every other night.
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whitevalley
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2007, 01:18:21 PM »

I've gone to a lighter pick the past two weeks and only had one break in six sets, so that's an improvement. I think you're right on about string age, that does seem to make a difference, I usually change strings very 3-4 weeks. The funny thing is that over that time period most of the strings have already been changed on the fly anyway.

I'm still open to more experiences you guys have had.
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Martin D-28CW - Gibson Striped Ebony J-45 (the keeper!) - Larrivee D-50 - Martin 000-15 - 72' Fender thinline Tele - Jazz Bass - 67' Vibro champ (available) - Valve Jr. - 410 Hot rod Deville - SWR California Blonde (available) - Pedals galore - Racks of meaningless sound-bending gear.
AtlasHeating
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2007, 02:38:52 PM »

Years ago when I first had mt Martin HD-28, I was practicing for some songs we were going to play for Church.  I was playing un amplified with a quiet drummer and I think keys and bass. I broke the D string. Stop everything change the string. Start the song again. Break the G string. OK OK change the string, start the song and now the A string goes. That was a set of Martin 80-20 strings. I never boufgt them again.
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