String Tricks for Broken Strings

So I guess its common to frequently break brand new G,D and A strings. I've read others who have this problem and I've noticed that Savarez and other makers are now offering packs of single guages for these strings. I never had this problem with my flat-tops or resonator guitars.

I'm lucky to get an hour of practice in before I break one of these strings. I realize that my technique (fairly aggressive and clumsy when learning new stuff) and string slots on the bridge may contribute to frequent breakage. These strings almost always break at the bridge. I recently shimmed the bridge on my Gitane D500 and plan on having a new bridge made for it.

In the mean time, rather than clipping off excess string when changing strings, I've taken to winding the entire string on the tuning peg. When the string breaks I unwind some of it at the peg. Thread the broken end through the tailpiece and tie it into a knot and re-tune the string to pitch. Anyone else do this? Is this a common solution to a common problem? While watching the Rosenberg DVD it looks like Stochelo also winds the whole string onto the peg.
"On apprend tous les jours." - Stéphane Grappelli


  • Posts: 145
    extra windings can make them break less often.

    if you're using ball ends, try adding a bit of solder on it before you put it on.
  • TielesTieles MissouraNew
    Posts: 7
    Mac Hack,
    I might have a couple of suggestions that could help you get more miles from your strings. I also have a D-500, and my bridge was shimmed until I fitted a new Dupont.

    Your Gitane/Savarez setup has higher tension than your other instruments, and when you shim the bridge, you create a more severe angle in the string. With aggressive technique, that can lead to string breakage.

    Here are some thoughts:
    First would be to check your bridge to make sure the slots don't have edges or corners that could slightly kink the string (or go ahead and replace that bridge soon).

    You might try a different guage of string; a slight change in tension could make a difference.

    Adding solder to the string at the ball end would help if you're breaking strings at that point.

    A trick I've used with some temperamental guitars is to save the ball ends when I change strings and thread the new string through the extra ball before it goes through the tailpiece; it adds just a bit of string length, just enough to reduce some stress on the string between the tailpiece and bridge. (And in response to the idea that it would change the tone a bit, it doesn't change the sound as much as a string breaking).

    One last thing I'd suggest is to consider technique closely. A drummer friend of mine told me something about aggressive drum technique: the thing is to draw the music out of the instrument, not pound it in. A slight change in the angle of the pick, in how close to the bridge you pick, or in how much pick hits the string, can make a difference in string breakage, but still allow you to be aggressive and forceful in your playing (and let your instrument project with maximum volume).

    I know some guys who use the method of winding on the entire string, and it does the job; however, if you can tweak a bit to solve the problem in a more lasting way, you won't have to fix strings so often. It's worth the time; I only change strings when I want to, and I play forcefully, with high action.

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