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G String Keeps Breaking


SilvaP

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Hi there,

 

First post here, mainly because i have only just become a Gibson owner! I have recently just bought a 1969 J45. I absolutely love it. Great tone, woody and fantastic. Plays really nicely. I was nervous about the adjustable saddle, but it just sounds so great, forward shifted bracing as well.

 

I use a fair amount of alternative tunings. I played it for a couple of weeks when i got it without changing the strings, it tuned really well, but the strings did feel tired. As i was changing them, i decided to have a play with the adjustable saddle as it wasn't wound all the way down. There seemed to be quite a lot of buzz when i did wind it all the way down, so i lifted it until i lost the buzz and tuned up. All good, playing great. However, i then started re-tuning for EADEBE and ping, the G string breaks as I'm tuning it down. But it breaks past the nut near the tuner. Once was strange, but it's happened maybe 5/6 times in just a few weeks. I find that if i adjust the tuning very very slowly, its fine, but if i do it with any speed, even if tuning down, it breaks. It breaks on the way back up too. I have also broken the 1st and 2nd strings as well whilst tuning, but only once each. They all break in exactly in the same place, above the nut, about 1 cm from the tuner. Tried a couple of winding methods, same result.

Has anyone had a similar problem ever, anyone have any idea why this is happening? Taken it into a couple of shops, but they didn't seem to have any idea.

 

Hopefully someone can help.

 

Thanks and nice to meet you all.

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Welcome aboard!

 

......it breaks past the nut near the tuner.

 

Multiple breaks of the same string in the same place eliminates a bad string as the cause. If it breaks at the post it could well be a sharp edge on the post hole or some serious, abrasive surface on the post. I'd inspect that particular post very closely. Of course frequent re-tuning will aggravate such an issue. Does the string bind in the nut at all?

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Quick responses, thanks guys.

 

I have inspected the post and the tech at my local guitar shop even ran a very light file round the edges, but really can't see any problem with the post, looks smooth to me. By "Bind at the Nut" do you mean dig in and not pass through it freely? Maybe that could be it. If that were the case i'd expect it to break nearer to the nut, not several cm's further up, near the post. Very strange.

 

I use .012 D'Addario Phosphor Bronze strings. I guess it could just be that due to its age it has a certain crankiness that i'll have to put up with, but it just seems strange that i didn't have that problem before the first time i re strung it. Maybe they were heavier gauge strings? I could try 13's but i was a little worried about the Bridge as it is single x shifted forward bracing.

 

Let me know what you think.

 

Thanks.

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Has anyone had a similar problem ever, anyone have any idea why this is happening?

 

I don't ever recall breaking a G string on any guitar, including the 1974 J-50 that I bought new or the 1965 J-50 (with original ADJ bridge) I got three years ago. Since you've had a luthier check it out, maybe it has something to do with your "alternative tunings". :)

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I use 13's now exclusively, but all my guitars are ancient small bods, so I tune two steps down D-D all the time. Try your alt tunings from the D-D start position and see if you still snap strings. If they don't break, maybe the D'Addarios can't handle the stress at standard pitch. I use Dunlop 80/20's and/or Thomastic-Infeld Spectrums.

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Thanks Jed,

 

I will try that, although if the tunings are down (i.e. e to d, A to G etc) it shouldn't matter as no extra tension is being put on the string, intact there is less tension, which is what seems to be causing the problem.

 

Might try 13's.

 

Thanks.

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Watching this post, closely. By far, the most strings on my guitars that get broken or worn down fastest (the wound covering splits) are my 3rd strings. I usually buy a separate set of a dozen 3rd strings from Strings By Mail or Just Strings so I can change out my 3rd strings as needed without changing the whole set prematurely. In my case, broken or early worn/split winding on the 3rd string occurs on all of my guitars and has for many years, regardless of brand...so I assume it is from my playing extra hard on the 3rd string in my melody playing. The comment someone made about the 3rd strings being the weakest is insightful to me.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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The majority of my guitar work is as a soloist not as a supporting lead guitarist to another. Not gonna be more gentle on just one of the guitar's 6 strings. Would end up focusing on that rather than playing music! 😄

 

And, for $1.25 a guitar string, it's not not worth it. Rather just replace the string. But, it it is interesting how the my 3rd string wears faster out or breaks more than the others.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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If I'm 'digging in' to a string for a note and the string breaks, either the string is old/flawed or I'm digging too hard and have to back off. Never understood that hard picking style, though passion can creep in. The guitar will tell you when you're doing it and sound distorted...or the string breaks. Something's gotta' give.

 

I must be playing wimp style 'cause I can't remember ever breaking a string mid-somg.

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Interestingly, there is a pattern regarding where the wound part splits. Just south of the 2nd fret on the third string. It happens on about 5 of my guitars. So it could be the fret itself, but it it's not likely if it happens on five different guitars. It's likely that I do a lot of hammer ones/pull offs on the third string at the second fret, plus,in my playing I often slide my finger from the A note on the third string to the B note or the C note on the third string, just as a matter of how I voice or phrase some things in my playing.. So it might very well just be the second fret grinding through the winding on the third string so the wound part splits. And, once it splits, shortly after that string will start sounding dead as more winding inevitable will start coming loose. Again, not something I am going to change in my playing, but it does have a result of wearing out that particular string. As previously mentioned, I keep a supply of extra 3rd strings on hand.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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It is not too bad if your G String breaks at home, but embarrassing if you are at the crowded beach.....

 

 

Oh, guitar strings you talk about? Sorry. For a while there Elixir had lots of complaints of their G's breaking while tuning but that was a few years ago now and seems to be sorted. Yours will be some kind of friction point.

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Hi there,

 

First post here, mainly because i have only just become a Gibson owner! I have recently just bought a 1969 J45. I absolutely love it. Great tone, woody and fantastic. Plays really nicely. I was nervous about the adjustable saddle, but it just sounds so great, forward shifted bracing as well.

 

I use a fair amount of alternative tunings. I played it for a couple of weeks when i got it without changing the strings, it tuned really well, but the strings did feel tired. As i was changing them, i decided to have a play with the adjustable saddle as it wasn't wound all the way down. There seemed to be quite a lot of buzz when i did wind it all the way down, so i lifted it until i lost the buzz and tuned up. All good, playing great. However, i then started re-tuning for EADEBE and ping, the G string breaks as I'm tuning it down. But it breaks past the nut near the tuner. Once was strange, but it's happened maybe 5/6 times in just a few weeks. I find that if i adjust the tuning very very slowly, its fine, but if i do it with any speed, even if tuning down, it breaks. It breaks on the way back up too. I have also broken the 1st and 2nd strings as well whilst tuning, but only once each. They all break in exactly in the same place, above the nut, about 1 cm from the tuner. Tried a couple of winding methods, same result.

Has anyone had a similar problem ever, anyone have any idea why this is happening? Taken it into a couple of shops, but they didn't seem to have any idea.

 

Hopefully someone can help.

 

 

Thanks and nice to meet you all.

 

 

Hi, welcome to the forum.

 

I use a lot of alternate tunings too and my problem was the D string, breaking at exactly the same spot, the machine head.. I brought it to a luthier with the complaint and he took care of it, I will still break a string now and then, it's just a side effect of all the stress put on the strings from tension changes, but after he worked on it, it happens a lot less. for me, most of the time, it's still the D String. I use 12 gauge strings, usually Elixir nano webs. But any other string would break there too.

 

I have no real idea on what he did. he just said "well, it's common, and I fixed it.."... yea,, thanks for the pro tip.

 

Aside from the nut maybe not being wide enough,, that is really possible.. maybe check that the post, and the hole around the posts, have no rough edges or burrs.. may not be your trouble... as mine was braking right at the machine head, your problem seems different.

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Since it's not breaking at the post, and you've eliminated that as having a rough, or sharp edged hole - it could, as others have noted, the nut slot. Since the string is breaking somewhere between the post and the nut, it could mean the string is binding in the nut groove and more tension exists there than between the nut and the bridge pin. The nut may be narrow, as others have noted, or more likely, at an angle that causes it to bind. Some graphite might help, but that would just be a bandaid. G'Luck.

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I went through an open tuning phase at one time and would break trebles on an inconsistent basis. As I recall, the G was the most frequent. At that time, I was mostly playing a '66 J-45, and went through all of the afore-mentioned options with little result. As there was never a problem in standard tuning, I finally concluded it was normal wear and tear. Sure hope someone here comes up with a definitive answer.

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I only had my "G" string break only one time, back in my younger days, but it was above my nuts, thanks to an over zealous lady friend. Speaking about guitars, I've had the windings of a G string wear down to the core on my spanish and Dobro guitar but never break. Any pedal guitarist will tell you how often they break strings with their tunings. You can only flex strings by retuning so many times. Your problem seems to be looking for a tuning so easy to play.... Get yourself several guitars and tune them to all different tunings you like, then after finding the right one, stick with it for 20 or so years, then you'll realize EADGBE is the tuning decided upon better than a century ago for some unknown reason. By the way, the episode I described in my first paragraph happened at age 15 years in 1957. It's nice to have memories. Good luck to you.

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