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Broke a string (through body)... Help me figure out why?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Raman, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. Raman

    Raman Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc

    I just bought a string through body bass, my 1st one (G&L l2500, 5-string, 34" neck). The bass came with a set of almost new D'Addario XL .050 -> .135.
    The strings were strung through the bridge and I let them there, until I decided to check out if they could be strung through the body today. Apparently not : they seem too short. But, I decided to try anyway. While tightening the B, even before there was a lot of tension in it, it broke over the bridge saddle.

    Why? Is it because it takes special strings to go through body, or is it too heavy a gauge, or was I just unlucky?...

    I also have a set of Lo-Rider, medium gauge, which I bought especially because I read they were good for through-body stringing (long enough for it). But I'd like to figure out what happened with that B before I try it again with a different set.

    Thanks for any input.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I'm assuming you bought the bass used, since those are not the stock strings that come on it. So, it's impossible to say what the B string may have gone through before you got it so I say 'unlucky'. Proceed with the DR's. Great strings and they are long enough to go through body on that bass. Also since it is a used bass, make sure there are no burrs on the saddles.
  3. Raman

    Raman Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Yes, used bass.

    Ok, so unlucky then. I thought maybe heavier gauge strings weren't suited for through body or something.
    The strings on it were quite new according to the seller, and they did feel and sound so. Plus, given the mint condition of the bass, the guy was very conscientious. So maybe a fabrication flaw...
    I will check for burrs.
    I restrung it with a new B (same D'addario gauge) through the bridge and it's fine. I'll try the Lo-Riders eventually, but I'm quite liking these D'addario for now. :) (1st time playing heavy gauge too.)

  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Some B strings aren't flexible enough to make the sharper bend when going through body. I've had several new B strings break that way.
  5. Raman

    Raman Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    So I suspected at first. Hence my assumption that heavier gauge = more stiffness = breaks.

    The thing just snapped too. Tack! at the core string. So it looked like too much tension from bending over the outer coil.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    That's exactly what happened with mine. Core snapped right at the bend.

    Other people do it with no problem. Depends on the bridge and string design.
  7. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    You can't reuse strings when you change between through-mount and flat mount.
  8. Raman

    Raman Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
  9. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    Probably has nothing to do with the string breaking, but D'addario's regular 34" length is shorter than about any other string maker, and you need specify Extra Longs XLs from them. To add to the annoyance and confusion , they insist on calling their regular length nickels "XL" which has nothing to do with the abbreviation for Extra Long.
  10. Raman

    Raman Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    When researching the subject, I stumbled upon a blog where the users listed all the different brands and types of strings that were long enough for through body. I didn't think of bookmarking it at the moment, and now I can't find it again. :(
  11. Weird. I use D'addario XL lomg-scale strings on my 5-string through-body and have NEVER broken a B string.
  12. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I am not a fan of string through body bridge design. Turning a fat bass string 90 degrees under tension just doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
  13. Raman

    Raman Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    It's not an essential feature if I trust everything I read on the subject. It might just be a good idea inasmuch as it doesn't pull the bridge away from the body but rather pushes it against. Apart from the occasional accident like mine, it seems to work for most people.

    Mine are XL but not long scale. As I was stringing it, I could see that it was just too short. Then it snapped.
  14. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    You could have always just gotten a bad string. You should have been able to run them through the body without any problem other than if it wasn't the extra long length, you might have had some winding in the nut saddle. I've strung basses back and forth through top load and thru body with the same strings (while experimenting) and never had a problem.
    Raman likes this.

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