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Broke my first ever bass string on Saturday

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by lunarpollen, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. And it was on my main bass, at a gig, during our second song.

    Fortunately I had another bass to finish the set with, but it was a huge pain. The other bass isn't really for backup, it's just a bass I use for one or two songs for it's particular tone. Otherwise, it's not very interchangable with my main bass. Bass #1 is a Burns Barracuda short-scale six-string. Narrow string spacing, standard Bass VI strings and tuning. The A-string broke at the bridge saddle. I suppose it was inevitable since that's the string that gets the most play. Bass #2 is a Dillion VBMB-04, long-scale four-string, with extra light strings on it. Much wider string spacing, rougher string texture, very difficult for me technique-wise to play a few of our songs on.

    When the A-string broke on my first bass, after the initial shock, I tried playing the rest of the song on the low E string, but the neck tension had been altered enough by the sudden lack of an A-string to throw it out of tune. I didn't want to take the time to change the string after the song was over so I just grabbed my second bass and finished the set with that.

    I hadn't changed the strings on the Burns since I got it earlier this year, and I had meant to change them right before this gig but I forgot... Oh well... I changed them the next day, but not before smoothing out the bridge saddle a bit for the A-string.

    It was just an informal coffee shop gig, nothing major at all. If it had been an important show I probably would have brought my Schecter Hellcat VI as a backup. Oh well, lesson learned...
  2. I'll bet most of the audience never noticed. YOU are the one who pays the most attention to the nuances of the sound.
  3. Heh, the string breakage was pretty visible and got some laughs, and the bass dropping out for a few seconds was also pretty noticable... Listening back to the recording it's pretty easy to hear how it was out of tune for the last part of that one song, but most people probably didn't notice it that much. And as for the difference in bass tones for the rest of the show, no one there but us knew that it wasn't "right;" just "different" maybe. Except for those couple of tunes where the physical differences of the bass made my playing extremely difficult and sloppy. Those were pretty apparrent, but not horriblytragic or too jarring.
  4. scottmabe


    Mar 29, 2008
    Memphis Tn
    Hey it happens...
    Broke an E about 3 gigs ago... the biggest pause was me pulling the remnants out of the way.
    Now the rest of the band understand why I bring 2 basses to every gig. The guitarist NEVER CHANGES HIS STRINGS UNTIL THEY BREAK. Then he changes just the one string. I told him I was going to kidnap his guitar and bring it back clean and strung..pretty cool of me huh ?
  5. Joey3313


    Nov 28, 2003
    I have a friend who is the exact way with his guitars, so finally I did just that. His response:

    "Wow, this sounds really good, what'd you do?"

    3 stock strings and 3 mismatched strings don't sound good after a while apparently.
  6. Yeah, a brand new set of decent roundwounds can make a whole instrument sound brand new again. I love the harpsichordish sounds my unplugged Barracuda makes when I strum its new strings.

    The strings on my Dillion bass are a few months old but I don't really play that bass a lot, just on a couple of songs, and it still sounds bright and fresh. I should pick up a spare set though just in case. I just never see them anyplace (super light gauge--the neck of this bass is prone to warping with anything heavier-tension).

    Flatwounds, however, I'd never change unless breakage occurs (or if I want to try different strings)
  7. I don't plan to change strings on any of my basses until they break.

    None has ever broken, and i carry a set of Labella flats as spares, just in case.
  8. Guest043

    Guest043 Guest

    Apr 8, 2008
    my strings always break..

    maybe cause i bend strings more/play agressively?
  9. Silaxian


    Dec 16, 2002
    Charlotte, NC
    In over 20 years of playing bass, I only ever broke a bass string once ... D string. Snapped at the bridge.
  10. Very.

  11. Dave R

    Dave R

    Sep 21, 2007
    Boise, ID USA
    I'm sure that's why. I have broke 2 strings in 30 years playing classic rock.

    I bring (used) spare strings to all gigs, plus a spare bass.

    I would finish a set with the spare bass, then change the broken string at a break.
  12. I think the main reason my A-string broke was a combination of it being the string that gets the most use, a sharp string saddle (it's a Tune-o-matic type bridge), and my aggressive upstroke plectrum use. Anyway, after changing the strings, I've discovered that it was a lot more quick and easy than with my other instruments, so next time I'll probably just change my string right then and there, unless I have my Schecter Hellcat VI along as a backup.
  13. RonChase


    Aug 15, 2008
    in all the years I have played only once I broke a string.It was in the recording studio. luckily I lived only about 10 miles away and grabbed my other bass(these things are not supposed to happen to a bass) it was a yamahaBB series white kind of like Michael Anthony.So I went home and grabbed my EBO kind of like Jack Bruce.Well that was 1991 and it has not happened since but because of that night I always always always carry 2 basses except for maybe to practice but any gig I have 2 cabs 2 heads 2basses moral of the story Be prepared
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I break a string every five years or so. It happens to nearly everyone... if nothing else, because the string is bad.

    So always bring a backup bass -- that is, unless you don't mind playing with a missing string, or your bandmates don't mind halting the entire show while you replace it.
  15. ilikethump


    Jun 17, 2008
    I've broken two strings so far, but there were quite a few years in between. Broke an E string the last time... it was during practice but it was a bit of a pain.

    So now I take a full set of strings and a backup bass to gigs. Backup everything except for amps (because I am poor)!
  16. OtterOnBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    The alternate to hauling a second bass around is to have a contingency plan worked out with the band. For example, the singer tells a story while a guitarist strums to keep the mood level high.

    I just carry my old strings in my gig bag. If I break one, the singer will just do the usual in-between song banter while I change and tune it.

    If you're worried about more serious issues, like faulty pickups or something, a second bass is necessary. I've never needed one, and hope I never do (since I have don't have a spare.)
  17. Tony-bobs


    Aug 19, 2008
    Spearfish, SD
    i broke two strings at a show once almost two years ago. it was a brice 6er that was my first bass that i bought with my own money. it had the original strings on it for about 2 years and a week before the gig the B snapped off at the bridge. being a long scale through bridge set-up, i had the worst time finding strings for the beast so i played the show missing the B. about half way through, WHAM the A strings gone quickly followed by the E. i finished the song like 2 octaves higher than normal it was horrible. by some stroke of luck, a kid in the pit had a squire in his trunk that he let me borrow...
  18. Bassman822


    Sep 1, 2007
    Bessemer, AL
    I havent broken a string in 35 years, but I still keep a set of old strings with each bass. On some jobs, I carry a second bass and my G-K MB150 with I can use as a head
  19. Motioneso


    May 4, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I have done this too many times to be honest. I've broken the E string twice, B string three times, and the D once. The last time I broke a string was during a music video shoot. I guess I was focused on making sure it looked VERY real... :rolleyes:
  20. djwackfriz


    Jul 31, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    same here, my man. I play metal, though, so I guess it comes with the territory

    blah blah, light touch, rah rah technique, the point is strings break if you hit them hard

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