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Broken string - what should I do?? (DB forum)

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by alanbarnosky, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    I just broke my A string today during practice with my BG band. These strings were put on over the summer (probably July?) when the bass got worked on. They are D'Adarrio Pizzicatos, medium guage I believe. The bass has been played for about 5-8 hours a week since these strings were put on. It is my understanding that bass strings should last much longer than this - only the A string broke, the others are fine. It doesn't seem to have much wear. The break was directly at the bridge. Any ideas on how or why this happened?

    Anyhow, to a larger question. I have practice with my other group tomorrow, and need to get this string replaced. I have a set of D'Adarrio Hybrids that were given to me as a gift. Should I change all the strings? Or should I go and just buy the one D'Addario Pizzicato A string? I'm thinking the latter, as we all know bass strings are pricey and I don't want to waste 3 good strings if they are fine. Then again, I just don't want to go make the purchase of one A string if you think other strings will start breaking soon and it would be better off to change the whole set. Please let me know ASAP... I have to make the change tomorrow morning, and know they will stretch, etc. This is a real bummer!

    Thanks, I really appreciate all your help.

  2. Bottom Feeder

    Bottom Feeder encridublee smatr

    Nov 22, 2004
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Change em all. Move on.

    Edit: I just noticed I was in the DB forum. Don't play one but I understand the strings are very expensive. Now I see why you are thinking of changing just one out.

    Man, do you really play hard or is there a very sharp edge on the bridge? Can't imagine the rest are going to do the same thing. Just a fluke maybe.

    Buy a new one and replace it. Now move on.
  3. Change them all. Save the unbroken ones in case this happens again.

    EDIT: Nevermind. Didn't see that this was in the DB catergory.
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001

    Edit... Nevermind, because of lobey's nevermind. And because I love Nirvana.
  5. I'm not sure what the deal is - this is actually the 2nd time my A string has broken. The first was a fluke for sure and broke within 2 weeks between the peg and nut, my luthier is a DD dealer and replaced it no charge. But this one I'm not sure...

    I play a 1949 Kay that has had the neck broken (go figure) and when it was reset (when in the previous owner's posession) the repair guy sucked and rest it a little lower and slightly angled to the right, if looking at the bass from the front. This causes the bridge to be slighty off kilter, not directly inbetween the f-holes but a sentimeter or so closer to the right one -- maybe that has something to do with it? I'll call the luthier in the morning but I'd rather figure it out now - i'm on a time cruch.

    Please, more opinions on to change them all or not would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  6. Cos the A strings relative brightness will stick out like a Baboon with a sore arsehole won't it?

    A set of strings that have been on since July and you've only just broke one that's quite a feat if you ask me, or do they last quite a while if you don't play heavy/loud kinda music on them?

    Depending on whether you like a pretty dead sorta sound, you should change them pretty regularly anyway, at least once a month.

    EDIT: I also just noticed I'm in the DB forum and should have payed a little more attention to the 2nd post, stupid! If my violin players (when we do acoustic stuff) strings are anything to go by the "new string sound" seems to exist to an extent on flatwound violin family kinda strings, dunno if this applies to DBs though.
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    OK... no, I wouldn't just change all the strings on a double bass unless they sounded or felt like they needed changing. I would instead look at the bridge and the string to try to discern what caused the string to fail. If I couldn't figure it out myself, I would enlist the help of a double bass luthier/repair person to help me in that pursuit.

    Somebody check the back door, I think it swung open.
  8. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    PS... I really like how you put that. :D

    Alan.. the string slot should allow the string to fit comfortably in the bridge, without actually "capturing" and damping the string. In other words, the diameter of the slot should be similar to that of the string. One thing most of us DB guys do is to take a #2 pencil and lube up the slots in the bridge and the nut, so that the string passes smoothly through them.
  9. bassbrock


    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    I say change them all. I change mine once a month.

    EDIT: Oops... Is this the double bass forum? Doh!

  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Hey, let's not forget Ken Smith's DBs... he changes the whole bass on a daily basis, and some of his basses are worth more than my house.

    I think someone should build Ken a giant rotating tie rack thing to hold his basses.... push a button, stand there watching them go by..."hmmm, what am I in the mood for today?..."
  11. All of those have been covered, but thanks anyhow. The bass was set up by a reputable and professional luthier.
  12. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    My god what a strange thread.

    It doesn't matter if you change the whole set or just the one. Personally I'd rather have all four dead strings or all four new strings. Having one new one and the rest old sounds like poop unless it's an E string.

    What does matter is you don't have at least one set of worn in spares in your gig bag to take the broken guy's place. On the off chance one does break you are wise to have a worn in one ready to take it's place in your bag.

    May wanna buy some good condition broken in stuff from the forum here for your bag in the future.

    Take the bass to a decent repairman and see if your bass is the problem and not just a fluke bad string.
  13. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    +1 ... I agree wholeheartedly with both statements. I'd definitely take this to a good luthier. Just the thought of playing on a bass "set up" like that is a little scary.
  14. AlanBartram

    AlanBartram Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    D’Addario endorser
    Alan, My guess is your string broke because it's a D' Adarrio. It's the only kind I've ever broken and usually the A is the one to go. I'd buy a single for now, get it broken in (perhaps that's not the right word to use!) then change the entire set, keeping your old ones for backup. And then, when those go, switch to Tomastiks;) Good luck!
  15. Just realised how arrogant missing a comma in a sentence can make you sound, whoops.
  16. sure, blame the punctuation...

  17. charlespf


    Oct 21, 2007
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Alan, just out of curiosity, who's your luthier? I live in Ann Arbor.

    And my two cents, you've got a set of new strings; just put them on, and break 'em in together.
  18. Charles,

    I already went out and bought the one string. I am happy with my decision -- the tone is much brighter and tinnier just on the one, but I figure after a couple weeks it should blend in more or less. And it saves me money, which is always good.

    I sent you a PM about the luthier.

    Thanks everybody
  19. Alan:

    For a temporary fix....if the break is between the peg and the nut....just tie on a piece from the peg end of another string you don't need using a reef knot. Then tune it back up. Don't worry about the knot around the peg....a reef knot won't slip or come loose.
    I'm not kidding!
    I did this with a cut-down Bel Canto I got from Francois (he has an EUB) and it worked fine for a couple of weeks until I ordered a new one. I use it as a spare now.

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