Out of curiosity... a breaking strings question...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by NewWaveBasser, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. I watched a concert yesterday in which one bass player broke his D string near the end of the set.

    He was playing with intensity, but c'mon breaking a string playing FINGERSTYLE??

    I've seen tales of broken strings at TB but IIRC they involved extreme picking.

    What's more: I congratulated the guy on a great set (he played very well) and I talked to him about the broken string.

    He said he is constantly breaking strings in concerts.

    Which makes me wonder: Is it his playing? Crappy strings? Oh yeah his bass is an Ibanez... could that be it? The bridge?
  2. I've broken strings playing fingerstyle at band practice. I broke a D during a Rage Against the Machine song. It's not too hard to get caught up in the music and start going crazy.
  3. Sometimes a bridge can have a burr or piece of metal sticking up on it and that will break strings.

    I have never broken a string while playing any style of music. I have broken strings, restringing my bass, that's usually due to a bad string.

    I would ask him if it's the same string, (the D) if so then yes, it's something wrong with the bridge or bass.

    :eek: Treena
  4. Humblerumble


    Feb 22, 2004
    I know a young kid that breaks strings a lot and it isn't only on one bass and they usually break at the bridge, they start fraying and then break. Seems like a technique problem to me as I have been playing over twenty years and I can only remember breaking one string and that was probably a string that got crimped or something.
  5. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Sometimes the answer can be as simple as turning up the amp and playing more gently. However, as Treena suggested, it's definitely worth considering if it is always the same string that breaks.

  6. I recall he told me on the previous concert he broke the E string... yeah the thick one.

    Also, it looked like the D string he broke snapped from the bridge.
  7. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    On my first bass, a crappy Jay Turser, I'd break strings every week... and each string had even odds of breaking! :eek: I thought it was a technique problem, but as soon as I ditched it and bought a new bass, the strings stopped breaking. My last 3 basses were Ibani (I own 2 currently) and strings very rarely break on these. But fingerstyle playing can definitely break strings... I snapped a DR Lo-Rider .125 B string just by playing hard with my fingers.
  8. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    If you're saddles are high the strings will break much easier because of the sharp angle.

    I've only broke one string my whole life, an E.
  9. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    ive broken every string once or twice, no more. It wasnt a bad technique, it wasnt a problem with the bass, it just happens sumtimes. I was playing pretty hard, but i mean nothing excessive. If it happens alot youve got a problem, but dont be surprised if it happens every once in a while, 5 broken strings in 8 years of playing bass is pretty good i think.
  10. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    THANK YOU!!!

    I always thought I was a freak for never breaking a string on a bass. I've been playing for 11 years now and still have never broken a string. I've gone through the slapping and picking phases and still haven't broken a string.
  11. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    You know what really sucks? Breaking a string RIGHT in the middle of one the only bass solos you get to do.
  12. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Cheap, POS strings can also be a source of breaking headaches.

    So can the practice of bending the string while installing it.

    So can a sharp burr on the bridge.

    So can playing too hard.

    So can the practice of "bending" the string severely at times during your show, even if its only in one song at the end of the night, it will have an effect after a few weeks.
  13. maxoges


    Aug 23, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    You are not alone. I never broke a sting while playing.
    I've been playing for 11 years. I had to change my playing style because I picked too hard and was hurting my wrist. :bassist:
  14. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    Interesting...early this year I joined my first band (I'm 33, and I've been playing just for fun for a long time), and have been rehearsing 1-2x per week, and we just started playing out a few months ago. This weekend at a show I broke an E on one bass and a D on my backup...that was enough to get me very focused on the problem. I've read comments from so many people, and it's amazing how differently everyone's experiences are!

    So my basses are both fender jazz deluxes, one american (strung through the body) and one mex. They have nice low action, and the saddles are in excellent shape. Every break I've had has been at the bridge, and I think I break As and Ds most of the time. BUT, I've always bought the cheapest strings I could find, and I was sure that was the main factor. But I've also talked to guys who said they sweat a LOT (as I do) when playing, and they feel that that is causing the strings to deteriorate faster...But if that's the case, I wonder why the breaks all happen at the bridge -- the ONE place I virtually never make skin-to-string contact.

    One buddy who is a heavy performer says, in heavy playing times, he will get a break every few months, sometimes less frequently. He also mentioned that the conventional recommendation was a change every 40 hours of playing time or so. But that must have been factoring in the tone of the strings too because I could never justify changing my $30 strings every 2-1/2 months...

    But the other interesting feedback I got from a guy was about Dr. Duck's AxWax. He's a guitarist, but he said he has gotten much more life out of his strings since he started rubbing them (and the fretboard) down every practice with the axwax. And he said he never breaks strings any more. So one thing I'd be interested in hearing from everyone is their bass maintenance routines (cleaning, setup, where is your bass stored in between sessions, etc.)...I think this has to play a role.

    So I'm going to try elixir nanowebs, a better string maintenance routine (with the axwax), and I'm gonna try to focus a little effort on lightening up on the strings...and we'll see.

    Any other suggestions are welcome.

    Cheers all!

  15. waxbass


    Nov 13, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I break my e string regularly ;) You'de be suprised how much force and trauma you are putting on your strings if you're playing with intensity.

    I use DR strings but I've use others in the past with the same results on both my stage basses. (Fender Custom Shop Jazz 5 and an Fbass Studio 5).

    It just comes down to how you play, and how oftenyou change your strings...... :D
  16. mlwarriner

    mlwarriner Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    KC, MO, USA

    or during the intro section of "for whom the bell tolls" onstage, during a battle of the bands type show...

    thank Jaco for backup basses!!!
  17. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    I saw Soundgarden about 12 years ago, and Ben Shepard broke his G string in the middle of the last song and somehow kept playing it which was really weird, but cool nonetheless.

    As far as breaking strings go, I've done this with light guage DR strings for whatever reason. I think they were just a bad batch because I broke them on each of my two sets. I wonder if breaking strings has anything to do with the break-angles anywhere on the bass that would increase the string to being prone to breaking. This is just a guess, I really have no clue though.
  18. uglycicles

    uglycicles Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Southwest Chicago
    I remember catching Watt w/fIREHOSE several times and he would break string(s) each show, sometimes on back to back songs. But if you've seen Watt, you know he plays the hell out of his bass.

    Years ago when I had a really underpowered amp and was struggling to hear myself in a band situation, I overcompensated by having an extremely aggressive fingerstyle. I broke strings all of the time, like every other show. Now, bigger/louder amp = more subdued fingerstyle = few, if any breaks.
  19. pistoleroace


    Sep 13, 2002
    I have always been a hard player using fingerstyle playing and I have busted many, many strings mostly while playing live and a few in practice, I guess it all depends on your style. Some of this is due to my playing style and also perhaps the fact that I boil my strings every week to keep them sounding as fresh as possible.

    Now that I'm getting older and don't play out as much as I use to, I find that I don't play as hard and rarely ever break a string.