Strings breaking like crazy -- is there something wrong?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by BertBert, Nov 25, 2002.

  1. BertBert


    Nov 9, 2002
    I have a Warwick thumb bolt-on 5-string. In the last 90 days I have gone through four G strings due to string breakage. Although I play pretty aggressively -- I do a moderate amount of pop/slap and tend to play hard with my fingers -- this just seems like an insane amount of strings breaking in a short period of time. I've been using good brands of strings (Warwick, Ernie Ball, Dean Markley) and I've not used the lightest gauges either. Reading the posts elsewhere in this forum makes me think that there might be a problem with the gauge of string I am using, my bridge, my playing style, or some linear combination of these.

    I know that sometimes situations like this point to a problem with the bridge, but when I look up-close at mine I don't know what to look for if I think there is a problem. Will something as seemingly minor as dust particles cause bridge problems, or would this only be caused by something big like a small piece of metal or plastic flashing sticking out of the bridge?

    Any ideas?

    PS: I wonder too if temperature might have something to do with this? Yesterday was the latest string-popping incident, and while I didn't really play that hard I did leave my bass set up in the church auditorium all day, and there was maybe a 15-degree temp difference during the day.
  2. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    A burr in the g-string saddle caused this with an old Ibanez Blazer bass I used to own.

    I have a TBO too, and I play rough as an MF'er. I don't have this problem. I use Medium Smiths.

    Get it checked out. Replacing a saddle is way cheaper than going through a new string over and over.

    If you suspect a parts problem, get a hold of Dana B. Goods.

    Good luck.
  3. BertBert


    Nov 9, 2002
    I guess my question is, what exactly does a burr in the saddle look like? Can I tell by looking that it's there?
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    First of all, where are the strings beaking?

    Remove the string. You should be able to rub your finger over the saddle. If you can't feel something there, chances are, there isn't anything there. Anything sharp enough to wear through a string in two weeks is going to be felt be a finger.

    It is certainly possible that your playing style is the culprit.

  5. Bert,
    A burr is a sharp bump/edge that would most likely be causing your breakage. With the string off, feel the saddle w/your finger you should notice it if you've broken that many strings. You may not have to replace the saddle...try filing it lightly (or until the burr is gone) with a needle file. They sell them at Radio Shack. Do the Thumbs have a brass nut? Something else to think about!
  6. BertBert


    Nov 9, 2002
    Thanks for your advice, folks. To follow up, I got a good look at the bass tonight and I could find no evidence of a burr. I took the rest of the strings off and could find nothing different about the saddle or bridge under the non-broken strings and the G string.

    So... not quite sure what to do next. I'll probably call the local guitar store* and see if they'd charge me just to give it a look; if they don't (or if it's not expensive) I'll take it in and get their advice. Otherwise I'll be a little more aware of my playing and not attack so hard on that G string.

    * Blatant plug here -- Guitarworks in Greenwood, Indiana. Lots o' Warwicks. Good folks -- most of them are professional or semi-pro bluegrass players. Nice place. If you're on the south side of Indy sometime check them out.
  7. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    hehe, when i saw the title i knew this was going to be about a warwick. i used to go through strings pretty quickly on my thumb, and a little less quickly but still quick on my SS2. i filed the saddle smoother, and that seemed to help a little. but ever since i did the first real precise setup on my ss2 and dropped the action to the point where i COULDN'T play hard, i've broken one or two (in 6 or so months.)

    so try getting it set up. one thing to notice is that the warwick bridge can be raised and lowered as a whole. making the action low ALSO reduces the break angle over the saddles from the stop tail - which could have something to do with it?
  8. BertBert


    Nov 9, 2002
    This makes a lot of sense, actually. And I was thinking of lowering the overall action anyway. So I'll try that out too.
  9. hibeam


    Oct 16, 2002
    I used to play pretty hard and bust a string every three weeks...I thought there was something wrong with the instrument. After I got it setup, it helped a little, but the true problem was that I was just playing too hard. It was 10% instrument 90% my abuse of the strings. It took a little while, but I can now achieve the same sound as I used to without killing my strings. Anyway, something that might work for you is using DR Hi-Beams. They are very sturdy.
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Sounds like you're going to have to get a new bass.

  11. Tee-hee :D