Why Do Guitar Strings Break?

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  • Writer:Alice
  • Time:2022-03-01

All guitarists fall victim to broken guitar strings. There's nothing worse than the horrible sound of a rope snapping in half.

Why do guitar strings break? There are two main reasons for guitar strings to break. The first reason is that guitar strings can degrade over time due to oxidation. On the other hand, the second is that the wood expands and contracts due to changes in moisture, which increases and decreases the string tension. The other common reasons are abnormal wear due to rough areas, sharp edges, over-tightening, poor technique, etc.

Is there a way to prevent it? Or at least a way to extend the life of a set of strings? The good news is that by understanding why guitar strings break, we can learn how to prevent it.

This article will mainly discuss the most common reasons why guitar strings break. Let's get started it!

The main reasons why guitar strings break

Number of times to tune the guitar string
Constant tuning won't damage the guitar, but it will damage the strings. Frequent tightening and loosening of guitar strings weaken their tension, causing guitar strings to break more easily, called the phenomenon of fatigue.

Guitar strings break because they are old
Over time, skin oils and acids, along with general dirt, debris, and grime, can build up on the surface of the strings. Not only does this make guitar strings sound dull, but it accelerates broken strings.

On the other hand, the combination of the above contaminants with oxygen can cause oxidation or corrosion to damage the molecular structure of the strings. In addition, combined with high tension, vibration, and constant pick strikes, this damage can cause breakage. 

Guitar strings break because of sharp or rough fret edges
If the strings keep breaking around the neck or between the neck and bridge, the cause may be sharp or rough fret edges. Even small dents in the frets can cause strings to break.

Imperfections may not be easy to find by checking the frets, but paying attention to the exact location of the string break can help you identify the correct fret edge that caused the damage. For example, pull the end of a freshly broken string off the bridge and see where the broken wire is.

Rough frets add friction and can wear down your strings quickly. To fix rough fret edges, use a small file or sandpaper sand the edges.

Guitar strings break due to the sharp bridge
The bridge is the common place where guitar strings tend to break. A sharp bridge can damage guitar strings, especially with a new guitar. 

Use small sandpaper or file to smooth out the creases in the bridge where the strings are. If you don't have any files or sandpaper, another option is to use old strings and rub them through the bridge crease.

Guitar strings broke due to dirty or worn nuts
The two main reasons a nut can damage a string are accumulated dirt or a worn nut. Dirt can build up around the crease of the nut over time. So it's a good rule of thumb to clean the nut when you restring the guitar. In addition, lubricant is also a very good recommendation as it reduces friction and improves your tuning stability.

On the other hand, nuts also wear out over time, especially with heavier strings. In this case, it is best to sand the nut with a small file or sandpaper.

Defective tuning pegs
There are several reasons why a defective tuning peg can damage a guitar string. For example, if the edge of the tuning peg is too sharp, the string will bend around it and cause the string to break. Another reason is burred on the edges of the tuning pegs.

You can use an old and thicker rope to soften the edges. In addition, use a cotton swab to enter the hole inside the tuning peg for cleaning fully. Keeping the tuning peg clean and smooth will prevent the string from breaking at the tuning pegs.

Over-tightening the string
If you break the strings while tuning, and they're seated properly on the nut and saddle, you're probably over-tightening the strings. Using a chromatic tuner, slowly tighten to achieve the correct pitch. Guitar strings have a limited tensile strength, which will result in breakage if exceeded. 

Using the wrong guitar pick

There are two main aspects of guitar picks that can cause guitar strings to wear out faster and eventually break. One is the thickness of the guitar pick, and the other is its sharpness.

Sharp, thick picks will shorten the life of your guitar strings faster. For example, heavy picks wear down the strings with every pick and strike and can cause nicks and dents in the strings. Continued wear and tear on the strings can cause the strings to break over time.

Why choose Alice Strings

Founded in 1999, Alice Strings is a technology-based enterprise integrating R&D, manufacturing, and sales.

The company has a professional R&D center. Chemical, mechanical, and structural methods thoroughly test materials and finished products. In addition, we have won many industry honors, such as high-tech enterprise, ISO9001:2015 certification, and more than 50 invention patents.

Alice Strings supplies more than 2000 products, mainly classical guitar strings, acoustic guitar strings, electric guitar strings, and other accessories.

If you are looking for a reliable supplier, contact us.