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 E Strings Breaking

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ajisai

Joined 12/29/2010
3 Posts

01/20/2011 21:24:10  Reply with Quote

Both E strings broke when I went to tune my mandolin--one right after the other and if I remember correctly I was tuning them down not up--and when I put a new string on it seemed like an endless battle to bring it up to pitch. I let the mandolin sit a couple of weeks, tried to bring the string up to pitch last night and the string was broken this morning.

Any idea what's happening? I've had the instrument since summer with no problems until now. It's a Kay, bought on eBay, and I put on new strings and moved the bridge into a better position after I got it. (I don't really play mandolin. I use it to work on fiddle-related theory things and so as long as it's in tune, I'm happy with it.)

Thanks for any suggestions you can give me.

Yosa

United States
Joined 1/4/2011
1 Posts

01/21/2011 00:42:42  Reply with Quote

I'm brand new to mandolin, but as an engineer my thoughts are that it could be a sharp edge on the bridge or the nut that is causing damage to the string and then it breaks under tension?

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UsuallyPickin

United States
Joined 12/26/2010
200 Posts

01/21/2011 01:12:08  Reply with Quote

Is the bridge in the correct position? To close to the tailpiece would change the tension lbs across the bridge. Is the mandolin tuned to concert pitch? Sorry had to ask. Yosa is right, where the string crosses the bridge or nut there can be a problem. The string may be grabbing, although with an unwound string that seems less likely. Lubricate the bridge and nut slot with pencil graphite and see if that helps. Yes it takes awhile to crank that "E" string up to pitch. Kay made good instruments but not for many years. So a wear problem is possible. But if the mandolin was tuned to pitch before you " moved the bridge into a better position ", that could possibly be the problem. Old strings break tuning up or down. Enjoy your mandolin. Play long and often.. R/

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Jerry Schoenborn

United States
Joined 1/1/2011
41 Posts

01/21/2011 04:14:21  View Jerry Schoenborn's Photo Albums  View Jerry Schoenborn's Blog  Reply with Quote

You might get a clue by checking where strings broke, at tuner at bridge,at nut. If at tuner, make sure you have at least a couple of wraps around tuning peg. If at bridge look for sharp edges. If at nut, look for pinch or sharp edges and as UsuallyPickin suggests lube with pencil lead. Might help. Same tips apply to guitar. If loops are breaking, check for sharp edges on hooks, may have worn thin on edges.


Edited by - Jerry Schoenborn on 01/21/2011 04:21:08

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ajisai

Joined 12/29/2010
3 Posts

01/21/2011 05:27:53  Reply with Quote

I took a good look at the string this morning and it struck me that it had just popped off or broken at the tuner--the end was curled--so I put it back on as the shortest E string and it seems to be holding. Ah--a light has gone off as I'm typing! I don't think I wound up enough string when I put it on the first time. That would explain why I couldn't get it to hold the pitch--it was a slipping and not a settling in issue--and why it "broke." I must have put enough tension on it that it unwound and came off.

I'll put the second string on later today and see what happens but I suspect the problem is solved. Many thanks!

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Gerry Cassidy

Joined 1/4/2011
148 Posts

01/21/2011 09:49:49  Reply with Quote

You could also have sharp edges, or burrs' on the the tuner post that cut the string? That's easily remedied with a mild abrasive like a fine nail file, or emery cloth. Careful not to round the edges off as you'll never get the string to stop slipping.


Edited by - Gerry Cassidy on 01/21/2011 09:52:07

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unclepoppy

Joined 12/26/2010
7 Posts

01/21/2011 12:28:33  Reply with Quote

I bought a new import w/ a stamped tailpiece with cover, it arrived with the treble strings mounted to the 4 fingers on the lower bass side and making right angle turns around the fingers on the treble side. I broke a few E strings until I decided to mount them directly to the treble side fingers so they ran straight from tailpiece to tuners.

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irishbanjos

Spain
Joined 12/25/2010
189 Posts

01/21/2011 12:51:46  View irishbanjos's Classified Ads    Reply with Quote

Maybe you should change of strings. Try using D'Addario J-67
I've been using them for some years now and never broke a string!

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Mandolin Ant

United States
Joined 12/27/2010
289 Posts

01/26/2011 09:47:09  View Mandolin Ant's Photo Albums  Reply with Quote

I remember the first one I broke. It was the bottom E and scared the heck out of me. Hurt too. Mandolin strings are under a ton of pressure. I'd follow the advice above. If you have a sharp burr on the tailpiece or the nut, a little light sanding may be your solution.

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jefrs

United Kingdom
Joined 2/10/2011
16 Posts

02/10/2011 18:21:51  Reply with Quote

As it broke at the tuner, I would look to the way you wrap onto the post.

It should imo be laid on flat without going over another turn (except the first lock-turns) i.e. string through hole, wind on up the post two turns, then down over them, and continue down flat against the post. This way the string does not get kinked, and then break there because it is under a lot of tension for such a fine string. I have noticed that winding back a kinked string often causes it to break, not confined to mandolins.

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mandoteacher

United States
Joined 1/3/2011
217 Posts

02/22/2011 06:42:41  View mandoteacher's MP3 Archive  View mandoteacher's Classified Ads  View mandoteacher's Blog  Reply with Quote

yeah check the nut, also check the strings. cheap chinese strings will often break easily. I like D'Addarios.

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ajisai

Joined 12/29/2010
3 Posts

02/22/2011 14:38:20  Reply with Quote

It seems to have been a simple matter of me cutting the string end too short to hold. I moved it to the outside (shortest string position) and haven't had any problems since.

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jefrs

United Kingdom
Joined 2/10/2011
16 Posts

05/03/2011 12:01:08  Reply with Quote

Rule of thumb - for cutting strings to length is two extra tuner posts - for the first one, pull it up and cut it just past the third one.

I tend to be a little bit generous with this but it does not take long to twiddle the string winder tool, and carefully lay the windings flat on the post, preferably down the post to improve the break angle, and so there are no pressure points from overlaps.

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MandoNube

Australia
Joined 8/8/2012
1 Posts

08/08/2012 04:53:40  Reply with Quote

I've just started playing and am having a similar issue. I (probably foolishly) tried to adjust the hight of the bridge ever so slightly, as the F on the first fret of the E string was damned near impossible to play, there was so much tension. When I'd adjusted it and was retuning the strings, the E string only got up to about a D before it snapped at the peg. Tried the other E more tentatively - same thing. There doesn't seem to be any lugs on the tuning pegs that I can see so I'm wondering if they were just crappy strings provided with the instrument (it's an Eastman, so probably Chinese).

Problem is, I don't want to splash out on a new set of strings only to snap an E string again if it's a different issue. What to do... what to do...

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Bluetick

United States
Joined 8/19/2012
1 Posts

08/19/2012 05:52:18  Reply with Quote

Is the problem of e string breakage a common problem? Im a casual player so it doesnt get as much use as someone in a band. My string instruments hang on the wall. I live in northeast Pennsylvania, so we have drastic changes in weather, especially humidity. That must play into the difficul of keeping it tuned.

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modon

United States
Joined 8/12/2012
13 Posts

08/20/2012 23:06:41  Reply with Quote

A tight nut slot can do that. I try for at least 3 wraps around the post and no crossing over itself with the string. If its a new mando.... you might try polishing the holes in the posts with some fine emery paper wrapped around something like a toothpick. That should eliminate any burrs on the peg holes. And of course... get good strings. I like the D'Adarrios too.

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