Help! String breakage with locking tuners on Ultra Stratocaster

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Henry2, Sep 29, 2020.

  1. Henry2

    Henry2 Strat-Talk Member

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    I've had my new American Ultra Stratocaster for about 4 weeks, played about an hour or two each day. Original strings still. I broke the 0.009 high E the other day, it broke off right at the locking tuner. I can't remember when I last broke a string while playing (I used to play Floyd Rose guitars almost exclusively for a long time).

    So I put a new D'Addario set on and the 0.009 broke again right while I was adjusting intonation and tuning up. Again at the tuner. I figured the hole for the string has a sharp edge and due to the practice of doing as few as possible windings on a locking tuner, it just happened by poor luck to have the sharp hole edge right where the string vibration ends (if you know what I mean).

    I tried sanding off some of that rough edge a little and put another 0.009 on. A little worried now since I do have a show this Saturday where I wanted to show off my new Stratocaster.

    Any similar experiences here and/or recommendations on how to fix or remedy the locking tuner issue?
     
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  2. mapleglo

    mapleglo Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    When I was trying out my Elite Tele at the store, the high E broke at the tuner when I was tuning up the guitar. The store replaced the string, and it's been ok ever since. No broken strings since.
     
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  3. train

    train Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    I’m envious, I’ve been waiting a long time for mine and now it’s been b.o. for another 6 months. Sorry about the bad tuner , with an eminent gig . Go into the hole the other side you know what I mean and or move that tuner up to a big string. Then next week delve into it, possibly replacing . Good luck and congratulations
     
  4. Henry2

    Henry2 Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks @train , swapping out the tuner with a non-sharp one is a good suggestion!

    I do like the Stratocaster (my first real Fender), however it took (takes) quite a bit of tweaking to play right. Most obvious "issue" was that it came with too low of action, so I'm still adjusting that. But overall I do like it a lot, especially the neck feels really good. I was a little worried that 3 single coils would be a stretch to adjust to the music I play (Mike McCready's parts in a Pearl Jam tribute), mostly gain wise, but I do have a Fractal FM3 and could easily adjust the patches to just include more gain ("Input Trim" in Fractal land) and get to the level of dirt I need. No need to change the original noise-less pickups. I'm glad I went with SSS (not HSS).
     
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  5. train

    train Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    I don’t have an ultra so no real advice. Most hardware on the era is interchangeable , so possibly any strat. modern tuner would do for the weekend.
     
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  6. Wrighty

    Wrighty Most Honored Senior Member

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    I once had an issue where the tip of the pin that tightened onto the string acted like a cutter and ‘chopped’ through the string as I tightened it. I discovered that it really didn’t need to be too tight to hold the string. I did, though, use a round needle file very gently in the string hole to smooth tip. I then swapped the tuner from the problem top E position with the G. I figured that, being thicker, it would be less susceptible. These three actions solved the problem.
     
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  7. BlkStrt

    BlkStrt Strat-Talker

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    the high e string and B string needs at least half a wrap at the tuner post to prevent string breakage at the tuner.

    follow Fender's guide on stringing with locking tuners:

    "Locking tuning keys. Picture the headcap of the neck as the face of a clock, with the top being 12:00 and the nut being 6:00. Line the six tuning machines so that the first string keyhole is set at 1:00, the second at 2:00, the third and fourth at 3:00, the fifth at 4:00, and the sixth at 5:00. Pull the strings through tautly and tighten the thumb wheel, locking the string in. Now tune to pitch."

    make sure to insert the high e string at the 1:00 position which almost quarter wrap already.
     
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  8. nederemer

    nederemer Senior Stratmaster

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    Are they staggered? Swap the High E tuner with one of the same height tuners. I think it would have a more difficult time breaking the string on a thicker string.
     
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  9. velvet_man

    velvet_man Senior Stratmaster

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    My first time changing strings with locking tuners, my high E broke off at the tuning peg while tuning it up for the first time. After looking at it a bit, I realized I had probably overtightened the lock. So I've made sure to turn it tight but not stupidly tight and haven't had any more breaks since, and that was a couple years ago now.
     
  10. jwj1701

    jwj1701 Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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    It happens
     
  11. Henry2

    Henry2 Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks @BlkStrt for sharing Fender's official tip!
     
  12. Rudedawg

    Rudedawg Senior Stratmaster

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    Mines not an ultra just a lowly Hw1 but I insert the 9 ga. high E & B strings into the post of the thumb screw locking tuners then loop them back around and reinsert in the same post hole before locking them down. This seams to give the locking pin more surface area contact of the strings plus I don't over torque the thumb screw, haven't had one to break there yet kow.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
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  13. Henry2

    Henry2 Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks @Rudedawg, good tip as well to diminish the impact of the locking screw!
     
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  14. Rudedawg

    Rudedawg Senior Stratmaster

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    Yvw, hope it helps. As was also mentioned in this thread the tip of the thumb screw may be too sharp and needs a tad of polishing/sanding but be gentle if going that route.
     
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  15. CalicoSkies

    CalicoSkies Most Honored Senior Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Maybe not related, but my understanding is that you shouldn't have to do any windings around the post with locking tuners. You should be able to just pull the string somewhat tight and lock the string in and tune it, and not have to worry about winding the string around the post.
     
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  16. Henry2

    Henry2 Strat-Talk Member

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    That's correct. The locking tuners should make it unnecessary to do many windings on the high strings. Unfortunately, if the lock screw can cut into the string, or there is a sharp edge at the hole, it defeats the design advantage of the locking tuner.

    Many good suggestions here on how to work around such possible problems, much appreciated!
     
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  17. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Strat-Talker

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    I have had this issue with almost all my new locking tuners. I loop the high string through the ice, at least for the first couple sets. After a while it doesn't cut anymore. If there is a continuing problem, I swap places with another. It's not just Fender locking tuners. I have a reoccurring problem with a set of Hipshots. I have never had this issue with Grover locking Rotomatics.
     
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  18. Impulsive guppy

    Impulsive guppy Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    I use sandpaper or micro mesh around the burr.
    I use the same sandpaper that I use for polishing frets.
    Very lightly and sparingly.

    there is something called abrasive cord that might work better, but I don’t have any.
     
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  19. BlkStrt

    BlkStrt Strat-Talker

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    That's what i thought too before. And I don't understand why fender recommends different positions on the tuner holes when stringing. But I came to realize that the half wrap on the thin strings distributes the tension force to a bigger area of the tuner post as oppose to no wrap where the tension is concentrated on a small area where the string bends at the tuner hole.
     
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  20. Henry2

    Henry2 Strat-Talk Member

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    My theory is that it takes more degrees of tuner turn for a lighter string than for a heavier string to tune up to standard pitch. (lot's of "tune" here).
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020