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Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Bahnzo, May 2, 2021.
I'm gong to keep track of this thread/string
Your fingernails are too sharp.
Man I wish it was that simple. heh.
The scale on the 335 is different than the strat, the 0.009 strings are at different tensions comparatively, the bends on the strat reach higher max tension than on the 335. Any slight edge on the frets could be amplified by the higher tension/pressure applied to the string, so I would definitely once-over the frets with 1000 grit sandpaper (auto detailing section of stores), 'painter's tape' off the relevant fretboard wood first..
I would also just TRY a 0.010/0.011 high-E for an hour and see if it makes a difference (if it breaks), just trying the higher gauge string may help smooth out or wear down any micro-roughness of the fret edges..
Call up Ernie Ball and tell them. Also save the wrappers there is a number inside the foil. They will want to know if they are all from the same batch. If they are breaking in the middle, you gat a bad batch. This happened to me before with EB slinkies, and they sent me replacements and a bunch of free swag. Seriously, they were really helpful.
I've considered the scale length thing, as that certainly does make a difference with the tension. But again, all was fine (well...string wise) before the neck change. I have given the entire neck a polish going thru the grits up to 2000 and then 0000 wool and then metal polish, so I'm reasonably sure I've done the frets well enough.
I think it's what was mentioned above, I'm either catching it on one of the fret ends or there's some sharp ends there. I'll try a 10 tomorrow and see how that works.
I use EB and D,Dario 009 -042 gauge on my Strat and bend quite a lot but rarely break a string. Yours breaking somewhere in the middle may be a result of a sharp edge on one of the frets or it may be something to do with the height of the frets. I would press down on the string at a range of frets and see if the string to fret to fingerboard reveals anything odd. Try raising the action of the first string to see if that helps.
I’ve broken a couple of strings in the middle fret area before. But just a couple in my whole life (been playing around 20 years). So I know it happens. But the strings I had were old, and they broke after they should have been changed anyway. Ñ But it’s still odd that they broke in the middle fret area. For my particular guitar, the frets have some flat spots on the plain string areas, and i think the flat spot on the fret might have developed a sharp edge Near the front of the fret. But that shouldn’t be your issue with a new neck. I certainly hope you keep us updated because it’s interesting that you’re breaking so many.
I had the exact same problem for the last year. Tons of high E string breakages, 9’s especially, not so much moving to 10’s, but still breaking them. 95% of the time between the 7th and 15th fret across all my guitars except my oldest ones (I’ve bought a bunch of new guitars this last 12 months). I’ve posted about it several times, before I figured it out. Never the nut, rarely at the bridge and at that point the strings are old anyway.
I came to several conclusions. One, is that I’ve never practiced more than I have since Covid started and I’ve developed “gorilla grip”, especially bending strings. I’m aggressive on bending. Then I got out a very high power lens and noticed what was happening to the strings at the frets. I could see good wear right at the fret, which caused it to lose its strength integrity, and then “snap”. I then realized that I’m pressing down too hard rather than pressing the strings upward. Since all my guitars were new, the top edge of all my frets acted like a file, and those aggressive bends acted like a knife through the bottom of the string. It was very apparent when I realized the problem. Both the new Fenders and especially the new cheaper PRS SE had gritty feeling frets when new. Not the Reverends.
So I’ve reduced my string breakage by about 90% by doing two or three things - I’ve really concentrated on bending and pushing upwards and as minimal as possible downwards, but the biggest was going to NYXL strings. They are so much stronger it’s not funny. It seems like after a year of popping tons of strings that I’m finally just breaking them due to old age. And, I’ve switched to Reverends for the most part and the fretwork is excellent on their guitars, right out of the box.
Where is it breaking? At the gear it would be a burr on the gear post. At the saddle it’s a burr there.
Alright, Update: I got a .010 today and after an hour+ or so, no break. Not for sure solved, but I think so.
And also a relief that it's not a sharp fret after I polished and everything. Seems all good there.
So I'm going to speculate it's probably what Stephen James said above about the scale length and the tension being higher. I think that, along with the new frets being taller combined to cause the problem.
So I think I have 3 options going forward. A) Change to 10's, which is not my favorite. B) Tune down 1/2 step to relieve the tension, which I might try just to see if that'll do. But then I'll need to do that on my other guitars and if/when I get back to playing with others, then potentially not an option. C) Try a pack of the those "in between" gauge 9.5 strings.
C seems like my favorite right now. If the 9.5 can handle the bending w/o breaking then it might be fine w/o having to move up to 10's. I'll have to order a set and see how that goes. Maybe in the meantime, I'll put a 9 back on and tune down and see what happens there.
or keep playing the sets of 9s if you really like them as I do and just buy some packs of individual high E's in 10ga., it's a win win
That seems like a decent route if you find you don't like the entire set of 10s.
to eliminate it being defective strings buy another make to try, if it still breaks under your finger you either are way over bending, or you have a burr. Can't see it catching on a fret end as bending the high E string down would be pretty useless, so I am assuming you are pushing the string up.
Rather than buy a whole new set of strings I normally buy a pack of nines and then replace the small nine with an 11, so it goes: 11, 11, 16, 24, 32, 42. The 11's are a lot sturdier and they're of course heavier. Sound and playability wise, I cannot tell the difference. It works well for me (a guy who has a very heavy touch). Hope it works for you.
I'm glad you resolved the problem. I use EB 9s on some of my guitars and had a similar issue.
I buy packs of single 9s and 10s because I do a lot of work on my guitars and for friends. I break stings on the bench sometimes, and these are the most likely targets.
I had a pack of 9s that were opened some time earlier, . As soon as I stretched them, pop. Like three in a row. I'm not that ham fisted. I looked at the strings, and they all had spots of black corrosion on them.
I suspect this is why EB has a new style paper sleeve. I have a stock of them, so I'm not switching brands until I use up the ones I have. In the meantime, I got some silica gel packets and tossed a handful in the drawer.
You said you leveled and dressed the frets, but did you re-crown before polishing?
Leveling can leave an edge and even if you polish it, well its still a polished edge.
(knife blades are highly polished, but still cut)
Anytime I do a level job, even if its just a kiss here and there, I hit it with a crown file to round the sides before I polish and restring.
I learned this when I did some work on an SG back in the 80's, the frets had been "leveled" and polished several times, but the guitar had string break issues specially when the owner did string bends often. I re-crowned and re-polished the frets and the issue went away.
The tops of the frets shouldn't look "flat" even if you like flat fret tops you should at least have the shape of the top of a school buss, meaning a profile of slightly arched from leading to trailing edge, with rounded edges.
Obviously when we bend strings, we drag the string along the fret edge and this area can be the cause of your problem.
A lot of people have leveling tools but avoid the crowning files because they are expensive and take some practice to learn, and much time to re-crown the frets.
Just a thought.
Where is the string breaking. It is either an issue at the nut or the bridge.
That was my thought...
On my acoustics, when I go less than 13s
The wrap wears through on "G"
I just use an unwrapped 18 on G
We've been hearing about strings that have been stored a bit too long, and that have corroded over time (yes, even in their envelopes). If you've got some of those, they're going to break.
Double check the tuners, that there's no sharp edges there as well.