How often do your strings break and which string breaks most?Instruments: headline says everything...
From Filipe Alves
So to me is the E (goldbrokat gauge 0,27) string around every 3/4 weeks.
From Emma BrownThe E is most common, since it's so thin. I haven't had a string break for a while, but when they do break, it's usually after 3-4 months, when I should change them anyway! Twice I've had my E string break as I've tuned before concerts. Not onstage, but having to install a new string backstage is a bit stressful! I've also had strings slip waaay out of tune during concerts too!
Posted on April 30, 2012 at 10:13 PM
From Scott ColeI don't break strings. Unless you strike them with the frog, it shouldn't happen. If it does, there is a mechanical reason. One common reason is the fine tuner, the contact point of which is often squared off. If your string breaks at the loop, then you can file down the sharp corners of this contact point. Otherwise, the problem may be at the nut.
Posted on April 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM
From Trevor JenningsI agree with Scott that mechanical reasons are the most likely cause of a string failing, which may not only be a break but a frayed or loosened winding. Manufacturing defects are rare.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 12:47 AM
The only time I've had a string break was a Pirastro Gold E, literally as the conductor was raising her baton for the start of a big carol concert being broadcast on local radio - and I was leading. All I could do until the interval was to explore the upper reaches of the A on the hoof!
That string broke in an unexpected place - halfway along the peg winding. I had transferred the string the previous day from another violin and I suspect a kink had developed, and that, in metal, is of course an instant source of weakness. The moral of this story is that I never now re-use an E.
Scott has already talked about fine adjusters breaking strings (be very careful with loop ends!), and I've known other player's strings break on the bridge or at the nut., This is invariably due to rough grooves abrading the string. The solution is obvious. Loose windings after a few weeks, or even days, of playing are, in my estimation, usually caused either by finger-nails or by a heavy finger action on the strings (hammering), especially if the violin itself is set up with a high action. Again, solutions are fairly obvious.
One thing I like about plain gut strings is that they give plenty of warning when they're going to fail. The tone quality, strangely enough, seems to me to be retained almost to the end, unlike with synthetic cores, but when the string starts to fray enough so that one's fingers are aware of it when playing, or the string can no longer play 5ths in tune, then it is time to retire that string to good use in the garden.
A tip to help ensure string longevity is, when installing a new string, not to take it up to pitch too quickly, but to do it slowly and steadily. That means that you avoid a sudden peak in tension (perhaps near to its rated maximum) which can weaken the string and reduce its playing life. And make sure the pegs are properly lubricated and turn well without sticking, which itself will cause an unwanted sudden increase in tension.
From Karen AllendoerferI also hardly ever break strings. I almost always have to change them before they break for other reasons, like falseness, or whistling, especially with the E. I don't know why old E's start to whistle, but changing it always helps.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 01:48 AM
From Brian LeeAfter I switched from a regular hill-style tuner to a Gotz fine tuner (a slight improvement over the regular hill design), I never had any more E strings break at the loop; also, the Gotz adjusters are less prone to having their threads jam.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 01:57 AM
That being said, the string I seem to break most often while playing is the A string (at least, it was back when I used a steel A).
From Yixi ZhangPoor quality strings do break quite readily. I used to break strings on monthly basis back in China many, many years ago. But since I moved to Canada, I've never broken once. My recent trip back and again saw some student violins still had lousy thin strings that I didn't dare to tighten in fear of breaking them.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 02:23 AM
From Peter CharlesStrings rarely break for me too. They are changed regularly every three months or more often (usually around 2 months). The last one I remember was in an orchestral concert and that was about 7 years ago - and surprisingly a G string.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 02:59 AM
If your fiddle is in good shape and the strings are newish then a breakage is quite rare.
PS. Goldbrokat's are very cheap so put a new one on every two weeks ...
From Jim OndracekI rarely break strings and can't even remember when the last one broke. I have three main violins all using different strings - one in strung with gut, one with perlon and with steel strings. I use Old Fiddler strings and this violin (I call it a fiddle) has machines instead of pegs and no fine tuners. the other two only have a fine tuner on the E string and as far as I know are original to the respect violin; 160 and 200 years old.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 04:38 AM
From Momoko TakahashiE-strings break quite easily for me during winter in orchestra rehearsals, probably because it's freakishly cold in there. I have a loop gold Evah, and an English fine tuner, and almost always my string breaks at the loop. I've invested in E-string protectors since then, after having the string break in the middle of the 1st movement of Mozart's piano concerto No 20. Replaced it with an old string. Snapped again. No longer had spares. After blindly groping my way through the upper A, I gave up and went home.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 06:55 AM
The worst was when I was playing Vivaldi's Winter. String snapped. After a moment of "omg I'm dead" I exchanged my instrument with the concertmaster's and continued.
After that, I make sure the concertmaster has a spare string in the pocket. You never know...
From Emily GrossmanIf a string breaks before it goes false, I automatically assume a gear malfunction. Friction error: nut, bridge, tuner. Tuning malfunction? Probably not likely, if you've any experience in tuning your instrument. Since you seem to be having a regular problem with this, I would check the string's contact points. Otherwise, you need to change your technique.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 07:45 AM
From John PierceNever thought about it before, but I've never had a string break. I guess I'm not playing hard enough.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:35 AM
From Randy MollnerI only break a lot of strings during St Patrick's season when I'm often performing 6-8 hour days under hot lights in crowded places. I think the culprits, in my case, are sweat, slides, and the irish technique of "flicking" the string with a finger while playing.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 07:40 PM
The E string is the first to go, usually at the F# point. Next is the D, also where I finger an F#. I've never broken an A or G that I remember.
I think the E goes because it's the narrowest guage. The D goes because I use synthetics wound in either Aluminum or Silver which are effected be the sweat and slides. First the winding goes, and then, bam, the string snaps.
From Adalberto Valle-RiveraIt's been a while, but it used to be Gold-plated Es back in the day, but ONLY because I didn't use the E loop protector. Gold Es (or indeed, any other E) won't snap that easily with the proper precautions (at least, in my experience and with my violin.) I am positive my current Oliv E won't snap-it has held up quite nicely since two months ago or so.
Posted on May 1, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Last year, two regular Passiones (G and A) snapped at the peg box while the violin was in its case. I was shocked, because it was the first time such a thing happened to me. Besides that, strings rarely do break for me.
From Filipe AlvesI usually change my strings when they go false and the first one that broke didn't surprise me because I could feel it but I haven't change it early because the sound was more interesting...
Posted on May 2, 2012 at 01:56 AM
The second one really surprised me because it was new like 1 week.
Interesting fact both broke on the nut so maybe I do have mechanical problem or maybe not... Time will tell.
@Adalberto Sometimes it happens to me too because of the weather like in hours dropping from 86ºF to 50ºF or vice-versa.
From Carlo BallaraI have only had gut cored strings break on my violin, back in the day when I used them. I too would open the case and find broken strings. I also tried some Passiones more recently (when they first came out) and ditto.
Posted on May 2, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Now I have upgraded the Passiones to Dominants I have no problems.
From Randy WaltonI never have a string break. I use geared pegs and once the initial break-in period is over, I rarely have to tune so there is no working of the string back and forth.
Posted on May 2, 2012 at 09:25 PM
From jean dubuissonSeveral people refer to the moment when their string "goes false". Forgive me the stupid question but what does that actually mean? I must admit changing strings only when they are physically damaged in the winding, or when they break (only happens with very old E-string).
Posted on May 3, 2012 at 12:16 PM
From Filipe AlvesTo me "goes false" is when you are bowing and no sound comes off.
Posted on May 3, 2012 at 02:43 PM
From Amber RogersFor me, going false is when I play a note (or open string) and several different pitches come out. Also, a sound that's a bit like, 'BBBBaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrffff'.
Posted on May 3, 2012 at 04:48 PM
On violin it's always my 'e' that snaps. On viola I always wear off the winding on the 'd' string at the pitch of 'a'.
From jean dubuissonWoaw, I never heard my strings go "false" like that. I do play every day though. Maybe I don't listen carefully enough. Will listen extra carefully tonight.
Posted on May 4, 2012 at 03:10 PM
From Laurie NilesI second the idea that you may have a problem at one end or another, the nut or the fine tuner.
Posted on May 4, 2012 at 03:40 PM
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