Why Do Guitar Strings Break? (9 Reasons Why)

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Freya Crawford

Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

There is nothing more frustrating than when you are in the middle of playing your guitar and a string snap. Not only can it stop a performance it is also dangerous if you are hit in the face with the string.

In this article, you will learn the reasons that cause your guitar strings to snap so you will know how to prevent it from happening. Taking precautions to keep your strings safe will increase their life.

Why Do Guitar Strings Break?


1. Strings Are Too Tight

The number one problem that musicians have is strings being too tight causing them to snap. When the strings are stretched well past their limit it will not only sound off but will make the strings fragile.

Strings are not meant to be tightened as hard as they can be which can be a hard lesson to learn for a beginner. Strings should be taunted without being stuck straight and hard to move.

Guitar strings need to have some play in them for the proper chords to hit the right note. Otherwise, you will be left with harsh sounds and a dangerous guitar.

A guitar that has the strings too tightly wound can easily cause the strings to snap. As any guitar owner knows the strings can be very sharp and easily cut something if they were to snap quickly.

2. Older Strings

It is best to replace strings every two weeks if you are playing daily. The average person may not play every day so the strings will last longer. Professional musicians may need to change them more often.

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The older your strings are the more likely they are to snap when you start playing to tuning the guitar. Older strings can also leave a residue on your fingers from the material breaking down.

Older strings are highly likely to break and cause damage to you or scratch the guitar. Replace them as often as you can afford if you play regularly to stop them from snapping.

3. Playing Too Hard

As fun as it may be to play hard as you can on your guitar, it is an extremely effortless way to snap your strings. Snapping strings in the middle of performance can affect the way the rest of the song will sound.

Playing hard will also cause you to spend that much more money on strings as you will be replacing them often. If you feel the need to play louder opt for an electric guitar and turn the sound higher.

4. Improperly Tuning

Tuning a guitar incorrectly can cause the strings to snap. When a guitar is tuned too tightly it causes tension on the strings. When a guitar is too loose it can cause it to stretch too much.

Tuners are a great tool to attach to the head of your guitar. They light up as you hit the right notes and let you know if it needs to be tightened. Tuners are a valuable tool for those that can’t tune guitars.

Tuners are inexpensive and extremely easy to use. After using one for a while, you should be able to hear when it is tuned correctly by ear.

5. Bad Quality Strings

Bad Quality Strings

Unfortunately, there are strings on the market that are not that great of quality. These strings can snap easily or with extraordinarily little force.

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Not only is it a waste of money to keep buying inferior quality strings you are more likely to get injured as they are not tested as some other brands.

Fender makes excellent quality strings and all price ranges.

6. Bending Stings

Bending strings is when someone tugs the string down to create a different sound as they are playing. While this does make sounds that sound good it puts extra force on the strings.

Electric guitar strings are typically thinner than acoustic guitar strings which means they can sometimes move easier. They are also easier to hold down for beginners learning new chords.

It is best to use an electric guitar and amp if you want to feel some power as bending acoustic strings will be more difficult and harder on the strings.

7. Faulty Strings

While it is not as likely if you find that you are doing everything right, the strings still break the strings may be faulty.

Typically, if you reach out to the company, they will send you a replacement set for free. Buying from a well know brand is ideal as they will have a higher standard in their products and are less likely to have faulty ones.

8. Damaged Parts

When parts of the guitar are damaged or warped in any way the tension on the strings can cause issues. Issues with the bridge saddle can cause rubbing on the strings and make them break.

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The bridge saddle is located at the bottom of the guitar near the tailpiece. The strings lay across the saddle bridge so any debris or imperfections can cause the strings to become damaged.

The neck is also important as guitars can warp. When they warp it causes too much tension on the strings and the strings end up snapping.

9. Improperly Aligned Tailpiece

The tailpiece is the part of the guitar that holds the end of the strings in. The tailpieces can sometimes shift and become too close or too far away.

If this happened the strings could rub on each other causing friction and making the strings snap. Proper maintenance of a guitar is required to keep it sounding beautiful.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why your guitar sounds bad, why your fingers hurt when you play guitar, and why guitar is so hard.

Conclusion

Keep your guitar finely tuned with a new set of strings as often as you can to ensure your strings do not break. There are many excellent quality strings on the market for you to use no matter your skill level.

Learning about the parts of your guitar is just as important as learning to play your favorite songs. When you know your guitar, you will know how to fix certain issues that may come about.

Author

  • Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

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