Help! American Pro Tele Snapping Strings

Chrisholmes90

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I relatively recently (last couple of years) started playing an American Professional (2018) telecaster as my main guitar, strung with 11's (either NYXL or Elixirs, usually).

Since then, I've snapped the D string (which is obviously quite unusual, although my band have a lot of songs that are quite heavy on the D string) several times. A couple of times on stage. I had a tech set it up and take a look and didn't snap any for a while.

A couple of weeks ago, I snapped both the D and B string in the same song. I restrung and played 6 or 7 more shows. Then last night, I snapped both again in the same song (the D going first, and then the B shortly after).

The strings are snapping at the bridge, I can't see any obvious sharp edges...

I always use a bit of Big Bends Nut Sauce on the saddles.

I do play pretty hard, but not crazy...


Any advice?



OT: I've found that I don't really like the stock telecaster saddles. It's the 3 compensated saddle design where there is no defined location for the string to go through when new so you risk having them misaligned, or having multiple grooves, which leads to more sharp edges...

I looked into getting 6 individual saddles a while ago, but at the time there weren't saddles/bridges compatible with the spacing of the American Pro mounting holes (or something like that).

I know Gotoh do some with a more defined groove for the string to sit in, so maybe I need to look there (if there are some that fit the American Pro bridge).
 

Peegoo

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What does the broken end of the string look like? It will tell you precisely what the problem is. Example:

Breaking-Strings.jpg


A jeweler's loupe helps, but a USB microscope (about $20 on Amazon) is indispensable for this sort of stuff. And you can take snapshots and vids with it.

High-E-saddle.png
 

Chrisholmes90

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I would look at the break point of the saddle with a powerful magnifier like a jewelers loop

Sounds like a sharp spot to me

I have super fine needle files i use to smooth anywhere a string rides

Thanks for this, how fine are we talking?! Might grab a couple…


What does the broken end of the string look like? It will tell you precisely what the problem is. Example:

Breaking-Strings.jpg


A jeweler's loupe helps, but a USB microscope (about $20 on Amazon) is indispensable for this sort of stuff. And you can take snapshots and vids with it.

High-E-saddle.png

Cheers. The break is definitely at the saddle - the USB microscope is a good shout, I’ll take a look.


The strings aren't lying across the screw tops or screw holes in the saddles, right?

definitely not!
16F56D3C-AC3D-4725-B67A-A3557C767AA4.jpeg
B8DFC26D-B56E-4F1B-823C-7C383DD3BE9B.jpeg
 

kennl

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I would not expect to play 6-7 heavy-handed gigs without a broken string
I use an .011" set and have broken some D'Addario "D" strings while installing them. Have not had that issue with Ernie Balls. Perhaps it's a core/wrap diameter issue
 

Wooly Fox

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I think this is a mix of heavy handed playing, extended playing on one set of strings (getting your monies worth vs on-stage hiatus while you frantically change strings) and a very minor defect on the saddle.

I would err towards strings reaching their end of life if you are getting 6-7 show out of a set of strings. Trying changing strings more often before attacking the saddles with a file.

My own experience (not playing live) was breaking 6 high E strings in a row while tuning! Bad batch of Ernie Ball Slinky 10-46s from a cheap eBay seller (5 packs for £10).
 

KokoTele

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Files may still be too coarse to fix this problem, but it's worth looking at. Abrasive cord is a better bet, and is available in a variety of sizes and grits. You might get away with folding regular sandpaper in half. I'd start with about 400 grit and work up to 800 grit.

Still, 6 or 7 gigs is a looooong time for a set of strings. I'm surprised they're lasting that long.
 

Boreas

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I agree with @KokoTele. Actually, I would also smooth the bridge plate with cord as well. Your strings run over the plate as well. If the string doesn't slide smoothly over the plate, it will create a stress point that can break, as @Peegoo thoughtfully illustrated. I have often wondered why those string holes through the plate aren't countersunk for a smoother radius for the string.

The other thing I notice is CORROSION on the saddles. That can be an issue of sweat/acid combined with dissimilar metals. Get rid of that corrosion. Consider GraphTech saddles. BUT, start changing your strings more often! If you use coated strings, consider chemical treated rather than coated strings. The coating at that spot gets worn through quickly. The acid/sweat can then get under the coating and wick into the string. The problem is, it stays there and doesn't get wiped off, so corrosion eats through the strings while you sleep.

Your fans and your band deserve a new set of strings every couple gigs, if not every gig!
 
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Chrisholmes90

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Thanks all.

This is the first run of very regular gigs I’ve been on (band has just started getting some decent tours in with numerous consecutive nights).

Usually I’d change after every 3 or so shows as we often only had a few in a row and I could feel them dying a bit but couldn’t find the time to on this latest run.

I’ve also been using NYXL’s, because they sound amazing (in my opinion) and have been lasting me longer (in terms of not going rusty and not sounding dead) than normal uncoated strings, but I guess they’re still subject to the same physical wear - and the corrosion will still get into those bits of the string where there’s high friction while the rest of the string may look/sound okay!

I’m pretty happy that the general consensus is that strings shouldn’t last that long - so I should be changing more often. I’d much rather play on newer strings. I might just have to find something a little cheaper for the live shows as a pack of NYXL’s a week sounds rather expensive. Especially when support bands over here in the UK are lucky to get £50-£70 for a show - which goes on fuel etc.

I’ll also give it a go filing down the saddle with an old wound string ahead of rehearsal tonight - good tip.

And yeah, I wanted to go to graphtech saddles or similar but it’s a 3 saddle bridge plate and when I last looked there were no (or very few) bridge plates that would fit the Am Pro with the 4 screws to the body.


Thanks again!
 

Chrisholmes90

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Kind of related (and not to derail the thread too much), but I highly recommend the D’addario NYXL or XT strings at the moment.

I am sometimes a sweaty player and a set of uncoated EB’s or D’addarios will be dead after 2 or 3 shows max.

The above still sound pretty good to me after several shows, sometimes with rehearsals in between - which is why I haven’t been changing them as often as I should!

Anyway, that’s not the point of this thread…
 

Boreas

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Kind of related (and not to derail the thread too much), but I highly recommend the D’addario NYXL or XT strings at the moment.

I am sometimes a sweaty player and a set of uncoated EB’s or D’addarios will be dead after 2 or 3 shows max.

The above still sound pretty good to me after several shows, sometimes with rehearsals in between - which is why I haven’t been changing them as often as I should!

Anyway, that’s not the point of this thread…

I think you have it nailed. Although the strings don't go dead as fast, they are still approaching failure at stress/abrasion/corrosion points. If it were me, I would buy bulk packs of uncoated strings of your choice and change them at least every other gig. Save the coated strings for guitars that stay at home or are played less.
 
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