View Full Version : String Breakage

Apr-29-2004, 3:56pm
I'm looking for any suggestions to reduce string breakage. I like to play hard, loud, and fast on my Morgan Monroe F-Style and I'm breaking A's, and E's at the bridge, almost every gig and every loud jam session.

I've had a new fossilized walrus Ivory bridge and nut put on the mando and I use the David Grisman D'addario strings. I've had my local install guy check my bridge out twice now and we can't find a sharp edge or anything that would cause it break.

I also use the bluegrass style Wegen pick that's really heavy duty and I thought that might be it, but I just broke a new A and E last night at a local bluegrass jam using a different, less heavy pick.

I'm thinking of changing strings but I don't know if that will make a difference. I have 10 new sets of strings with all the A's and E's missing so I don't really want to invest a lot of money trying other strings until I can use these up.

I know the standard response will be, don't play so hard, but I can honestly say I've seen many Mando players live that get on it even more than I do and they don't break strings.... Sam bush with his rock band or Chris Thile, so I believe it's an equipment issue rather than a playing style thing.

Someone help...............Please!

Big Joe
Apr-29-2004, 4:01pm
Chris and Sam look like they are hitting the strings much harder than they really are. Normally a situation like yours is due to a problem with the saddle. If your guy has not been able to fix it, get someone else who knows mandolins to check it out. Many guitar techs like to think they can do mandos, but don't have a clue. If it breaks at the same place regularly it is normally a hardware problem.

jim simpson
Apr-29-2004, 4:38pm
Big Joe is right, it is most likely the bridge. I had the same problem using the same strings and it was always the same one or two strings. I finally got the bridge problem area right and the breakage stopped. I have since moved on to other mandos but am still using the same brand and guage with no breakage problems. I am amazed at how long they do last. I will usually put a new set on before a gig just for insurance.
I still have extra strings from my early breakage experience. I have sought out single strings to make up full sets out of them.
Good luck!

Apr-30-2004, 7:59pm
the saddle needs some attention. a little more backslope maybe. I use to break a ton of strings and still break some if it's a loud affair or I'm angry. but also if picks get rough and you are playing hard you'll snatch 'em right off and there ain't no cure but to smooth the pick out or get a new one. and a pick CAn cost less than a string.

Apr-30-2004, 8:50pm
I don't know what your mandolin is like, so this is just speculation, but it might be that you need a more responsive instrument so that you don't have to hit it so hard.

Apr-30-2004, 10:06pm
JUst curious..You said you are using "David Grisman" D'Adario strings. Never heard of a Grisman signiture string? I thought he used J74's, or is that what you are refering to? Thanks JD

May-03-2004, 3:32pm
Sorry for the confusion.... I do use the J74's, they always have the little black pick on the package that says "ricky skaggs picks these" or "david grisman picks these".

I'll definately have another guy take a look at my bridge and saddle.


Michael Lewis
May-03-2004, 11:43pm
Use slightly heavier unwound strings. Lube the notches in the saddle with graphite, and pick a bit farther away from the bridge.