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Thread: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

  1. #26
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    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    I use a variety of brands across my variety of mandolins. I’ve broken several, if not many, E strings across brands and haven’t had the experience you’ve had with D’Addario, although I have had that brand break. All told, I’ve broken Curt Mangan, Elixir, LaBella and GHS in addition to D’Addario.

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  2. #27
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    I agree with the OP's point about E strings breaking from tuning up and down while setting up the mandolin. The man who taught me to do setups insisted that I wear eyeglasses for protection. He demonstrated how bending any size wire, especially back and forth, fatigues the wire. Try putting a new .008 E string on a 12 string guitar and tuning it up to final pitch without breaking it. Any brand. I use D'Addario medium strings on my mandolins. I don't break E strings when changing mandolin strings or when playing. I fully expect to break at least one E string when doing setups. Any gauge, any brand. In fact, these days I tend to adjust the initial setup before replacing the old E strings. That way I can hopefully tune up and down only once or twice at most to dial in the final setup and intonation with new E strings without breaking one.

  3. #28

    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    OP here, to all. I was less offended, and more feeling dog-piled on. I wouldn't say any individual had any ill intent, they were all genuinely trying to help.

    It's just the cumulative result of a group of people basically saying "if you're a beginner breaking E strings you must be doing something wrong", when my initial statement was basically "When I was a beginner I broke a bunch of E strings because I was doing something wrong", was frustrating and disheartening. It felt like the point was being missed, and the conversation was becoming about something else entirely. The funny part is the ones who apologized were the nicest about it, so obviously there are a lot of good hearted people here.

    I am sorry that I let that frustration color my opinion of this forum as a whole; that is not fair of me. Like it has been pointed out, this forum is full of good folks, and I truly believe that. I was even joyful and appreciative when I checked this point this morning to find that not only was the thread much more on topic, and full of good and helpful information, but also some people shared similar experiences that validated my own experience.

    To close out, if I had to make an analogy, it's like someone getting home from work and snapping at their roommate for something petty, and then saying "It's not you, I have just had a bad day"

    I have had lot of bad experiences on the internet lately, especially with forums, so I started to filter out the good and just see the negative. That's on me, and I apologize.

    I would hate for my last post to be me overreacting, so I felt it necessary to add this to the conversation.

    I would just encourage everyone to keep in mind everyone comes from different backgrounds and experiences. I can also see in hindsight that my response was severely distorted through the lense of an early reply that disputed that breaking an E string is something normal that just happens sometimes, but refused to elaborate any further. They also implied that I had failed to identify the "real problem", but then again, didnt provide any helpful follow up. That being one of the first responses put me on the defensive, and I apologise for that.

    I do want to address the idea that there have been some internal changes at D'addario. This for me was the most enlightening contribution to this post. This may be simple correlation and not causation, but I think it's telling that the same year that their internal culture started to change drastically, they started showing up in small shops that didn't used to carry them before. This indicates to me that there may have been a shift towards quantity being a primary concern, and if someone with industry ties has stopped using them, I might consider doing the same. You can call it sour grapes if you want, but I think it's an interesting and valuable perspective to add, and I appreciate your insight behind the curtain.

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  5. #29
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    Quote Originally Posted by LunarCryptids View Post
    Well, I would ask, who taught you to play mandolin? How did you learn to string a mandolin? Did you take lessons? You say you started playing 35 years ago, well before the internet went mainstream, so I assume you had some guidance. Even if you started playing mando 2 years ago, I might assume you had musical background and access to people who knew what they were talking about.

    This is not everybody's experience, and as a new generation is trying to learn to teach themselves new skills using only resources available on the internet without the ability to ask questions if they don't understand something, it might take a little longer to figure out. So that could be one explaination.

    Also the information available, even on this forum, is inconsistent. When I first started looking into why my E strings were breaking 5 years ago I was told it was because I wasn't letting them rest properly. Now you are saying that is a somewhat ridiculous practice, and unnecessary. So you can see how it can be difficult to figure out how to properly set up and play an instrument when so many people have conflicting ideas about what proper procedures are.

    I have seen people get into arguments about which way to thread a string through the post, it's difficult to navigate.

    So if it will get everyone off my back about whether or not there is something wrong with my instrument, even though I have said there is nothing wrong with my instrument, I will explain exactly why each string broke.

    ...

    There is really no reason for me to engage with this community any further, and even though I tried to give you each individually the benefit of the doubt, and reply in good faith, as a group this has been an extremely negative experience for me. I will not be returning here.
    Wow -- that was a lengthy philippic! Since the OP has now decided to leave the Cafe, I guess he he won't get to read my conclusion that he's being awfully thin-skinned, defensive, and short-tempered about this. No one here has tried to be rude or mean to him. It's just that other people have had different experiences, and they don't necessarily relate to his reports of breaking so many E-strings. From my own reading, nearly everyone here has been helpful, or at least honest, in relating their own viewpoints and experiences. Nothing more. The OP was treating a different experience as some kind of indirect, personal criticism, and that is simply not appropriate. If you don't want to engage in a frank dialog with other mandolinists, then don't post! But don't expect everyone on the MC to agree -- or even to sympathize -- with you. That's not how the world works.

    In fairness to the OP, it is surprisingly easy to break mandolin strings, especially when you don't really know what you're doing, or when you have less experience. The OP relates several early breakages to his own mistakes, such as threading the string incorrectly through the post, or tuning it to pitch and then relaxing it through repeated cycles while adjusting the action/intonation, and so on. Yes, this can easily break strings. His more recent experiences of having strings breaking at the loop, however, may reflect a batch of strings with poorly-formed loops, and not any kind of user error. (But could also reflect a burr somewhere on the post, or some stressing of the loop before placing it over the post.) D'Addario has enjoyed an excellent reputation for quality and customer service in the past, so they should be his first point of contact about this problem. He should not just to post some gripes here on the MC. Maybe the company has changed recently, and their quality is slipping? Maybe not. Maybe it's just a short run of a few bad strings? Maybe some counterfeits got into the system, and he managed o get those (this has been a problem in the past. from Asia)? Regardless, one really ought to give the folks at D'Addario a chance to make good, I say, before casting aspersions about them here.

    And try not to be so darned defensive! No one was attacking you, OP!

  6. #30
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    I have an anecdote. Might even be called a data point. Whatever.

    Early on in my mandolin journey I frequently broke E strings. Usually when tuning. Sometimes at the tuning post; sometimes at the nut. Post was nice and smooth. First of all I decided to always have a few extra .011 singles on hand. Then one day I busted an E string while LOOSENING it. That didn't make sense to me. But then I figured that maybe the fact that sometimes when tuning the string would jump sharp or flat instead of gradually getting sharper or flatter might be related. Checked the nut slots and found that they had been cut for light strings and were just barely wide enough for mediums. I opened the slots just a smidgeon and the problem never recurred after that.

    The shock load of that jump in tension was enough to overstress the E string, but usually was not enough to overstress the others.

    Like I said, though. Just an anecdote.
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  7. #31
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    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    Just to clarify my earlier comment I am a professional gigging musician and thatís been my main job for three years.

    I havenít broken a string in years. However I wouldnít say itís impossible. I would agree that a beginner would experiance a few broken strings. And stringing a mando is no easy feat.

    I remember a similar post from a while back from someone with a similar tailpiece (where the loops go over round posts) and he said that the round posts put too much strain on daddario loop ends and theyíd unwind. So it might be that the loop end isnít big enough for your mando? Itís a long shot but it could have caused the issue.

    Edit: because I didnít see the second page on mobile.

    I think sblock hit the nail on the head in their post.
    I apologize if my comments earlier seemed like they were attacking you. I was just trying to relay my personal experiance, and can see now I read into the wrong part of the issue.

    As an aside; asking about strings and how people string is gonna get a lot of conflicting opinions people have their own restringing rituals, and it almost becomes sacred, there isnít really one right way so you might get a lot of conflicting information, as a lot of it can be opinion. Sorry if the conflicting information felt a bit like a dog pile.

  8. #32

    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    Beginning last summer and continuing at least through this spring I broke more E strings than I had in the 40 years before combined. All DíAddario 11s. They all broke while I was playing, rather than while I was tuning them. Some broke at the tuning peg, some at the nut, some at the bridge and one at the tailpiece where the loop is. I had the nut smoothed by my luthier but that didnít seem to make a difference-they still broke at the nut, as well as the other places. I like the monel 74s very much, and lately the E strings seem to be holding up better. But suddenly breaking all these E strings was very unsettling.

  9. #33
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    D’Addarios are the standard in the mandolin world for whatever reason, but there are a bunch of road-less-traveled brands. Trying them all out is part of the fun. I’ve pretty much tried them all and settled on the La Bella brand. No broken strings (but I also never broke a D’Addario). YMMV.
    ...

  10. #34

    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    Quote Originally Posted by LunarCryptids View Post
    So when I first picked up mandolin I broke a lot of E strings. I'm sure we all have. Not only is the E string more likely to be the first to break from general use, but it's also more vunerable to burrs on the tuning pegs, and any sharp irregularities on the hooks. If you are down tuning and up tuning several times to try to set your intonation, you can almost guarantee the stress of releasing the tension and then tuning back up over and over will break at least one E string. This is all normal.

    My experience with D'addario strings was anything but normal.

    My local shop used to only carry one brand of mandolin strings, I believe they were Martin Brand (they came in a purple box, maybe Martin and Co?)

    I never had any issues with these strings.

    Then they stopped carrying the Martin's and starting carrying D'addario. At first, this excited me, because they only had one type of Martin strings, but there were five different varieties of D'addario strings to choose from. I bought slightly thicker strings than I normally play with, and was extremely happy with the tone. I knew I was more likely to break E strings, and the other strings would probably hold up for a long long time, so I bought some extra loose E strings (my local shop is also a repair shop, so even though D'addarios aren't available as single strings, they just break a few packs open as sell them loose for a dollar).

    When I went to replace the strings, I did everything I normally do. I replaced the strings one at a time. My intonation was already as close to perfect as I could get it without taking it to a professional, and my action was exactly where I wanted it. When replacing an E string, I always tune it very slowly up to C5, let it sit for at least an hour, and then very slowly tune it up to E5.

    I had 3 of the 4 strings I had bought break as soon as they got to D#5, and all in the exact same place. They didn't break at the tuning pegs. They didn't break somewhere in the middle of the string. They ALL broke at the "loop end". Not the loop that you put into the string at the tuning head, the loop the manufacturer makes that attaches at the tailpiece. A day later the fourth string broke.

    Now at first I thought I was doing something wrong. Maybe I was tuning up too quicky. Maybe there was an irregularity that I had missed that was cutting the string. But none of those really make sense based on where the break was. All four breaks were at the knot that the manufacturer puts into the string to form the "loop-end".

    I bought four more D'addario E strings (they were .011 if anyone is curious) and tried again. Once again, all four broke, in the exact same place and all at D#5.

    At this point I thought I must be losing my mind, or doing something wrong I just didn't know about. So I decided to google it. There were many novice mandolin players complaining about breaking E strings in ways that are normal and solvable. However I did find at least a half dozen people complaining about the exact problem that I was having (EDIT: all these post were specifically about D'addario strings). Some of these post were on here, some were on reddit, and they were anywhere from 5 years old to 6 months old.

    So I went to Juststrings.com and bough 10 ghs E strings for 76Ę each. They work just fine, no problems at all.

    My question is, does anyone else consistently use D'addario strings and nothing else, and have you encountered this problem? I almost want to call the manufacturer, not necessarily to complain, just to let them know they might have a manufacturering issue. I can't think of any other reason why this would happen 8 times in a row, all in the same spot at with the same amount of tension.
    Yes, I did have the same problem about 8 months ago. I notified the online retailer I
    bought them from and they contacted D'Addario. They sent me some replacement E strings. It must have been a bad batch. The next order I placed I did not have a problem.

  11. #35

    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    An interesting thread, because I am breaking top strings like crazy on the new Mandolin I've just built. They are all breaking at the neck of the loop. I've never been in the habit of breaking strings, but suddenly have broken more in the last week than the previous 25 years. Now what is different about this instrument is that instead of a conventional tailpiece with tags I have just used stainless steel pins for the string loops. Its just occurred to me that as the pins are rather wider than the conventional tags, then the neck of the loop must also be at a greater angle than it would be with a conventional tag tailpiece, and if I remember my mechanics correctly (long time ago) doesn't this mean a correspondingly greater load at this point? I've just filed a pin oval rather than round so that it is much narrower. Now to go and buy some more strings and see what happens.

  12. #36

    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    Well, Iím late to the discussion, and have read most of it, and saw where things went severely off trackÖ As for the OPís observations, I have had this problem during the last 10 years on both J75 and J74; same thing, always the E strings. There are lots of variables which cause this, most of which are already discussed, but, some have been left out, such as the tuning machine installation inhibiting good string movement between the nut and the post. Personally, I own one mandolin that has the machines slightly crooked on the treble side, and you donít notice until you look closely, but the gap between post and neighboring strings is not as wide as it should be. The other thing is, I have used hundreds of sets of Daddario, and while I believe they are as consistent as anyone, they are a far cry from perfectÖ I have gotten so disgusted with some sets before that I have emailed them, and they have given me replacements. Iím not a big cryer, or someone who wants to go out and bad-mouth a company, and most times Iíll take a hit, but when I order a case of twelve sets, and most of them have the same problem, I will ask the company to make it right. I have even gotten sealed sets from them which were missing strings before, so those of you who want to question the OP and stringing experience, and blah blah blah, perhaps you might explain how strings being left out of a sealed package was my fault? Point is, I have gotten bum sets from them, some I have broken due to stupidity, some have broken due to a nut, post, bridge slot, or other mechanical issue, and some were just crap from the factoryÖ Still, I have continued to use them over the years, and they satisfy meÖ
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  14. #37
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    Quote Originally Posted by roger0416 View Post
    Yes, I did have the same problem about 8 months ago. I notified the online retailer I
    bought them from and they contacted D'Addario. They sent me some replacement E strings. It must have been a bad batch. The next order I placed I did not have a problem.
    I inspected the As and E strings that had broke on me, and under a magnifying glass i could see tiny crimps or flattenings, in the strings. I would guess that that was the problem. The replacement strings, upon inspection, had no such anomalies, and while I still check now and then, (I slowly pull the string between finger and thumb nail and you can feel it) I have never found any of these little crimps, nor have I had any problems since.
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  15. #38

    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    Quote Originally Posted by LunarCryptids View Post

    My local shop used to only carry one brand of mandolin strings, I believe they were Martin Brand (they came in a purple box, maybe Martin and Co?)

    I never had any issues with these strings.
    I find this interesting as I used to use those same purple box Martins as they were the only ones available to me and I would constantly break those E strings. Either when tuning them up or just from playing. I would always buy a few packs at a time as they were so cheap and I fully expected to break at least one of the E strings. I haven't used those strings in over 10 years and I've maybe broken 2 strings since then.

  16. #39
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    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    You should call DíAddario. A few years ago I had a problem with a set of strings. They quickly sent replacements. The guy I spoke with told me they were having problems with counterfeit strings.

  17. #40
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    Iíve used Díaddario strings almost exclusively since I started playing mandolin over ten years ago. I may have had one E string break. I canít really remember. Certainly hasnít been a problem for me.

  18. #41
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    Default Re: D'addario strings (Consistent breakage)

    About seven years ago, give or take, I was having trouble with my mando staying in tune. I mentioned it to a buddy at a jam and he asked if I'd been using D'Addarios. I told him I had and he said he'd had a number of tell him that recently their mandos were jsut not staying in tune like they used to, and they were all using D'Addarios. I switched to GHS A260s and have never had much of an issue since, plus I prefer how they sound.

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