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Telecaster string breakage

graphtech saddles?

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#1 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 09:56 PM

Hi all
my guitarist breaks a string at pretty much every rehearsal and some gigs and it's getting on my wick!
They always go at the bridge and it's as often the wound strings as the tiddlers.
I think the gauge is 11-52. The bridge is top load, not through body and its a US Tele.
Does anyone have good experiences switching to graphtech saddles?
The claimed benefits for sustain and "tone" are not an issue. Will they help him stop bustin those strings?
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#2 lettsguitars

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 09:58 PM

Saddles too high? Lighter guage! Who the hell uses 11's? The hulk?
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#3 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 10:12 PM

Ha, someone recently changing from acoustic, to keep the feel similar, I'd guess!
It's pretty well set up, I've checked it over for him (he's a user not a tweaker!)
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#4 lettsguitars

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 10:16 PM

:) Teles have got to be as far removed from acoustics as possible. If he's willing to make that change why not go the whole hog and put some electric guitar strings on it? ;)
Strings tend to last me as long as their lifespan. He must be have a funny technique that needs looking at.
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#5 Wil

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 10:18 PM

I use 11s on my Strat, never figured it was that out of the ordinary? Saying that, I also break a string at every rehearsal at the bridge... :D
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#6 Al Heeley

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 10:24 PM

this sort of breakage is normally due to a tiny sharp burr of metal on the saddle. With a needle file they can be easily smoothed and rounded to prevent further breakage.
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#7 waynepunkdude

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 10:24 PM

Has he tried smoothing the bridge down?
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#8 Mr. Foxen

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 11:53 PM

Could be an issue with how he installs the strings, or if he sweats on them loads (will generally make them die quicker too). Elixirs are good for sweaty sorts. There are all sorts of metal fatigue things that can be happening. Hard to explain in text.

#9 bartelby

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:20 AM

View Postlettsguitars, on 09 July 2012 - 09:58 PM, said:

Saddles too high? Lighter guage! Who the hell uses 11's? The hulk?

I used to have 13s on my Tele and Strat. Figured if it was good enough for Stevie Ray Vaughan it was good enough for me.

#10 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:04 AM

View PostMr. Foxen, on 09 July 2012 - 11:53 PM, said:

Could be an issue with how he installs the strings, or if he sweats on them loads (will generally make them die quicker too). Elixirs are good for sweaty sorts. There are all sorts of metal fatigue things that can be happening. Hard to explain in text.
He does sweat buckets! I'm pretty sure he uses Elixirs too! he uses weedy thin plectrums which I never like the sound of on acoustic - makes less difference on the tele.
I wonder if flipping the barrels over would be worth trying to start with, to use a fresh bearing point?
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#11 Ancient Mariner

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:37 AM

It might be worth trying different barrels - are these the offset jobs for decent intonation? Wilkinson make some nice brass saddles (brass is almost compulsory for tele tone). Does the string break over the barrel or where it goes through the back of the bridge - there might be a sharp edge on one of the holes?

On string gauges, I had a tele for a little while, and 11s seemed just right for it - I run 10s on almost everything else, whether 25 1/2" or 24 3/4", with just 1 exception (9.5s, yes, it does make a difference).
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#12 Commando Jack

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:33 AM

I use 11s on my tele. In fact, I switched up to them because I kept breaking the G-string on a 10 gauge set. Is it always the same string or different ones?

Two things to try:

1) Get a pencil and, when changing the strings, "colour in" the edge of the bridge in contact with the string. Actually while you're at it, do the same at the nut. The graphite in the pencil lead will hopefully lubricate the saddle enough to stop any catching. Since doing this I haven't broken a string.

2) Get a magnifying glass out at the offending bit and see if there's any sharpness. If there is then get rid with a gentle rub of steel wool.

If both these things fail, then I'm afraid it's time to look at the guitarist's technique. If he's using a really weak flimsy plectrum then he might be tempted to back it up with his thumb when he digs in. I remember playing with an acoustic player who did this and he went through strings like they were red liquorice laces.

#13 Mr. Foxen

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:43 AM

When he is stringing,he might be pulling strings through at an angle so the coating scrapes off on various edges, need to pull through straight till the ball end locks, then bend over the bridge. Rolling the string around a curve fatigues a lot more area that plain flexing it (this is the flaw with roller tremolos).

#14 Big_Stu

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:44 AM

Saw this on a Tele once. Mine is a six saddle job so I'm not affected.
Problem was because on the brand of strings used the point on the string where the bead-anchoring wraparound (or whatever the hell it's called) stopped, coincided with the break over the saddle. Must have been a bit of a stress point, so they broke on a regular basis. Solution then was a change of brand (not ideal) with a shorter wraparound.
If it's not that I'd be checking the grooves in the saddle that they're wide enough & not being pinched by the slightly thicker than norm gauge.

#15 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:28 AM

All good stuff gents, thanks.
It is a 6 saddle bridge, and thinking about it, he does break strings on the acoustic a lot too (S&P with a tusq bridge).
Maybe Commando Jack has a good point with the strumming technique and thumb thing...
There are a lot of detunings from standard to drop D and, I think, DADGAD sometimes. This probably doesn't help either...
I'll look at the winding length thing too, cheers Big Stu
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#16 The Dark Lord

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:35 PM

Can you get USA Teles that are not string thru?

#17 Commando Jack

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:06 PM

View PostThe Dark Lord, on 10 July 2012 - 12:35 PM, said:

Can you get USA Teles that are not string thru?

I had a look on GAK and found a custom shop model that does. It was the only one in a long list though so it's pretty rare. Unless it's an after market bridge of course.

#18 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:27 PM

View PostThe Dark Lord, on 10 July 2012 - 12:35 PM, said:

Can you get USA Teles that are not string thru?
well, I did wonder. It wasn't quite as expensive as I would have expected, but don't know if it was brand new.
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#19 Mog

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:43 PM

Could it be his playing technique? I guy I play with regularly breaks a string maybe every second night. The saddles are perfect but his technique isn't........
Could be his right hand technique coupled with a heavy pick is placing extra stress on the strings.

Gauge has nothing got to do with it. Hendrix often used 11's and 13's. SRV used 13's. Heavier gauges on a Tele sound better IMO. I've often had flatwound 13's on one of mine.

#20 The Dark Lord

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 11:42 PM

If you keep your guitars in a damp environment you may see regular string breakages - among other things.

#21 ChrisG

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 08:28 AM

Pretty much everything I could think of has been covered.

Rough edges on the bridge are the first thing to check for. If that's okay then try swapping string brands but if it's heavy strings and a light pick then it's probably technique. I don't know for certain but would assume that those who learn with an acoustic tend to play harder because they need to generate volume and they would carry this over. Those who start with electrics just turn the volume up.

I've broken a guitar string once in many years (it was a D'Addario - never used them again) but to be fair the strings probably needed replaced anyway. As a lefty playing right handed my right hand is my weaker hand so I don't seem to suffer from the breakage problem (I currently use 10 gauge Ernie Ball strings and a .71 or .96 pick).

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Edited by ChrisG, 19 July 2012 - 08:28 AM.

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#22 Dave Vader

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 10:17 AM

I started giving the strings a wipe down after playing when this kept happening to me. It didn't help as much as I'd hoped. So I started spraying a bit of WD-40 on them as well. This changed everything.(Because I have acidy gallagher type sweat)
Also once had to smooth out the saddles on my old Ibanez to stop snappage. Helped as well.
:)

#23 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:27 AM

View PostDave Vader, on 19 July 2012 - 10:17 AM, said:

I started giving the strings a wipe down after playing when this kept happening to me. It didn't help as much as I'd hoped. So I started spraying a bit of WD-40 on them as well. This changed everything.(Because I have acidy gallagher type sweat)
Also once had to smooth out the saddles on my old Ibanez to stop snappage. Helped as well.
:)
Did you spray the WD-40 on a cloth first? I find it goes everywhere other than where I want it normally
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#24 Dave Vader

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:36 AM

View PostMoonBassAlpha, on 19 July 2012 - 11:27 AM, said:

Did you spray the WD-40 on a cloth first? I find it goes everywhere other than where I want it normally

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't
(the sticky crap all over many of my guitars is testament to that) :)

On a cloth is better though.

#25 Bassnut62

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 02:40 PM

a friend of mine had this problem with his USA Tele and swapped the saddles out for some graphite ones that have cured the problem.
I think it cost him £35, which was quickly cheaper than replacing stings every time he played.
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#26 Wil

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 06:07 PM

I've just replaced the stock saddles on my strat with string savers. I was breaking a string at the bridge every rehearsal without fail so I figured it had to be the saddles (which were pretty rough looking "vintage" style Fender items). Time will tell how it works out but I've spent a good few hours noodling and doing some big bends without a breakage yet.
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#27 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 01:08 PM

Update - I'd forgotten about this thread! I put Graphtech saddles on for him just before Christmas, also coinciding with us not playing much. He broke a string last week - this first one since the change, so the jury is out on this so far. He is trying to play softer and turn the amp up more, we will see. Years of acoustic scrubbing will be hard to erase from his technique, I suspect.
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