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Thread: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

  1. #1

    Default High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    I keep snapping high e-strings on my Eastman mandolins. Usually they will be fine for a few days or weeks, but then I'll be tuning and one will snap.

    This has happened multiple times on two Eastman mandolins I own. Is this a problem with Eastmans in particular? It's extremely frustrating. There's nothing unusual about the way I attach the strings, and I always bring them up to pitch gradually after a string change. The strings are snapping near the tuning post.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    If they are breaking at the tuning post look for a sharp spot in the hole of the post. Are you wrapping the string 4 times around the post?
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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    You say there’s “nothing unusual” about how you attach the strings. Exactly which “not unusual” method are you using? You’re not using the sometimes used “locking on” method by any chance? (I’ve never had the need to lock a string on to anything - it simply makes them harder to get off again.)

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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    Pops1 is correct about tuning post breaks. I have a Gibson that did that. If they are breaking at the tailpiece look for a burr in the tailpiece. If they are breaking at the bridge the string is binding in the slot, slightly widen it. Do take tuning the string to pitch slowly. R/
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  6. #5

    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    The point here is that if the breaks are all happening at the same string and same spot on the string, that's where there's a problem. If the strings it came with were used for some time and never broke, then it could be the way you are installing your strings.

    The Eastman tailpiece usually is not a place where strings break, IME, but I have an older one, before they changed suppliers (a couple of times, it seems), so a repeated, broken loop would suggest a tailpiece problem, and Eastman might even send you a new one.

    If it's both E strings or they break in different places, then I'd suspect the strings themselves, though that is rare these days.

    And, I've been using the same, locking method for installing strings on my guitars and mandolins for some time, and have yet to break a string there. Not saying there isn't another way that folks like, but you cannot get the string to pitch before you have some windings on the string, so it's unlikely that the lock is a problem. (IMO - the end of the tuned string goes around the peg and over a piece of the string itself, so I doubt the full force of the wound string is sitting on that peg-hole. But, I'm not a mechanical engineer!)
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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    The "locking on" method of securing strings at the tuner was taught to me at the Martin factory in 1976. Yes, it complicates a bit removing the string, but it makes for a secure and quick installation of a new string. Less than a full turn of the tuner and the string is set. Far better than wrapping the string around the tuner post a number of times.

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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    I wrap the string around the post before threading it in the hole. It's quick and easy, it's also fast, did I mention that. It takes the stress off the string at the bend. Winding over the string to lock it has the potential to cut the string. I know a lot of folks do it to success, but I hate changing strings on instruments that come in the shop and have locked stings, so I don't do it.
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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    I’m totally with pops1 on this; that’s the method I use to fit strings. I’ve been changing strings on a regular basis since the 1960s, I’ve never “locked” a string on and I never have problems with them them slipping.

  11. #9

    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. Jersey View Post
    I keep snapping high e-strings on my Eastman mandolins. Usually they will be fine for a few days or weeks, but then I'll be tuning and one will snap.

    This has happened multiple times on two Eastman mandolins I own. Is this a problem with Eastmans in particular? It's extremely frustrating. There's nothing unusual about the way I attach the strings, and I always bring them up to pitch gradually after a string change. The strings are snapping near the tuning post.
    I use the "locking in" method and it's been working fine with me. However, I did go through a phase when the E strings were breaking a lot. There was nothing wrong with the peg holes. It took me some time but then I realized the neck angle wasn't right. I took it to a luthier who adjusted the truss rod and I haven't broken a string since. I guess an uneven neck might put too much tension on the E string. You may want to check if your mandolin neck is properly set up.

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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    Adjusting a truss rod has nothing to do with neck angle. All such an adjustment does is increase or decrease the amount of relief (neck bow) an instrument has - most people prefer a completely flat fingerboard and most luthiers will carry out the adjustment with the instrument tuned up to pitch. String tension will be the same whatever amount of relief is dialed in and the angle between nut and tuners is not altered bay adding or reducing relief. Consequently, truss rod adustment is unlikely to have the slightest effect in terms of string breakage.

  13. #11

    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    Why hasn’t anyone mentioned excess friction at the nut? The tension is always larger above the nut, and friction can be quite large. The shape, depth, and friction is not easy to measure, especially on the E, and usually a lubricant like pencil graphite can be helpful.

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  15. #12

    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Adjusting a truss rod has nothing to do with neck angle. All such an adjustment does is increase or decrease the amount of relief (neck bow) an instrument has - most people prefer a completely flat fingerboard and most luthiers will carry out the adjustment with the instrument tuned up to pitch. String tension will be the same whatever amount of relief is dialed in and the angle between nut and tuners is not altered bay adding or reducing relief. Consequently, truss rod adustment is unlikely to have the slightest effect in terms of string breakage.
    I meant to say neck relief instead of neck angle. Thanks for spotting that error. Any idea why it worked in my case? All the luthier did to my mandolin was adjusting the neck relief and bridge height and that fixed the string popping problem and playability issues I had. No work was done on the nut or peg holes since these were fine. This is is why I believed the problem to be due to a combination of suboptimal relief which put too much tension on the E string. I don't think it was an issue of a bad E string since I went through several strings from different sets and many popped.

    Cheers

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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    If they are breaking in different places and they are all the same brand/type and were all purchased together, it may be a bad batch from the factory.
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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    Quote Originally Posted by SRNassif View Post
    I meant to say neck relief instead of neck angle. Thanks for spotting that error. Any idea why it worked in my case? All the luthier did to my mandolin was adjusting the neck relief and bridge height and that fixed the string popping problem and playability issues I had. No work was done on the nut or peg holes since these were fine. This is is why I believed the problem to be due to a combination of suboptimal relief which put too much tension on the E string. I don't think it was an issue of a bad E string since I went through several strings from different sets and many popped.

    Cheers
    Anything I could say would be speculation. However, assuming the mandolin neck wasn’t suffering from back-bow, it’s likely that all your luthier did was take out any unnecessary relief. In effect, this would, if anything, increase string pressure on the nut. Conversely - if your luthier was more experienced working on guitars - if relief was being added this would reduce string pressure.

    As I said previously, unlike guitars, mandolins do not need neck relief largely due to their short string length but it’s only a reduction of pressure on the nut which would reproduce the effect you describe. Are you sure he didn’t at least clean out the nut slots?

  18. #15
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    J R, get back to us and tell us where on the string the breaks occur: at the tuning peg, at the nut, at the bridge, at the tailpiece, or all over the place.

    Then we can respond more intelligently (I hope).
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  19. #16

    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. Jersey View Post
    I keep snapping high e-strings on my Eastman mandolins. Usually they will be fine for a few days or weeks, but then I'll be tuning and one will snap.

    This has happened multiple times on two Eastman mandolins I own. Is this a problem with Eastmans in particular? It's extremely frustrating. There's nothing unusual about the way I attach the strings, and I always bring them up to pitch gradually after a string change. The strings are snapping near the tuning post.
    What gauge are the strings that break?
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

  20. #17

    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Anything I could say would be speculation. However, assuming the mandolin neck wasnít suffering from back-bow, itís likely that all your luthier did was take out any unnecessary relief. In effect, this would, if anything, increase string pressure on the nut. Conversely - if your luthier was more experienced working on guitars - if relief was being added this would reduce string pressure.

    As I said previously, unlike guitars, mandolins do not need neck relief largely due to their short string length but itís only a reduction of pressure on the nut which would reproduce the effect you describe. Are you sure he didnít at least clean out the nut slots?
    Thanks for the clarification. I am not sure if he cleaned the nut slots or not as he had my mandolin more than a year ago and I don't remember for sure. I'll have to ask him again.

    Note to J.R. Jersey. I guess I may have given you some inaccurate information, so please disregard my comment. Cheers

  21. #18

    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    The strings seem to break right at the tuning post. I typically have D'Addario EJ74 medium strings on. My method of stringing is the simple "straight down" method, for lack of a better term. My method is in principle the same as shown in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xxeRFEP1Y4&t=210s

    My suspicion is that the tuning posts on these Eastmans are not milled/filed smoothly enough, but I'm not sure.

  22. #19
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    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    I’d say it’s definitely something to do with the tuning post and it might be worth taking a file to it in order to round off any rough edges. I’ve not broken a string in at least twenty years.

  23. #20

    Default Re: High e-string keeps snapping, help?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. Jersey View Post
    The strings seem to break right at the tuning post. I typically have D'Addario EJ74 medium strings on. My method of stringing is the simple "straight down" method, for lack of a better term. My method is in principle the same as shown in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xxeRFEP1Y4&t=210s

    My suspicion is that the tuning posts on these Eastmans are not milled/filed smoothly enough, but I'm not sure.
    You might try the method some use, where you pull the string semi-taut (between the nut and bridge), then wind it *up* around the post and at the last push the end through the hole in the post, vs. starting with a bent string. It's only then that you start tuning the string to pitch. On the small, unwound E, if you start the process with a tight bend, it may be weakening the string more than you realize.
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