Constant String Breakage with American Deluxe Strat

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by planetal, Jan 18, 2006.


  1. planetal

    planetal Member

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    Hi all,

    I recently purchased an American Deluxe Strat in pretty immaculate condition. The frets are in excellent shape and the bridge and the lsr nut appear to be in excellent shape. I set up the guitar for my tastes (5 springs in tremelo and raised the action a little.. The guitar feels comfortable, stays in tune and plays fine .. EXCEPT

    I keep breaking the high e string. I do bend strings A LOT and have a lot of vibrato and I don't use the wammy at all. I have had this issue on other guitars, but on ALL of them, as soon as I replaced the bridge saddles with graphtech saddles the problem went away (I'm one of those who likes graphtech saddles A LOT). On this guitar, even after replacing the bridge saddles with the graph tech saddles., the problem still remains.. The E string breaks, always on a bend, normally within an hour of playing, rendering the guitar pretty much useless to me.

    The string breaks in the middle of the neck area (not at the bridge or the nut), but I'm beginning to think that the issue might be the LSR nut.. As when I bend the E-string (normally a full step, sometimes a minor third) that the string is binding on the nut and this is causing a string stress failure.

    Again I have quite a few guitars, including another strat (hardtail), all of which I play the same way and with the same brand and gauge of strings (DeAddario Xl110's). I dont have ANY issue the other guitars including my main 2 gigging axes. This guitar is the only one I have an issue with. So I don't think is just an issue of my style or the string, although this guitar may not be suited to my style.

    Any suggestions? I'm contemplating replacing the LSR nut with a graphite nut, but before I do that I'm curious if anyone has run into this kind of thing before?

    The guitar also has locking tuners.. I don't know which brand Fender puts on its guitars. Could it be the locking tuners? I've never used them before. It is a 2001 Fender Deluxe American Hot Strat..

    Thanks for any suggestions
    Al
     
  2. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Check the frets carefully at the exact spot the string breaks - I'd take a bet that you will find some very slight sharp edges caused by the fret top being flattened with playing wear, or possibly a tiny bit of roughness on the top of the fret, maybe an indentation caused by the second or third string being hit by something, which will snag the top E when it crosses that spot. Either way, a fret dress (crown and polish) should cure it.

    If the string always breaks in the middle it isn't a nut or tuner issue - it will break where it's been weakened, and if it was binding at all in the nut it would break there.
     
  3. planetal

    planetal Member

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    Thanks John,

    That was one of the first things I checked (roughness or burrs on the frets).. They seem to be perfectly smooth all over, but I will check once again more closely when I'm home and near the guitar. I really thought the graphtech saddles would do the trick, as they have on my other guitars.

    Al.
     
  4. planetal

    planetal Member

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    I just rechecked the frets.. There are no burrs, indendations or abnormalities of any kind. They both look and feel very good, they are in very good shape actually, pretty much new.

    The guitar has no neck relief (it is flat) can that contribute? I do need to adjust the trust rod a little as I do like a little bit of neck relief, but I havent' done that as I want to sort this issue out first.

    I have quite a few other guitars, most of which use the same kind and gauge of strings. I gig pretty much every weekend(obviously not with this guitar) and only break strings (normally an E or a B) after quite a few hours of play (5-6 hours of gig time, about 15 hours of practice time).. I do bend strings a lot, as I play in the electric blues tradition and I do solo a lot during gigs.

    I am quite frustrated with this guitar to say the least.

    Al
     
  5. Crunchyriff

    Crunchyriff Member

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    I always broke the high E with the LSR nut- without fail. Go figure.
     
  6. planetal

    planetal Member

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    Did you replace the nut and have the problem go away?
     
  7. planetal

    planetal Member

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    Just an update... I took a number of steps to address the high e string breaking issue:

    1. Fret dress and neck setup.. no burrs, rough edges, neck relief is right
    2. Installled graphite saddles and graphite bridge.
    3. went from .010 to .011 on high e..

    Still breaking the high e string, in the same spot(at the C on the E string), within an hour or so of playing. I've been told that maybe I just play too hard? In truth, even though I do use quite heavy picks(Dunlop big stubbies 2.0mm) and I do play quite aggressively with much string bending (power trio - A LOT of led zepp, hendrix, cream..etc) , I don't normally break strings all that quickly. I own 8 guitars, 2 of which I gig with essentially every weekend and I only break strings normally after 2 gigs (about 6 hours of hard playing) or on the guitars I don't gig with, after substantial play time (+6 hours).

    Are there any luthiers out there who might have any ideas? Is it possible that perhaps this particular strat and I just are not suited for one another?
    That makes no sense to me, but I can accept its possibility..

    As the strat in question doesn't have a string tree (locking tuners supposedly dont need one), I'm going to try putting a string tree on it and see if that helps, but at this point I have strong doubts


    Thanks
    Al
     
  8. jspax7

    jspax7 Member

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    I just had my Strat Ultra refretted. And, installed a new LSR nut. Already had String Savers. I hadn't broken a string since installing the saddles, several years ago. I broke 2 high E strings, in the middle of the neck, in about an hour.

    I raised the action 1/4 turn, (on all strings) just enough to get behind the string when I bend. No problems since. I never liked the factory spec action, and I think I was pushing the string down onto the fret, rather than across the fret. An added benefit of slightly higher action; Better tone and sustain. You might also look into a different brand of string if adjusting the action doesn't fix it.
     
  9. planetal

    planetal Member

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    Hi,

    As I need to feel the string when I bend and for vibrato, I tend to set the action a bit higher than most on all of my guitars. It is indeed higher than the Fender spec, by a bit actually. In terms of string brands, it has broken D'Addario, Ernie Ball and Fender strings. Not that it matters, but I've been playing guitar for a long time (started when I was 15, I'm 55 now) and gone through many guitars, hence my puzzlement as this has never happened before.

    I'm just frustrated and venting.. Perhaps I should just make it a dedicated slide guitar and move on.

    Thanks
    Al
     
  10. Crunchyriff

    Crunchyriff Member

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    No I sold the guitar.
     

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