string breaking in middle of neck

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by jzilla, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    i've got a tele that breaks the high E when i bend whole steps around the 8th - 10th frets. the string breaks where i'm bending (not at the saddle, nut, ball, etc). there really doesn't appear to be any fret burrs; the frets are newly polished and seem very smooth. any ideas what could cause this?

    thanks!
    -j
     
  2. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    Look at your frets closely and feel BEHIND the fret. Different guys fret differently, and if you fret with your finger choking right up on the back of the frets I think it is possible you could have a fret with a small shoulder along the back edge close enough to the fretboard to make it hard to detect.
     
  3. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    There's going to be a burr somewhere. Do you ever pull the high E off the neck on your Tele? I do sometimes on mine. Check the fret ends too. It wouldn't take but one excursion off the neck to catch on something sharp and to leave a little nick, and it will break there every time.
     
  4. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    thanks for the suggestions. checked the top, front and back of all the frets in that area and couldn't find any roughness at all! also check all the fret ends and they're perfect. any other ideas?

    EDIT: forgot to mention that i took the guitar to my tech earlier today and he couldn't find any obvious problems either. thought maybe i had a couple bad e strings as a fluke but the last one to break was one he supplied.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  5. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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  6. Sensible Musician

    Sensible Musician Member

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    if you can't find it, smooth the frets anyway. do you have a crowing file a tiny bit smaller than the current crown? do you know the old school rounded three-corner file style of crowning?

    anyway, if you can't find it and spot fix, i'd just re-crown the whole area a tiny bit smaller and re-polish
     
  7. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    Thanks. I think that's good advice. I'll get it professionally done since I've never worked with frets before...

    Cheers!
    -j

     
  8. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    Any jewelry on your left hand that might occasionally hit a string? Maybe it's in an area where you play a lot of chords and you nick it with a ring?
     
  9. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    i do have a wedding ring but i'm not having this problem with my other guitars...
     
  10. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    another thing that may or may not be indicative of something - the high seems to be slipping out of tune more than i'm used to. granted i keep changing the string but usually i can get a string to be pretty stable after a few pulls...
     
  11. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    Do you keep the guitar in a case? Perhaps there is a hard part under the material on your cases lid that puts pressure on that fret.........

    Also, when you look at the fret closely make sure you inspect the entire back side of that fret within any range you bend that string in. For example, if you are bending the 2nd string up to the 5th string, make sure you don't have a nearly invisible defect in the fret that entire distance.

    I suppose it could also be possible that the problem could be at the fret before or after that one, and it just seems it is breaking at that fret. With the string being stretched perhaps it is breaking when you play at that fret, but the actual stress point is at the next fret up.
     
  12. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    checked the case and there's nothing out of the ordinary going on there. just a soft, plushy interior... i just had the frets professionally polished to a mirror finish and within five minutes, i broke the E at the same place.

    the frets feel great. i think they might be stainless. this is some baffling stuff...
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  13. PhilF

    PhilF Member

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    The case is my bet on this too. I had the exact same problem with one of my guitars and it was the case or just the guitars interaction with the case that was causing it. I had strings breaking at the 11th and 12th frets always while bending. Then one day i dropped my case on accident with very new strings, and when i opened it up the string was broken in the exact same spot it always breaks without playing.

    What I did to fix it was just hot glue some extra support in the case.
     
  14. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    actually the case can't be the culprit. i've broken the string without it having been in the case. broke a string, changed it, started playing and broke another with 20 minutes. it's nutso!
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  15. fumbler

    fumbler Member

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    Have you tried different brands of string? Different gauges, even?

    You should save some of the broken strings and compare. See if they're really breaking at exactly the same spot. Once you know exactly where the breakage is happening you can really put the $%^&ing thing under a microscope and see what's what.
     
  16. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    If you don't have a pair of jewelers goggles or cheaters, go to a dollar store and get a pair of reading glasses, cheap throwaway ones. Even if your frets are polished there still could be a defect along the back side of a fret that you cannot see or feel, because it is so close to the fretboard.
    Inspect all the frets, at least 2 frets either side of where it is breaking and at the fret it is breaking on. I still suspect you have a rib on the back side of the very bottom of a fret that is cutting into the string.
    You could also have a slight dip somewhere in the fretboard exposing a very small part of the edge of the fret where it meets the fretboard.
     
  17. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions guys. Fumbler, I have tried several different string brands but not gauges... Good idea about comparing the broken strings. Will be interesting to see if they're breaking in the exact same spot...

    Rockledge, I'll check on the back sides of the bottom of the frets.

    Appreciate the ideas!
    -j
     
  18. Davo17

    Davo17 Member

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    What gauge are you using?
     
  19. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    I'm using .10s.

    Strangely, I haven't broke a string in 24 hours and I've been using the guitar often. I avoided the 10th fret for a while to see if it would break elsewhere. No breaks. Playing back at the 10th fret and still no breaks. This is a brand new neck. Wonder if something is correcting itself through use?

    Confounding.

    -j
     
  20. Santuzzo

    Santuzzo Member

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    sorry for bumping an old thread, but I just had a thread about exact same problem, and I was wondering if the OP sorted the problem out and/or found out what caused the string to break at the same spot over and over....
     

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