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Hi Guys, looking for some advice.

I've got a player who is breaking a lot of strings (D and G) on his Cole Clark acoustic while playing gigs with a duo.
They are always breaking at the saddle.

I have smoothed the saddle, the break angle is not excessive.
12-53 d'Addarios both coated and plain

He thinks there is a problem with the guitar, I am inclined to think he is just playing a lot harder in the duo situation.

Any suggestions, is going to mediums worth exploring?

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It's most likely his technique, Jeff.  Getting that fact 'through' to most players is one of the most difficult aspects of our job. They usually infer it as an insult to their skill level. I've had to address my own lousy technique issues over the years in order to correct buzzes, bleeps and guitar mystery ailments.

I don't think going to a heavier string will help.  Is he playing straight acoustic or using a pickup/mic with a sound system?  If so, suggest that he let the sound system 'do the work' and relax his grip'.  Or, suggest he use a better or higher quality stage monitor (or a stage monitor). He's likely overplaying because he can't hear himself.

Does this happen with brand new sets?  If he's a heavy handed player, he might have to restring for each gig.

One thing he may wish to try is using a string wound on a round core as opposed to the hex cores D'Addario uses. An additional advantage is that round core strings feel softer & more comfortable, therefore letting the player pick in a more relaxed manner while yielding essentially the same volume.  Too many 'brand loyalists' needlessly fight their strings when a different brand or construction method would benefit them.

I have only one customer that has identical issues.  He's my customer from hell.  It's his technique but just to prove a point that some string brands are better than others for certain players, I strung his instrument with John Pearse strings vs. D'Addario and his string breakage problem stopped....until he boneheadedly went back to D'Addario's. So I strung him with Elixir's.  Same thing...no breakage...until he returned to D'Addarios. D'A's are fine strings, they just don't work for him. He's a blind brand loyalist whose loyalties are shooting him in the foot.

I hope some of that info helps, Jeff.

Have a good one :)

A agree with P{aul. If this guy is having to play so hard to be heard, and is breaking strings, he may need to upgrade his guitar. Tell him to look into a Collings D1A. They are the #1 seller to the Nashville studio musicians. As loud as an acoustic guitar can get...

Might be worth your time to read this old bit on that subject:

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/GenSetup/StringBreakage/st...

Thanks Frank, yes I was aware of this page, it makes a lot of sense and I had already smoothed and shaped the saddle in this manner.

I will refer the player to this 

Hi Jeff , I replace the tusq saddle with the black graphtech , it is better in the breakage ratings , I dont know about the brands of string , but Paul and Kerry do . Let us know how it goes , Len

Better monitors.  Seriously!

Sounds like he needs to change his mind about the source of the problem?  I would suggest changing guitars for a while to test that theory for himself. The heavy strings might help as well. And I do like those John Pearse strings Paul suggested.

It's amusing.  Not being familiar with Mr. Clark's instruments, I went to his website.

I found the following under the FAQ's on the site:

"- String breaks

It is common to break G strings.

The G string is tunned relatively high, and has a 10 to 12 thousands of an inch core' similar to the high E, yet under more strain, and so is likely to break more regularly than other strings, but to be followed by the D string.

It is important to have the strings 'angle over the saddle', from the bridge pins, in order to provide downward pressure on the saddle.

If the angle is too acute , the string will hinge at one point, and break more quickly. A smooth, rounded top-of-the-saddle or transition will alleviate the problem to some degree.

If the string digs into the saddle, breakages will likely increase.

We advise to keep a few spare saddles, and to check the condition of the saddle for grooves.

A slightly lower and higher saddle in your kit is an advantage. We use and recommend Graphtech BQ 9200 saddles for our six string acoustic guitars.

Also keep extra/ spare G strings.

Consider a softer plectrum."

This builder nearly admits there is something 'going on' with his instruments. I have an issue with the statement: "It is common to break G strings." I agree that it's not uncommon, but this leads me to believe it's expected on a regular basis. And...he later states that the D string will be next in line.

I applaud his honesty in disclosure.  If I were an inexperienced buyer, this would zoom right past me without notice. However, knowing what I know (we know), I infer it as "You're going to have a nightmare keeping G & D strings from breaking like uncooked spaghetti". That warning would be an instant deal breaker to me.

Maybe it IS the guitar???????  It seems the guitar is performing in accordance with the builders advertized spec's.

He essentially bought a guitar that carries a specif warning about this exact issue. And he now finds that odd? Caveat emptor!!!!!

IMHO when D and G strings are breaking it's always because they're being hit too hard. I had a customer that went from playing solo to playing with 2 other guitar players, suddenly  he was breaking Pearse strings every night. I gave him a set of Newtones, he gets several shows out of the Newtone strings. 

I sent Cole Clark an email asking him to address the issue. Seemed the gentlemanly thing to do.

Turns out he was using a 2mm thick pick and playing very hard with it . A softer pick and turning up the amplification seems to have resolved the issue

Hi All,

Thanks for letting us know about this thread Robbie.

We don't believe we have a problem with string breaks (or no more so than any guitar maker) and not to the degree that the website may have lead you to think, our guitars and methods have changed since the website was first created and we are undertaking a renewal of its content currently.

Of course occasionally a burr on a saddle pops up causing an individual issues, we have many Pro players using our guitars with great praise.

If any future issues/questions come up please feel free to get in touch directly either via email from our website or via our official facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/ColeClarkAustralia

Regards

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