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Usually, when a string breaks on my guitar/bass, the remaining strings get out tune. Why does that happen?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Because the tension changed and the neck might bend a little back, causing the remaining strings to get out of tune (I suppose you notice the pitch a bit higher)

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And if your guitar has a floating bridge the problem is exacerbated as the lowered tension on the bridge means the other strings get raised in pitch, in some cases by quite a large amount – Dr Mayhem Jan 19 '14 at 18:45

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