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I'm playing an acoustic for 4-5 months now and i've broken 3 strings in the process.. Is this normal or should i be a lot more careful with strings?

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    Simple questions. Same string? Same place? What guitar? What gauge strings? What sort of music? What pick? What tuning? – Tim Dec 23 '18 at 9:00
  • 1st string i broke was the low E, then, high e, and just now i've broken the high e again. All 3 times were standard tuning.. I believe it was rock all 3 times. Not too sure about the guitar model/name. .73mm nylon pick. Not too sure about the place and string gauge though.. – Nikad Dec 23 '18 at 10:48
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Too many variables to really know what's going on.

But here are a few things that could cause chronic string breaking.

  1. Frets are not dressed properly, too square with sharp edges.

  2. Bridge or nut grooves not filed smooth.

  3. Defective or inferior strings.

  4. Guitarist way too strong (sarcasm alert).

It is not likely that your playing is the cause. I've been playing for 40+ years on gauge 11 strings and bend up a 4th and they don't break. When I purchased my Gibson 335 fresh off the rack I broke the high e string every time I bent it at the 15th fret. This was the fret being too sharp. A proper dressing and it never happened again. The guitar is more likely to hurt your fingers if you over play than the other way around.

Is your guitar new? If so it is likely that it needs a professional set-up with the frets, nut and bridge groves files a little.

EDIT: Maybe option #4 is not that crazy. Here are some issues that a true new comer can experience. If you have an electric solid body guitar and you're playing without an amp it is possible that you are over compensating by hitting the strings very hard in an attempt to hear something. You need to get your hands on a small amp with a head phone jack. If you are playing a nylon string acoustic with a pick that could damage the higher unwound strings.

This is why I said that there are too many unknowns. I charge the author of the question with the task of updating the question to have more information. Please provide: Electric vs acoustic vs classical, using amp or no, gauge strings, make and model of guitar if known, type of pick used, if you are taking lessons or learning from Youtube, etc.

  • It's really old, over 20 years old i think. Sadly i can't really do anything about it, i have to work with what i have. Buying a new one is not an option, considering i'm only 15 (Can't really get a job at this age). – Nikad Dec 23 '18 at 5:23
  • Well keep at it. Just because it's 20 yo doesn't mean it was set up correctly. Can you offer more info? Like does it break when you bend? Does it always break in the same place, at the bridge or nut, at the same fret? Then we could all try and help diagnose it. – ggcg Dec 23 '18 at 12:30
  • Not really, i haven't noticed a pattern.. Although i think i might be just strumming too hard. – Nikad Dec 23 '18 at 12:33
  • So, maybe my 4th option is not so sarcastic. Is it an electric or acoustic guitar? If it's electric are you using an amp? Without an amp you won't hear and may strum very hard to compensate. If acoustic is it steel string or nylon string classical. If the later then you shouldn't use a pick. If you really think you are strumming to hard then lighten up. – ggcg Dec 23 '18 at 13:00
  • I'm gonna edit to address that possibility – ggcg Dec 23 '18 at 16:14
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I'd second ggcg, although some variables, as mentioned which are unknown, if you tune the guitar over the standard EADGBe, when new to tuning, then that can cause some wear on the strings. I know when I started out I'd almost break one per 1-2 weeks.

Another thing, and I don't know if this actually plays a role because I just do it on new strings to avoid having to tune new strings after 5 minutes of playing, is stretching them (like A LOT) by bending the s*** out of them as I'm tuning new strings (while you're approaching the desired tones) so to get to the point, I don't know if that stretching contributes to better resistance to stress but if it does, something to try.

Last factor, sometimes beginners go from one extreme to the other: attacking the strings too softly or too hard. Because picking them too hard can also make them break easier.

  • I'm fairly convinced that 'stretching' the strings doesn't so much stretch them, as bed them in, particularly at the machine head post. Still needs doing though! – Tim Dec 23 '18 at 10:13
  • Hm, you're probably right for the bedding, never occured to me there might be almost no "stretching" to none at all – neuroxik Dec 24 '18 at 11:56
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When I have a problem with strings breaking on a particular guitar, I look to see if there's a sharp spot or hard bend at the point of contact where the string break occurred and I notice if it breaks in the same place every time. Doing that has always led me to find the reason for string breaks. I've never had a Low E string break as you stated in your comment, that just baffles me.

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