Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

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Horsefeather
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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by Horsefeather » Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:45 am

If you had some tires on your car that popped when you drove on certain roads, would you solve the problem by deciding to never drive on those roads again or would you get different tires?

This vibrato has broken two different brands of strings on me at this point. It's the only vibrato design that does this, in my experience.

It's a matter of principle to me. Not a matter of practicality. I speculate that there are lots of people who would like to see this figured out.

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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by Maggieo » Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:08 am

Lamar Fandango wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:56 pm
Nobody uses nickel Fender Bullet strings? I keep strings on a long time, beat the trem hard, and rarely break strings. Maybe the bullet thingy makes them more durable at that particular weak point?
I do. They're pretty great. And the look badass on my Mustang:

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1965 Fender Mustang, September 12, 2017 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr

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1965 Fender Mustang, September 12, 2017 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr
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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by monsterdonkey » Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:45 am

+1 on D’Addario strings seemingly break more than other brands. I broke lots of them on my CPJM with stock trem and Staytrem bridge. I’ve switched to DR Pure Blues 11s. I still solder them sometimes since I got in the habit with the Ds but I don’t think it’s necessary. (edit: I tried a Mastery bridge on the CP but I don’t like a fixed bridge. It seems to create friction and more problems than it solves. I don’t know if that contributed to my strings breaking. I changed lots of things along the way to where I am now so it’s unclear which thing was THE thing.)

My MIJ has a Mastery trem and Staytrem bridge. My Squier Jag has the stock trem and a knockoff Mustang bridge. I use the DRs on all three and I rarely suffer string breakages now. It’s not a scientific study, but my personal experience is that the DRs break much less often than the Ds on three different guitars with different similar setups.

Fender has finally started using the modified Mustang bridge in more places since it is a proven upgrade. It’s insane that it took them that long, but it did. Hat tip to Staytrem and Marr? Maybe in the coming years they will study the Mastery trem and incorporate some of the upgrades found there into future trem models, but it could take another 40 years.

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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by loveinathens » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:12 am

Danley wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:53 pm
I haven’t used GHS strings since I was a teenager. I don’t think there was ever anything particularly wrong with them, nor do I remember how well they worked on my Jaguar or if I ever used them on that. When I started using Ernie Ball RPS exclusively, it was pretty much because about 90% of Dadarrios high Es unwound, and maybe 50% of Slinkies. It got to where when I found a ‘good’ Dadarrio or EB high E, I’d keep it on the guitar even when I changed the others, since the new one probably wouldn’t hold up. After a while I started soldering strings, after a shorter while I bought only RPS sets.

Glad the Boomers are a potential option. I also at the time had several (mostly Allparts/Squier) offset vibratos where the string made no contact with the pivot screw (and some where they did contact.) They all suffered from the unwinding problem regardless.
Just started using GHS Boomers again this month, and I haven't had the high E snap after near daily use of the wiggle stick.

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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by loveinathens » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:26 am

alexpigment wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 7:06 pm
Hate to burst anyone's bubble here, but I've used GHS Boomers exclusively since god knows when, and the high E (11 gauge) definitely broke on one of my Jazzmasters several times. I think that this whole thing is a matter of luck (i.e. varies from trem to trem and string to string). I have my own little hack to prevent the string breakage, but if I were to go without that, I think I'd buy a GHS RPS set. I know they're pretty rare in big box stores, but if you're buying online, I don't see any reason to take a chance.

As a side note, I don't think changing to an entirely different set of strings is trivial at all. I've tried Fender Bullets, NYXLs, etc. The tone and feel of the Boomers just works for me, and it's worth a lot to me to keep my preferred strings even if it takes some weird hacking/workaround.
Dang, what's yr string hack for the Boomers?

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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by jorri » Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:12 am

Maggieo wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:08 am
Lamar Fandango wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:56 pm
Nobody uses nickel Fender Bullet strings? I keep strings on a long time, beat the trem hard, and rarely break strings. Maybe the bullet thingy makes them more durable at that particular weak point?
I do. They're pretty great. And the look badass on my Mustang:

Image
1965 Fender Mustang, September 12, 2017 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr

Image
1965 Fender Mustang, September 12, 2017 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr
I like the thing they do with resonance and behind the bridge ringing. But couldn't help feel they were bit substandard in tone, like Fender strings are - or the particular guages.. wish anyone else would make them, but kind of pays off to use them.

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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by Maggieo » Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:06 pm

They're stings. The only difference I've ever been able to tell, timber-wise, is between nickle-wound and ss-wound.
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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by jorri » Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:00 am

Maggieo wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:06 pm
They're stings. The only difference I've ever been able to tell, timber-wise, is between nickle-wound and ss-wound.
I notice some big changes sometimes. More than I'd expect like the mix being off in bands. But that can depend on the rig, guitar, style and still be subjective. Same as with buffers some notice some don't and not because they know less about tone or anything, I sometimes don't care sometimes do. I didnt change bass strings for five years but now change before any recording, can be weird like that.

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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by Whitefeet1@gmail.com » Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:40 pm

I had this high-E string problem last year on my MIM JM. The windings on that string would slip around the ball end and eventually just unravel. So it would go slowly out of tune, then eventually break when you kept tuning it. Here is my theory: Because of the trem and the Fender headstock design, the E string length is very long, longer than any guitar I can think of. You have to put a lot of tension on it to get it up to pitch. My band tunes to Eb and it still happened. When the JM was first released strings were very thick, like acoustic strings, so it didn't matter much. The E string was probably a 12 or 13. But as strings got smaller (and more cheaply made) the problem cropped up. I put some D'Addario NYXLs on mine, and I have not seen slippage or breakage since. There are more and tighter windings at the base of the NYXL. I see that your string broke rather than unwound but I think its the same cause. The string can't handle the tension required by the string length, plus bending. BTW I'm using a 10 for the E. Don't know if a 9 would have a chance....

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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by timtam » Fri Mar 20, 2020 6:07 pm

Whitefeet1@gmail.com wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:40 pm
Here is my theory: Because of the trem and the Fender headstock design, the E string length is very long, longer than any guitar I can think of. You have to put a lot of tension on it to get it up to pitch. My band tunes to Eb and it still happened. When the JM was first released strings were very thick, like acoustic strings, so it didn't matter much. The E string was probably a 12 or 13. But as strings got smaller (and more cheaply made) the problem cropped up. I put some D'Addario NYXLs on mine, and I have not seen slippage or breakage since. There are more and tighter windings at the base of the NYXL. I see that your string broke rather than unwound but I think its the same cause. The string can't handle the tension required by the string length, plus bending. BTW I'm using a 10 for the E. Don't know if a 9 would have a chance....
It won't be tension per se that breaks strings, it's stress - the tension per unit cross-sectional area, ie tension / CSA. Think of a rope .... the same tension will break a thin rope (small CSA), regardless of length, but not a thicker one (big CSA) - because the stress is greater for the thin rope. And with strings, higher gauges require higher tension to tune to the same pitch; so if it was tension that causes strings breakages, higher gauges would be more likely to break. Also, tension is the same along the entire length of the string, including the lengths past the nut and bridge (unless you have friction problems at the nut, or the saddle on a fixed bridge ... but they would manifest as tuning instability, so readily recognizable). So an extra long E string is not at higher tension (or stress) than the same string at the same scale length on a guitar with shorter post-nut/post-bridge distances.

But it's hard to determine string stress precisely. D'Addario is one of the few manufacturers that publish their string tension, but they don't publish stress. So it's hard to tell if different string brands have different intrinsic stresses, and/or string-to-string production variability in stress; if higher, either would lead to a greater propensity to break. But at least for D'Addario one could calculate stress from published tension and the known diameter (gauge) of the string. The problem is that strings don't break under normal calculated stresses; they break when that stress is exceeded, and the circumstances that lead to that are not always clear (as this thread's discussion shows).

High E strings of low gauge (thinner) do seem more likely to break, even though they are at lower tension than a higher gauge E tuned the same way. That tells us that their relative reduction in CSA (being thinner) is greater than their reduction in tension, with the result that their stress is relatively higher (remember stress = tension/CSA), taking them closer to their yield stress, thus making them more likely to break.

Exposure to additional frictional or bending forces will increase the likelihood of breaking. Also, if these forces are applied over a small area, stress then will be higher than if they were distributed over a larger area.

So the cause of the problem we are discussing is one or both of: (1) strings are weaker in the region of the ball ends because they are bent/twisted around the ball end there, and/or (2) the geometry/mechanics of the trem exposes the strings to greater stresses there.

Mark French (guitar-playing Purdue engineering prof*) has done an interesting vid on general string strength physics (he uses guitar physics as a means to make science interesting to high school students and undergrads - so the maths is high school level).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV2XZihMMoA

*author of the books Engineering the Guitar, and Technology of the Guitar (neither of which have much electric guitar material - there are better sources for electric guitar physics).

See also:
http://www.noyceguitars.com/technotes/articles/t3.html
https://www.keysight.com/main/editorial ... &id=866703

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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by hexes » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:40 am

interesting modification. curious to see how your hypothesis works out!

I have owned 6 guitars with this vibrato/bridge setup, luckily only my MIM 60s lacquer JM consistently broke high e strings.

I polished the string hole in the vibrato plate and have not had the issue again. went through too many high e strings in less than a month of playing before the de-burring on a mix of d'addario and other ball end strings. tried bullets once and felt the sound wasn't the same.

its been 4 months of violent vibrato playing now on the same set of d'addario 11s. hopefully de-burring the hole helped. i agree soldering sucks, especially if you're somewhere without an iron.

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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by BoringPostcards » Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:34 pm

I had this problem on a couple of guitars with JM vibratos and I switched to Rotosound strings and it hasn't happened again and it's been over a decade since I made the switch.

Yes, I had been using D'Addarios beforehand.
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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by BlueSparkle » Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:53 pm

I've rarely broken a string.

On the times I have, it has always been a 9 or 10,
Either by my own carelessness (kinking while stringing) or overzealous playing brutality.
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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by seawalker » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:22 am

Interesting to hear others' experiences and how they might differ from our own.

For me. I've broken more strings per package purchased of GHS Boomers than anything else. They seem to have the shortest life for me also.

D'Addarios seem average, although there was an issue many people posted about that I experienced a few years ago, where the ball end came unwrapped on the unwound strings sometimes.

DR are the best strings tonally for me, although I can still break them on a rare occasion, I believe they are the best overall value in strings.

My tech recommended the D'Addario NYXL strings, and I have not broken any of those yet.

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Re: Jazzmaster String Breakage Theory

Post by toma19 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:48 am

I use the ball of a old string to protect the new string. Since i do that, i don't have E string breakage problem any more.
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