Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« on: June 23, 2021, 03:20:31 AM »
Title says it all. I have spares of 2nd to 6th strings all over the place and have to keep on buying single 1st strings. They keep on breaking first - be it on wide bends, on pick attacks or when loosening/re-tightening a string during a pickup change or servicing of the electronics.

It is not on a particular guitar but on every guitar I own.

Is this your experience, too? Why is that?

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Humbucker from Hell, Super 2

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Offline Guitar74

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2021, 04:15:33 PM »
It has always seemed to be the first one to go on all of mine as well. It was especially true when I was in high school and would practice/play for hours on end. I would always buy a pack and three extra high E strings when I was at the music store.
If you're having one of those days where everyone is on your case and is just getting on your nerves, it's probably not everyone else

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Offline greenlion

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2021, 09:01:12 PM »
This is one of the mysteries of the universe that not even the most brilliant physicists have been able to figure out;  Why the smallest, thinnest, most delicate string breaks before the larger, thicker, stronger strings. I doubt anyone will ever crack this conundrum.

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2021, 03:09:39 AM »
Do you think it is simply mass? That could explain it but ...

Well, then, if it is - why is with acoustic guitars the 3rd string always the first to go, with no discernible difference between 1st and 2nd there?
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Humbucker from Hell, Super 2

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Offline Guitar74

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2021, 12:19:35 PM »
Wow. You're right. It is always the G that breaks first on my acoustic. Tension?
If you're having one of those days where everyone is on your case and is just getting on your nerves, it's probably not everyone else

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2021, 02:17:37 PM »
That's what I thought as well but I doubt it's that. I attach a link to the D'Addario tension chart:

https://www.daddario.com/globalassets/pdfs/accessories/tension_chart_13934.pdf

If I read this correctly the tensions are:

1st string 0.010 at e is 16.2 lbs
2nd string 0.013 at b is 15.4 lbs
3rd string 0.017 at g is 16.6 lbs

Apart from the fact that there is not much difference in these numbers you would - based on these numbers - expect the 3rd string to be breaking the most, or at least comparably to the 1st string, and the 2nd not much behind the others but that is simply not the case in my practice - until the 2nd and 3rd strings would break, the 4th, 5th and 6th strings have so little life in them that I change all of them anyway.

It is probably a combination of mass (or lack thereof) and tension.

At least it has something going for the 3rd string acoustic - 0.023 at g is 27.9 lbs already - that is huge compared to what I play on electrics but on acoustics I don't bend the 3rd string.

Cheers Stephan


Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Humbucker from Hell, Super 2

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Offline greenlion

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2021, 06:47:05 PM »
If you are using a wound 3rd string on your acoustic, that string is already pretty small and the string's core has to be much smaller relative to the entire string, which includes the outer winds. An unwound 3rd string on an electric guitar is solid, so it is less likely to break.

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Offline Guitar74

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2021, 12:12:27 PM »
It's funny that we're all talking about the high e and now the g strings breaking. This weekend, I broke my first D. Just went ahead and replaced the whole set.
If you're having one of those days where everyone is on your case and is just getting on your nerves, it's probably not everyone else

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2021, 01:21:37 PM »
That is what I do as well when one of the wound strings breaks - a new one would simply stick out too much vs. the remaining ones.
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Humbucker from Hell, Super 2

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Offline buddroyce

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2021, 10:18:39 AM »
What baffles me is sometimes I get people who always break the low E strings.
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Offline 5150

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2021, 06:13:54 PM »
What gauge strings do you use? I use to snap them all when I was using 8's. Yeah I know they're super flimsy but that problem kinda resolved itself when I moved up to 9's and just started going Eb instead.

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2021, 03:38:58 AM »
I am using 10 to 46 or 10 to 50 mostly.
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Humbucker from Hell, Super 2

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Offline HeyNorton!

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2022, 01:24:05 AM »
The string manufacturer has something to do with this as well.

I have been an elixir user for more than 15 years now.  The only time I break a string is when I detune and retune them too much.

Under normal use and constant tune, i can go 4 to 6 months between changes.

The low strings can get divots 1/4 the thickness of the wound strings and not break.  The unwound ones stay super clean and never break, even under 2 whole tone bends.

D'addarios and ernies would break on me all the time.

Just my 2 cents and experience.

I think its the anti corrosion thing elixir uses

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2022, 03:13:47 AM »
I think its the anti corrosion thing elixir uses

Do you know whether they do this on the plain strings, too?
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VPAF b, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED, Humbucker from Hell, Super 2

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Offline buddroyce

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Re: Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2022, 11:44:27 PM »
I think its the anti corrosion thing elixir uses

Do you know whether they do this on the plain strings, too?

When I used to sell Elixir strings, my sales rep literally told me the plain strings are just regular strings. That might have changed as it's been years since I stocked Elixir strings.
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