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extraordinary guitar string problem: ball end dissolves





fuzzkaizer
I think I have an extraordinary guitar string problem:
the 009 string doesn't exactly break, it is the ball-end which dissolves it's thread. This happened to me now three times in serie. The string starts to loose tension, because the thread dissolves little by little, and when I try to keep it in tune, at the end the ball (or the little ring, to which it is attached) jumps off, and that's it. Sad
Did any guitar player here ever have the same experience, or does anyone have an idea why this could happen? Is it just too high tension? Or do I have a run on misfabricated strings?Rolling Eyes

The next thing I'm going to try is fixing the end of the new string with super-glue, before I tighten it on the guitar. BTW: I'm using 009-042 d'addario electric guitar strings.
Ankhanu
Hmm, strange. D'Addario is a pretty solid brand... a lot of other brands are actually re-branded d'Addarios. For that to happen once, well, there are occasionally poorly made strings, but not that often... to have it happen three times in a row, well, that's crazy.

What type of bridge is on your guitar?
fuzzkaizer
it's a mustang bridge (the warmoth one). but the bridge doesn't seem to be the problem... it's just the very end, de-twirling without breaking. and then the ball pops off. super-glue is holding it, so far.
Ankhanu
fuzzkaizer wrote:
it's a mustang bridge (the warmoth one). but the bridge doesn't seem to be the problem... it's just the very end, de-twirling without breaking. and then the ball pops off. super-glue is holding it, so far.

Hmm, very interesting. The Mustang anchor tube is generally pretty benign, and I've never heard of this sort of problem. I mean, I've heard of it happening in isolated cases, and have had it happen once, but, three times in a row is pretty weird.
It's possible the string near the ball end is stretching, but to stretch that much is pretty abnormal... and I know it's hard to untwist the end to increase the size of the loop (I've done it to recover the ends)... so that shouldn't happen randomly...

Something you could try is using strings like Fender Bullets; the ball end is replaced with a bullet end, and there's no way it can unwind and pop off on you.



The tail on my Jaguar seemed to have broken one of my strings after some pretty intense vibrato use... I'm not sure if it was just the string getting old, or perhaps friction between the string and the anchor plate wearing the string out.


Are you playing a Mustang, or something that's just using a Mustang bridge? If a Mustang, what model?? (just shortscale guitar lover curiosity here, probably won't help with diagnosis)

Given that I can't think of why you're having this problem, and that there aren't many other active guitar players on Frih to answer, I'm gonna go ahead and recommend asking on a forum I use regularly, shortscale.org... They're a great bunch of folks (though they can come off rude at times) with a wealth of knowledge on many aspects of guitars and their problems, especially of shortscale guitars (like the Mustang).
fuzzkaizer
oh, the tailpiece is the same as the jaguar, for the guitar is a mij jazzmaster, just with a mustang-bridge, which works better (... sorry to disappoint your shortscale guitar lover curiosity Very Happy), so there is indeed an "extraordinary" stress on the very string-end, close to the ball, so it's maybe one of the many jazzmaster-problems?
Still, i play that guitar with the same gauge of strings since about two years without having a problem like that... never even heard about something similar, and i even do read sometimes gearhead stuff on surfguitar101, where's a lot of talking about jazzmasters and jaguars. they tend to use higher gauges, but maybe i also dare to ask there.
Anyway, i really agree with you on that the string shouldn't behave in such a way randomly and without a proper explanation...

the fender bullets ends look good to me, thanks! I'm also going to try one of those!
Ankhanu
fuzzkaizer wrote:
oh, the tailpiece is the same as the jaguar, for the guitar is a mij jazzmaster, just with a mustang-bridge, which works better (... sorry to disappoint your shortscale guitar lover curiosity Very Happy), so there is indeed an "extraordinary" stress on the very string-end, close to the ball, so it's maybe one of the many jazzmaster-problems?

Guess I shouldn't have assumed a lack of experience and understanding of terminology, and actually asked about the tail-piece rather than the bridge, since that's what I was wondering about Wink
Nope, never have this problem with my Jaguar, and it's certainly not one that I've read about in relation to the Jaguar/Jazzmaster bridge/tail piece design.

My though, and comparison with my Jag, was that there could be a sharp spot or burr in the hole the string goes through at the anchor, which COULD cause breakage... but breakage isn't your problem.

fuzzkaizer wrote:
Still, i play that guitar with the same gauge of strings since about two years without having a problem like that... never even heard about something similar, and i even do read sometimes gearhead stuff on surfguitar101, where's a lot of talking about jazzmasters and jaguars. they tend to use higher gauges, but maybe i also dare to ask there.


The higher gauge, especially with Jaguars, is due to other aspects of the design... they were designed in a period when strings were generally heavier; light strings have less tension to achieve the same tuning... they're looser. With the short scale of the Jaguar, this can be pretty important to feel, as light strings, combined with the short scale length, makes for some pretty loose/ropey feeling strings... but, also on the bridge side of things, the heavier strings and higher tension will also help reduce any of those well known rattles in the bridge. Once set up properly, the standard Jag/Jazz bridge shouldn't rattle, and should maintain tune quite delightfully when you use the vibrato.

Point there, that I rambled away from, is that string gauge should have no bearing on the problem you're experiencing.

I recently bought a Mustang bridge for my Jag too, but have switched back to the standard Jag/Jazzmaster bridge. Oddly enough, the strings stay in place quite nicely with the stock bridge (and I've set it up so all rattles are gone), but with the Mustang bridge, I've been knocking the low E off the saddle... which is interesting, since the Mustang bridge is supposed to address that problem Razz Never have that problem with the shallower saddle grooves on the standard bridge, but it appeared with the deeper, "better" grooves in the Mustang saddles. Weird.

fuzzkaizer wrote:
the fender bullets ends look good to me, thanks! I'm also going to try one of those!

No problem Wink
fuzzkaizer
yeah, you're completely right on the gauge point, higher gauge wouldn't be useful for that problem at all - besides for me it works perfect with the 009 strings, as concerned with rattles, bridge and staying in tune. as you say, turns out to be just a question of set-up, nevertheless lots of the JM-guys swear on high gauge...

for the mustang bridges, i really like mine - the better ones are the japanese ones, they're slightly broader and so have no space between the riders, they sit quite tight aside each other... but that's not your problem anyway... you surely have heard about that mastery bridge?

meanwhile i found at least two guitarists who report the same problem i have on d'addario strings - !
it's in a german surf-forum, if you can read that:

http://www.surfmusic-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=2295&sid=20851ca0e7a20bec1a48eadb347e721f#p8582

at least you'll understand the big red sentence... they say it also happened to them with 013 gauge...

so it really might be a weakness of that special brand, and in the meantime i treated the rest of those strings preventively with super glue...
Ankhanu
I believe the gap-less saddle Mustang bridges are the US, and earlier Japanese bridges; in recent years the Japan Mustangs have come with the gappy-saddles. The one I had bought was gap-less:

As you can see, I swapped back to the stock bridge; the white on the saddle height adjustment screws is teflon tape, helps them stay put a little better.

Here's a shot of the tailpiece; it's strung with d'Addario EXL115W (0.11s w/ wound third). These are my go-to strings for the Jaguar, and also my other guitars lately. The wound 3rd really improves tuning stability, I've always found plain 3rds the least stable string on any guitar I've ever played.


The superglue is still working for ya?
fuzzkaizer
superglue is still working, but we'll perhaps never know, maybe i found a sane string at last? anyway, played a gig meanwhile and no dissolving ends since operation glue...

this picture is a reply to your teflon tape trick Very Happy
this one on a JM is a warmoth-mustang-bridge with those heigth ajustment screws of the saddles - i had a hard time to get it working, also thought about tape, but then i used my girls nailpolish instead (that's the pinkish-red stuff you can see there. not my colour, but...). i sealed the heigth ajustment screws to stay in place, but also at the point where they touch ground, for there was some noise...
but first i had to shorten those little screws, because by lowering (especially the e-saddles), they were protruding, which was a quite awful feeling at the palm of the right hand when playing (one wouldn'd dare palm-muting for example).
at the other JM, there's that gapless mustangbridge, and for me it's simple and perfect as it is.
welshsteve
Very odd situation. Never come across that. Mind you, I've only really ever used Ernie Ball strings on electric, and Martin strings on acoustic.
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