Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

246
Banjo Lovers Online


Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Jan 12, 2019 - 11:50:24 AM

Alegria

Norway

167 posts since 9/27/2014

I have a tenor banjo tuned GDAE (12-38 gauge). Yesterday the e string started going out of tune while I was playing, consequentlyI had to tune up about 50 cents every few minutes. Today it was the same, but at one point as I was tuning back up to E, the string just snapped.

What could be the cause of this?

Jan 12, 2019 - 12:15:34 PM

19 posts since 5/10/2016

You might try a lighter gauge string, like a .010 or .011.
Jim

Jan 12, 2019 - 12:19:07 PM

Alegria

Norway

167 posts since 9/27/2014

Could I just get regular guitar strings in that gauge? Or do they have to be for banjo?

Jan 12, 2019 - 2:18:56 PM

bluenote23

Canada

1007 posts since 12/4/2012

The string probably broke because it was time for it to break. Not keeping tune is a symptom of a string gone bad.

You can easily use regular electric guitar strings for the unwound strings of a banjo. These usually have a ball end, not a loop. You can try to untwist the string a bit to extract the ball and then use the loop like a regular banjo string.

However often the loop will break as you try to remove the ball. No big deal. Take a pair of pliers and form a loop by twisting the ends. The twists do not have to be neat and tidy and super tight like a store bought string but make sure there are enough twists so the loop will not come undone.

Jan 12, 2019 - 2:20:40 PM

Alegria

Norway

167 posts since 9/27/2014

Great, them I dont have to order special strings from overseas. The strings been on for about a week, so I doubt that is the reason?

Jan 12, 2019 - 2:29:04 PM

bluenote23

Canada

1007 posts since 12/4/2012

If you mean that because the string was new, it should not have broken, then no, that is not necessarily true. It might just have been a bad string. If you keep snapping strings, then there is another problem.

Do get a quality guitar string, D'addario or another known brand. A .011 D'addario electric guitar string costs about $1 in America.

Jan 12, 2019 - 6:08:38 PM

19 posts since 5/10/2016

I’m guessing it broke at the tailpiece not at the tuner. If that’s the case then the winding at the loop let go. It’s not unusual it can happen. Any plain steel instrument string will work, doesn’t have to be a banjo string.
Some tailpieces will accept loop or ball ends. If it only accepts loop end strings the ball can carefully removed as mentioned.
The E string on a Tenor Banjo is almost at it’s breaking pint when tuned to pitch, that is the reason you might want to go with a lighter gauge string.

Jim

Jan 12, 2019 - 7:21 PM

DSmoke

USA

646 posts since 11/30/2015

.012 plain steel is the most common gauge for the E on a GDAE tuned tenor banjo. You can grab one from your local guitar/music shop. If they only have a ball end you can untwist or crush the ball out.

More importantly, where did the string break? If only after a week, it was a bad string or you have a sharp spot making the break. What brand are you using, assuming you are playing Irish trad with that tuning and gauges, and guessing maybe Eagle?

Jan 12, 2019 - 11:17:10 PM

Alegria

Norway

167 posts since 9/27/2014

It was d’addario Irish Tenor Banjo Strings. The string broke just bellow the mut, maybe around the first three frets.

Jan 13, 2019 - 5:03:09 AM

DSmoke

USA

646 posts since 11/30/2015

I would just put another 12 on that you can buy local, if that one breaks too then you know there is a problem.

Jan 13, 2019 - 8:54:16 AM

5310 posts since 8/28/2013

I'd guess bad string. It happens from time to time. A .012 string is usually fine for GDAE tuning, and I doubt going lighter would be better.

If a new string breaks, too, I'd suspect other causes. If so, make a note of where the break occurs and ask again about it.

Jan 13, 2019 - 10:22:40 AM

538 posts since 8/7/2017

Take a look at the fret at the break with a magnifying glass. Perhaps it got damaged and has a sharp burr that your finger& string rarely touches (otherwise you'd have a rip in your finger tip warning). Fretting over a burr will weaken the string, by making a micro kink, even if it does not break immediately. Aircraft metal control cables run over pulleys and through guides. During annual inspection of the plane, the mechanic wil look for broken wires in the vicinity of those wear points to check for small irregularities in the pulley or guide.

Bad strings do get shipped, I've had them :uneven coating of nickel over the steel, for instance, yielding stress-risers, or fast rusting/pitting; also nicks and kinks).

Hope this helps.

Edited by - BrooksMT on 01/13/2019 10:29:46

Jan 13, 2019 - 4:32:24 PM

4587 posts since 5/14/2007

If the string had been on for awhile, then started to drop in pitch, it may not have been locked on the turner or tailpiece correctly, or the loop may have started to slip. I don't know why it would have broken near the peghead, unless it had a kink in it.

Jan 14, 2019 - 7:00:17 AM

47 posts since 3/8/2018

Yeah those sypmtoms definitely suggest the string was coming unwound. I had a D'Addario ball end guitar string do that too, hmmmm.
Yet it it broke up near nut, that really adds an odd twist to it. (no pun) laugh
Get another string and watch(as I'm sure you'll do), and if it breaks again, I'd suspect a tuning peg with a sharp edge somewhere,,,
The having to retune several times is interesting though.
it 'could' be a bad connect in the winding on to the peg, though that's not generally a problem if it's put on correctly,,,

Good luck!

Jan 15, 2019 - 12:08:29 AM

Alegria

Norway

167 posts since 9/27/2014

I am sorry guys, I have misinformed you. I checked the string again, it must have snapped between the nut and the peg, judging from the lenght of the remaining string. What do you think about that?

My regular banjo has a 1st string with .011 and the fifth string is .010. Could I use either of these as a replacement?

Jan 15, 2019 - 6:49:03 AM

86 posts since 7/14/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Alegria

I am sorry guys, I have misinformed you. I checked the string again, it must have snapped between the nut and the peg, judging from the lenght of the remaining string. What do you think about that?

My regular banjo has a 1st string with .011 and the fifth string is .010. Could I use either of these as a replacement?


That sounds very like a sharp edge on the hole of the tuner. Smooth the inner edge of the hole (both sides) with some fine abrasive paper.

If that was the problem, there's no need to fit a lighter string, though no reason not to try one either.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.203125