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May 31, 2023 - 7:47:27 PM
3001 posts since 2/12/2005

Question: Did you ever have a third string break during playing?

I had my first ever while playing tonight. It was a 0.012 gauge and it broke right at the 2nd fret. The frets are stainless steel if that matters. I was playing a song with a snappy 2-3 pulloff at the time. It scared me pretty good and I knew immediately that a string had broken; I assumed 5th, but it was the third!

May 31, 2023 - 7:52:30 PM

roydsjr

USA

844 posts since 5/17/2007

Not normally, mainly the 1st or 2nd and sometimes the 5th.

May 31, 2023 - 9:37:12 PM

373 posts since 7/24/2021

I haven’t broken a 3rd string but I did break a 4th string once . How , you my ask ? I was trying to tune the 3rd string whilst twisting the fourth string tuner. Haha. Couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t going in tune . When it broke It sounded like a gun shot . I thought I bent my tail piece and tuning post, but luckily did not . Do you think the SS fret had something to do with your string breaking?

May 31, 2023 - 11:17:37 PM
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rvrose

USA

966 posts since 6/29/2007

How old are the strings?

Rick

Jun 1, 2023 - 1:54:01 AM
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phb

Germany

3884 posts since 11/8/2010

I haven't broken any string ever. I play rather softly (which a lot of people around me appreciate). Isn't 0.012 rather thin for a 3rd string?

Jun 1, 2023 - 4:43:45 AM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

29307 posts since 8/3/2003

I'm kind of like Will: the only time I've ever broken a string is when I was tuning and twisted the wrong tuner and ended up breaking a string. That's only happened to me once. Once was enough. That darned string flew up and hit me in the face. Luckily, I had my glasses on because it hit right under my eye! Taught me to look, listen and be careful.

Jun 1, 2023 - 5:13:58 AM

6777 posts since 10/13/2007

Never.
ken

Jun 1, 2023 - 5:22:58 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

17157 posts since 8/30/2006

It sounds like a flaw in the string. Where it broke is not common in my experience. Stainless has unique properties? Just more nickel.
Do you use them because they don't rust? What are the other string gages?
My favorite is the string slipping out of a spike or the spike becomes a little arrow heading forward into where?
Get back on the banjo, sounds like you hit a bump. :)

Jun 1, 2023 - 6:03:49 AM

3304 posts since 9/5/2006

Nope

Jun 1, 2023 - 6:24:08 AM

leehar

USA

284 posts since 2/18/2018
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Many years ago I was using Gibson strings, the Earl Scruggs set. I had, in a very short period of time, three strings broke while tuning. They all seemed to be at the loop end. Went back to GHS and I don’t think I’ve had a broken string since.

Jun 1, 2023 - 6:47:23 AM

3001 posts since 2/12/2005

quote:
Originally posted by rvrose

How old are the strings?

Rick


This is the banjo I got in April.  So, about six weeks old.  Daily play of 1-3 hours.

The stainless steel frets just happened to be on the neck I got for it (from the classifieds).  Other than the color, they seem the same as other frets to me.

Jun 1, 2023 - 6:49:36 AM

4700 posts since 10/13/2005

A .012 string would normally be a 1st.or 5th string. A .016 is a typical 3d. string. Something else going on here? banjered

Jun 1, 2023 - 8:44:50 AM

78866 posts since 5/9/2007

Did you put on new strings when you first got it?
Age of strings has a lot to do with breakage.
Other than that just put on a new set of strings and see how long they last.
Someone may have put on an old string on the 3rd.Not putting on a 13-16 could suggest using any old string that happened to be kicking around.

Jun 1, 2023 - 10:02:37 AM
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3001 posts since 2/12/2005

quote:
Originally posted by banjered

A .012 string would normally be a 1st.or 5th string. A .016 is a typical 3d. string. Something else going on here? banjered


I play medium lights in the same gauge as J.D.Crowe did.  0.012" is normal for medium lights.

I previously played mediums but I decided the sound was better, the stress on the neck is less, and my fingers don't get sore with med-lights.

Jun 1, 2023 - 10:05:43 AM

3001 posts since 2/12/2005

quote:
Originally posted by steve davis

Did you put on new strings when you first got it?
Age of strings has a lot to do with breakage.
Other than that just put on a new set of strings and see how long they last.
Someone may have put on an old string on the 3rd.Not putting on a 13-16 could suggest using any old string that happened to be kicking around.


Since it was new setup, I used a full set of new medium light strings.

I did, however, put a "new old stock" string (of the same gauge) on as a replacement last night.  I think I've had it since 1977.  So, we'll see if that lasts.  It sounds good and I got through a show already today.  ha!

Jun 1, 2023 - 10:26:13 AM

3307 posts since 4/5/2006

Could it be Randy has too many banjos to keep track of how old the strings are on each banjo? wink

Jun 1, 2023 - 12:01:32 PM

4462 posts since 6/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by banjered

A .012 string would normally be a 1st.or 5th string. A .016 is a typical 3d. string. Something else going on here? banjered

Sorry, I have to disagree. Check out the gauges of most of the string sets sold by retailers like Elderly or Just Strings. You'll find that .016 is on the heavy side for a third string. Most string sets labeled light, medium or almost medium, regardless of brand, are in the .012 - .014 range for third strings. Most of these sets' first and second strings range from .009 - .011.

Jun 1, 2023 - 1:59:59 PM

4700 posts since 10/13/2005

Thanks Arnie, I stand corrected....sort of. You got me curious so I looked at the Strings at Elderly and what are called light and medium are all over the map depending on what the manufacturers declares. As you say many light third strings are .012 but there are several third "light strings that go up to .018! I got the .016 3d string from pulling out my "medium" PF180 GHS
11-13-16-24-10 spare set. I can see how some banjo players could get very picky about their string gages. Bottom line for banjo pluckers – look at the gages and pretty much set aside the "light, medium, and heavy" labels. banjered

Jun 1, 2023 - 4:39:30 PM
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368 posts since 3/2/2013

quote:
Originally posted by randybartlett
quote:
Originally posted by rvrose

How old are the strings?

Rick


This is the banjo I got in April.  So, about six weeks old.  Daily play of 1-3 hours.

The stainless steel frets just happened to be on the neck I got for it (from the classifieds).  Other than the color, they seem the same as other frets to me.

 


If your second fret is stainless steel and your playing only a 012 as a 3rd string for 6 weeks one to three hours a day and especially if you use a lot of fretting pressure than yeah that's easily enough time and playing gone by to break it there. 

Jun 1, 2023 - 9:42:23 PM
Players Union Member

rvrose

USA

966 posts since 6/29/2007

quote:
Originally posted by randybartlett
quote:
Originally posted by rvrose

How old are the strings?

Rick


This is the banjo I got in April.  So, about six weeks old.  Daily play of 1-3 hours.

The stainless steel frets just happened to be on the neck I got for it (from the classifieds).  Other than the color, they seem the same as other frets to me.

 


It seems odd, I've never broke a string from playing. 

 

Rick 

Jun 2, 2023 - 3:59:27 AM

pjfolino

Australia

706 posts since 9/20/2011

Never. But I use 14s on 3rd.

Jun 2, 2023 - 4:22:06 AM

368 posts since 3/2/2013

quote:
Originally posted by rvrose
quote:
Originally posted by randybartlett
quote:
Originally posted by rvrose

How old are the strings?

Rick


This is the banjo I got in April.  So, about six weeks old.  Daily play of 1-3 hours.

The stainless steel frets just happened to be on the neck I got for it (from the classifieds).  Other than the color, they seem the same as other frets to me.

 


It seems odd, I've never broke a string from playing. 

 

Rick 


Jun 2, 2023 - 4:28:16 AM

368 posts since 3/2/2013

Not odd. It's a thing if you play a lot but again it depends on certain variables. Aggressive pull offs on stainless frets will wear out a string twice as fast as normal frets for one but also acidic residue from skin can be a variable.

Jun 2, 2023 - 7:29:41 AM

4700 posts since 10/13/2005

Frank N. Stein says that with the acid pouring out of his (borrowed) hands he has to change his banjo strings weekly. So count your string milage blessings! banjered

Jun 2, 2023 - 1:23:38 PM
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3001 posts since 2/12/2005

quote:
Originally posted by monstertone

Could it be Randy has too many banjos to keep track of how old the strings are on each banjo? wink


Have you been talking to my wife!?

Jun 2, 2023 - 1:40:27 PM

78866 posts since 5/9/2007

I think the small 3rd string might be more prone to breakage from being picked harder to get it louder.

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