What To Do If You Break Your String Mid-Song – Guitar Lesson

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One of the biggest fears of a gigging guitarist is breaking a string mid-song. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening. We’ll be covering those things in this lesson. We’ll also be going over what you can do if your string does happen to break during a live performance.

The best things you can do to prevent string breakage are washing your hands and cleaning your strings. This slows the build-up grime on your guitar as well as slowing the oxidization process. Changing your strings often is another way to prevent this issue. If you notice your strings breaking frequently, you may want to get your saddles checked for any bumps or burrs.

Before we even get into what to do If you do happen to break a string during a song, make sure you always carry an extra set of strings with you. Practice changing your strings quickly and efficiently. One thing that helps for quick string changes is locking tuners.

A trick for playing through a string-break is learning to adjust to playing with five strings on the fly. This will mean quickly tuning your guitar up after the break since it’ll throw off the tension on the neck. Another key is to be able to improvise and play the same parts on different parts of the guitar. That way, if you’re left without a necessary string for a riff, you can still play that riff elsewhere.

Preventative measures will always be your best bet. But if the worst does happen, these tips should help you get through the rest of the song without too much trouble!

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20 comments

  1. Sukhbir Sekhon

    Just play a triple neck guitar all the time?

  2. Sukhbir Sekhon

    Locking tuners? What magic is this?

  3. Breaking a string on stage is hell for a floyd rose user :O

  4. Sajib Chowdhury

    WOW! A lovely PRS.

  5. Michael Inglis

    I've been playing 18 years an use tons of semitone whole tone and tone an a half bends and I've never broke a strong while playing. And I play for hours a day sometimes. At least an hour every day though. I'm not saying it's not possible it's just never happened to me. I do all the work on my guitars and file any burs when I'm changing bridges tuners etc.

  6. I love that PRS

  7. Richard Southern

    Blues singer Josh White used to break a string on purpose in concert and change it while he played a song using stop choruses.

  8. ……..You can also do a “George Benson” trick and sing the notes that are missing (listen to the song “On Broadway”…….

  9. ……..Thanks for your thoughts on “string theory”…….

  10. Weird seeing this. I just broke a string on stage tonight. I always have a backup guitar with me so I just ran over swapped em real quick. Still sucked though. It was my fault I usually put new strings on before every show but I’ve had a lot of shows this month and just thought I could get through them all with one set. Wrong choice since my sweat is very corrosive. Won’t make that mistake again.

  11. Hey, did you break that string on purpose for the video? Looks like you did. Kind of makes those Ernie Ball Paradigm videos a joke where they have someone like John Petrucci try and say, "I can't break it." Lol

  12. I wipe my guitar strings with a lint free cloth every time I get done playing with my guitar. And because of that, my strings have stayed on for over a year.

  13. If any guitar play complains about the price of strings needs to shut up NOW they have no place to talk when us drum players have to buy one drum skin for the same price as one pack of strings

  14. Soumya Maradona Ghosh

    (To the tune of "I kissed a girl"):
    "I broke a string and fixed it
    just before my solo and rocked it!"

  15. Your guitar tech is good and he is watching and he brings another guitar to you. Problem solved in about 6 seconds.

  16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXwBsxTBxGM BB king changing broken string during performance !

  17. omg, I hope this magically avoids happening to me, lol. But at least if it does I have watched this video and now have hope!

  18. If you use a Floyd Rose, you really need that back up guitar! or a patient audience. Doesn't take too long to change one string on a FR, but you are done playing it until you do, as all the remaining strings are now out of tune. Could be a nightmare changing one however under pressure. A few more steps than on your Gibson, and you need an allen wrench and some wire cutters to do it.

  19. Applying the high E string is the scariest scientist experiment

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