Ultimate Guide To Broken Guitar Strings: 13 Common Questions Answered

Good guitar strings are an important part of playing the guitar well, and if you’re going to play guitar, you might as well learn as much about them as you can.

One of the main things to learn is this: guitar strings break. They can break often if you’re not used to them.

Having said that, it’s good to know all about broken guitar strings because you’ll want to know what to do in certain scenarios, and that’s what this article is here to help you do.

1. Do guitar strings hurt when they break?

This question is not that uncommon. People picture guitar strings shooting through the air and causing significant damage to their bodies, but the truth is that it hardly ever happens that way.

While guitar strings can hurt you when they break, it’s usually just a sting or a slap and nothing more. More serious injuries can occur, of course, but they are actually very rare.

2. Can a guitar string cut you?

Yes, guitar strings can cut you, even though they normally don’t. The most common reasons for cuts are playing with a rusty guitar string and playing the guitar before your fingers have had the chance to develop calluses on them.

Rusty guitar strings and playing with non-callused fingers, such as when you’re a beginner, both run the risk of cutting your fingertips if you’re not careful; that’s why playing with good strings and developing those calluses are both important things to remember when learning to play guitar.

3. Why do guitar strings break?

Guitar strings can break for numerous reasons, but some of the most common reasons include:

  • The frets on the guitar are rough and uneven
  • The nut is either dirty or worn
  • The bridge on your guitar is too sharp
  • You’re using the wrong strings
  • Your tuning posts have become burred

The truth is, there are lots of reasons why guitar strings break, but if you’re aware of when it might be more likely to happen, you can prepare for it so it’s not such a shock.

4. Can guitar strings break on their own?

Guitar strings can, in fact, break on their own under certain circumstances. For this to occur, one of two reasons is usually to blame.

The first is the oxidation process. This process makes the strings much weaker especially when coupled with the continuous tension placed on the strings. These things together make it more likely that the strings will break on their own.

The second reason is the contraction of the wood of the guitar over time, which causes tension on the strings and might make them break without notice.

5. Can guitar strings break?

Guitar strings can definitely break. Guitar strings usually snap or pop when they break, and more often than not, it signals a problem with a certain part of the guitar. It could be a problem with the nut, the tuning bolt, the fret, or even your guitar pick.

If you pay attention to how and exactly where your strings keep breaking, that’ll give you a clue as to which part of the guitar is causing the strings to break so that you can make necessary changes to how you play or make any repairs that your guitar may need.

6. Can electric guitar strings break?

Electric guitar strings do indeed break, and it’s often a problem with the nut, bridge, or fret of the guitar. You can also overwind your strings and cause them to break.

In fact, even if you treat your guitar strings just right the entire time, you should still plan to keep them no longer than three months or 100 hours of playing time, whichever comes first. This is usually how long most of them will last and not much longer.

7. Do old guitar strings break easier?

Yes, old guitar strings do break a lot easier than brand-new ones. This isn’t to say that new guitar strings cannot break, but they are simply not as likely to break as older strings are.

Older strings have more wear and tear on them, and just the pressure that they go through on a regular basis will degrade them and make them weaker every time you play. Older guitar strings always break easier than newer ones do.

8. How often do electric guitar strings break?

This is a difficult question to answer because it is different for everyone. Usually, guitar strings last through roughly 100 hours of playing time, which is why this is the timeframe that experts recommend guitarists buy new strings.

If they break sooner than that, of course, you’ll need to replace them, but even if they seem to be in good shape after 100 hours of playing time, they should still be replaced. Otherwise, they’ll likely be close to being worn down and might break at any minute.

9. Why do my guitar strings keep breaking while tuning?

As mentioned earlier in this post, guitar strings often break at certain points, such as the nut, tuning post, or frets. When you’re using the tuning posts and the strings are too sharp at the end or you’re using the posts incorrectly (think: turning them too tightly), your guitar string can break.

The more experience you have playing the guitar, the less likely these things will happen because you’ll be able to remedy the problem.

10. Where do guitar strings break?

The truth is, guitar strings can break anywhere because there are so many reasons for them to break in the first place. They can break in the middle of the string or at one of the tips, and at any place on the guitar itself.

The exact location of the break is directly related to the reason that it broke and the location where it broke, such as the nut, fret, and so on. In fact, if your guitar strings keep breaking in the same spot on the guitar, for instance, that can be your first clue as to why they are breaking.

11. Is it common for guitar strings to break?

Despite the care you give your guitar and strings, the strings are bound to break at some point. This is because things such as sweaty hands, constant pressure on the strings, and your style of playing all contribute to the possibility of your guitar strings breaking.

This means that you shouldn’t be concerned if your guitar strings break before the 100-hour mark because it is more likely than not that if you play guitar long enough, you’ll experience your strings breaking.

12. How do you know when a guitar string is about to break?

This is often hard to determine, but if your guitar’s sound starts to change or the “feel” or look of the strings changes, it is likely they’ll be breaking soon.

Anything related to the sound or look of the strings could be a signal that your guitar strings likely won’t be around much longer. If you suspect anything about your guitar is “off,” it could be because of the strings.

13. How long do guitar strings last before they break?

Guitar strings should be replaced every 100 hours of playing time, which is roughly three months for most players. That being said, your strings may last longer or a shorter time than this, but it’s no cause for concern.

Everyone’s playing style is different, but even if they don’t break during the three-month period, you should still change them regularly throughout the year.