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Old 08-07-2014, 11:01 AM
DanPanther DanPanther is offline
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Default Pick thickness realtion to breaking strings

Is there any experience notable, as to the thicker the pick, the greater possibility of breaking strings ?
Personally I use medium and thin picks, and have never broken a string.
In another thread it is said, that the thinner the pick the more string noise you get. I find that with thinner picks the string has a tendency to smoothly slide off the pick. With Heavy pick, I find the string will at times seem to pop off the pick, that to me would cause string noise ?
Any clarification would be appreciated. Maybe I need to adjust the way I hold a thicker pick.

Dan
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:02 AM
bancika bancika is offline
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I never broke a string with a pick and I use fairly thick, usually 1.4-2.0mm and very pointed. But I'm a fairly light picker.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:07 AM
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devellis devellis is offline
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I just posted in the other pick thread that a key to success with a thick pick is using the edge, not the flat, to energize the string. If your grip is sufficiently loose and you let the edge of the pick glide along the string, the string shouldn't break. If you hold a thick pick rigidly in a death grip and slap the flat surface of the pick forcefully against the string, the pick won't have an easy path to glide over the string and you risk a breakage. Light grip, angled attack, no broken strings. I haven't broken a string in probably decades on a guitar or mandolin.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:11 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Originally I had a light touch and used thin picks (0.59 orange Tortex). Over time, I have trended toward much heavier picks. Since I play acoustically a lot at large jams, I have also developed a heavy strum and flatpick technique to get enough volume. I cannot recall ever breaking a string while strumming. FWIW.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanPanther View Post
Is there any experience notable, as to the thicker the pick, the greater possibility of breaking strings ?
Personally I use medium and thin picks, and have never broken a string.
In another thread it is said, that the thinner the pick the more string noise you get. I find that with thinner picks the string has a tendency to smoothly slide off the pick. With Heavy pick, I find the string will at times seem to pop off the pick, that to me would cause string noise ?
Any clarification would be appreciated. Maybe I need to adjust the way I hold a thicker pick.

Dan
HiDan...

As a teacher, I've seen more thin pick players breaking 3rd and 4th strings than thick pick players. And they break strings from .012 or .013 sets equally.

As I have questioned them (when they asked for help), it seems it's more about the feel of the pick, not the function of the pick. They love the feel of the thin pick yielding/bending as they dig into the strings. And the ones who break strings regularly tend to dig into the string bed closer to the saddle.

When they get excited, they enjoy digging harder into the string bed and dragging the pick through the strings close to the bridge, and they snap strings off at the saddle (grooves or not).

Guys who use a thicker pick and stroke easier seem to break less strings. The same would apply to players who use thinner picks too, but those who play with thinner picks don't tend to stroke easier.

There are a special class of players who I think of as All-out-full-on-strummers who give it all they can when they strum all the time, and they break strings no matter what is in their hand. They also over play their guitars.





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Old 08-07-2014, 11:17 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bancika View Post
I never broke a string with a pick and I use fairly thick, usually 1.4-2.0mm and very pointed. But I'm a fairly light picker.
Me too. String breakage is due to two things :-

1. Poor technique,

2. cutting edges on nut, saddle or machine heads.

No, wait - there's more :

3. Too light strings.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:20 AM
Mtn Man Mtn Man is offline
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Yes, definitely.

My son breaks strings all the time, or used to. He has a heavy right hand and he’s been jamming with banjos and fiddles for so many years he’s learned how to eke every ounce of volume from the guitar just to be heard, and to attack the strings in a way that delivers a crisper tone, which means attacking them at a sharp angle and nearer to the bridge. Unfortunately some of the techniques he uses to make the guitar scream and cut through the mix are not easy on strings. Using a thicker pick is part of how he generates volume. Since he almost always breaks them right behind the soundhole I’m pretty sure the pick is a factor. The same way the knife is a factor when dicing a tomato. I recently bought a five pack of Elixirs. Out of those five sets, Nick broke eight strings. That's when we finally decided no more Elixirs.

He recently switched to Tony Rice Monels and the string breakage has decreased significantly. My theory is it’s because of the lower tension of the Monels. He can still break them, but only after a couple weeks of wear, and by then it’s time to change them anyway. The Elixirs used to break right out of the box. The Monels also deliver a stronger fundamental tone than the Elixirs, and cut through better, although they go dead after about a week. So he's learning to back off somewhat. Oh yeah, and Monels are about a third of the price of Elixirs…
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtn Man View Post
…Unfortunately some of the techniques he uses to make the guitar scream and cut through the mix are not easy on strings.
Hi MM...

At least he's aware of that.

I've also found that if players use picks with a speed bevel cut into the edge, it's easier on strings.





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Old 08-07-2014, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
...As a teacher, I've seen more thin pick players breaking 3rd and 4th strings than thick pick players. And they break strings from .012 or .013 sets equally...
I'm not a teacher, but have observed the same thing. A friend of mine, a good but heavy handed player, used to break strings all the time and used picks around 1.0mm or a bit less. I was his unofficial roadie during church services. He once broke 11 strings on two guitars in one service.
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:11 PM
flaggerphil flaggerphil is offline
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I haven't broken a string with a pick since the early '70s.

I use Fender Thins almost exclusively.

FWIW.
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:44 PM
Guitar1083 Guitar1083 is offline
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I'm so sorry.

I don't think the right hand can
break strings, I'm a heavy right
hand player, and if you can bend
that low e 3 full steps and a high e
1-1/2 it seams like it would be so
impossible to break a string, unless
there old or bad strings.
99.9% of the time that strings
break are at the tuning machine the
nut or saddle. The harder you hit the
strings i bet you the pins fly out before
you break a string.

this is all said IMHO

Thank you and best regards...
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:57 PM
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JP McD JP McD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post


...And the ones who break strings regularly tend to dig into the string bed closer to the saddle.

... digging harder into the string bed and dragging the pick through the strings close to the bridge, and they snap strings off at the saddle (grooves or not).

... but those who play with thinner picks don't tend to stroke easier.

You nailed it -- this is my experience exactly!

10 years ago I played thin picks and medium strings and broke the A, D, & G strings regularly. I was too close to the bridge and over playing, trying to drive the 13s with a light pick. I fixed the hand position first, then changed to 12s and a medium pick (eventually to a heavy), and the breakage improved greatly. Then I eased up on the over playing and I haven't broken a string in a couple of years (except in excessively humid conditions).
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:58 PM
Mtn Man Mtn Man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitar1083 View Post
I'm so sorry.

I don't think the right hand can
break strings, I'm a heavy right
hand player, and if you can bend
that low e 3 full steps and a high e
1-1/2 it seams like it would be so
impossible to break a string, unless
there old or bad strings.
99.9% of the time that strings
break are at the tuning machine the
nut or saddle. The harder you hit the
strings i bet you the pins fly out before
you break a string.

this is all said IMHO

Thank you and best regards...
Bending a string at its midpoint doesn't stress the material the same way as striking it near its endpoint. You're talking about two different things.
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