Breaking a string is one of the most unpleasant things that can happen to you while playing the guitar. Especially if it happens at the worst time – for example, during a gig.
We usually don’t think about the problem until it happens. Still, if you have a stage performance coming up, it’s better to be prepared in advance to react quickly and efficiently.
This article will tell you what to do if you break a string, when you can fix it and when you need to replace it, how to fix a guitar string, and what steps to take to prevent strings from breaking.
Can you fix a broken guitar string by yourself?
We’ll be honest from the start – trying to repair a guitar string isn’t the best solution. If you do, be aware that your guitar will not be able to stay in tune, and the string will break again very soon.
If the situation doesn’t allow you to change the string, or you don’t have spare strings or don’t have access to new ones, then you can try to repair the string. But only if you have no choice and do it temporarily until you get new strings.
When can you repair a broken string, and when should you change it?
As mentioned before, replacing a string is the best way to fix it. However, you can try to repair it depending on the location of the tear. It will be very useful if you have left tails of extra strings in the machine head when placing the strings. That way, you can use those leftovers if the string breaks at the bottom end of the guitar near the guitar bridge.
How to fix a broken string – step-by-step guide
If you have decided to try to repair your string, these are the steps to follow:
Release the end of the broken string
Pull out the bridge pin to remove the broken string.
If you decide to change all of your strings, but your guitar doesn`t have bridge pins, feel free to read our guide on that.
Unwind the broken string from the ball end
Take the piece of old string connected to the ball end and detach it.
Attach the ball end to the other part of the broken string
Pull the bigger part of the string slightly and connect it through the ball end. Wind the string around itself at most 3-4 times.
Release the string from the tuning post
Once the ball end is in place, free the top end of the string so you have more when attaching it to the tuning peg hole.
Put the ball end back in place
Take the broken end of the string where you placed the ball end and insert the string into the peg hole. Place the bridge pin on top.
Pull the string back to the tuning post
Once you’ve aligned the string in the guitar bridge, it’s time to return it to the tuning post.
Tune the string
Turn the tuning peg until the string reaches the correct tension. Don’t expect to reach the same tone it was in, but it will come close.
How to prevent guitar strings from breaking?
To keep your strings from breaking, you need to take good care of them. Here are some ways to do it:
Pay attention to whether your strings break in the same place
Usually, the strings break when they are worn, and you haven’t changed them for a long time. However, if they break in the same place every time, check your guitar in that area for a sharp edge that could cut the strings. If you see anything unusual, it’s best to take your guitar to a professional to repair it if needed.
Clean the strings after each play
As you play, your fingers leave grease, dead skin, and dirt on the strings. A quick wipe with a soft cloth will protect your strings from corrosion caused by dirt.
Change your strings at least once a month
How quickly your strings wear out depends on how frequently you play.
Changing your strings at least every 3 weeks is a good idea if you play often. Especially if you use thin strings that break faster.
If you want to know how to change your acoustic guitar strings, check out this article.
Stretch the new strings
When putting on new strings, remember to stretch them slightly as you tune them. This will help the strings hold tuning longer and prevent them from breaking quickly.
As you have seen, there is a way to repair a broken string, but only as a temporary solution. Changing it as soon as possible is best to avoid uncomfortable situations. We advise you to always have spare strings on hand.
Can I replace only one guitar string?
It is possible to replace only one string. This will save you time and money.
But depending on the cause of the break, replacing the entire string set may be a better idea. Especially if all the strings are worn out, and you’ll replace them soon anyway.
Is it hard to fix guitar strings?
It depends on exactly how the string is broken and where. But to be honest, replacing it will be easier than fixing it.
How long do guitar strings last?
Many guitarists plan to change their strings, considering it necessary every 100 hours of guitar playing. However, this depends on how often and for how long you play your guitar, your style, and how you maintain your instrument. Read more on when and how often to replace your strings.