I’m the happy owner of an Epiphone Les Paul Custom, with one exception: my high E string breaks about once every two days, the B string breaks about every five days, and today my A and D string broke after being on the guitar just nine days. What can I do to make my strings to last longer? Should I use a specific type of string? In addition, I play the Paul through a solid-state Laney 30-watt combo.
It’s difficult to accurately diagnose your problem without seeing your guitar for myself. From what you describe, and assuming that your strings are breaking at the bridge, it sounds as though tiny burrs (i.e., sharp edges) have developed in the slots of the intonation saddles that the strings pass through. This happens over time and over many string changes. When you restring your guitar, be sure that you place the new strings exactly in the groove of the saddle. If you place the string even a little outside the groove, you’ll cut burrs into the medal when you wind up the string and increase tension on it. These burrs, in turn, can be sharp enough to break your strings prematurely.
It’s also possible that the intonation saddles on your bridge were cut improperly at the factory, which would result in the same fat for your strings. A qualified repairman can tell you if your saddle slots are smooth and give them a light filing to remove any sharp edges. If burs aren’t the problem, it could just be that you’re a heavy-handed player. Try switching to the next-heaviest string gauge available, if the tension of the string isn’t too stiff for you. And remember: all strings are not created equal. Poor-quality strings may also be the culprit. Always use strings manufactured with strict quality control standards (ask your dealer for assistance). Read this article to learn how to Drop Tune your guitar.
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