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So I've had a lot going on lately and I've neglected to practice for about a month. I was super excited to practice for the first time in 4 weeks today, but when I opened my case, my violin's G string was broken! Unraveled right where it touches the bridge. My first thought was how can a string break just sitting in a case, untouched? My second thought was how my bridge might be sharp.
These weren't super old strings either. Fiddlerman Strings I've had on them for about 3 months. Should I be worried about my bridge or is it not so unusual to have strings randomly break while in the case? I've been wanting to try out some Obligatos anyway, so maybe this is a good time to try some, but not if my bridge is sharp and breaking my strings.
What do you guys think?
It shouldn't happen randomly. In 19 years of playing violin and 18 years of playing viola, I've only ever had one string break in the case. (That was because I'd carelessly gotten the string caught in the velcro on the strap holding the neck in place.)
I would say: get your bridge checked. Also, even if there's nothing wrong with the bridge itself, you may want to lubricate the string grooves in it with pencil lead. (Just mark in the groove with a pencil.) There may be excessive friction that wears on the string when you're tuning.
Could it be that humidity got to the instrument and it expanded enough to cause the string to break. Maybe it was sharp when packed away and the expansion caused the string to break? Don’t know if where you live has heat going during those months, which I believe would shrink the instrument(?). Or if it was humid during those months which could have caused expansion?
Is there something on the inside of the lid of the case that might have snagged it? Just some thoughts in case the bridge was not the culprit. I don’t know much about the “mechanics” of instruments humidity, long term storage, etc. Just my thought if you don’t have bridge issues.
Maybe a sharp spot on the tailpiece where the ball was placed and it snagged the wrap?
@FortyNothing - It could be that the bridge is a bit sharp but in any case, we offer a 3 month guarantee. If our strings break within 3 months we'll send you a new one for free, whether it's your fault or not.
Also, strings break from prolonged tension as well as from usage. The usage that affects the strings the most is when tuning rather than playing because of the string stretch and the sliding through both the nut and bridge. The other wear comes from left hand fingers, especially acidic sweaty fingers.
I think I've had these strings longer than 3 months, but that's fine. It was probably the humidity as the room it's in has gone from heat to air conditioning
Fortunately, my violins are as frugal as me and have the good sense to only break “e” strings, which are the cheapest of the lot.
Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. —Frank Zappa
It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott
It could also be an undersized string groove. Sharpness is easy enough to deal with using some light grit sandpaper and patience. Sizing a string groove would ideally be done with a nut file though I've crafted them from feeler gauges for other instruments.
Lubricating string grooves at the nut and bridge as mentioned above is always a good idea and a practice I incorporate with every string change. It allows the string to glide more easily during tuning.
String sticking in these grooves is often noted during tuning. The string won't tune up as you turn the tuner and then suddenly jump up. This may be easier to notice with machined tuners than our pegs though.
"Honest wear" on instrument strings should occur somewhere in the playing length(usually where the strings are stopped or fretted). Wear elsewhere usually indicates an instrument issue.
@Irv You're not the first I've heard to break E strings. My windings on the A string always shred between the D and E notes. When it happens I change the whole set so I never give the other strings time to break. This has happens on two different violins with various string sets so I know it's me. I'm hard on strings. I think I get 3-5 months a set. I probably press too hard.