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Dear Dr. Folkenmusik

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Mark Clark 09 Aug 00 - 05:12 PM
Mbo 09 Aug 00 - 05:17 PM
Bill D 09 Aug 00 - 05:25 PM
JedMarum 09 Aug 00 - 05:35 PM
Mark Clark 09 Aug 00 - 05:37 PM
Downeast Bob 09 Aug 00 - 05:37 PM
Sorcha 09 Aug 00 - 05:44 PM
Little Neophyte 09 Aug 00 - 06:00 PM
Little Neophyte 09 Aug 00 - 06:02 PM
Bert 09 Aug 00 - 06:31 PM
Callie 09 Aug 00 - 10:20 PM
Mbo 09 Aug 00 - 10:26 PM
Mark Clark 09 Aug 00 - 10:38 PM
Melani 09 Aug 00 - 10:41 PM
Rick Fielding 09 Aug 00 - 10:50 PM
rangeroger 09 Aug 00 - 11:01 PM
Mbo 09 Aug 00 - 11:04 PM
Callie 10 Aug 00 - 12:44 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 10 Aug 00 - 04:37 AM
sian, west wales 10 Aug 00 - 05:54 AM
Downeast Bob 10 Aug 00 - 07:59 AM
Grab 10 Aug 00 - 08:18 AM
Willie-O 10 Aug 00 - 08:20 AM
Peter T. 10 Aug 00 - 08:59 AM
MMario 10 Aug 00 - 09:04 AM
Mbo 10 Aug 00 - 11:57 AM
Mark Clark 10 Aug 00 - 02:33 PM
Peter T. 10 Aug 00 - 03:25 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 10 Aug 00 - 03:27 PM
Little Neophyte 10 Aug 00 - 03:34 PM
Kim C 10 Aug 00 - 04:18 PM
rangeroger 10 Aug 00 - 09:29 PM
rangeroger 10 Aug 00 - 09:30 PM
death by whisky 10 Aug 00 - 09:56 PM
rangeroger 11 Aug 00 - 02:14 AM
Lady McMoo 11 Aug 00 - 05:02 AM
death by whisky 11 Aug 00 - 07:31 AM
Kim C 11 Aug 00 - 11:02 AM
Mark Clark 11 Aug 00 - 11:25 AM
Skivee 11 Aug 00 - 11:41 AM
Melani 11 Aug 00 - 04:06 PM
MMario 11 Aug 00 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Aug 00 - 04:56 PM
Skivee 11 Aug 00 - 05:07 PM
Mark Clark 11 Aug 00 - 06:04 PM
Bill D 11 Aug 00 - 06:06 PM
Bill D 11 Aug 00 - 06:58 PM
Mbo 12 Aug 00 - 12:20 AM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Aug 00 - 01:11 AM
Willie-O 12 Aug 00 - 07:10 AM
Peter T. 12 Aug 00 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Skivee, guesting from afar 12 Aug 00 - 12:30 PM
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Subject: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 05:12 PM

Dear Dr. Folkenmusik,

I've been attending concerts and clubs for over forty years now and I have often seen musicians breaking strings on stage, often several in a single performance. My problem is I've been playing my guitar all that time but have only broken two or three strings in forty years. Can you tell me what I'm doing wrong?

Disheartened.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mbo
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 05:17 PM

I can't tell you how many strings I've broken...and I've ony been playing for 6 years. Almost always it's the D string that goes, but I did bust the high E string when pounding out "The Holy Ground" and screaming it at the top of my lungs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 05:25 PM

Why, Mark, you obviously aren't pounding it out and screaming enough!...(I watched the Newgrass Revival years ago go onstage with an extra person sitting in a chair...turned out it was the wife of the mandolin player who was there expressly to change strings from the abuse he gave 'em..sometimes 2 or 3 in a set..had 2 mandolins)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: JedMarum
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 05:35 PM

I have had guitars that break strings more then others, I have had periods of time when I break break strings more then others - there seems to be differnet reasons strings break m0ore often then others - the way you play (hard picking) will make a differnece - the strings you choose (some break more then others) - the weather (I ceratinly break more strings wehn it's hot and humid then any other time) - and the way you tune (many players use multiple tunings or even stay with alternate tunings and either of the conditions can add to the wear on the life of the string).

On my Larrivee, I played it for two years before I broke a string (and I play hard). Since then I've broken a few more, but only in the very humid air. I've yet to break a banjo string (and I retune my 5th string a lot, so I'm expecting it). But on other guitars, especially one on which I regularly use an alternate tuning, I break them more often.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 05:37 PM

Bill, it seems to me her name may have been Grace. I saw them do the same thing. Grace sat in the back with a large box of strings and kept all the players supplied with newly restrung instruments. After watching that for a while, the audience started chanting "free Grace, free Grace."

     - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Downeast Bob
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 05:37 PM

Dear Disheartened:

Don't be discouraged. The ability to break strings on stage is an acquired skill. Many never master it. It's used to best advantage by musicians who know how to change strings quickly and tell stories at the same time. Those who are good at it usually manage to bust a string just when the program is starting drag a bit and they know how to deliver the punch line just as they get the new string tuned to the right pitch. Impressive as all hell. It also comes in handy for musicians who want the audience to know they are financially successful. They enjoy handing the crippled instrument to a roadie and grabbing another tuned and waiting D-45. If you haven't mastered this art in 40 years, it's probably not your style of music, but if it will make you feel better, you can file the B or E string of your guitar part way through and play in front of noisy crowds that can't hear you unless you make a lot of noise.

Good Luck!

Dr. Folkenmusik


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 05:44 PM

It's always fun to break your G-string in public, and it only EVER happens in public.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 06:00 PM

Jed I tend break my fifth string quite often. I am not sure why. I just assumed it was from the constant retuning of my 5th string. I use my railroad spike so that I do not have to tune up or down more than a couple of notes, but it still seems to break often.
But I am now starting to wonder why. Maybe I have a sharp or rough bearing point that the string is resting on. I'll have to see at what point this string is breaking. Maybe I am doing something wrong like how I wind the string. I could be creating a kink in it or something.
Or maybe there is a sharp edge at the tail piece? Not too sure. But if I don't find it soon, I am going to invest in a 5th string manufacturing company.

Mark those guys on stage, they are just trying to look cool.

Bonnie Bonnie


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 06:02 PM

Oooops, I didn't intentionally mean to type Pretty Bonnie, I just forgot that I had already signed my name.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Bert
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 06:31 PM

Aw! 'Bonnie Bonnie' seems appropriate enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Callie
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 10:20 PM

Mbo: I want to know HOW you could scream "Holy Ground" at the top of your lungs! All the versions I know of this song are quiet and lilting.

I've never broken a string on stage, but I've broken a strap - the guitar fell with a resounding "CPBLUGGGGHH". How caome breaking a string is cool and breaking a strap is reserved for we nerdy folk?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mbo
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 10:26 PM

Come to HearMe and I'll show you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 10:38 PM

Dear Dr. Folkenmusik,

I always like to sound my best so I always put a brand new set of strings on my guitar just before the first set of a gig. My problem is with the other band members. As the set goes on, the other players get more and more out of tune. I don't think they put new strings on. My question is what is the best way to get the other band members to stay in tune with me? I don't want to hurt their feelings.

Sensitive in Sandusky


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Melani
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 10:41 PM

I once saw Paul Brady break a string on a piano. Now that's playing hard!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 10:50 PM

Dear Banjo Bonnie. You are breaking your fifth string so often because you're learning to play in all keys without a capo and consequently you're tuning that one a lot. I used to have that problem, but now I don't. I only play in G now.(joke) Seriously, get yourself the high tech fifth string capo. I haven't busted one in years, and I DO play in all keys.

Dear Mark. As you well know, strings only break at important times. Perhaps God hates you.

Dear Mark (second problem) Fire the band.

Dr. Flunderblunken


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: rangeroger
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 11:01 PM

Sorcha,
what I hate is when I break my G string while playing in church. Really is quite embarassing.

I started breaking strings on a regular basis in my church band. We were doing some Daryl Evans stuff that would get particularly driving.I, of course, was playing an unamplified acoustic and singing unmiked over the drums and the rest of the amplified instruments. What the heck, everyone said they could hear me at the back of the church.Anyway I was playing a little harder than I normally would. Ended up buying heavy gauge D"Aquisto Acoustic Brass Masters for 3.50 a set online.

Cured the problem. Only now my fingers bleed a lot.

Mbo, you go.Belt it out!

rr


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mbo
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 11:04 PM

Thanks rog! The string went out on the final "Fine girl ye are!!" too! Wonder if it knew? ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Callie
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 12:44 AM

Sorry Mbo - can't make it to HearMe today - I'm at work and on a primitive Mac (you can see the wee mice running along the fan belt inside the terminal).

Next time ...

Cbo


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 04:37 AM

A certain performer I may have mentioned once or twice (the UK's most successful chart success before the Beatles, name withheld to avoid upsetting Art & Sandy) always broke at least one string in performance (though oddly, not in his earlier jazz days). It could have been a stage trick ( I suspect it was) or a consequence of his frenetic performances ( like his several heart attacks). Forty years on, he seems not to need to do it (or uses stronger strings!).
RtS


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: sian, west wales
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 05:54 AM

Dear Dr. Folkenmusik

Further to Sorcha's confession ... is there a gender difference in SSD (Snapped String Disorder)? I know I've never snapped anything but the G-string (yes ... in church too).

Thian, Thongless in Thwanthea (ok. Carmarthen actually, but no Ss in Carmarthen)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Downeast Bob
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 07:59 AM

Sensitive in Sandusky wrote:

"Dear Dr. Folkenmusik,

I always like to sound my best so I always put a brand new set of strings on my guitar just before the first set of a gig. My problem is with the other band members. As the set goes on, the other players get more and more out of tune. I don't think they put new strings on. My question is what is the best way to get the other band members to stay in tune with me? I don't want to hurt their feelings. "

Dear Sensitive:

The problem is more likely with their ears than with their strings. Changing strings before every gig is a good idea (if you're not overly frugal or as lazy as the average folk singer) because it makes the sound of your instrument shine. I'm not sure that new strings stay in tune any better than old ones. In fact, nylon strings (which a lot of folkies used to use) are notorious for going out of tune when they are first put on. Maybe what your band needs is to plant someone in the audience who has a good ear and is less sensitive than you to holler out, when needed, "Sheesh! Somebody's really out of tune."

Respectfully, Dr. Folkemusick


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Grab
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 08:18 AM

Most embarrassing, my friend had just got himself an electric and amp, and handed it over to me to try out. Quick bit of a blues riff, string bend, and !!snap-twang!! Oops.

Now when I borrow a guitar, I always ask explicitly, "Am I OK to string-bend on this?"

Grab.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Willie-O
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 08:20 AM

My Responses to Previous Points

  • I'm with Mark, somewhat. I seldom break strings and don't know why not, cause I play pretty hard. (Not thrashing though, I ain't no Meebo).

  • I try not to let it bother me though.

  • Strings that break consistently in the same place are often the result of a too-sharp angle in a saddle or nut. Also if you put the string on wrong the first time, take it off and reinstall it the right way, it has often developed a fatal kink by then.

  • Callie, I think Meebo is talking about Holy Ground the song by Wolfstone--a screamer. You're thinking of some hymn perhaps?

  • Re the Newgrass Revival story: This kind of Bush_bashing is something up with which I will not put, whether true or not. Sam Bush (NGR's mando player) is the pork-chop god, he can do no wrong on a mandolin. God knows you have enough Bushes to make fun of down there who are full of themselves with no discernible reason to be so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 08:59 AM

Dear Disheartened,
Ze real answer to your qvuestion requires a brief excursion into the world of subatomic physics and current cosmological superstring theories. If you conceive of the universe as being four dimensional, with time being the extra dimension, then imagine a series of further dimensionalities which in our world are collapsed into waves and particles, but which in the subatomic realm lengthen out into strings, currently estimated to be between 10 and 13 dimensions. Cosmologically, the breaking of symmetry -- notionally the set of strings that are at the basis of physical laws -- precipitates the asymmetrical equations that lead to the creation of life (entropy is a symmetrical string break).
THEREFORE, if your strings didn't break, there would be no possibility of music or life itself.
Or chicks. Or death -- but zose are ze breaks!! (physics humour!!!!!!).

abend! Herr Doktor Folkenmusik (Wittenberg Prep)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: MMario
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 09:04 AM

I'm curious about "Holy Ground" as well...Mbo?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mbo
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 11:57 AM

No, I don't know the Wolfstone version. Just listen to how the Clancy Brothers sing "The Holy Ground"! Soft and lilting my foot! It's a stomp-banging riot!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mark Clark
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 02:33 PM

Willie-O, As I remember the concert, Bush played fiddle all night. I don't think he broke any fiddle strings but he used up quite a bit of horse hair.

Herr Doktor, I'd say I use good strings (SIT Royal Bronze medium) but I wouldn't say they are superstrings. I'm not a physicist but I've read the popular stuff like Dancing Wu Li Masters and Hyperspace so I have some idea what you're talking about. In light of Schrodinger's wave equation and the uncertainty principle and seeing as how physical continuity is only an illusion caused by a very rapid succession of static events, perhaps my strings don't actually exist at the time they should be breaking and when the next quantum event occurs, they appear intact. Of course they may actually have broken in a parallel universe. This gives me some hope that all is not lost.

Thanks for your help,

Disheartened


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 03:25 PM

No no, Disheartened, if it vas not for yourr strings gebreaking zere would be no parallel universe (and in such a universe the six parallel strings would meet at a point in the headstock at one end of ze universe and at the bridge at the other end, thus creating non-Euclidean music, which would of course be Euclidean in such a universe, if Lobachevsky is right as Professor Tom Lehrer has suggested). I further note that in zuch a universe, "breaking wind" would be the literal truth, which is why catspaw would only exist if Schrodinger refused to open the box because of the probability of the smell. Just to clear zese things up (or down).

abend! Herr Dr. Folkenmusic (Direcktor, Famous Folk Artists School)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 03:27 PM

Peter T., you are providing gales of laughter on a dreary day!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 03:34 PM

Mark I am truly thrilled you started this thread because you see I now have my high tech 5th string capo mounted, thanks to Rick.
I guess I'll have to now consider some other potentially profitable companies to invest in. Maybe something innovative like the Trogen Superstring Company, guaranteed lifetime unbreakable.
What do you think guys, does it have potential?

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Kim C
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 04:18 PM

I have never broken a string on stage, but have broken my voice once or twice.

Sam Bush is da MAN!!!!!! :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: rangeroger
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 09:29 PM

I've still got my

sam

BUSH

in

'96

on sugar hill records

pin.
rr


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: rangeroger
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 09:30 PM

OK, back to the html practice.

rr


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: death by whisky
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 09:56 PM

Its always (usually)the Ds and Gs with me.Both went tonight.I think my guitar wants to retire.I don't know.Is 14 years pushing it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: rangeroger
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 02:14 AM

Man, how do you get a set of strings to last 14 years?

rr


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 05:02 AM

I tried those superstrings once but they caused the neck of my guitar to go into warp.

Peace

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: death by whisky
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 07:31 AM

This medium certainly makes you think about your language. Dont it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Kim C
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 11:02 AM

No. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 11:25 AM

Dear Dr. Flunderblunken,

Okay, I took your advice and fired the band. But I still wanted a bigger sound so I decided get a harmonica and a holder for it. The harmonica and the guitar sound great together but now I'm noticing that harmonica is going sharp half way into the first set. Do you have any techniques for tuning a harmonica?

Thanks for your help,

Sensitive in Sandusky


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Skivee
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 11:41 AM

Daer Dr. Folkenmusik: I resolved several years ago to reduce string breakage by changing my strings beween every set. "A set per set" is my motto. The problem is that I spend so much time changing strings that my band mates get all the chicks; and I tend to go home alone, and lonely. I cry myself to sleep alot. And I'm spending all my money on strings, for the sake of my art. How do I take care of this problem, since, like most of us, I got into folk music for the money, and the groupies?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Melani
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 04:06 PM

Dear Skivee,

Find yourself a rich groupie who likes to change strings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: MMario
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 04:13 PM

Skivee - there is SO much I could say here, but I won't.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 04:56 PM

I don't know if anyone here is actually interested in why strings break, but one reason D strings break a lot is that the D string is played more often than any other.

Have you ever had a string break and hit your hand? It is PAINFUL. I'm always amazed at performers who break a string and don't swear right into the mic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Skivee
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 05:07 PM

Thanks Melani and my ol' pal MMario, but I'm not looking for amatuer advice. I need professional help. I'm a professional musician, I expect no less from my mental health care support givers. Where is that doctor, anyway, Golfing? I've been waiting since before noon! harumphfff. Speaking of golf, I've heard that the reason there are golf jokes is to give bagpipers a break. compare and contrast


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 06:04 PM

Dear Skivee,

Changing strings before each set is a an exellent idea. Not only is your audience treated to that wonderfully "fresh" sound but they will thrill to the many tales you relate while you retune for each new song. If the duration for each of your sets is fixed by the management, you can get through the evening with many fewer songs in your repertoire.

From your letter, I have to believe you just aren't trying. Assuming you carry a SideWinder and a pair of wire snips in your guitar case, and your guitar is a standard flattop with a pin bridge, you should be able to change strings in under 2 minutes. That won't make a very big hole in a 20 minute break. You should have plenty of time to be available to your groupies. If you can't manage the 2 minute quick change, try taking your guitar with you to the bar and change strings there. Everyone will be able to crowd around you and watch you at work and the spilled beer will just add to the rich patina of your instrument.

Shake a leg, Skivee. You don't want to waste your life changing strings.

Dr. Folkenmusik


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 06:06 PM

ah, mcmoo...had you but asked before you put superstrings on a guitar! Our institute of DeepFried Physics attempted this recently, using one of 'those' guitars....with amazing results! here are 3 pictures of what happened...as you can see, by stage 3 the guitar was beginning to collapse into itself!..only fast work with wire cutters kept it from who KNOWS what disturbing fate! At least it wasn't one of Rick's!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 06:58 PM

and ultimately, YOU could be swallowed up in the vagaries of physics....be VERY careful!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mbo
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 12:20 AM

Yeah, leeniea, I was tuning a classical guitar and the high E nylon string broke and lashed a big cut across the back of my hand! Ouch!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 01:11 AM

But seriously folks...I have a guitar-playing friend who says we should never take all the strings off at once, but change them one at a time so that the neck doesn't undergo a big change in tension. Obviously this cannot be done in 2 minutes.

Does anybody know anything about this?

BTW, I my personal list of things I hate to do is, in this order:

preparing federal tax return going to the dentist changing guitar strings cleaning the oven


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Willie-O
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 07:10 AM

Sam Bush is the mandolin god, not the fiddle god. He's still great, but when he's playing fiddle, he's playing it like a great mandolin player. It's a wonder it's only horsehair he breaks.

Leenia that business about not changing them all at the same time is common knowledge. Sometimes I do it the one-by-one or two-by-two way, (mostly on fiddle or mandolin where it obviously does matter cause you'd have to reset the bridge) sometimes all at once--in the real world I've never found any negative effects from all-at=once. Has anyone?--on a regular guitar I mean.

People that never change strings are very dear to me. They have terrible sounding instruments that I can buy very cheap.

Most of such instruments need a set of new strings, a damn good cleaning, a tweak of the truss rod, tightening of tuners, maybe pickguard gluing. Then presto--they have become quite serviceable $100 student guitars.

Oh-oh, my ethics are showing. But after all, I am...
Willie-O

p.s. I do have one 20-year-old instrument with 20-year-old strings. That would be my hammered dulcimer. Once a year I get it out, steel-wool the strings, tune it after a fashion and bang out a few tunes. I'm trying for 30 years from the strings, by then my best years will be behind me and I won't begrudge the time spent changing them so much.
W-O


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 11:00 AM

Does it do anything to the guitar if you change them (a) one at a time; (b) all at once; (c) change the bass strings/change the treble strings? I have an acoustic guitar, and busted a string recently (bass A string) and couldn't decide if that meant it would be a good thing to replace all the strings so the new and the old would be the same (the old are a couple of years old, and so on. I am a novice, so know nothing about these secrets. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: GUEST,Skivee, guesting from afar
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 12:30 PM

Peter, the answer to your question is to change those strings... all of them . When you put on a new set, they will have a well balanced tone betwixt the strings. Put on one new in the midst of old ones and you will notice the new one has a brighter, more crisp sound that will stand out fron the codgers. Change them all time, but one at a time... fully install each one before going on to the next. If you are playing a nylon string, expect considerable stretching over the following week. In any case, you will sound better with newer strings. But enough about you little problems. My girlfriend read my post about taking home groupies. She says she know how to make a garotte out of a broken D string and pieces fo a smashed guitar. Why would she want to build a little French attic, and where is would she find a smashed guitar? Puzzeled.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 12:34 PM

Here's what I do: take off the lowest string, put on the new low string, bring it up to pitch. (It will soon go flat again, but oh well.) Then take off the A string, repeat the process.

I find that it helps immensely to have a piano or other keyboard around when changing strings. I use nylon strings, and when they go on, they are so low that my guitar tuner can't make any sense out of what it hears. The needle merely swings wildly back and forth, telling me nothing.

But if I go to the piano, I can match the string's note to the piano's notes. "Ah," I say, the E string is playing a B flat." Then, as I turn the peg, the note gets higher and higher until it's finally an E.

The strings will stretch and go flat, so when changing strings I leave my guitar on the dining room table for a couple of days. Every time I walk past, I tune it again until the strings have done all their stretching and begin to stay in tune.

If you don't have a keyboard, find someone that does, and you will be saved much misery.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mark Clark
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 01:48 PM

Changing strings has been a subject of interest here for a while. It seems to me the one-at-a-time vs. all-at-once debate was finally settled in favor of all-at-once somewhere in a thread. I looked for it but couldn't locate the debate I have in mind. I have done it both ways at various times but for the last twenty-five years or so have stuck to the one-at-a-time strategy. Note that the one-at-a-time method probably adds from 60 to 90 seconds to the optimistic time quoted by Dr. Foksnmusik above.

I was able to find the old thread titled The Best Way to String A Guitar?. It has lots of good information on the techniques many of us use.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Mbo
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 01:55 PM

When I take strings off a guitar, I go: Low E, high E, A, B, D, G. I put new ones on in that order too. I just restrung my Classical guitar a few weeks ago. It's much more fun than stringing a steel string! How bout a thread "How do YOU tie your classical guitar strings?"

--Matt


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 02:03 PM

I have never understood why some people seem to be natural string breakers. I have played very strongly in very loud environments and I use a heavy pick but rarley snap a string and yet I know people who play lightly and use a light pick who are constanly breaking strings for no apparrent reason.

Having said that, if you are consistenly snapping the same string in the same place, have a look at your instrument and take note of where it is failing. I have know a small chip in a bridge, a bad nut and bad tuning pegs cause these failures.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 02:50 PM

Dear Dr Thundermunchken,

I used to be a singer of traditional Scandinavian tunes, but recently,in an effort to achieve more groupies,have switched to Heavy Metal.These are now the problems I am fraught with- I am often injured on stage. Observe these examples for you 1)my bass player for my band Hammer of Thor,has extreme large strings which break with large blasts,causing once a severe laseration to my torsoe 2)Our drummer,Juergen, has stick-shattering which causes fear in the audience,and I have once caught a large splinder in my butocks 3)the guitar player is wild with swinging his instrument around.and wears a horned helmet with which he pierce the bass playr 4)I am stepping up to the microphone and bashing myself in the teeth by accident.

And so here is my question. How can I stop in these violences which I suffer? I am having too many blows to my face which makes my groupies shy.

Sincerely,THOR


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 08:09 PM

I've got an idea THOR, why not wear goalie hockey equipment when performing on stage.
I know someone who had to go feed to insane Siamese cats once a day while the owner was away. The cats terrorized my friend to the point that he put on goalie equipment to feel safe enough to go feed the cats.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Peter T.
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 05:16 PM

Dear Bonnie, insane Siamese cats is redundant. (Thanks for the advice, gang).
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Aug 02 - 08:12 AM

Good point, Peter. Look up the comic "Get Fuzzy" for plenty of evidence to support that assertion.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Genie
Date: 11 Aug 02 - 05:00 PM

Sorcha, rangerroger, and sian, every problem you have with your G-string in public is embarrasing -- as is everything you say about it and everything you say to try to "cover" for the double entendre of the previous remark.  To wit:

"Excuse me a minute.  My G-string is loose."
"Oops!  I tightened my G-string too much."
"Always carry extra G-strings with you when you're performing."
"God!  I hate having to change my G-string in the middle of a concert!"
"Why is it always the G-string that breaks?   I think maybe it's because I play so hard there."
or
"Excuse me, Reverend.  It seems I've snapped my G-string again.  Probably because I've stretched it too much with all this bending."
"Ach!  Meine G-Schnur hat wieder entzwei gebrochen!"  (Gebrocht?)
 
 
 
 

Seriously, though, I had a new guitar that kept breaking strings --  G, and especially B and high E.  It broke two Elixir strings within hours of my installing them.  [Elixir did, BTW, as per their excellent warranty, give me a new string and a whole new set of strings for each of the broken strings.]  Then I took a #2 pencil and slathered the graphite over the edge of the saddle before installing any new strings.   After that, the premature string snapping stopped.
 

Jon F., I play very lightly, with fingertips, a relatively lightweight thumbpick, and fingernails, and I do break the thinnest 3 strings relatively often.  But I think it's because I use extra light gauge strings and I don't change them as often as I should.  I almost never break the three lowest strings.  (They just go dead, of course, it I keep them on too long.)

Genie

PS, Folks, remember that there was a time when all cats had good reason to hate classical guitars, violins, cellos, and the like!  ;- )


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Aug 02 - 07:11 PM

Some new guitars keep breaking strings because the edge of the post where the string is secured is too sharp. In this case, get a guitar technician to file those edges slightly down and you will save a whole lot of strings from breaking. I'm sure the graphite trick helps too.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Aug 02 - 09:59 PM

Little Hawk...why did it take you two years to think of a reply?...and how did you remember?


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 10:37 AM

Well, I went looking for threads with flattop in them. A whole bunch came up. One of them was this one. I started reading it, and found some good stuff in it. Then I saw Peter's comment about Japanese cats at the end and thought, "That comment needs a response, and it never got one."

So there you are.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 18 Oct 02 - 02:51 AM


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: John Hardly
Date: 18 Oct 02 - 06:48 AM

talk about yer deja vu.

'splains alot.


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 06:52 PM

This is a bit more dramatic than a string breaking - live from Turkish TV:

Udi Cengiz


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Dec 11 - 04:42 AM

Oh dear! That same thing happened to me when I bought my first guitar - a real cheapo - tuned it up, the tailpiece snapped and the strings went flying past my head.

More unfortunately, it happened to a double bass in the jazz band I was playing in, in a Brighton wine bar, many years later. The tailpiece snapped and suddenly Mike, the bass player was beating thin air!


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 29 Dec 11 - 04:17 PM

I have heard that the late, great, Josh White had a performance trick in which he would deliberately break a string (How'd he do that?)take it out, and replace it whilst still playing on the rest of the strings, and continuing to sing. Still singing, he would then pull the new string into tune and finish the song. The whole thing, start to finish, done without hesitation. Is this true? Has anybody seen him do this.


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Subject: RE: Dear Dr. Folkenmusik
From: DMcG
Date: 29 Dec 11 - 04:37 PM

No, but I've seen an amatuer club resident do some similar. A little into a song a string broke, but he continued to sing unaccompanied while he got a spare out of his case, fitted and tuned it, in time to finish the song accompanied again.


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