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7 Reasons Why Your Guitar Strings Break

Nothing is as frustrating as strumming on your guitar and having a string snap on you. Not only does it sometimes snap back and hurt you, but it also ruins your groove as you have to stop playing and restring your guitar.

While broken strings are bound to happen, no matter what you do, there are some things that you can keep an eye out for to keep your frustration to a minimum. These pointers are especially helpful if you find that your guitar strings are repeatedly breaking in a short period of time.  

1. Frequent Tuning

We understand that you’re going to tune your guitar; in fact, we’d recommend it. But there is a difference between making slight adjustments and completely retuning your guitar over and over. Once your guitar is in tune, it’s best to leave it be until you need to make those fine adjustments.

The more you tighten and loosen your strings, the more likely they are to break. Of course, you’re going to tune your guitar to get the sound that you’re looking for. Just keep in mind if you’re turning the pegs a ton, you’re going to snap more than a few strings.

2. The Strings Are Old

Like everything in life, the older your guitar strings get, the more likely they are to snap on you. Guitar strings wear out, and it doesn’t matter if you play your guitar every day, or you just picked it up out of the closet where it’s been collecting dust.

The older the strings, the more likely they are to snap. This risk gets exacerbated when you’re tuning old strings or playing on a well-used guitar with some rougher edges.

To help mitigate that risk, there are a few things that you can do. Wiping down strings frequently and avoiding the wrong cleaning materials are good ways to make your strings, and your guitar, last longer. For more tips on keeping your guitar clean and serviceable, check out the list put out by Fender Guitars.

3. Turning Pegs Have Burred Edges or Are Gunked Up

As your guitar ages and gets played, burrs start to form around the tuning pegs. Those burrs can easily cut and break your guitar strings – even if you’re not turning it.

Even if your tuning pegs don’t have burred edges, if dirt and grime are clogging the pegs, they can easily break strings. There is only so much room for your guitar strings to wrap around the tuning pegs, and when foreign debris fills those spaces, the strings can easily snap on you.

4. The Nut is Rough or Has Grime in It

You’ll know if your nut is the issue. That’s because your strings will keep breaking right at the nut. If that happens then, the nut of your guitar needs some attention. Like your tuning pegs, your guitar’s nut can get worn down by the strings when you play. This can lead to rough edges or burrs forming.

And just like every other part of your guitar, the nut needs to be cleaned frequently, to keep dirt and debris from getting in there and wearing down your strings. The grooves are notorious for collecting dirt and dust, and without proper care will wear down prematurely.

If your nut is excessively damaged, you might just need to replace it. This will save you a ton of frustration instead of having to restring your guitar continually.

5. Tightening the Strings Too Much

It might seem obvious, but one of the biggest reasons guitar strings break is because the strings are over tightened. Guitar strings are often over tightened as a result of over tuning. If you keep spinning the tuning peg, it’s only a matter of time before your guitar strings snap on you. 

If you’re a novice, it’s especially important to make sure that you have a proper tuning device to keep you from over tuning your guitar and snapping your strings.

6. Using the Wrong Strings

When it comes to breaking guitar strings, nothing will do it faster than stringing up a guitar with the wrong strings. If your strings are too short, too skinny, too thick, or a myriad of other reasons – they’ll snap prematurely.

That’s why it’s essential to do your homework before buying new strings for your guitar. That way, you don’t end up back at the store to do it all over again.  

Not sure if you know how to pick out the right strings for your guitar? Gibson Guitars has 10 tips to follow when picking out strings for your guitar.

7. Rough or Sharp Fret Edges

Just like every other part of your guitar, the fret starts to wear down the more you play it. If your guitar has rough or sharp fret edges, your strings could quickly end up breaking. Once your guitar’s fret is worn down, you’ll need to replace the fretboards to keep your strings from breaking.

That’s why it’s best to keep your fret from wearing down in the first place. While that might seem like common sense, many people take guitar care for granted. But just like everything else worth keeping, your guitar needs proper care and maintenance to last.

Gibson Guitars has a comprehensive list of care instructions for guitars that range from fretboard maintenance to the correct polishes to use on your guitar. Despite the fact that these instructions are for Gibson Guitars – they are applicable to any guitar regardless of the brand.


You’re guaranteed to have a few broken strings when you play the guitar. But when those broken strings are coming more often than not, then you need to take a look at your guitar and how you’re maintaining it. Broken strings might be an eventuality, but they shouldn’t be a daily or even weekly occurrence.  

The good news is when it comes to making both your guitar and its strings last, with a little TLC, you can keep the good times strumming. 

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