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String breakage with .028 GHS strings, problem is GHS's

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Jul 8, 2018 - 2:48:25 PM
162 posts since 4/5/2012

I’ve been talking to Jon Moody, Product Development Manager at GHS, about a problem I (and many others, according to posts I’ve read) are having with GHS strings. He now is working with his manufacturing people to track down the cause and fix it, but it remains to be seen when that will happen.

The problem is quite specific - it affects mostly their cryogenically treated phosphor bronze resonator string sets (although I also observed it on a particular one of their standard strings, the B28).

The CR1600 string sets, which actually are sold under three names - Tim Scheerhorn set, Americana Cryogenic set, and Lawrence Juber Signature set - all have a middle G .028 string that breaks on installation, or shortly after. It won’t take the tension of being raised all the way to pitch.

It seems that there is some variability in their process such that some of these will be fine, but, especially recently, they all seem to break when going from F# up to G. The core breaks, leaving the wrap intact (and unspooling).

Scale length is a factor - if you have a scale of LESS than 25”, they are OK (less tension). At 25”, it is random, and above 25” (e.g., the new National standard scale of 25 21/32), they all break.

These are great strings, otherwise - nice and bright, very inexpensive, and tone lasts seemingly forever - a great alternative to those quick-to-die D’Addario EJ42 strings. Here’s hoping that they get it all resolved, but until then, using them is really risky…they aren’t recalling the ones that are out there now, and I don’t know how you would even tell, when they are fixed, if you are getting the new or old version…

So now I’m using the D’Addario EXP42 coated strings…still very bright (certainly as bright as EJ42s that have been played for a little while), last a very long time, but a little pricey.

Jul 8, 2018 - 3:17:17 PM

403 posts since 11/9/2008

I know that just about every brand of strings I have ever tried, I have gotten a fluke from time to time. It’s bound to happen with a product like guitar strings. That being said, I have never had that consistent third string breakage from GHS like you mentioned. I used the Scheerhorn and now the Americana series almost exclusively (with the occasional Dunlop and Black Diamond sets thrown in) for the last several years and have been fortunate enough to not to have that issue. Sure, I have had the third strings break during installation on occasion, but second and fourth strings too with various brands. This being an issue with you and several other pickers, as you mentioned, it’s good to hear that GHS is taking action to try and correct it.

Edited by - SlimPickins on 07/08/2018 15:18:44

Jul 8, 2018 - 3:23:53 PM

162 posts since 4/5/2012

Yes- it seems that there has been a change to the manufacture process at some point that made this an “always” issue instead of a fluke...

Jul 8, 2018 - 3:29:55 PM

403 posts since 11/9/2008

Not good at all! I will have to see how things go with the last couple sets from the batch I last bought. If it becomes an issue, I have no problems switching over to the Black Diamond Ferrell Stowe strings. They also last forever and offer a punchy and “full” tone.

Jul 8, 2018 - 3:48:16 PM

2 posts since 6/27/2014

Have you tried GHS Acoustic Slide Guitar white bronze roundwound set DWB1600? Probably send you a trial set if you ask

Larry

Jul 8, 2018 - 4:01:47 PM

162 posts since 4/5/2012

Nope- I’m a fan of long- life strings, I like the way the D’Addario coated strings sound on my Reso, they complement it well

Jul 8, 2018 - 4:10:48 PM

resotom Players Union Member

USA

850 posts since 6/13/2012

I have used GHS White Bronze strings for over two years and not had a problem with the 018W. I like to try different brands of strings which react differently on my five resos. So this time I tried Dunlop string on my Appy, and Phil Leadbetter strings ( GHS) on my TTT . I will try Black Diamond and John Pearse next..

Jul 8, 2018 - 7:18:11 PM

islandgirl Players Union Member

Canada

145 posts since 6/4/2012

Funny this should come up now. Last night I had a D’Addario EJ42 g string break as I was putting it on, right between f# and g. I have never broken a wound string before (unless I was tuning beyond the pitch it was made for) and I was quite shocked. The core broke, just like you described. Are they using the same manufacturing process?

Jul 8, 2018 - 10:27:05 PM

162 posts since 4/5/2012

I don't know....maybe that rumor about all strings being made in only a couple of plants is true...

Jul 9, 2018 - 7:30:43 AM

islandgirl Players Union Member

Canada

145 posts since 6/4/2012

I’m starting to suspect so. We own a company that manufactures all types of chain link and farm fencing, but the spools of wire come from elsewhere, some US and some overseas, and I guess the spools of wire to make strings could also be manufactured somewhere other than the company doing the finished product.

Jul 9, 2018 - 12:55:34 PM

resotom Players Union Member

USA

850 posts since 6/13/2012

You could try a different gauge of stringto get you through.. I have used the Uncle Josh .022 plain with much success.

Jul 9, 2018 - 1:22:50 PM

162 posts since 4/5/2012

The D'Addarios work just fine. It only is the GHS ones that break. GHS claims that they get better tone by having a thicker core than other brands, but that also means higher tension for a given pitch...

I do still use GHS on my Weissenborn, but I use a .026 there for the G, and a few other lower gauges than normal reso, to reduce the overall tension a bit. And the Weissie seems to "sing" better with the lower tension...higher gauges seem to be more "thud" and less airy...

Jul 9, 2018 - 3:01:13 PM

wlgiii

USA

921 posts since 9/28/2010

Hats off to Tom Warner side note:

All my other instruments can be persnickety when it comes to which strings and which tuning I try, but the Appalachian happily plays away excellently no matter what I subject it to.

Jul 9, 2018 - 10:09:47 PM

345 posts since 1/29/2013

I recall going through this with Dunlop PB sets a few years back. The .028 would break right before reaching pitch. The core wire broke. Took about a year to work through the bad sets before it improved back to normal. Your right, there is no way to know what you've got your hands on until you tune them up to pitch.

The current trade tariffs have indirectly impacted raw material prices on US made mill materials used to make finished products in US. I wonder if this has resulted in string makers shopping materials from different markets? Just a guess.

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