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Nov 17, 2022 - 9:58:55 AM
108 posts since 4/20/2012

I have a new phenomena happening: I am wearing out the 3rd string (G) on the dobro and weissenborn (F#) within a 1-2 hours of playing.  It starts buzzing and gets to the point it is unplayable as the buzz gets worse.  

Some interesting observations:

  • Issue has only started happening in the last 3 months. 
  • Buzz is happening with open string and barred
  • Issue goes away upon me changing the string
  • String does not appear to be damaged or worn at the nut or saddle
  • Issue happens on my dobro and weissenborn
  • I have been using the D'addario Nickel Bronze strings on all three instruments, as I have been able to get a lot of mileage on a set (months)

 

So I am thinking it can be one of three things:

  1. My hand position and/or string strike has changed.
  2. D'addario strings are having quality issues
  3. The saddle on all three instruments is worn, leading to string fatigue

Has anyone else experienced this or have had thoughts on where to start?

Casey

Nov 17, 2022 - 10:48:13 AM

2386 posts since 8/3/2008
Online Now

As a strong player, I change out strings before and after every gig. If I'm noodling at home, they typically get replaced every 6-10 hours.

What you describe sounds quite normal to me (and others).

All of that aside, when's the last time you had your setup checked?

h

Nov 17, 2022 - 1:45:04 PM

Dzyfyngrz

Canada

162 posts since 8/12/2010

And as the thinnest wound string, the G is always the first to go.

Nov 17, 2022 - 1:55:40 PM
Players Union Member

daver

USA

757 posts since 9/2/2008

I remember putting a used set of strings under the microscope at work some time ago. It's amazing how beat up they can get. Especially the 3rd string. That was in the days before Blue Chip picks. Yes even a good ol' plastic pick can wreak havoc after enough use...

Nov 17, 2022 - 1:57:31 PM

badger

USA

638 posts since 8/10/2008

My third strings tend to go dead and dull rather than buzzing. A heavier G string helps on the Dobro - try a .029 or .030. It's a long shot, but check your buzzing strings in the area where the pick strikes them to see if windings are cut or loose, and make sure that your picks don't have sharp edges that could damage the strings.

I'm not terribly aggressive, probably leave my strings on too long, and tend to change G strings once or twice before replacing the entire set. The third string takes a lot of punishment in bluegrass; I don't notice the wear issue on my Weissie's F#.

Nov 17, 2022 - 2:51:27 PM

wlgiii

USA

1373 posts since 9/28/2010

quote:
Originally posted by daver

I remember putting a used set of strings under the microscope at work some time ago. It's amazing how beat up they can get. Especially the 3rd string. That was in the days before Blue Chip picks. Yes even a good ol' plastic pick can wreak havoc after enough use...


Are you set up at work to photograph under the microscope?  That would be interesting to see.

Nov 17, 2022 - 4:05:52 PM
Players Union Member

daver

USA

757 posts since 9/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by wlgiii
quote:
Originally posted by daver

I remember putting a used set of strings under the microscope at work some time ago. It's amazing how beat up they can get. Especially the 3rd string. That was in the days before Blue Chip picks. Yes even a good ol' plastic pick can wreak havoc after enough use...


Are you set up at work to photograph under the microscope?  That would be interesting to see.


I'm no longer working where I have access to the microscope (semi-involuntarily under-employed).  I may be able to find pictures if I dig...

Nov 18, 2022 - 7:00:26 AM

108 posts since 4/20/2012

Thank you gentleman,  much appreciated feedback.   I appreciate the reaffirmation that I am not alone. yes  

@hlpdobro   I am likely due for setup on the dobro..been meaning to take a ride down to Hagerstown and get some new innards/setup.  

@Dzyfyngrz good insight,  hadn't really considered it as a thinnest wound but it makes sense. 

@Badger great idea on buying more single strings to swap out the G as needed, and to look at a heavier gauge. 

@Daver,  very interesting I hadn't thought about putting it under a microscope. 

Nov 18, 2022 - 10:20:41 AM
likes this

1160 posts since 9/29/2009

One other possibility would be a plain (unwound) 3rd string. In the early days, Dobro players, including Uncle Josh, often used a plain 3rd string. John Pearse makes a signature Uncle Josh set with a plain (.026) 3rd. Be aware, it will sound considerably different from the wound 3rd.

https://www.juststrings.com/jps-3050.html

Nov 20, 2022 - 1:18:55 PM

275 posts since 4/5/2012

could easily be a bad batch of strings....a couple of years ago I found that my GHS dobro G was breaking when bringing it up to pitch from new...gathered input from folks, and finally GHS checked and found that the machine was out of adjustment and balance of the alloy was incorrect and the string was brittle...worked fine on short scale instruments, but even a millimeter over 25" and it broke every time...and sometimes on exactly 25".
Don't believe it is you until you verify that it isn't them...I have very good luck with those Nickel Bronze strings lasting a very long time...I use them also.

Nov 20, 2022 - 6:44:40 PM

LukeL

USA

340 posts since 5/11/2018

That's pretty common I think. I will go through a set of strings every couple days of practice, and definitely one every gig. When I was at SPBGMA I think I changed my strings 5 times over those 4 days...

I've found wiping the strings quickly with a dry microfiber cloth helps remove some of the sweat and oils from them, and adds somewhat to their life.

Jan 17, 2023 - 6:32:27 AM

Dogwood

USA

80 posts since 6/2/2020

I have owned my Beard dobro for just over 3 years or so, I have changed my strings perhaps 5 or 6 times during that time? I use Beard strings only. I tune my dobro every time I use it and often shift between G and D tuning. Could some of the string issues be with with the bar, perhaps having a nick or some other issue.

Jan 17, 2023 - 9:08:30 AM

6 posts since 4/8/2013

I have always experienced the G string issue. Originally, I was using a metal thumb pick and switching to a plastic pick helped a little. Now I just buy my G strings in bulk and change them before every gig and any time after playing a few hours. What is most interesting to me about your post is that you didn't always have that problem! I'd love to know how that happened!

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