Breedlove 12 String Breaks Strings

I saw Leo Kottke in concert on a Thursday evening in 1975.  The next day, I gave up on the guitar solely because I felt so overwhelmed by his talent and felt unworthy to ever touch a guitar again. Confronting my sick, twisted fears from that traumatic experience included resuming my music studies thirty-five years later.  Doing her part to attack my illness, my Darling Bride, who went with me on that fateful night, purchased this Korean-made Breedlove Stage Concert guitar for me.

In standard tuning, the high G string broke more often than not. What to do?  I started by re-chamfer and polishing the edge of the hole in the tuner where the string passes.  The breaks appear to occur when the G string passes across the hole in the tuner.  When the string passes across the hole, a stress concentration could occur right at the chamfer.


Here is a bit copied out of my Breedlove’s Owners Manual.  The stock high G string is 0.008 inch.


These came from Strings By Mail. Many individual strings can be purchased ala-carte from them.


My plan is to throw conventional wisdom to the wind and add enough string to the post so that the portion of the string leaving the post only touches the round portion of the post, not the hole nor its chamfer.  Here, I am measuring the broken string to establish where the stress concentration occurred.


Then I added the length of the string that was broken off, then estimated the circumference of the hourglass-shaped tuning post and multiplied times 12.  The plan is to get enough static string on the post to cover the hole, preventing the portion of the string leaving the post on a tangent from getting anywhere near the hole.  Putting more than three or four wraps of string around a tuning post is generally frowned on, because the more string wound on the post, the longer it takes for the tuning to stabilize.  We’ll see…


I love the bridge on my Breedlove.  I don’t have to reach inside the guitar to push the bridge pegs out nor verify that the ball ends are up against the peg and bottom of the sound board..


The ala-carte strings have ball ends that do not necessarily match the color codes used in the sets.  Who would notice??


I polished and chamfered the hole edge to the best of my ability.


To keep the loose string end under control while fiddling with the length of the new string, I put my classical guitar capo across the neck to corral the G string.


Here’s the G string.  I can grab it, pull it, handle it, measure it, trim it, pull it, and it won’t get away from me.


I estimated the additional string length in a previous step, and am adding it here.


We have all been here.  Wish me luck!


Here is eleven turns of the G string around the post.  Uh oh.  I am a little short of covering the hole.


But, tuned up to pitch, the portion of the string that tangentially leaves the tuning post is no where near the hole.


Here is another view, showing the smooth transition from the last wrap.  I don’t think we will see the sharp bend in the portion of the string that leaves the tuning post tangentially that would occur if the guitar were tuned and the string were bent over the edge of the hole in the tuner.

My original goal was to load up the tuning post with enough string to cover the hole entirely, thus eliminating the chance that the portion of the string leaving on a tangent toward the nut would experience a sharp bend across the tuning post hole.  But, I lucked out this time, and now the string is no where near the hole.  Thus, I could have reduced the number of turns of string on the post.  Not too bad for my first investigation.

I have not broken the high G string on my 12 string guitar since these pictures were taken.  The high G string has stayed in tune while playing and does not appear to de-tune between sessions any more so than the other strings.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom!

CONTACT – David Latchaw EE