Guitar Tips: What To Do When You Break A String On Stage

You are enjoying your presentation, and breathlessly leading your audience towards a mesmerizing solo climax, when you suddenly hear that feared ping as your guitar string snaps. The splendor you were anticipating to feel as your loyal fans erupt in applause gives way to confusion as you wildly look for a string winder. What should you do to maintain your calm? While there is no, straightforward and sure way to handle breaking a string on stage, how you deal with the situation will go a long way in defining you either as an expert or a novice. Below is a tried and tested guide on how to best handle the situation.


• DO not panic. Panicking will only make you behave strangely further throwing your audience into disarray. So try your best to maintain your calm and act as though nothing significant happened.

• Don’t attempt to play without the string. The quick release of tension will, undoubtedly, throw all other strings out of tune. The last thing you want is to worsen an already terrible situation.

• Do not forget you instrument is plugged into a 2000 Watt Public Address, so don’t simply jerk the cord out. Doing so is disastrous; the subsequent pop is so huge it can blow out the speakers. You wouldn’t want to damage your audience’s ear drums, would you? Instead, carefully slide the string out of the amplifier’s input to detach it.

• Do you have a backup guitar in place? That is the time to take it out. Quietly pick it up and plug it in. For god’s sakes, please first make sure it is properly tuned, and resume playing again as fast as possible.

• If you don't have a backup instrument and the only viable option is to change the string, withdraw from the band to enable them to continue entertaining the audience as perform the surgery. Try your level best to keep your audience out of the misfortune.

• Only replace the broken string. Since the performance is ongoing, you obviously wouldn’t want to spend hours away from the stage. You will have plenty time to perform scheduled maintenance later.

• After changing the string, test-stretch hard it to ensure it will not immediately go out of tune again.

• Tune and retune your new string few times. New strings can disappoint, at times and you have to make sure yours won’t.

• Slip back quietly to your original position, plug in and your guitar first. Finally, connect the plug back to the amp.

• Avoid the temptation to get the attention of your audience by jumping up and down, or even distracting other players. Do not even try to make fun of the unfortunate situation? Let your audience enjoy the remaining part of your song, as best as they can, even if that appears to be impossible.



If everything proceeds according to plan, you’ll gladly play it off just like some of those occurrences that occasionally befall rock stars. By the time the next song begins, your audience will have forgotten and, hopefully, all your strings will stay in place through the remaining set.



Your Turn to Sound Off!

Have you ever broken a string on stage? What did you do?

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