Hi, I'm having a problem tuning the high G string on the CGB I have just built. Initially no problem, strung it up, played it, everything OK. The high string snapped when I tried to up the tuning to G#, so I replaced it with a 28 gauge bronze wound and it snapped again just before high G. I have tried a 29 gauge bronze wound and a .009 nickel wound and they also snapped at F#. so I can't get it tuned up. The scale length is 25 inches held at the tailpiece by a hinged bracket. as illustrated in the photo. All strings snap at the tailpiece. Could this be causing the problem? I have another 25 in scale CGB with strings threaded through holes in the tail section and don't have the same problem.
It wouldn't hunt to smooth any sharp edges on the holes in the hinge but those are some mighty thick strings Alex. What octave are you trying to tune to?
Tuning a .029 bronze to G2 would only be about 10lb of tension, so too loose, tuning it to G3 would be about 40lbs which is way too much in my opinion. If you were going for G4 the string would snap before you got it up to the 170lbs needed.
Thanks for your advice guys. Low G and middle D are tuned to G1, I've tried tuning down to the octave below but this makes the strings too loose. So I have been trying to tune the high G to the next octave up, which would be G2. When tuning up the string becomes incredibly tight, more so than my other CBG which I have tuned up to G# with no problem. Not sure of the gauge of the strings on that one as I didn't build it but they are lighter bronze wound but still quite thick.
I have been considering removing the hinge and threading the strings through drilled holes the tailpiece to see if that helps. Lighter strings might improve things.
That's a better plan. I would leave the hinge on and drill through the tailpiece so the strings still go through the hinge, but at a much shallower angle. That will keep the look you already have with minimal modification. You will probably need metal eyelets or ferrules on the back of the tailpiece to prevent the ball ends from chewing into the wood. The hinge will protect the wood on top.
That's a tough bend for a string to make through the hole in the hinge. It's essentially a 180 degree bend. You could put something (small dowel, nail, machine screw...) behind the hinge to round out the bend and ease the stress on that point. A piece of wire insulation might work. Strip the insulation and run the string through it so the insulation cushions the string around the bend. Stevie Ray's guitar tech used that trick when he was breaking strings at the saddle.
The string gauges I use are similar to the third (G), fourth (D), and fifth (A - tuned to G) strings on a six string. So my string gauges are 0.018", 0.026", and 0.038". The high G is not wound, so you can get a more singing slide tone. The other two are wound. No tuning issues.
Yep, works for me too.
Thanks for the advice Don, this would reduce the strain in the strings, I think it would be a good idea to use lighter strings.
The Cigar Box and some of the hardware in the build came from someone local who makes CBGs and in his experience if the tuning peg isn't sitting right it can cause problems. On checking I found the peg for the high G string is wobbling slightly. He is at a local Americana music event this weekend and offered to look at it for me. I'll keep everyone posted on developments.
I use a .026 wound for my high G string... even then, they're pretty tight... Probably a combination of all the great suggestions above...
Pretty sure those holes on the hinge are countersunk , which makes them like the edge of your wire cutters. Maybe file them out and use the brass washer trick shown in here instead of looping them back at that sharp angle.
.029 is WAY too heavy for a high G - that's about right for D, but you need to be around .020-.024 for a high G