I've had this happen twice now. While detuning into whatever non-standard tuning a song happens to be in, I've had strings snap on me. I don't understand the physics behind this. because it makes sense to me that if you increase the tension of the string, it will eventually snap when too much force is applied, but why does this happen when you DECREASE the tension?

In analogical terms, if someone were to draw a bow to near maximum tensile strength, I would suspect the string could be prone to breaking then, But if he were to release the arrow, the string wouldn't break because significantly less force is now being applied to it. So why has this happened to guitar strings?
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Your tuning down to fast

And i would explain it but i dont know either, i remember reading before and some nice person explained it all, something about how all the strings tension changes when you change each string
Last edited by Rufusftw at Jul 14, 2011,
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Are you sure you are not accidentally turning the tuning peg the wrong way? Maybe, your string is stuck on the nut or the bridge and the difference in tension causes the snap.
Where does the string snap? At the bridge? Nut? Middle?

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It could be that you're tuning down too fast.

When you change the tension in the string a force is applied. The temperature of the string changes as well, so the quicker you do it the bigger the force applied the bigger the change in temperature and these can damage the material.
Is it the same string that snaps or is it another string because when tuning down you're releasing tension on the neck which could cause the other strings to become tighter.
I don't recall where the strings snapped, this was just something that happened a while ago (Twice) and I happen to remember it. It's the same string that snapped and I doubt it was caught anywhere, but even if it was, I'm still decreasing the force.

I have heard something about the strings being set to that kind of tension, so when you change from that relatively quickly, it just snaps. That's the part that I don't get here. I'm aware that it can happen, I'm just interested in finding out WHY.

Also So-Cal's suggestion still doesn't apply because again, how can REDUCING the force applied, break it?
Try downtuning slower, or check the nut or such if it's the same string. The strings are under a lot of tension so changing that quickly can cause them to break.
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Due to playing your guitar, the strings will experience metal fatigue or at least get weakened somewhat. So the string can't handle the sudden change in tension (even if it is to a reduced tension).

Normally if you put on a new string and then quickly down tune it won't snap (usually).
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This is some serious Reaganomics shit, but I'll lay it down nice and easy on ya TS.

Its like when you go to work out at the gym, and the stupid guy next to you is stretching before he does that totally huge benchpress. Stretching before working out seems like a good idea, but it actually isn't as cold muscle doesn't really stretch. It does something more similar to just get ****ing mad at you.

What it does do is slacken. Once your muscle is slackened, it has less ability to lift weight and is more prone to injury.

Actually, that's probably nothing like your situation at all, so I don't know.
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