Bryan Peterson - 11-10-2020
I have more than 20 years of experience selling in a brick and mortar retail setting, and for my regulars, I'd know what kind of strings they buy just out of habit. Often I'd get customers who say they want to try something new, and I'd give them a suggestion. A common reaction to any suggest was, "Those always break on me."
I never did a scientific analysis of this, but the accumulation of anecdotes (and my brain is pretty good at this kind of analysis) says that the distribution of brands that "always break" was fairly equal.
The way humans are programmed, we remember the bad moments much more strongly than the good moments. We could get into the whys of this, but the effect is that when we try something once and have a bad experience, it quickly becomes "always," and we're very often confusing correlation and causation. Bad luck isn't causation of breaking strings, or that week that your bridge had a burr on it, or you were playing a little more aggressively.
If one brand broke consistently more often than others, it wouldn't be a brand for long, right? It would get a reputation. And if any brand broke consistently less, this would probably be a major selling point that they'd put all over their marketing, right?
In fact, there are a couple strings that do this. The D'Addario NYXL and Ernie Ball Paradigm series both make claims of superior break resistance. Both represent a rethinking of materials and construction.
I'll put a little bit of an endorsement behind the NYXL strings as being more break resistant than others, in my accumulation of anecdotal evidence. This seems to be a fairly consistent fact. Most NYXL breakage comes during restrings (but seriously, since 2014, I've heard this less than a dozen times). I can't remember an instance of a customer claiming breakage during playing. Given the claims of a stronger alloy, this would make sense.
So if you want to give something new a try, maybe put aside past experience and prejudices, and give that brand that broke a second chance. Maybe it really is your favorite and you just had a bad day with it.
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- Tags: D'Addario, Ernie Ball, Ernie Ball Paradigm, guitar strings, guitar tech, NYXL, restring, string breakage, tech