10 pro guitarists who broke strings onstage – and how they recovered

Ed Sheeran, Steve Vai, Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King
(Image credit: Joe Maher / FilmMagic / Paul Natkin / Astrid Stawiarz via Getty)

“The show must go on.” That’s the maxim the musician lives by, no matter what slings and arrows of outrageous fortune come their way. 

This is one of the immutable tenets of performance ethics, contributing to the surely apocryphal tale of the Titanic’s band maintaining their jam during the most infamous maritime disaster of all time. It’s also one that animates the following guitar players to keep on playing when their strings break mid-song, reducing the six-string electric guitar to five – a situation that’d reduce lesser players to jelly.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.