While not many guitarists will ever hear about or experience a guitar string splinter or sliver, it is entirely possible to get a metal splinter from a guitar string.
The most likely way to get a splinter from a guitar string would be brushing your hand around the headstock, where the ends of the strings can be sharp.
Guitar strings don’t typically splinter, something very unusual would need to happen for the perfect storm to happen.
It is, however, possible that the winding of a guitar string break mid string, while the string as a whole doesn’t snap.
I’ve seen it a few times over the years, where windings have broken, but the string stays intact, and playable.
If the winding were to break near where your fingers move along the strings, you can easily see why you might be able to get a sliver or splinter from your guitar string.
Metal splinters are not like wood splinters. Metal splinters will hurt more, and are more likely to become infected if not removed.
If you get a metal guitar string splinter, seek medical attention if you cannot easily remove it yourself.
How likely is it for guitar strings to splinter?
It’s rare, very rare, for a guitar string to splinter, let alone also for the player to catch that splinter with their fingers.
Nonetheless, just because it’s rare doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen.
You’re more likely going to brush your hand around the headstock where the ends of the strings are often left sharp or jagged.
When strings are put on a guitar, the ends of the strings are trimmed to length.
However, it is possible for there to be a jagged end to the string, and for the windings to become splintered.
All you would need to do is brush up against the sharp end and you might find yourself to be the new owner of a metal splinter from your guitar string.
Avoiding metal guitar string splinters
While string splinters are very rare, you might like to do some prevention.
If you’ve gotten a splinter before, you’re not going to want to get one again.
Changing string regularly, inspecting them before playing and covering any exposed jagged ends will be the best way to avoid splinters from guitar strings.
The single best way to avoid string splinters would be to regularly change your strings.
Old strings are going to be more likely to splinter, new strings will help reduce splinters from happening altogether.
Next just give your strings and guitar a once over before you play it.
Quickly looking over the strings before you play it, you’ll be able to spot any splinters before you run the risk of getting them stuck in your fingers.
Lastly, you can add a little cover or apply a little adhesive to the ends on the tuner to avoid pricking yourself on the jagged edges.
A piece of tape or a little bit of putty/epoxy would be all you need.
Just ensure that it isn’t something that will create unwanted buzzing or an adhesive that may leak onto the tuning peg.
If you believe you’ve determined that you do not have a guitar string splinter, but do still have a pain in your fingertip, consider watching the below video on a phantom guitar splinter!