Breaking String - what are the odds?

Question: As I continue to read Mark Wade's book, I need to address something with you. He mentions the possibility of strings breaking on hard figures that we use (which are usually the only kind I prefer to use). Is this something which can be expected happen eventually? If so, how is it corrected?
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From Mr. D: Seldom do I receive a vent figure for repair because the string has broken. It can happen, yes, but I think the figures with direct rod linkage are just as prone to malfunction. I would not worry about a string breakage. Most strings will last for a lifetime of use. Each type of puppet or figure has it's unique features. Even soft puppets will wear out and have to be repaired or replaced. That will happen long before the string breaks on the average hard figure. The difference, of course, is that a string break could be more sudden. If the possibility of unexpected breakage during a show causes you concern, then just keep a second puppet of some sort on standby. If you are using more than one figure/puppet in a show, then you're already covered. And if the hard figure is being repaired or repainted, especially if the wig has been removed, that's the time to inspect and service all inner mechanics, but even then, I do not recommend opening the head if there is no apparent problem. My "two cents".


  1. If you're so worried about the string breaking in your character while performing, here's a suggestion that many of us vents have if this situation ever occurs. The moment the mouth stops moving, you turn to the audience and say that (character name) is pulling one of his tricks on me and now wants to be the ventriloquist and me as the dummy. It lets the audience think that this was part of the act. Only you know it wasn't

  2. Anonymous5/17/2011

    Of course there is a great booklet called "If the string breaks- 21 ways to turn an emergency into a success!" by Dave Castle, printed by Maher Studios back in 1973. If Clinton still have copies of that booklet, I strongly recommned it to EVERY vent, because the ideas in it are so good that you can use them as a regular part of your routine. BUY THAT BOOK! These are MY two cents! ;) Marcelo Melison.

  3. Yes, I still have copies of IF THE STRING BREAKS - $5.00 PP

  4. Anonymous5/17/2011

    Another idea might be, if possable, to DOUBLE string it. I mainly mean this for the mouth, as that is the one truly vital movement using a string. That way, if one breaks, the other takes over. Just MY 1 & 1/3 cents. Bill Smith :)

  5. Anonymous5/18/2011

    the above advisors have only "charged" 5 & one third cents - obviously they are way UNDER charging - thanks to all..............

  6. Anonymous5/18/2011

    Folks, we have gone to the moon! Wouldn't you think someone like maybe, NASA could come up with a string that won't break, ever, no matter what? Here's a chance for some genius to invent such a string! Ah,it won't be me, though. Wink,wink. With today's inflation make this, my nickel's worth! Regards, Joe "Capt. Joe" Radle </;O)