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It's not that hard to pop a string if you're not careful, I've popped my A string on cello a few times before I got it right, most likely his string was older and popped out of age not stupidity on his part.

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Not necessarily. Over time, bass strings can just become weak. The screeching noise OP heard was probably a few of the threads breaking, and it would take a tremendous amount of force to snap a thick-gauge bass string from tightening it alone.

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It is not only bass strings that eventually wear out... Any kind of metal string will eventually unravel and even the slightest tuning can make it snap. I've had my A string on my viola snap while I was playing... that hurt like a bitch.

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