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Black Diamond Strings

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Dharmabum 22 Dec 03 - 07:46 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 08:10 PM
Beer 22 Dec 03 - 09:14 PM
PapaWhiskey 22 Dec 03 - 09:20 PM
Beer 22 Dec 03 - 09:47 PM
Dharmabum 22 Dec 03 - 09:51 PM
Padre 22 Dec 03 - 10:15 PM
Beer 22 Dec 03 - 10:31 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 22 Dec 03 - 10:37 PM
Mark Clark 22 Dec 03 - 11:11 PM
Cluin 22 Dec 03 - 11:31 PM
Peace 23 Dec 03 - 12:01 AM
catspaw49 23 Dec 03 - 12:15 AM
Lin in Kansas 23 Dec 03 - 02:01 AM
GUEST,banjoman 23 Dec 03 - 07:41 AM
Beer 23 Dec 03 - 07:44 AM
Tweed 23 Dec 03 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,COMMENTATOR 23 Dec 03 - 08:00 AM
Mooh 23 Dec 03 - 08:08 AM
PapaWhiskey 23 Dec 03 - 10:40 AM
Melani 23 Dec 03 - 02:36 PM
PapaWhiskey 23 Dec 03 - 03:28 PM
Cool Beans 23 Dec 03 - 04:13 PM
Inükshük 24 Dec 03 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Obie 24 Dec 03 - 04:08 PM
PapaWhiskey 24 Dec 03 - 06:12 PM
The Fooles Troupe 24 Dec 03 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,Herbert 25 Dec 03 - 09:19 PM
Seamus Kennedy 26 Dec 03 - 12:42 AM
GUEST,Larry Garrett larryfgarrett@comcast.net 23 Apr 04 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,George 06 Sep 04 - 11:14 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Sep 04 - 10:23 AM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Sep 04 - 10:58 AM
mooman 07 Sep 04 - 12:10 PM
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GUEST 04 Oct 04 - 08:45 AM
open mike 05 Oct 04 - 01:40 AM
GUEST,jim14076@hotmail.com 05 Oct 04 - 01:13 PM
Beer 23 Jan 11 - 09:55 PM
kendall 24 Jan 11 - 07:26 AM
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Subject: Black Diamond Strings
From: Dharmabum
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:46 PM

I was rooting through a box of assorted junk the other day & came across an unopened package containing a Black Diamond "B" guitar string.
I haven't opened it,but I'll bet it's rusty!
I remember raising many a blister while learning to play on that old Stella,strung up with those Black Diamonds.

Anyway,I'm curious,does anyone know the history behind Black Diamond Guitar strings?These were manufactured by the National Musical String Co.in New Brunswick New Jersey.


DB.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 08:10 PM

My gawd. Another person who learned on a Stella.

www.diamonds-spectacular.com/ black_diamond_guitar_strings.htm - 16k

Sorry, I don't know how to make the thingy turn blue (and for all you wiseasses out there, that ain't the thingy I'm talkin' about). I tell ya, ya gotta watch what ya say on the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Beer
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 09:14 PM

Would children today go through the same thing to learn to play a guitar?
Can't find it right now, but Guy Clarke has a great song called "Black Diamond Strings". Something in that song tell's me that he went through the same agony as many of us out there.
Beer


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: PapaWhiskey
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 09:20 PM

http://www.blackdiamondstrings.com/

Way back when we'd buy black diamond strings one at a time whenever we broke one. It was a lot cheaper than buying a whole set.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Beer
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 09:47 PM

Yep, did the same thing Papa. You know, for a company that get's a lot of negative comments, there still in operation and I say thank you for being there.
I wonder how many famous country and western artist and folk players learned on their products.
I have a friend (an acquaintance)who has used Black Diamond strings all his life. He is now about 62. I asked him if he ever tried Martin's, Guilds and so on. His response was simple enough. " Why?, nothing wrong with these!"
Beer


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Dharmabum
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 09:51 PM

I see they're offering a "coated" string now.

Seems to me I remember those Black Diamonds usually had a pretty generous coating of rust on them!

Can't seem to find any info about the company's history though.

DB.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Padre
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 10:15 PM

I too learned on a Stella strung with Black Diamond strings. Paid $35.00 for it,(with case and 4 extra sets of BD strings thrown in). If nothing else, they toughened up your fingers.

Padre


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Beer
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 10:31 PM

You play Black Diamond Strings cause it's all you can get "Guy Clark"


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 10:37 PM

I used Black Diamond strings on my first cheapo guitar when I was twelve or thirteen. My dad had a fair number of metal files and wood-rasps that were also "Black Diamond" brand. I assumed that the two items were made by the same company. (Hell, for all I know they may have been at some point.) But what's odd is that in my twelve-year-old mind I thought the strings were made from the same alloy as the files.

Hey! Don't laugh! I was just a kid.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Mark Clark
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 11:11 PM

I used to buy Black Diamond strings to put on my brand new $19.95 Stella guitar as well. At that time, Black Diamond was about the only brand you could rely on music stores to carry. They had LaBella nylon sets for the classical guitarists and Black Diamond for the steel string players. If you had an electric guitar, they also carried flat-wound strings for it.

Didn't the Black Diamond strings of 45 years ago also come with extra treble strings to allow for breakage?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Cluin
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 11:31 PM

Here's another checking in as a learner on a Stella with Black Diamond strings, flat wounds if I could get `em... and I usually could. My Stella had a cowboy motif paint job from the late 40s on it and was my Dad's learner too at one time.

The action was so high on that bastard I'm still amazed I ever stuck with it. Of course, after a couple of years, I graduated to borrowing my Dad's grown-up guitar, a Gibson LG-1, also strung with Black Diamond flats. Needless to say, the Stella got retired after that (it was long before I knew about doing a set-up to adjust the action). I have no idea where it is now.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Peace
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 12:01 AM

It's gone to Stella heaven, Cluin. Mine is right there with it. I painted mine with a white kitchen enamel. Didn't affect the sound one bit. I used flat-wound also. Ya know, I dropped that instrument over four or five times. Didn't do a thing to it. Bounced like a SOB. I recall learning the chords to "Telstar" on that guitar. I too wish I knew where it ended up. My second guitar was a Telecaster. Talk about feast or famine.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 12:15 AM

I quit buying the packaged sets of Genuine Black Diamond strings when I realized they were also available much cheaper at Quality Farm and Fleet under the name "barbed wire."

Spaw


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Subject: Lyr Add: BLACK DIAMOND STRINGS (Cordie, Shell)
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 02:01 AM

I didn't even know Guy Clark had a song by this name. The only one I've heard is as follows, and as you can see, the lyrics are quite different. The CD it comes from has several very good songs (info at bottom)--"Jesus and Bartenders," "Old Kentucky Miners," to name a couple. The pair that wrote "Black Diamond Strings" were also responsible for "Murder on Music Row," which caused a stir among the country music industry a couple years back.

Lin in Kansas



BLACK DIAMOND STRINGS
By Larry Cordle and Larry Shell

My first guitar was a loaner an old off brand my cousin let me keep
Back when I was learning how to play like the boys in Tennessee.
I'd sit up every night and pick it till my fingers turned green,
And I learned how to make her talk on them Black Diamond Strings.

Well Daddy showed me three chords, but Jimmy Steele taught me how to play.
He showed me the G run I'm still using today.
I thought it must be magic the way he made it ring,
But he said it ain't no secret son, it's these Black Diamond Strings.

CHORUS:
Well I don't know if they still make 'em, back then they were the best
And a good time didn't cost much, two ninety-five a set.
Back before I left Faye Ellen to chase my hillbilly dreams
All it took to make me happy was an old guitar and Black Diamond Strings.

Now I've been to the mountain top, had my share of troubles too
But if I could do it all again, Lord I know just what I'd o.
Cause if I could have just one wish, I'd take a trip back in a time machine
To the day I learned to play the Wildwood Flower on Black Diamond Strings.

CHORUS

Hey back before I left Faye Ellen to chase my make-it-big dreams,
All it took to make me happy was this old box and Black Diamond Strings.

____________

Larry says in the CD notes (Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time, Murder on Music Row--I can't look up the number right now because it's in my CD player, playing):
"Looking for a song idea one day, I remembered being a kid and how my great-grandpa (Harry Bryant) and really all the other pickers in surrounding communities sang the praises of Black Diamond Strings. They were the best so everyone said. So my old bud Larry Shell and I put this piece together, drawing upon long-ago memories...especially meaningful to me since I used some real people's names...inside, I know, but it makes me smile when I hear 'em."


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: GUEST,banjoman
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 07:41 AM

Hi all - I learned on a Stella 12 String which my Mum bought for me as a present - had Black Diamonds on it. No truss rods then and because it had been tuned to concert pitch the action was about 1.5 inches (it felt like that) I used black diamonds for quite a while until in the late sixties they became rare in the UK.
Nowadays, when I can afford decent instruments, I know that my fingers were toughened up the hard way and I have never since had problems playing.,

Does anyone remember Cathederal Strings - made by the Cathedral Music & Tennis String Company - I think they got the two mixed up along the way but my Tennis Racket could make a fine sound when played the right way.
Keep playing - happy Christmas


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Beer
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 07:44 AM

I found my cassette insert and the name of the tape is "Dublin Blues". There you can find all the words to "Black Diamond Strings".
Lin, that c/d sounds great. On Guy Clark's Dublin Blues he has a song (co-written with Rodney Crowell) called "Stuff That Works" that will bring you goose bumps. Beautiful song.
Beer


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Tweed
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 07:47 AM

Hey, Black Diamonds are back on the market and they've refined them somewhat from the old bridge cable materials of yesteryear.
I use them when I can find them. Online ordering is probably the best way to go, or badger your local shop into stocking the things. Still a bright, clear sounding and durable string.

BLACK DIAMOND STRINGS.COM


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: GUEST,COMMENTATOR
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 08:00 AM

Lin in Kansas,
               I hope BLACK DIAMOND are still paying royalties. The song is a fine advertisement for their products and to be found at the heart of their market.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Mooh
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 08:08 AM

No Stella here, but I miss the sturdy little boxes in which Black Diamond Strings were sold. The strings were so heavy they wouldn't fit in a envelop! Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: PapaWhiskey
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 10:40 AM

Of course in the wayback we didn't know anything about string gauges, alloys or such.

Thom Bresh tells a story about Merle Travis. They had played a festival and were walking back to the car. An earnest,awestruck young folkie came running up, and begged Travis to tell him what kind of strings he used. Travis told him, "Why guitar strings, of course" and got the car. They headed down the road with a genuinely puzzled Travis still trying to figure out why the kid asked him that, "what does he thing I use, violin strings?"


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Melani
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 02:36 PM

I have a strange and cloudy memory of Black Diamond making nylon strings (black, of course) as well, with little ball-ends. Am I mixing this up with something else from my dim and distant past? I mostly used La Bella.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: PapaWhiskey
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 03:28 PM

Black nylon with ball ends -- If they came in an eye-catching black and yellow package they were La Bella "Folksinger" strings. Looking at their web site I see that they are still making strings with that name.

http://www.labella.com/


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Cool Beans
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 04:13 PM

Black Diamond and LaBella strings and Roy Smeck picks. That's all the music stores ever sold. Haven't thought about Black Diamonds in years. They didn't sound very good but I can't say mine ever rusted.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Inükshük
Date: 24 Dec 03 - 02:15 PM

Ah, those were the days. A twelve dollar, mail order Stella. Black Diamond strings ranging from ten cents all the way up to a quarter for replacements. Anyone else remember removing the windings from tattered bass strings and using them for treble strings, or salvaging lengths of broken guitar strings for use on mandolins or fiddles? And then there was that almost forgotten technology for rejoining broken strings. I still have a fiddle strung with Black Diamonds, and a few ancient individuals in their original red envelopes.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 24 Dec 03 - 04:08 PM

In Nova Scotia a popular brand of dark rum is named Black Diamond. Back in the 50's and early 60's we went "double diamond". After drinking the rum the strings sure sounded some good and the fingers didn't hurt either!
          Obie


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: PapaWhiskey
Date: 24 Dec 03 - 06:12 PM

Wow, remove the windings to make it a treble string, why didn't I think of that. Here's a tip in return. It's easy to convert ball-end to loop-end strings. All you have to do is nibble away at the brass insert with a good pair of diagonal cutters until it falls out.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 24 Dec 03 - 09:10 PM

I heard a tale about a folkie on a farm trying to use old guitar strings tied between the goat's horns to stop it forcing its way thru the electric fence...

Robin


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: GUEST,Herbert
Date: 25 Dec 03 - 09:19 PM

Black Diamond, La Bella Silk & Steel, and the dreaded Rotosound 'Student' set.

I used to throw the bottom string away, move them across one and put a Banjo 1st on the e.

While we're at it, what about 'Monopole' strings, these were plastic coated and eliminated fret noise completely, the only problem was they made any guitar sound like a six string bass....

I also know people who used to boil their strings to get another couple of weeks life out them.

Finally, does anybody remember those felt guitar picks, what were they all about??


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 12:42 AM

The felt picks were for ukelele playing.
I used Black diamond strings when I first came to the US in 1970.
I'd boil them with a little baking soda and vinegar to clean them, and get another 3 or 4 nights out of them.
I also learned the art of string repair on the fly.
If a ball-end string broke at the bridge, I'd remove the bridge pin. and take out the ball-end.
Then I'd unwind the string from the tuning peg, strip off some
of the winding at the ball-end, thread it through the ball, wind it a couple of times, and insert it back into the bridge hole. Push the bridge-pin back in, insert the string back into the tuning peg and tune. Voila! A new string.
All the while telling a shaggy dog story, the punchline of which came as I just finished tuning the busted string.
And....I can still do it.


Seamus


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Subject: Lyr Add: BLACK DIAMOND STRINGS (Guy Clark)
From: GUEST,Larry Garrett larryfgarrett@comcast.net
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 11:14 AM

Here are the lyrics to Guy Clark's song, "Black Diamond Strings." This song is what introduced me to these fine, long-lasting strings..

BLACK DIAMOND STRINGS

Chorus
Black Diamond Strings
Black Diamond Strings
Drinkin' 1 W. Harper
Playin' Black Diamond Strings
Black Diamond Strings
Are like white flour and grits
You play Black Diamond Strings
'Cause it's all you can get

Black Diamond Strings on a Catalog Guitar
That's pretty high cotton whoever you are
You break one you change one, that's as good as it gets
You can play all year long on two or three sets

J.W. Crowell was a hell of a man
He played two nights a week in a hillbilly band
He played at the Ice House on Telephone Road
He played in the yard just to lighten his load

Chorus

Hey J.W play that frogline
Let Rodney sit in, hell, he's goin' on nine
His fingers are bleedin', but he's keepin' good time
Playin' Black Diamond Strings, he'll never quit tryin'

Causette told 'em both
You boys pack t up, it's time to go home
We got church in the mornin', it's comin' up dawn
Don't make me say it again or I'm gone
You can stay here forever, but you're gonna walk home


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: GUEST,George
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 11:14 AM

My Dad's guitar was a Sears Steeltone. What a guitar. I took it everywhere; beach, mountain camp. Always sounded the same with black diamond strings. They would turn my fingers green. Cool huh? Then I got my first Gibson J-50. Still used the Black Diamonds. I'm gonna have to try 'em again. Been using Martin because they seem to sound good longer. Back then we only changed a string when one broke.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 10:23 AM

Okay my memory is total rubbish.

BUT

Was it black diamond that that made those beautiful bass strings - sort of coated in black plastic and with a deeply satisfying thud.

I loved those and they disappeared.

Did my first pro gigs with those 30 odd years ago with those aforementioned on an Antoria precision bass guitar, that I'd got as a swap for a lawn mower


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 10:58 AM

What's the difference between an Antoria precision bass guitar and a lawn mower?

Well, you can tune....


Sorry!
Never feed a Foole a straight line...


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: mooman
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 12:10 PM

I've heard the new range of Black Diamond strings are fairly good although I haven't tried them myself.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 01:33 PM

Guest George's daddy had a Sears Steeltone -- ?? I've heard of the Sears Silvertone, a cheap enough guitar; was the Steeltone a step below that?


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Once Famous
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 04:07 PM

Silvertone was a Sears brand name. Most were made by Harmony and some were made by Kay when both were in Chicago.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 04:26 PM

Hmmm -- Thanks, MG; that's more than I had known about the venerable Sears Silvertone brand. Mississippi Fred McDowell used to play a red electric Silvertone, by the way. However, nobody answered my question yet about the Steeltone nameplate; sounds to me very much like "Silvertone," but less fancy (i.e., even lower quality?).

At the risk of thread creep, let me mention that I bought a cheap Silvertone electric for my youngest a few years ago, *without* the Sears brand name, at Wal-Mart. One hundred bucks, including a dinky little amp.

Fred McDowell's old red electric Sears Silvertone was a hollow-body, made to look like the Gibson model popularized by BB King. (I'm sure that many of you know the model number, but I don't and I'm not taking the time to look it up.) The newer red electric Wal-Mart Silvertone we bought was a solid-body imitation Stratocaster. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

My son Mike never got serious about learning guitar, by the way, so I'm glad we didn't spend more money on a better instrument.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 08:45 AM

Thanks for the comments. We are still around however for the past 5 years under new ownership. My family and I bought the company and now are manufacturing in Sarasota, FL.

Jim Cavanaugh,VP
Black Diamond Strings
Super-Sensitive Musical String CO.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: open mike
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 01:40 AM

Hey! I started with a Stella with Black Diamond strings too!
i remember my fingers getting black stains on them from the
strings way back when...i am glad to know i am in good company-
i guess it is a good way to get started..if you don't get
injured or discouraged, you might continue on to make great
music!@@
and i still do occasionally re-pair and re-string with strings
that i have re-tied to the ball end. i don't cut them off at the top
like i used to cuz then there is enough left to move down if
they break at the saddle, which mine tend to do...guess there is
a burr under my caddle somewhere!!
reduce, reuse, recycle...
now my chosen brand of guitar and strings is martin....
let the music continue!!


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: GUEST,jim14076@hotmail.com
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 01:13 PM

Norman Blake's song, Church Street Blues, has the line, "I wish I had some guitar strings, that old Black Diamond brand. I'd string up this old Martin box and go and join some band."
I could buy Black Diamond strings in the early sixties at Milligan's Grocery Store in Hamilton, Ontario. They gave you extra unwound strings.
Mapes used to also do this. I think I've been given a set of Mapes in the last ten years with extra unwound strings, and if I remember correctly they gave me my choice o a wound or unwound banjo G(3rd) string.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Beer
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 09:55 PM

I'm more than happy to see this thread revived. Forgot all about it.

I now know how to do a Blue Clicky so here is a great singer song writer along with Emmylou Harris and others.

ad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og7dMS-nyqA


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: kendall
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 07:26 AM

I got a Gene Autry guitar for my 16th birthday and at that time the only strings anyone could buy was the Black Diamond brand. Later along came Mapes with three extra strings. Not much improvement but we got our money's worth at 10 cents a string.
I do wish I hadn't wrapped that old Gene Autry guitar around a bed post because it was impossible to tune.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 04:24 PM

Larry Cordle


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Dharmabum
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 07:09 PM

Nice to see this old thread pulled down off the shelf.

Whenever I think of that old Stella,I'm reminded of the time some friends & I were horsing around,& that guitar took a pretty good "accidental" hit with a flashlight.
Put one helluva crack in the top.
Didn't effect the tone or playability one bit.

   DB.


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Subject: RE: Black Diamond Strings
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 11:05 PM

My first guitar was also a Stella. Back in 1963 I was working in the Exhibits Department at the Newark Museum. We were doing a Museum-wide exhibit celebrating Newark's 300th Anniversary. I developed the exhibits on New Jersey inventors, and while guitar strings weren't invented in New Jersey, in my travels I visited the Black Diamond factory in New Brunswick. They were still manufacturing the strings back then and it was interesting getting a tour of the plant.


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