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Mandolin strings

GUEST,Chris 20 Jul 06 - 11:11 AM
GLoux 20 Jul 06 - 11:48 AM
Mooh 20 Jul 06 - 01:20 PM
Pauline L 20 Jul 06 - 01:40 PM
BTMP 20 Jul 06 - 01:55 PM
Leadfingers 20 Jul 06 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,jim 20 Jul 06 - 02:48 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Jul 06 - 06:34 PM
Grab 20 Jul 06 - 07:19 PM
Kaleea 20 Jul 06 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,Jim 21 Jul 06 - 11:11 AM
nickp 21 Jul 06 - 02:03 PM
mandotim 22 Jul 06 - 03:53 AM
Mark Clark 22 Jul 06 - 10:34 PM
Les in Chorlton 23 Jul 06 - 07:30 AM
Grab 23 Jul 06 - 08:50 PM
mandotim 24 Jul 06 - 03:48 AM
Dave Hanson 24 Jul 06 - 09:22 AM
mandotim 24 Jul 06 - 10:03 AM
Dave Hanson 25 Jul 06 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Chris 25 Jul 06 - 10:22 AM
GUEST 01 Mar 11 - 01:13 PM
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Subject: Mandolin strings
From: GUEST,Chris
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 11:11 AM

Help! There are a million strings for mandolins, nickel or phosphor bronze, different diameters, some are wound and or coated, some say they are high tech and last a zillion times longer - the only thing I know is I need loop end not ball end, and like lighter rather than heavier. Can anyone give me the idiot's guide to the options to help me choose - and maybe a decent source for good value quality strings for general purpose use? Thanks CHRIS


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: GLoux
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 11:48 AM

GUEST,Chris...you should be able to see a selection of mandolin strings at any half decent music shop. There are also a number of good catalog shops such as Elderly Instruments in Michigan. Personally, I prefer John Pearse bronze mediums, but there are a good number of vendors to choose from. D'Addario, GHS, Martin, etc.

Hope this helps,
-Greg


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Mooh
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 01:20 PM

I generally use D'Addarios with a 10 guage E string. Phosphor bronze unless the local hasn't got 'em, them bronze. juststrings.com or any decent supplier like the aforementioned Elderly Music, or local mom'n'pop shop. Buy an extra set or two so you don't have to keep reminding yourself or the shop to get them.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Pauline L
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 01:40 PM

Using the wrong strings can totally destroy the warm, beautiful, resonant sound of a mandolin, as I learned the hard way. I now use Daddario PHB strings, and my mandolin sounds sweet again. I'm not knowledgeable enough to give you more specific advice, so I encourage you to talk to people who know the subject well and follow their advice.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: BTMP
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 01:55 PM

I use D'Addario J-74s on my mandos - they are ph. brnze and run from .11 E to .40 G. This set works pretty well on most mandos. I would say try them out - you may choose to opt for a slightly lighter gauge, but I would not go any heavier. I play primarily bluegrass, btw.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 02:18 PM

Chris - try Highly Strung - Their mail order system takes some beating and Nigel(The Boss) DOES know his stuff !


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: GUEST,jim
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 02:48 PM

Like BTMP, I also use D'Addario J-74s on my Eastman 605 and my Washburn Country mando. I think these are quite versatile strings and are available in most music stores.
Check out the Mandolin Cafe Equipment page for some more opinions.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 06:34 PM

Do not go over 10s on a bowlback.

I put Pearse 12s on my short scale Kentucky flatiron once. They were brutally tight, hugely loud and big bodied, and broke in two days.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Grab
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 07:19 PM

Try one of everything until you find the best ones for your instrument. Whatever everyone else recommends as their personal favourite are unlucky to be the best for yours.

Having said that, bog-standard D'Addario strings seem to be very tonally "flat" - uninspiring and uninteresting, but a good baseline. So use the basic D'Addarios to get the right weight of string (9, 10, 11 or the monster 15s? - note that string sets are always quoted by the size of the top string). After that, you'll know where your instrument needs extra help - more bassy strings, or more treble, or richer overtones, or whatever.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Kaleea
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 07:56 PM

Chris, you are describing the strings I was looking for awhile back for my inherited mandolin. I asked my fellow 'Catters & ordered some Pyramid Mandolin strings from www.juststrings.com
   While they are more expensive, they are much finer quality, and sound fantastic! They last a long time, too. They do have the fuzzy loop end & are available in light gauge.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 21 Jul 06 - 11:11 AM

Try: http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=2f93293a5b4b79fa1ee2e6e97ec51080;act=ST;f=8;t=36227


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: nickp
Date: 21 Jul 06 - 02:03 PM

Easiest is to get a small pair of side cutters and carefully remove the ball from the loop - as they are usually do'but shape they can be nibbled at easily - no pun intended.

Personal favourites are GHS silk & steel (silk between winding and core) and Daddario J74s. Try the GHS if you can get them - although they are medium gauge they seem to be easier to play.

Nick


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: mandotim
Date: 22 Jul 06 - 03:53 AM

Guest Chris; it would help if we knew what kind of a mandolin you play, and what sort of music you want to produce. As a general rule, carved-top instruments tend to respond well to heavier gauge strings (around 11s is a standard, although D'Addario J75s are 11.5s, with correspondingly heavier bass strings. Incidentally Grab, I think the 15s are mandola strings, intended to be tuned CGDA not GDAE) The heavier gauges seem to 'drive' the top of the mandolin better, and produce better tone and volume. Most bluegrass players use fairly heavy strings and a thick pick to produce the characteristic 'chop' sound. The exception to this is old Gibson A models, which are often too fragile (because of the transverse bracing and top sinkage) to take heavy strings. Flattop mandolins tend to like lighter strings, which help them to sustain and give the 'ringing' tone for Celtic music. There are, of course, exceptions to all of this!
String suppliers; Elixir nanoweb 11s are good if you don't like changing strings often, and Malcolm Newton at Newtone strings makes custom sets for any mandolin. I get all my strings from Here No financial interest, but good people to deal with, and fast delivery.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Mark Clark
Date: 22 Jul 06 - 10:34 PM

GUEST,Chris; mandotim is exactly right, we need to know about your particular instrument in order to make any useful recommendation. If yours is an antique—bowl-back or flat teardrop—most commercial strings will be too heavy. These instruments are fragile and have no truss rod in the neck. If your mandolin is a modern one, is it solid wood or formed laminate? If it's solid wood, does it have a truss rod (is there a small plastic cover near the nut)? Is it flat or arched? Is the bridge adjustable (thumbscrews) or solid?

I work in a guitar shop where we sell and service lots of mandolins as well as high-end guitars, banjos, etc. I've studied which strings sound best on the mandolins in the shop and, since buying my own mandolin (an Eastman MD815 F5 copy), I've tried a number of different strings on my own instrument. The best strings I've used on my own mandolin are the D'Addario J75 set. These are not too spendy and provide wonderful tone and volume. I keep them fairly high for added volume and smooth playing. If the strings are too low, the action will actually seem worse because you'll be trying to overcome the poor tone and slight rattle of low strings.

We use coated strings on instruments in the shop only because many people play the instruments to try them out. The coating helps resist the corrosive oils from some customers' hands. But if you've never had a problem with your own hands causing rapid string corrosion, there's really no need to stand the extra expense.

But give us more information and we can give you more help.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 07:30 AM

Elixier, more expensive to buy but brighter much longer!


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Grab
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 08:50 PM

Yeah Tim, I put them on my tenor mandola and down-tune it to octave mandola tuning. But I have heard of them being used by bluegrassers on mandolins, and D'Addario do describe them as "mandolin" rather than "mandola". Exactly how anyone can play them and still have fingers left at the end, I'm not quite sure...


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: mandotim
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 03:48 AM

It's not so much the player's fingers, it's more to do with the stress on the instrument. I saw a nice Gibson A3 come out of its case in several pieces due to heavy strings! D'Addario have a string tension calculator on their website, and some of those poundages are really scary!
Tim


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 09:22 AM

I use D'Addario J74s on my 1917 Gibson A with no problems, old Gibsons were or are very sturdy instruments.

eric


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: mandotim
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 10:03 AM

Hi Eric...
Er...some old Gibson A's are/were sturdy instruments. You see a lot with grain cracks and top sinkage (I've repaired one or two). This is usually due to braces coming loose, but heavy strings (I'm talking J75s and the like)don't help the situation. J74s are about the limit I would use, but only after a good visual inspection of the bracing. The A's were factory made instruments after all, and there was the usual share of 'Friday Afternoon Specials' in amongst them. Having said that Eric, I envy you a good one! They really are lovely instruments when set up well, and much underrated when compared to the fancier models like the F4. Personal fave is the no-frills AJr (if I can't have a snakehead A2Z!)
Very best
Tim


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 04:12 AM

I know what you mean Tim, I once owned a dateless [ 1950 ish ] Gibson A 40/50 that was the worst pile of junk mandolin I ever came accross.

eric


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: GUEST,Chris
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 10:22 AM

Sorry to keep quiet after asking for help. Moving home isn't the best time to initiate a discussion! Anyway, much wisdom and much interest and knowledge from reading all the above, so thanks. These Elixir strings sound a good bet - sure, you pay more, but they last longer so are more forgiving for a casual and very much still learning mandolin apprentice, presently playing along (more harmony line than chord playing) to the likes of Alison Krauss, Tim O'Brien, Emmylou Harris et al on cd... The mandolin is a beautiful UK made, 2004, solid two pointer by Eric Beharrell, but the strings are those I acquired with the instrument a few months back, need replacing, sound a little dull and are thick and heavy for sliding up and down, though the action is good - CHRIS


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Subject: RE: Mandolin strings
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 11 - 01:13 PM

hello. can anyone give advise on ghs silk and bronz strings. considering for a kentucky a 505 model. don`t know much about them. i usually use ghs silk and steel or d`addario 74. nay help would be appreciated. jw


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