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Lets Talk Mandolin Strings

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lloyd61 21 Nov 99 - 11:30 PM
Mark Roffe 22 Nov 99 - 02:08 AM
Lady McMoo 22 Nov 99 - 03:08 AM
Terry Allan Hall 22 Nov 99 - 08:12 AM
lloyd61 22 Nov 99 - 09:56 PM
Wesley S 22 Nov 99 - 11:39 PM
lloyd61 22 Nov 99 - 11:52 PM
guinnesschik 18 Sep 01 - 05:03 PM
Gypsy 18 Sep 01 - 11:12 PM
mooman 19 Sep 01 - 03:52 AM
bigchuck 19 Sep 01 - 07:25 AM
guinnesschik 19 Sep 01 - 08:43 AM
mooman 19 Sep 01 - 08:49 AM
guinnesschik 19 Sep 01 - 09:09 AM
GUEST,bobbifiddler 23 Mar 02 - 06:54 AM
bigchuck 23 Mar 02 - 07:23 AM
bobbifiddler 23 Mar 02 - 07:29 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Mar 02 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,vielleuse 12 Apr 06 - 02:51 PM
Wesley S 12 Apr 06 - 03:09 PM
Les in Chorlton 12 Apr 06 - 03:17 PM
Kaleea 12 Apr 06 - 07:10 PM
Leadfingers 12 Apr 06 - 07:23 PM
JohnInKansas 12 Apr 06 - 10:12 PM
GUEST,Jim 13 Apr 06 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Jim 13 Apr 06 - 11:02 AM
Grab 15 Apr 06 - 04:04 PM
rock chick 15 Apr 06 - 05:11 PM
vielleuse 15 Apr 06 - 05:37 PM
JohnInKansas 15 Apr 06 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,snwmn 357 08 Sep 09 - 02:10 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Sep 09 - 04:53 AM
Dave Hanson 09 Sep 09 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,astro 10 Sep 09 - 12:18 AM
GUEST,Ray 10 Sep 09 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,astro 11 Sep 09 - 01:39 AM
nickp 11 Sep 09 - 04:50 AM
deadfrett 11 Sep 09 - 12:45 PM
PHJim 12 Sep 09 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,astro 13 Sep 09 - 01:31 AM
GUEST,mandy tone 10 Feb 10 - 12:11 PM
nickp 11 Feb 10 - 06:05 AM
Zen 11 Feb 10 - 01:35 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 Feb 10 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,astro 11 Feb 10 - 10:47 PM
HiHo_Silver 22 Feb 12 - 09:53 PM
GUEST,Ray 23 Feb 12 - 01:51 PM
Spot 23 Feb 12 - 05:20 PM
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Subject: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: lloyd61
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 11:30 PM

Lets talk Mandolin Strings

I currently use Martin M400 bronze. I'm Looking for a mellow sound. The bronze seams a little to "Bright".

Two types of Mandolins should be considered, (1) 1930 Nickel Plated National, (2) 1928 Tear Dropped Martin.

What would you suggest.

Lloyd


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 02:08 AM

I don't know the answer Lloyd, but let's add another instrument to the question: recently built low-end but decently made A-sytle wooden mandolins. We're looking to buy one soon, maybe a "Mid-Missouri brand" (they sounded pretty nice in the store).


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 03:08 AM

You could try Dr Thomastik mandolin strings which give a considerably softer sound. I believe Gore Elixir do mandolin strings now but I haven't tried them yet. If you prefer phosphor bronze, Newtone strings, a small handmade strings business in England, will make up sets to any gauges you like and do a postal service. If you're interested let me know and I will post up the details (I haven't got them with me at the moment).

Best regards,

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 08:12 AM

I'm pretty partial to the D'Addario Phos. Bronze, but I plan to try out the Gore Elixir set when I run across a set.

For very mellow, La Bella used to make a silk & steel set, but I'm not sure if they still do or not. You could buy some silk & steel guitar strings and modify the ends into loops, I suppose...guages would be (from low to high) .040 - .028 - .016 - .012


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: lloyd61
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 09:56 PM

OK, I'll start my quest for a set of Gore Elixir.

Thanks for all your help.

Lloyd


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 11:39 PM

I've got Elixirs on my Mid-Missouri M-4 because I don't play it as often.I'll probabally sell it someday. They don't start out as bright as some strings but they stay brighter longer. If you're not going to change strings often they are a good choice. My new Weber gets played on stage so I use D'addario 80/20 {.010,.014,.024,034}. They don't last as long but thats OK by me. I usually trade them out more often. But I'm looking for a brighter tone to ride up over the guitarists I play with regularily. What kind of music are you playing on that National?


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: lloyd61
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 11:52 PM

Wesley,

What kind of music do I play?

My father played the National Mandolin in a Scandinavia string band many years ago. While I do not have the skills that he had I do carry on the tradition by playing the old string band music. In the Chicago area there are a number of Scandinavian groups who request that music. I have taught the music to a few friends to back up the Mandolin. After saying all that, I am in the process of moving to North Carolina to retire. My wives family are accomplished Bluegrass players, so they are convinced that I will be playing with them. So, at this I'm suffering from an Identity crisis.

My skill level is med.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: guinnesschik
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 05:03 PM

Woo-hoo! I got a mandolin! (A new Fender A-style, stage ready with a single coil pick-up.) I'm doing okay with chords and picking melodies, but I HATE THE STRINGS! They're too thin (.010, .014, .024, .034) for my agressive playing, and I broke three yesterday. Are mandolin strings made in different guages like guitar strings? If not, any suggestions on what I could use as alternatives? I'm learning on standard GDAE tuning.

I'd truly be grateful for any advice. Thanks, 'catters!


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Gypsy
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 11:12 PM

La Bella does indeed still make silk and steel....i love them. Howsomever, the handsome resident mando player won't use them, cuz he wears them out within a week!


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: mooman
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 03:52 AM

guinnesschick,

D'Addario also make a slightly heavier set (they might still call it the "Grisman" set) which starts at .011 and has a slightly heavier gauging right up the set (up to 0.40 if my failing memory serves). These might overcome the problems you're encountering. Some other string makers may also offer a heavier grade.

I have changed from the normal D'Addario .010-.034 set to Elixirs on my mandolin and have been very happy with them. I also use Elixirs on my main fingerpicking guitar but still keep to D'Addarios on my plectrum-powered chord backing guitar as they seem to suit the sound better on that.

mooman

mooman


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: bigchuck
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 07:25 AM

D'Addario makes several types of Mandolin strings. J-74s are, I think .011 to .040, and J-75s are .0115 to .041. I use the J-74s sometimes, but generally like D'Addario Flattops, which are flatwound with a wound A. I find these to be long lasting, easier to tune, and a bit less shrill than other strings. I definitely find sets with a .010 first to be too wimpy for vigorous picking.
Sandy


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: guinnesschik
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 08:43 AM

Thanks so much, ya'll. Where do you buy 'em? Our local big chain stores are kinda limited as to what they carry. Is there a good place on line?


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: mooman
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 08:49 AM

Dear guinnesschick,

Try Juststrings.com here. Prices are reaonable too. They have the gauges you're looking for.

Best regards,

mooman


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: guinnesschik
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 09:09 AM

A million thank yous!


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,bobbifiddler
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 06:54 AM

I'm a fiddler, please don't hold that against me. BUT have a burning need to play mandolin. I have just bought a flat back acoustic for my own entertainment, can't wait for it to arrive. So, here's my question about the strings (and thank you so much for all the postings so far, very helpful): I checked out JustStrings.com. The prices seem incredibly low compared to what I pay for violin strings. Are they listed per string, by set of 4, or by set of 8?


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: bigchuck
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 07:23 AM

By set of 8. And yes they are lots cheaper than violin strings...different materials, different construction methods I think.
Sandy


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: bobbifiddler
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 07:29 AM

Well, imagine that! Thank you so much Sandy.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 07:32 PM

If you want "bite" rather than prestige, try a Kentucky flatiron. Mine is from Saga (California) and is so bright I haven't changed the strings for 4 years, and now it doesn't quite overwhelm the guitars. THe set on it are Earthwood mediums.

Under NO circumstances deal with Saga. Buy a different make. THey say they warrant instruments for one year to the original purchaser, adn mine cracked within that year, and because the dealer I bought it from was not an official distributor they told me to sue them or F**k off.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,vielleuse
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 02:51 PM

I would be very, very grateful for any advice on mandolin strings, which I know nothing whatever about.

I have a mandolin which belonged to my father and looks considerably older than him. There is a sort of Edwardian looking lady on the back (it's a flatback) and it seems to have been made by the Neapolitan Patent Mandoline Co ("by His Majesty's Royal Letters Patent" so somehow I think not in Naples). It's a nice thing with a lovely resonant tone, but I had never changed the strings till yesterday because I have another more reliable mandolin that I really play, and it's not my first instrument anyway.

The new strings are horrid. They are Ernie Ball light gauge. The two top pairs are ok, but the lower strings sound somehow both plinky and whispery and very very tinny.

I think the problem may be amplified by the fact that I play this strange open tuning (F,C,F,C, or sometimes F# C# F# C#) but even tuned up they still sound rubbish. Any suggestions for more suitable strings would be very welcome (was going to ask at mandolin cafe, but can't seem to register).

I'm in the UK by the way, so they'd need to be available here. Also I have been told that I shouldn't put anything too heavy on it.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Wesley S
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 03:09 PM

Do you have any photos you can post ? If so I would suggest heading over to www.mandolincafe.com - there are lots of experts there who might be able to help. Some of the best builders in the business post there on a regular basis.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 03:17 PM

One word "Elixir"

http://www.elixirstrings.com/products/product_mandolin.html<


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Kaleea
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 07:10 PM

A couple of years back, I was looking for mando strings with wrapped ends for an old neopolitan (bowlbacked) mando I inherited, & Catters did not let me down. I ended up getting the Pyramid strings online. While higher $$, they sound great & last a looong time.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 07:23 PM

Highly Strung is a good source for strings - Mail Order No Problem and a fast service ! Cheaper sites , but NOT for the speed ! the Web Site is -- http://www.highlystrung.co.uk/ - Check em out !!


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Apr 06 - 10:12 PM

GUEST, vielleuse -

You may have posted here before, but I don't recognize the "nom." If you're new, you may not be aware that some older threads were disordered by a database mishap a few months ago. This thread is one of them.

Older posts in this thread will make much better sense if you click on the "printer friendly" blue link at the top of the thread. In print view the posts will be in order. (but links won't work there, so you'll want to use the "back to thread" button to check here for any that might be interesting).

Your F C F C or F# C# F# C# tunings are quite a bit off the normal G d a' e' tuning for which common mando string sets are sized, and I suspect you may need to create your own sets from individual strings. Several people here have suggested sources for string gauge calculations to suit odd tunings, in other threads; and mandolin cafe once had a "string calculator" up, although I haven't been there for a while.

I doubt that you'll be able to use any typical "mando string set" to get good tone across all the strings with those tunings. You'll need to find a brand of string that's satisfactory, and that's availabe as individual strings of the gauges you need.

John


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 10:51 AM

Lloydd61,

Your nickel plated National might be a good one to try octave tuning on the two lower (G&D) strings. Many of the old blues guys like Yank Rachell used this tuning and it sounds very funky.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 11:02 AM

Check out the Equipment section of www.mandolincafe.com . They've had several discussions on strings with contributions from very knowledgable mando players.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Grab
Date: 15 Apr 06 - 04:04 PM

If you're using a tuning like that, your best bet might be to get a set of cittern strings. Citterns are commonly tuned like that, except they have 5 strings in total (so you'd use CFCFC, say). This might be the best way of getting a reasonably consistent set of strings. Use the top or bottom 4, and discard the extras.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: rock chick
Date: 15 Apr 06 - 05:11 PM

I love Elixirs on my 12 string, haven't tried then on my mandolin though.

RC


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: vielleuse
Date: 15 Apr 06 - 05:37 PM

Thanks for all the advice. I've taken some photos and will head over to mandolin cafe now my registration is sorted.

JohnInKansas - I'm not a regular here, just stick my head round the door occasionally, have made a post or two but not necessarily under this name. Anyway it's been more frequent lately so I've registered now. Thanks for the heads up. Suddenly it all makes sense!


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Apr 06 - 06:33 PM

vielleuse -

Welcome - and if you learn anything really interesting at mando cafe come back and share?

If you expect to take a while, with your new member name you can click the "Add to Tracer" above the Reply box, or "Trace" at the right on the Threads list page, and a link to a thread (like this one?) will be placed in your "Personal Page" so you won't have to search for one that drops off the page.

John


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,snwmn 357
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 02:10 PM

I play an acoustic "A" body and like the sound of the D'Addario/Ricky Skaggs strings. A lot of volume is lost if you don't hold down your note, and pluck the strings firmly. You can be louder than you think if you work on your technique. When you play the chops, don't be afraid to dig in to be heard.The strings and the instrument can take it. I think the mandolin is so effective as a complementary instrument as much as it changes the color of the music being played. I play it from bluegrass to southern rock and once folks see it and hear it they realize that it's got unique capabilities. I take rock solo leads from the lead guitarist, and toss the lead back to him kind of like going around in a bluegrass jam. People love to hear the different sound in the mix but they hear it better when the technique is clean. You can mike the acoustic, or get an acoustic electric and play through an acoustic amp. My acoustic "A" is quite loud with the Ricky Skaggs strings.Stand in a semicircle facing the loudest instruments and play to that musician. Your sound will get a bounce off of what's coming off of his guitar or whatever. The acoustic electric is passable as an acoustic, but is nice amplified.With the rock band I use a 60 Watt acoustic amp and I can hear myself and the people know I'm there. Don't get to small an amp if you need to project into a medium size room and you're up against electric guitars, and drums. I like the D'Addario strings, as well as Fender strings for the electric. They both last a long time and stay in tune. Don't forget a good setup periodically by a good luthier can stabilize your instrument and help your volume. Practice your technique. You'll discover a lot about your playing if you practice.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Sep 09 - 04:53 AM

And avoid the D'Addario coateds like the plague!


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 09 Sep 09 - 09:01 AM

They get some good revues on The Mandolin Cafe, I use J74s on all my mandolins now though.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,astro
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 12:18 AM

I have a friend who use D'Addario EXP74 coated strings on his Nugget and they sound fine. He gets them to last much longer then the J74's (Dave Firestine).

Richard, why don't you like them?

astro in LA


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 01:54 PM

If he can afford a Nugget I'd be surprised if he really cares how long his strings last!
Ray


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,astro
Date: 11 Sep 09 - 01:39 AM

True, Ray, but he got the mandolin when Nuggets were somewhat unknown, today I haven't any small children to sell for one...

though, the point is that the exp74's sound pretty much the same as the J74's...

astro, thinking about how to ransom someone for a Nugget...though I have two Givens mandolins and a Collings and am pretty satisfied...


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: nickp
Date: 11 Sep 09 - 04:50 AM

I go for J75's on mine (modern luthier made A style) - I like the little extra weight. Having said that I have an early A4 which has GHS silk & Steel, easier to play but a little quieter.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: deadfrett
Date: 11 Sep 09 - 12:45 PM

The D'Addarrio exp's are a good choice. The pickup makes a considerable differece in tone. the McIntyre pickup has a really
natural sound,not thin and trebley, with asweet bass response.
Dave


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: PHJim
Date: 12 Sep 09 - 12:44 PM

I agree with the J74s. Anyone here play a high-strung mandolin?


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,astro
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 01:31 AM

Wow, Nickp...

How tough is it to play the J75's...I usually have the J74's on my mandolins and haven't tried the j75s....

astro sitting here playing my Givens A6...with the J74's


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,mandy tone
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 12:11 PM

find old set of strings,Im always puting my old strings bake on.I Still buy strings, try them take them off and put them on the shelf with the rest of the strings i tryed.Sometimes put on the new strings but leave my old G strings on. This might sound crazy, but i just built a F5 style mandy with one peice top sitka.The grain is hard to count, its so tight and th back is one peice quilted maple.I put the strings on.New ones ,sound brite not good.Put old strings on it, "WOW MAN" cool.But the strings i put on it were out in my shed got wet and had rust on them.I laid them out in th sun stell wool then car polish them.I tryed it with a couple sets,i mean just thrash on them clean them and that worked for me.Now i buy new strings ,on the ground they go.Stomp on them,sand paper them ,set them in a bowl of water and each time find new ideas to thrash on them.You dont want to kink em just try a pair let it out of your system.I talk to my strings and now there talking back.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: nickp
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 06:05 AM

Hmm, I missed GUEST astro's comments last year, so here's a delayed response. J75's are not noticeably harder than 74s but it'll depend on your action - or rather that of the mandolin - mine is low. The previous GUEST mandy tone has some unusual ideas but I can agree about the G - I find that I'm replacing a whole set when some of the time it's just the E and (particularly...why?) the A that have died. It would make more sense to replace them as individual pairs as required but I guess I'm lazy and go for the whole set.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Zen
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 01:35 PM

After trying most makes over many years I've gone back to using D'Aquisto phosphor bronze uncoated strings. Gauges 11-40 on my carved top A5 style (equivalent to a D'Addario J74 set) and 10-34 on my flat top (similar to D'Addario J73 set). I prefer them to the D'Addarios as I find the quality control better (I've experienced many dud strings with D'Addario but never with D'Aquisto. They last well too and are equivalent in tone.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 02:01 PM

Elixr

L in C


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,astro
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 10:47 PM

I am now using the EXP74's and I like them...I just replace the whole set when one goes assuming that one of the others will go pretty soon since one has...

NickP, my action is low, I mean the mandolin's action is pretty low and so I should try the J75's sometime...still haven't found that Nugget, though I really like my Bob Givens A6...

astro in LA ready to pick up the pick....


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: HiHo_Silver
Date: 22 Feb 12 - 09:53 PM

Hi All: I am interested in thoughts and information on Mandolin Strings made in China under the name of Alice. Anyone playing them. Light Gauge, Copper Wound, .10 to .36. Appreciate any and all comments. Thanks: Jim


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 23 Feb 12 - 01:51 PM

Always thought that "Alice" was a disease - never suffered from it myself although I hear that Crisopher Robin once went down with it!

I can see no reason why you shouldn't give them a try but, personally, I'll be sticking with J74s.


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Subject: RE: Lets Talk Mandolin Strings
From: Spot
Date: 23 Feb 12 - 05:20 PM

Allloooo everybody :-)

If we're still talking mandolin strings 'ere then my two pennyworth is - stop talkin' about 'em an try Cleartone Mediums... I think I've about tried 'em all - I reckon these are the best... :-)

Regards to all, as ever....   Spot ;-)


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