The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Other Stringed Instruments

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 04-12-2019, 10:26 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: UK/EU
Posts: 14,225
Default Mandolin Strings - Changing and such!

I have a wondrous Lebeda F-5 mandolin made about 15 years ago - had it from new.
Sadly, Mando Bob who takes all the mando parts (refuses to learn to play guitar properly) and I'm no longer in a bluegrass band, I rarely get to see the thing, let alone play it!

My preferred brand for both Mandolin and Dobro is Jim Dunlop, I always felt that they had a slightly higher tension than others.

I have recently started going to a "sort of" jam which gave me the opportunity to play both and realised that My mando strings (Dunlop 11-40 nickel wound - bought in error) had been on for 14 months!
Dunlop strings are increasingly difficult to buy in the UK, so I thought the new Nickel bronze D'addarios might be a good substitute.

Today was supposed to be a gardening day, but the weather didn't cooperate, so i decided to restring my mandolin.

I like changing strings but mandolin IS a challenge.

I removed all but two strings whilst cleaning and polishing to keep the bridge in place and when I opened this "new" set of D'addario NBs, I noticed that the unwound strings were showing signs of corrosion. (the 14 month old Dunlops weren't!)

Anyway, I had to continue - got the job done - not a process to rush!
I know strings need to bed in but oooh - nasty sound!

And, less tension ???
Anybody else play mandolin too ?
Any comments on strings?

BTW - I just looked on YouTube for "Changing Mandolin strings - about a dozen videos all different and some REALLY poor advice to be found.

I guess I'll have to do my own video some tme, but it wonlt be for a while (I hope) .
__________________
Silly Moustache,
Elderly singer, guitarist, dobrolist and mandolinist.

https://www.youtube.com/user/SillyMoustache/videos
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-12-2019, 01:29 PM
Tenzin Tenzin is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Long Island, NY USA
Posts: 214
Default

Personally, I like GHS strings on my mandolin. Although I have re-set the bridge to get the intonation correct, I generally don't remove all the strings at one time. I wrap the strings around the post a few times, then through the hole (holding the strings about two fingers distance from the bridge). Then I just wind it up going down the posts.

I'm not sure if you get GHS brands in England, at a fair price, but that's the method I've been using.
__________________
--
Patience is a strength, not a weakness; and if by practicing patience we stop retaliating to harm and criticism, people will gradually come to understand that our real nature is very special.

Last edited by Kerbie; 04-13-2019 at 01:21 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-12-2019, 02:15 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Washington State
Posts: 1,496
Default

I play mandolin; currently have a Sonny Morris custom F4, Cricketfiddle custom F5, 1930's Stahl banjolin, 1930's Regal reso mando, Cricketfiddle 10 string A4 mandola, Cricketfiddle F4 custom octave mando and Cricketfiddle F4 10 string mandocello. They are all regular players. I change one pair at a time to keep the bridge in place on all these guys. I do them just like I do guitar strings. I'm a lefty-who-plays-righty so this may not work for everyone:
1. Take off old string(s)
2. Lube up nut and bridge slots
3. Set string in/on tailpiece (some of my instruments use cast Allen TP's that take loop or ball ends, some are traditional Gibson style, a couple completely unique).
4. Lay string in nut groove, holding string against the fretboard with the right thumb.
5. Wrap string (CCW on bass side, CW on treble side) around tuner post (3 times for wound strings, 4 to 5 for plain).
6. Now hold wraps down with right thumb. Poke wild end of string through tuner post hole. Tighten tuner to take up enough tension to at least play a note you can hear.
7. Repeat for other string in the pair. Tune both up to one step below final pitch.
8. Trim off wild end of string(s).
Repeat for remaining 3 or 4 string pairs. Tune all strings to 1/2 step flat, then bring up to pitch. I don't use or need a peg winder for any of this.

I can do my 10 stringers in about half an hour each, less for the regular 8 stringers. I am using dadarrio monels on my Morris F4. The F5 is using dadarrio flattops right now. The OM has flat wound electric strings currently, with octave pairs. Out of respect for the elderly I use UK made Newtone .008 nickel on the regal reso and .009 phosphor bronze on the banjolin. The 'dola and 'cello are wearing 80/20 phosphor bronze guitar strings now, also with octave pairs. I get the wholesale price from my local independent mom and pop music store for most of my strings.

If you want a real stringing challenge, try my 10 string Hardanger viola, where half the strings run through the bridge (not over it) and under the fingerboard!

Last edited by Mandobart; 04-12-2019 at 02:25 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-12-2019, 05:56 PM
Kupuna50's Avatar
Kupuna50 Kupuna50 is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 1,060
Default Mandolin strings

I fond that changing mandolin strings is no more difficult than changing open head stock guitar strings.
The trick is to change ONLY one string at a time. Doing that will not compromise the intonation, etc from the bridge moving.

Also, I own a Ron Cole RCF5 (awesome!!)
I put D'addario strings on and it sounded awful. Called Ron Cole and shared my disappointment with the D'addario's. He strongly suggested GLS strings.
Purchased them and put them on. W-O-W!!! What a difference!
YMMV

They are now my 'go to' strings.

IHMO
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-12-2019, 06:30 PM
leew3 leew3 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 866
Default

I usually change a pair at a time to keep the bridge in place, etc. I use an Ernie Ball powered string winder that makes life much easier. I'm surely not the only one to lose focus and pull the loop end through the tailpiece on occasion am I? I play D'Addario EJ 74s but just bought a couple packs to Straight Up Strings that I'll try when the next change is due next month. I find that I like the sound okay when they're new, but better after they've played in for a week or two. Hope this helps.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-12-2019, 11:11 PM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,839
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kupuna50 View Post
change ONLY one string at a time.
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leew3 View Post
just bought a couple packs to Straight Up Strings that I'll try when the next change is due next month. .
??????????????????????
A mandolin string change is "due" when one of the strings breaks.
__________________
Martin 0-28VS
Gibson Arlo Guthrie
Fender Robert Cray Strat
Buckeye Mandolin
Kamaka HF-1D
Tom Yocky dulcimer

Last edited by frankmcr; 04-13-2019 at 07:46 AM. Reason: clarification of intent
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-13-2019, 03:04 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: UK/EU
Posts: 14,225
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
.... snip ... I'm a lefty-who-plays-righty so this may not work for everyone:
1. Take off old string(s)
2. Lube up nut and bridge slots
3. Set string in/on tailpiece (some of my instruments use cast Allen TP's that take loop or ball ends, some are traditional Gibson style, a couple completely unique).
4. Lay string in nut groove, holding string against the fretboard with the right thumb.
5. Wrap string (CCW on bass side, CW on treble side) around tuner post (3 times for wound strings, 4 to 5 for plain).
6. Now hold wraps down with right thumb. Poke wild end of string through tuner post hole. Tighten tuner to take up enough tension to at least play a note you can hear.
7. Repeat for other string in the pair. Tune both up to one step below final pitch.
8. Trim off wild end of string(s).
Repeat for remaining 3 or 4 string pairs. Tune all strings to 1/2 step flat, then bring up to pitch. I don't use or need a peg winder for any of this.

... snip ...
Hi, I fell at fence no.1 - you let the floating bridge fall off ?
__________________
Silly Moustache,
Elderly singer, guitarist, dobrolist and mandolinist.

https://www.youtube.com/user/SillyMoustache/videos
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-13-2019, 03:06 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: UK/EU
Posts: 14,225
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kupuna50 View Post
I fond that changing mandolin strings is no more difficult than changing open head stock guitar strings.
The trick is to change ONLY one string at a time. Doing that will not compromise the intonation, etc from the bridge moving.

Also, I own a Ron Cole RCF5 (awesome!!)
I put D'addario strings on and it sounded awful. Called Ron Cole and shared my disappointment with the D'addario's. He strongly suggested GLS strings.
Purchased them and put them on. W-O-W!!! What a difference!
YMMV

They are now my 'go to' strings.

IHMO
If you change them one at a tme, it makes it very difficult to clean and polish under the strings surely?

I take all but the middle sets (or the outside strings).
__________________
Silly Moustache,
Elderly singer, guitarist, dobrolist and mandolinist.

https://www.youtube.com/user/SillyMoustache/videos
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-13-2019, 03:49 AM
leew3 leew3 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 866
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmcr View Post
??????????????????????
A mandolin string change is "due" when one of the strings breaks.
I'll respectfully disagree-perhaps for me only, but I find that based on how much I play I prefer the tone I get when changing strings about every two months. YMMV
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-13-2019, 08:00 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Washington State
Posts: 1,496
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Hi, I fell at fence no.1 - you let the floating bridge fall off ?
You blew through the entire preamble, which includes:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
...They are all regular players. I change one pair at a time to keep the bridge in place on all these guys...
I can't help you silly old moustache.....
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-13-2019, 08:02 AM
815C's Avatar
815C 815C is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: The Hills Of Tennessee
Posts: 3,672
Default

My 2 cents...

I attach the loop end of the string to the tailpiece and use a capo to hold the loose new string in place while I fiddle with getting it on the post and tightening it up. Here's a 90 second video I uploaded showing this approach on a classical guitar string change.

Once the new string is on and pretty much tuned up, I don't snip the excess string off, but instead bend it back and forth until the metal fatigues and the string breaks off even with the post. No little sharp string end to prick your finger on. It takes surprisingly few bends to fatigue the metal string until it breaks.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-13-2019, 08:03 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Washington State
Posts: 1,496
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
If you change them one at a tme, it makes it very difficult to clean and polish under the strings surely?

I take all but the middle sets (or the outside strings).
Now that's a recipe for falling bridges. One pair at a time and a soft lint-free cloth works great.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-13-2019, 09:57 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: UK/EU
Posts: 14,225
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
You blew through the entire preamble, which includes:


I can't help you silly old moustache.....
You are right - I did ! (and I am!)

I am also a lefty who plays righty so perhaps I started at then end and worked my way up !?.... Doh!
__________________
Silly Moustache,
Elderly singer, guitarist, dobrolist and mandolinist.

https://www.youtube.com/user/SillyMoustache/videos
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-13-2019, 10:04 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: UK/EU
Posts: 14,225
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmcr View Post
Yes.


??????????????????????
A mandolin string change is "due" when one of the strings breaks.
I play pretty heavily, but if I followed that advice, I'd never change strings on anything, but have a lot of very dead sounding instruments !
__________________
Silly Moustache,
Elderly singer, guitarist, dobrolist and mandolinist.

https://www.youtube.com/user/SillyMoustache/videos
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-13-2019, 10:11 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: UK/EU
Posts: 14,225
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenzin View Post
Personally, I like GHS strings on my mandolin. Although I have re-set the bridge to get the intonation correct, I generally don't remove all the strings at one time. I wrap the strings around the post a few times, then through the hole (holding the strings about two fingers distance from the bridge). Then I just wind it up going down the posts.

I'm not sure if you get GHS brands in England, at a fair price, but that's the method I've been using.
Hi Tenzin, hope you are well.

I checked and yes we can get GHS strings here, but, like Dunlop strings increasingly difficult to source. They cost more compared to most others.

I see that GHS use the term "Americana" , rather like Dunlop do now ...I wonder ??
If you have a pack of GHS - do they say made in Benicia CA?

Something that has become obvious to me is that there is NO standard way of restringing mandolins!
__________________
Silly Moustache,
Elderly singer, guitarist, dobrolist and mandolinist.

https://www.youtube.com/user/SillyMoustache/videos
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Other Stringed Instruments

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=