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  #1  
Old 12-02-2021, 02:48 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Default Mandolin String Comparison

While I was testing out the new Collings mandolin that I bought, I did a lot of sound tests to determine if I was going to keep it. And one thing I noticed was, for my tastes, that Collings sounded much better with Thomastik Flatwound strings. Well I tried the same strings on my Breedlove mandolins.

Here's a direct comparison of the strings that I tried. D'Addario EJ74 Phosphor Bronze vs Thomastik Flatwound 154, on my Breedlove Quartz OF (A style with F-holes) recorded on the same mic, at the same distance.

The Thomastik sample starts @ 1:51

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  #2  
Old 12-02-2021, 04:58 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Hi, I bought my final mandolin, a Lebeda F5 Premium, 14 years ago, It is a wondrous instrument.

For some years I simply went for D'addario J74s, until for some reason, I tried some Dunlop PB equivalents and really liked them.

Then, by mistake, I was sent some nickel wound Dunlops - same gauge, and I put them on and discovered a new brightness, and more volume.

I've tried other alloys types, but the Dunlop Nickels are my choice now.

The only other instruments that I use nickels on are my archtops, so it seems that carved top instruments benefit from nickel wound ... for me at least.
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  #3  
Old 12-02-2021, 05:03 PM
rdeane rdeane is offline
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i also prefer the Thomastiks. I have an MT2 and have been wondering how they would sound but balk at the price. I use Thomastiks on my Eastman E20OM and like them, but the price is about half of the mando strings.
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Old 12-02-2021, 05:11 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Hi, I bought my final mandolin, a Lebeda F5 Premium, 14 years ago, It is a wondrous instrument.

For some years I simply went for D'addario J74s, until for some reason, I tried some Dunlop PB equivalents and really liked them.

Then, by mistake, I was sent some nickel wound Dunlops - same gauge, and I put them on and discovered a new brightness, and more volume.

I've tried other alloys types, but the Dunlop Nickels are my choice now.

The only other instruments that I use nickels on are my archtops, so it seems that carved top instruments benefit from nickel wound ... for me at least.
I've never tried any Dunlop mandolin strings. I would imagine they would sound closer to the D'Addarios as they are roundwound. The Thomastiks are flatwound and I think that really softens the tone.

But I like nickel strings on some of my guitars. And two of those instruments that I like the nickels on are hollowbodies (Gretsch Double Anniversary, and Gibson ES125)

The Thomastiks, not only are they flatwound, but also a steel core string and what I think they bring to the table is a warm sound that is less "plinky/bright" which sometimes, depending on the mandolin, can get irritating.

Maybe you can record your mandolin to demo why you like the nickel strings.
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  #5  
Old 12-02-2021, 05:16 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdeane View Post
i also prefer the Thomastiks. I have an MT2 and have been wondering how they would sound but balk at the price. I use Thomastiks on my Eastman E20OM and like them, but the price is about half of the mando strings.
Well when I put the Thomastiks on the Collings MT and I preferred then to the the J74's by a big margin. They made that Collings sound much better to me. I also liked them on my Breedlove FF. With the Breedlove OF I don't know which strings I prefer. I think it would vary on whether I'm recording or just playing, as they are both good useable sounds.
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Old 12-03-2021, 06:35 AM
Dave Hicks Dave Hicks is offline
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I like the sound of Thomastiks, but I popped high strings on two sets while, and I wasn't bending. Given the price, I'm now a bit wary of them. (However, I put a replacement e string from another brand on, and it didn't much matter.)

D.H.
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Old 12-03-2021, 06:55 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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I first tried Curt Mangan "fusion matched" phosphor bronze strings when I bought a mandola set just to try, maybe two years ago. This is on a custom 10 stringer, C-G-D-A-E. I had been just buying single guitar strings and making my own sets (Allen cast bronze tailpiece, accepts loop or ball ends). I added a pair of plain .010's for the E's.

I was surprised by the rich tone, higher volume and longer sustain with these strings. Mandolin-family instruments are typically not known for deep rich tone or sustain. And I'm one who usually doesn't notice nuance - I don't really hear a difference between phosphor bronze and 80/20, for example. So I switched to the Mangan phosphor bronze strings on my F5 mandolin, F4 octave mandolin and 10 string F4 mandocello (all custom builds by a small US luthier). They all sound so good, and these strings really bring out their best. This is what prompted me to switch to Mangan's on my HD-28 and E2 OM-CD as well.

On my custom hybrid F4 I've been using monel strings for a while. Martin's are fine, and I've tried several other brands. My last string order to Curt Mangan included a few different sets of monels that I'll try out as new strings are needed (they last a good while for me).
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Old 12-03-2021, 12:55 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hicks View Post
I like the sound of Thomastiks, but I popped high strings on two sets while, and I wasn't bending. Given the price, I'm now a bit wary of them. (However, I put a replacement e string from another brand on, and it didn't much matter.)

D.H.
Funny thing, when I was putting on this set, one of the D string loops broke. I turned the string around, and fashioned my own loop from the other end which worked fine, but I asked for a replacement string which they are sending at no cost to me. They want me to send the old string back so they can see why this is happening (they are sending me a prepaid mailer for that).

I bought the strings through Strings And Beyond.
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Old 12-03-2021, 05:42 PM
Dave Hicks Dave Hicks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
Funny thing, when I was putting on this set, one of the D string loops broke. I turned the string around, and fashioned my own loop from the other end which worked fine, but I asked for a replacement string which they are sending at no cost to me. They want me to send the old string back so they can see why this is happening (they are sending me a prepaid mailer for that).

I bought the strings through Strings And Beyond.
Good deal - never thought of getting in touch with them.

My strings broke between the bridge and the fretboard, I think (it's been a while). New strings, too.

D.H.
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Old 12-04-2021, 03:44 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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I've been using D'Addario nickle bronze .0115 to .040 lately. Stocked up on a recent two for one sale. But good old J 74s are tried and true. I've been trying to change strings too early rather than too late. I can't really keep tabs on what is what other than I haven't disliked much of anything. Trying monels on my 00 15. Like them. Basically I like fresh better than dead strings of most any sort except I hate ss strings on mandolin.
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Old 12-04-2021, 06:32 PM
Dave Hicks Dave Hicks is offline
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The only strings I haven't liked on mando were Elixirs - they're ok on guitars, especially 12-string, but to me they sounded flat and tinny on the mandolin when I tried them.

D.H.
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Old 12-05-2021, 11:21 AM
M Sarad M Sarad is offline
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I used D'Addarios for a few years. Loved them
Recently bought a few of these in Medium:
https://straightupstrings.com/
They sound just fine.
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Old 12-05-2021, 01:06 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hicks View Post
The only strings I haven't liked on mando were Elixirs - they're ok on guitars, especially 12-string, but to me they sounded flat and tinny on the mandolin when I tried them.

D.H.
Never tried them on a mando, but they are generally bight sounding to me on guitars. Bright is not something on want on a mando.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M Sarad View Post
I used D'Addarios for a few years. Loved them
Recently bought a few of these in Medium:
https://straightupstrings.com/
They sound just fine.
Those look interesting, how do they sound compared to the D'Addarios? And do you feel the balanced tension they talk about on their website?
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  #14  
Old 12-05-2021, 03:42 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
Never tried them on a mando, but they are generally bight sounding to me on guitars. Bright is not something on want on a mando.

Those (straight up strings) look interesting, how do they sound compared to the D'Addarios? And do you feel the balanced tension they talk about on their website?
I was highly underwhelmed with SUS when I tried them right when they initially came out. Virtually every other brand of mandolin strings sound better to me.
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2021, 04:10 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
I was highly underwhelmed with SUS when I tried them right when they initially came out. Virtually every other brand of mandolin strings sound better to me.
Thanks for chiming in, you saved me some money
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