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View Full Version : Please recommend some good slinky strings



Caleb
Jul-13-2007, 5:09pm
I'm currently exploring new strings from various brands and have noticed that many simply have too much tension for me. I've tried for months to get used to it - and I got a nice setup done on my mandolin - but I'd really like to settle in on something with a little less tension. I have found some Ernie Ball nickel strings that were pretty good, but would be willing to try some others as well.

Thanks in advance for any input.

R. Kane
Jul-13-2007, 5:31pm
Jazzmando JM11s.

There's a link on the 'Cafe home page.

Caleb
Jul-13-2007, 5:54pm
Jazzmando JM11s.

There's a link on the 'Cafe home page.
hmmmm.... Since they are "11's" I assumed that they'd be a bit heavy. Maybe I'm basing my knowledge of string guage from the guitar side of things.

Ted Eschliman
Jul-13-2007, 6:04pm
Ah, Grasshopper... You must look deeper; look beyond the E string:
11 15 24w 33 (http://jazzmando.com/jazzmando_jm11_flatwound_strings.shtml) ...

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Caleb
Jul-13-2007, 6:46pm
Ok, I read up on the JazzMando strings, but I guess I'm still a bit in the dark. Are these considerably lighter guage than most common mando strings? Is it the wound strings that are lighter, or all of them? The main strings I'm having a hard time with are the plain steel. The tension on the E string[s] is what's really bugging me.

John Flynn
Jul-13-2007, 7:11pm
If you are looking for a Phosphor Bronze light alternative, the D'Addario J62 10-34 set is nice. Also, while T-I's are expensive, they sound great and last a long, long time. They are also very easy on the fingers. Thier "medium" set is 10-33 and thier "soft" set is 9-30.

Caleb
Jul-13-2007, 7:41pm
If you are looking for a Phosphor Bronze light alternative, the D'Addario J62 10-34 set is nice. Also, while T-I's are expensive, they sound great and last a long, long time. They are also very easy on the fingers. Thier "medium" set is 10-33 and thier "soft" set is 9-30.
What do you recommend? I don't have a problem paying for a good string that actually is a good string, not to mention one that will last a long time.

PhilGE
Jul-13-2007, 8:27pm
If you want "slinky" strings, go with the JM11's. They are flat wound, are lighter in gauge, and feel smooooth and easy under my fingers. I love 'em. Besides, they last forever.

Caleb
Jul-13-2007, 9:17pm
Just ordered some JM11's. I'll give 'em a shot and let you folks know things turn out. I better get my free sticker!
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John Flynn
Jul-13-2007, 9:36pm
What do you recommend? #I don't have a problem paying for a good string that actually is a good string, not to mention one that will last a long time.
Well, all of the aforementioned are "good" strings. They are all well made and they all have thier fans. How long a string set lasts is not necessarily a test of quality, but just one of many trade-offs with different types of strings. Some of the biggest name mando players play strings that don't last that long. But they get the sound they want and they don't mind changing strings before every gig. This is one of the perplexing things about playing the mando, although I am sure it is true of other instruments as well: There is a lot of personal preference involved. We don't know from your post even what kind of mandolin you have or what kind of music you play, and that makes a lot of difference in recommendations.

I will take a stab at this and then open it up to my esteemed Cafe' colleagues to publically vilify me for it! I am not a big JM-11 fan. Don't get me wrong, they are great strings, just not to my taste. I don't play jazz, so maybe I'm missing something, but I can see how someone would really like them. I would also steer clear of the T-I lights, unless you are absolutely sure your tuners, nut, bridge and tailpiece have absolutely no burrs on them. The wound A strings on T-Is have a very thin core and can break unless treated gently. I have broken a couple of the medium A's on two different instruments I never had breakage problems on before or since. They sound really good though, and they last longer than any string I have ever tried and they are very easy on the fingers.

So, if are playing bluegrass, or for whatever reason want a brighter sound, I would try the J62s and change them fairly often. If you want a darker sound with fewer overtones, like for classical music, I would try the T-I mediums and plan on only changing them a few times a year. If money is not a huge issue, the very best thing is try all of these suggestions and see what you like.

mandroid
Jul-13-2007, 11:23pm
super slinky as a brand /model of guitar strings are quite thin, have un wound G in those sets as I recall, mandolins,being half as long and at higher tension ,slinky seekers may be more appropriate seeking the feel on Zouks , longer scale instruments,

generalizing the idea of tension, pitch, physics,etc, , perhaps, I am.

Caleb
Jul-13-2007, 11:42pm
jflynnstl --- Good post; lots of great input. For the record, I play a Kentucky 380S that is setup very well, but I'm just having a hard time with the tension of the strings. I've only been playing the mandolin for a few months and I guess I'm just spoiled by the scale length of the guitar since I've been playing it for 15 years. But I've picked up a manodlin that "felt" just like I wanted a manodlin to feel. It was an old oval-hole Martin. I also tend to like the way the old bowlbacks feel. They seem to have less tension for some reason...at least the ones Ive played.

I am trying to get into Celtic and Renaissance styles. I'm not even a decent player at this point, but I do think I can get decent given some time and given that the instrument is a little more pleasant to play.



mandroid --- I'd LOVE to get a Zouk someday. But I've yet to even see one in person. I think the longer scale might be just what I'm looking for. I'll run across one someday and give it a try.

mandroid
Jul-14-2007, 1:31am
Slack, that seems a good combination, light strings on a bent top Martin mandolin, as long as the ensemble is cooperative on the mutual volume.

did catch and release with a martin bowl back,

presently find: set of light strings on the old'A'
is quite a different feel and sound from silk and steel
on the A4..

Caleb
Jul-14-2007, 2:50am
Slack, that seems a good combination, light strings on #a bent top Martin mandolin, as long as the ensemble is #cooperative on the #mutual volume.

did catch and release with a martin bowl back,

presently find: #set of light strings on the old'A'
is quite a different #feel and sound from silk and steel
on the A4..
Nice.

I'm using some Silk and Bronze right now that are sounding better all the time. They have a bright sound at first, but mellow out pretty well. But I can't help but think something a bit more slinky would help the overall feel of my playing.

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B. T. Walker
Jul-14-2007, 6:36am
Slacker, if you like how your taterbug feels, try a set of GHS ultra lights (.009, .013, .020, .032). Just put a set on my bowlback, the first strings I've put on it since I got it, and I really like them.

Those old strings had been on there so long they were crispy with corrosion. With the new strings, my old Washburn really sounds sweet. She must be happy to be rid of the crud.

Steve L
Jul-14-2007, 7:14am
The Thomastik lights on my Martin bent top work really well. Nothing you could do would make that mandolin loud, so I just go with the best sound and feel for what it is. I've used GHS A 250s on it too.

I think you feel the Martin and the bowl backs you've played have less tension owing to the shorter scale length. They're a bit over 3/4" shorter I believe.

MandoSquirrel
Jul-14-2007, 4:28pm
You'll probably be okay with the feel of the JM11's, and in spite of what "jflynnst" said, you might like TI's better, but I'd suggest trying the Mittle's(med) or Stark's(heavy).
Flatwounds will be higher tension than roundwounds of the same gauge, so you can use a lighter string & still drive the instrument, or get a bit less tension without going to dental floss.
The lights(weich) may have too thin a core, but otherwise, I'd look to something else as the cause of strings breaking, especially the Nut Slots.

P.S., I have JM11's on my Victoria, but I used a "10" instead of the 11's, they're working pretty well there, on a 13 inch scale.

clopez
Jul-14-2007, 5:01pm
PhilGE - Hey, do you string up your Old Wave oval with the JM 11's??

Chris

Caleb
Jul-17-2007, 5:09pm
Got my Jm11's in the mail today. The fine folks sent me 2 case stickers, a really sweet JazzMando pick, which is alot like a Dawg or GG pick, and a cool key chain. Thanks, guys!

I put the strings on my Kentucky 380 and I really like them so far. THey have an extremely nice feel and took off the tension that was causing me some trouble. I might have lost just a bit of volume, but it's a very slight amount if any at all. The tone is much more "warm" than with the Silk and Bronze that I had on there. I really only got a few mintues to play and had to be off doing other things.

I can say that these JM11's are worth a look if you've been thinking about getting some.