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Thread: Bronze vs. Phosphor Bronze

  1. #1
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    I picked up a set of John Pearse 80/20 mandolin strings in a pinch today (see here).

    I'm doing a little research after the fact- what's the difference between the 80/20 and the Phosphor Bronze? What difference does it make sound wise? Will one set last longer?

    I noticed the 80/20s are cheaper-does that make them less-good?

    Thanks for the help...

  2. #2
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    80/20s are really brass, but no one likes to market under that name. Brass is mostly copper alloyed with zinc, while bronze is copper plus tin - and in the case of the strings we use, a little bit of phosphor for even more corrosion resistance. Brass is softer, and it's easier to run through dies in the course of its manufacture, so it's cheaper to produce. It's also more chemically reactive so it's less durable. Soundwise, brass is a bit brighter (while it lasts) and phosphor bronze is darker and fatter sounding.
    .
    ph

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    Paul Hostetter, luthier
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  3. #3
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    actually..i alway thought 80-20 bronze has a great solidness to the note...but they don't last as long a phosphorous bronze.
    mike conroy--
    1980 Monteleone m-5 (#46)
    Collings mf-5 (#88)

  4. #4
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    For a reason. Brass strings have their own sound and many people who don't have the Magic Sweat find they sound really nice after they're half-dead. The clang is gone but the remaining sound is, for them, the best. And some instruments seem to like them better than others. How lucky we are to have all these crazy choices.
    .
    ph

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    Paul Hostetter, luthier
    Santa Cruz, California
    www.lutherie.net

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