View Full Version : GHS Silk & Steel strings

Mar-24-2004, 1:31pm
I like my Collings MT2-S but it has a pronounced jangly brightness to it that becomes irritating when playing hard and loud. I think another Cafe' member used the term "teeth-jarring". This is odd because it has the softer maple back. It almost begins to sound like a b**jo. It was time to re-string and I've had a set of GHS silk & steel strings hanging around. Surprise, it sounds quite nice. At first I thought the two plain strings were over-powering the wrapped ones but after awhile that impression went away. They really toned down the jangly-ness and gave it more "wood" tone, and they still have plenty of "pop". I might come to like this set-up.

John Flynn
Mar-24-2004, 1:37pm
No comparison to your Collings, of course, but I have a beater that had a very harsh sound with bronze strings and the GHS S&S strings helped to mellow it a lot also. They are a nice choice.

Michael H Geimer
Mar-24-2004, 1:48pm
I just strung up my Mid-mo M-11* with GHS Silk and Steels ... hoping for the same result, less harshness, warmer softer tone.

It's only been about three days, but I do really like them so far, and am seriously thinking to try them out on the Weber come next string change.

- Benig

* That's a fair comparison with your Collings, right? LOL!

Ken Berner
Mar-24-2004, 2:17pm
Benignus, let us know how you like the Silk and Steel strings on your Weber. What Weber do you play? I have a '99 Beartooth strung with D'Addario J-74 strings that have been real good to my ears so far.

Michael H Geimer
Mar-24-2004, 2:21pm
I have a maple-backed Bitterroot, that is ... honestly ... just too loud for my playing situations. I think it could stand to mellow out a little on the top end, and I'd welcome a little loss of volume as I have to hold back alot right now.

I'll keep you posted.

- Benig

Mar-24-2004, 2:36pm
Benig - Did you try the TIs on it?

Mar-24-2004, 3:36pm
Benig, when you say "mellow out a little on the top end" you do realize that the GHS S&S's A and E strings are plain steel no different than other sets. I've never tried them yet but Martin has a new mando set with bronze plated A & E strings which are reportedly a bit mellower than a plain steel string. You might try lightening up the gauge a notch too.

Michael H Geimer
Mar-24-2004, 4:07pm
Really? I could swear the tone I'm getting off these is a lot less 'brittle' than the previous J-74's - esp. on the E and A courses. [scratches his head ... and resigns himself to ignorance]

I just played the Mid-mo over lunch, and I really like the tone - whatever they're made outta. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mar-24-2004, 4:57pm
"I have a maple-backed Bitterroot, that is ... honestly ... just too loud for my playing situations "

Get out of town! You playing at a funeral parlor?....... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Michael H Geimer
Mar-24-2004, 5:44pm
LOL! I play in small combos of just three or four players. And even in my BG group, the b@nj0 plays an open-back.

But yea ... I knew I'd catch flack for that comment. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mike Buesseler
Mar-24-2004, 6:51pm
I tried S & S strings way back...they do sound good right out of the package, but I always thought they went dead way too soon, like three days. #Same with S & S guitar strings.

There used to be a lot of talk around here about GHS Silk & BRONZE, so I tried 'em, and haven't found anything I like better. #They are brighter than S & S at first, but mellow out very nicely, and then seem to last forever.

While I'm at it...ahem....I'd like to mention that my new Collings MF JUST arrived. #First thing I did was put bronze and silk on it. #I've got a few days to think about keeping this thing (which I'm pretty sure I won't need), and I want the strings to get played IN, along with the mando.

(First impression: ****AWESOME*****) #And, no pointless scalloped fingerboard extension to click on! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Ken Sager
Mar-24-2004, 7:48pm
Perhaps a bit off topic, but I get a lot more life out of strings if I use a 3M Microfiber cloth to wipe them down after playing.


Mar-24-2004, 10:06pm
I liked the silk and steel strings on my breedlove a lot, since it toned down the brightness of the mando a lot.

However the Gibson I have, has a deep bassy sound to it and I find silk and steel just downplays the mando's strong points without adding anything to make up for it.

The flat tops really seem to emphasize the deep dark tone it has, which I like but they sound a little flat (pun not intended) on the chop.

I tried the monels and I love the feel and they sound pretty good but just lack pop or something on my mando.

I put some elixers on and I'm really loving them. They have a nice satisfying snick to em on the chop, feel great and really seem to bring out my mandolin's natural tone.

Anyhow, after all that I think it really just depends on what you like and what brings your mando closest to that sound and feel.

Michael Lewis
Mar-25-2004, 2:05am
Benignus, you could try lighter strings if you want the over all volume slightly diminished. Those Thomastiks might be a good thing for you. See you at Strawberry.

Rave On
Mar-25-2004, 5:44pm
I liked the way silk and steel sounded but I thought they were hard on frets. You might try silk and bronze if you like the sound but agree with me about the fret wear. I've switched to Gibson Bill Monroe mando strings (love them) and wish I could find guitar strings I like as well.

Michael H Geimer
Mar-25-2004, 6:45pm
Mr. Lewis ... glad to hear I'll be seeing you up in Yosemite. I really enjoyed sitting in your booth, eating my breafast burrito ... that was a nice peacefull moment. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

I'm really hesitant to put the TIs on the Weber. (Currently my set of 'em is earmarked for Duuuude) I have tried them on two different mandolins, so I have a good idea of the tone they offer ... I just don't think they're for me. They don't seem to project many of the upper partials that I think give an F-style it's 'bite'.

I just want to take some of the edge off. My friend Steve often plays my axe at practice, and when he hits it as hard as does his Kentucky ... it's just a world of chop ... nothing else.

Then I noticed the other night, that even with bongos, and two Dreadnaughts (Guild and Larrivee) I could get myself heard whenever I wanted. (Of course, I played horrid mando that night)

Maybe the Monel/Sam Bush strings are what I'm looking for ... ?

- Benig

Ken Sager
Mar-25-2004, 7:08pm
Mr. Benignus,

I have a bunch of Bush Monels I'm not going to use. If you'd like to swap anything you have and won't use I'd gladly consider a trade.


Michael H Geimer
Mar-25-2004, 8:12pm
Cool. I sent you a PM.

Michael Lewis
Mar-26-2004, 2:39am
Rave on, the fret wear should be very similar between silk and steel and most other strings. The outer windings are bright bronze, it's the core that is refered to as steel. You will find that the monel stainless strings are much harder and can cause fret wear. One thing to try to remember when you play is to press the strings only enough to note cleanly, don't pound them into the fret board, that's what really causes fret wear. Well, that and dirty hands. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/coffee.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

Rave On
Mar-26-2004, 9:49am
Michael, On the fret wear issue...I am really HEAVY handed. It's a bad habit that I struggle with. Now I have hand pain to remind me to lighten up. I wash my hands before I play, no really... it's true. I even use optical soap when I'm home. Rave On.

Mar-27-2004, 7:55am
i have found that nothing sounds better (to my ear) on my collings mandolin than GHS silk and bronze strings. i've tried other strings, but i am settled on the GHS silk and bronze. love both the tone and the feel.