View Full Version : Strings for Gibson Oval A?

Mar-13-2006, 10:07am
I'm hoping to get one of these soon, and I wanted to get some strings for it. What do you find works well?

Bob A
Mar-13-2006, 11:51am

Milan Christi
Mar-13-2006, 11:54am
Mine had Thomastiks on it wehen I got it. In the past year I went through a BUNCH of different strings and I'm back with the TIs. They just make the highs sound incredible. Expensive but long lasting. YMMV.

Ken Sager
Mar-13-2006, 11:55am
Lebella JM-11 flatwound strings from Ted E.

The old Gibson doesn't get much play and the flatwound strings stay crisp longer.

Jack Roberts
Mar-13-2006, 5:33pm
I had the opposite experience with TIs. I have played TIs on my '57 A-5 since I had it, but when replaced the GHS with TIs on my '17 A-1 they sounded all wrong. Since then I have tried everything, and at this point I am happy with J-74s. I have to replace them every 3 weeks or so.

Mar-13-2006, 7:59pm
Another vote for the GHS PF250's

Ken Waltham
Mar-13-2006, 10:24pm
I use J74's on all the oval holes I get. Haven't really had a reason to change, they sound great on these old guys.

Mar-14-2006, 9:48am
Another vote for J74's.

Mar-14-2006, 11:22am
I use bulk phosphor bronze and plain steel strings, same guages as J74.

Jack Roberts
Mar-14-2006, 8:10pm
Could I suggest that there is no best string for oval A's? I have never heard two oval A's that sounded the same. Those like my older oval A have a soft sweet sound when played softly and a loud shout when played hard, and it responds best with J-74s. But my other sounds no good at all with J-74s, and sounds best with TIs. I imagine that it is trial and error with each instrument.

Pete Martin
Mar-15-2006, 12:18am
Monels - the Sam Bush Gibson strings is what they are currently called, love the sound, but wish I could get a heavier gauge.

Bob A
Mar-15-2006, 12:08pm
I'd have to agree with streborkcaj. The problem I have is remembering the difference between different sets of strings. Of course, it takes a while to play them in, and by the time they've come into their own, I've forgotten what the last set sounded like. (The reason I use 250s is that I don't feel that vintage mandolins need heavier strings, nor do they benefit from the extra tension. Of course, everyone's mileage may differ).

Just to introduce another variable, different picks can make as much difference as strings. No matter how deep you go, you'll never get to the bottom of the topic. (That's one reason this website exists, and goes on and on).

Mar-15-2006, 10:54pm
I read that Peter Ostrusko use GHS silk and steel on this oval holed mandolins and that he changes them once a year.