View Full Version : T-I Strings Again....

Mike Buesseler
Apr-15-2004, 5:42pm
I just got my first set of Thomastik-Infeld strings, and whatever I've ever heard about them taking awhile to break in, it sure doesn't apply to my mandolin.

First of all, I never had strings settle in so soon. #I was barely tuned up and they were stable. #Just the barest of tweaking to stay in tune. #It's been maybe an hour now, and they feel like they are a week old.

My mandolin was almost too loud for me, so the slight loss in volume is no issue. #The tone is marvelous, the feel, like silk. #

I love 'em so far, and thought somebody should hear it once more: #If you haven't tried 'em, GET SOME.

Apr-15-2004, 6:42pm
Totally agree!

I bought some TIs from Ted Eschliman, through his excellent jazzmando.com (http://www.jazzmando.com) website. #I strung up my Weber Aspen #1 with them last night and have barely put "her" down sense. #I'm still waiting a bit to form an overall opinion on the strings (mainly, how long they last. #I hate changing strings!), but so far, they sound and play great. #I second MikeB's call to check them out if you haven't already, and highly recommend buying through Ted or a site supporter, such as JustStrings.com (http://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin/axs/ax.pl?http://www.juststrings.com/) or First Quality Musical Supplies (http://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin/axs/ax.pl?http://www.fqms.com/?source=mc/)

-Jacob Wegner

Apr-15-2004, 6:45pm
Amen bother! #Ti's are the best. I've been using them for about a year now and the only problem is (and I'm really not sure it's a problem ;-))-- I have no more callouses!

Also, you'll be real pleased with how long they last-- try to wear them out and then post back when they do. #We won't be hearing form you for A WHILE-- lik e maybe a few months!

Mike Buesseler
Apr-15-2004, 8:54pm
I bought mine from Greg Boyd, a "site supporter" if I ever saw one. Greg has EVERYthing.

Anyone really know how long to expect the T-Is to last? The new rep (forget his name), says they last "almost indefinitely." That is a pretty long time. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Lane Pryce
Apr-16-2004, 8:59am
I ordered a set of the stark tension last night from juststrings to go on an older Gibson A. I am waiting on a bridge saddle and nut blank to come from Kurt Gisclair. So I am hopeing to get a 180 outa this little A style with all the improvements. One thing I am curious about re the TI's. How is it their heavier gauge string requires less tension than the FT74's? Lp

Mike Buesseler
Apr-16-2004, 9:12am
JLP, can't speak to the tension question, but I put the Heavies on my mando, too, and they certainly seem easier to play than FT-74s

I have a 20s A model Gibson, also. #I didn't think T-Is would be a good choice for it--no particular reason. #The "old timey sound" maybe. #I'd be interested to hear what you think when you get yours set up....

Lane Pryce
Apr-16-2004, 9:43am
Mike I thought about that too. Phosphur bronze has a distinctive sound. The winding on the phosphur bronze is round and will impart a ring and overtones to the string. The flat wounds on the other hand should not ring as much. I've not played any flat wound strings on a mandolin so I cannot say for sure how they will be. How did the TI's perform on your A? Lp

Mike Buesseler
Apr-16-2004, 10:18am
That was my point, Lane. I haven't tried 'em on the Gibson, for the same reasons you stated. Didn't seem right. But, maybe I'm wrong and was hoping to hear your results.

I sure do like these strings on my Collings, though. Man!

I put a new bridge on my Gibson recently, and it's never sounded better (GHS Silk & Bronze). If you like the T-Is on your A, I might try them also.

The Gazelle
Apr-16-2004, 10:32am
What Collings do you have them on? Have thought about stringing my MF5 them.

Any thoughts?

Scott http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Mike Buesseler
Apr-16-2004, 10:43am
I just bought a new MF. #From what I hear from the guy who sold it to me (Greg Boyd), it sounds just like your MF5, just doesn't look so pretty. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif # I'd say give them a try. # I don't know about your mando, but mine was actually a bit loud and slightly harsh to my ears. #Not any more! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Mike Buesseler
Apr-16-2004, 10:45am
Btw, that 'harshness' I mentioned was a subtle thing. Might have been newness, might have been my discerning ear (not likely), might have been the strings. And most people might have wondered what the hell I was talking about. All I know is THESE are the strings for this mandolin--at least for now.

Kid Charlemagne
Apr-16-2004, 1:14pm
Mine were just shipped a day ago. I'm looking forward to getting them, particularly now.

Got the light gauge flatwounds - expensive, but frm what I head, definitely worth it.

By the way, do they tend to be easier to fret than standards, since as far as I can tell the tension is a little lower?

JD Cowles
Apr-16-2004, 3:52pm
has anyone found that the change in tension has effected their setup/action? i'd like to try out the starks but i currently play j75's and those babies have some tension. would lighter tension effect the action/setup?


Mike Buesseler
Apr-16-2004, 4:22pm
Kid--from what I hear, these T-Is run light. #I had ordered mediums (mittel), but got advised that the heavies (stark?) were closer to J75s. # Whatever they are, the ones I got (Stark--heavy) are soft as silk. #Very easy to play, seems like light tension, but I don't have numbers. #

JD--I'd say the difference in tension won't affect your action, unless you were using really heavy strings before. #The starks didn't change mine that I can notice.

Lane Pryce
Apr-16-2004, 6:03pm
Look on the www.juststrings.com site. You can compare the tension numbers. The FT74's and J75's are much higher tension. I gotta say that was one one the selling points for myself,lower tension. It was especially important since they were going on an older Gibson A style. Lp

Apr-16-2004, 8:33pm
I like them too, just put a set on a 1917 Vega cylinderback, and they give that instrument a velvet like feel and tone, I'm very pleased, I may try them on my 23'A4 next. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Mike Buesseler
Apr-17-2004, 1:24pm
Hey, you folks putting T-Is on your older A models.....I hope you post your reactions here. I am eager to hear results. I didn't think the T-Is would give much of an old-time sound, but maybe I would like it, anway. Michael sure sounds happy with his--although I don't know how the Vega compares to a Gibson A tonewise...

Apr-18-2004, 11:22pm
Has anyone detected more fret wear using these?...since I have no idea of the composition of these strings I'm just curious...from what you all have stated, they are a tough, good sounding brand of strings...just wonder how tough they are on a set of frets...

Mike Buesseler
Apr-19-2004, 8:11am

Too soon for me to tell, of course, but these strings actually FEEL soft. #That could be an illusion, but they seem like they'd be easier on frets.

Having said that, and having started this thread, I'm having second thoughts. #(Actually, I'm having second thoughts about all of my playing http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif ) #Does anyone else get that slight #"hiss" on the pick stroke? #I don't know how else to describe it. #The strings are so smooth, I can' t see how it can be them, and I've tried bunches of picks. #It's not loud, but irritates me.... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Steve S.
Apr-19-2004, 1:42pm
About a week ago I put TI mittels on a relatively new Rigel A+ deluxe. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed....they sound thin, almost "nasal." They hold tune very well for new strings and certainly are very playable. Maybe I missed the boat by not going with the starks.

Mike Buesseler
Apr-19-2004, 3:57pm
Steve, I've been thinking the same thing--that maybe I missed the boat by not getting mittels. #Since we've invested a fair amount in this experiment, I'm going to give them awhile. # Maybe I'll adjust my stroke, or something.

Mine don't sound thin, though, I must say. #I think I'm just so used to some amount of metallic brightness, that these just sound odd to me. #I get nothing but wood, almost--which is supposed to be the Holy Grail.

Ah, the trials of being a mediocre player. #You can't even tell if you're doing it right when you do. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Mike Buesseler
Apr-19-2004, 6:00pm
Hey, Steve...I was just playing again, thinking about that "nasal" sound you described. If you mean it sounds sort of like your mandolin has a cold, I think I hear the same thing. I can't really decide if this is a bad thing. It has a very "pure" tone, few overtones. Not as loud as with bronze...maybe "nasal" is the word. Hmmm.???

Steve S.
Apr-20-2004, 11:43am
Mike, I agree that there is a pure aspect to the sound of the TIs. At first I was going to take them off right away, but the sound is actually growing on me. Also, might be that they're mellowing with more play.

Apr-20-2004, 12:21pm
I put a set of Starks on my mandolin and really like them. #They are really easy to play (kind of like playing on stretched out rubber bands) except for the E strings which are similar to others and not wound.
A little loss in volume on the G bass strings. #Definitely not as much punch as J75s but then again, it's a totally different sound. #I liken it to putiing your mando through a chorus pedal (more sustain and compressed towards the middle ranges).
Not a traditional Bluegrass sound. #The strings are very balanced in sound, meaning if you play all the way up using all of the strings, there's not much distinction between jumping from string to string. #I've found that alot of other makes have too much severity in tone when jumping from the D to A string. #
Playability is the key for me though because I had a hand injury years ago and other strings are hell on my fingertips. #I can hit really clean notes with these strings for the first time. #Pull offs, slides and pinky reaches are much easier.
Playing tremolo seems a little different, maybe it's the string tension. #Anyone else experience this? #The strings seem a little more rubbery and hard to get a nice stiff tremolo going. #Maybe I need to change my pick stiffness for that. #Hmmm.
I might try a maple bridge with these strings, to try and get some volume and punch back. #Then, they would be awesome.

Apr-20-2004, 12:42pm

I am using a maple bridge on my Absorka with the starks. It is a very nice combo.

I have found that as the strings mellow a bit you can go to a thinner pick and still get a very fat sound without the twang a thinner pick usually gives.

Now after almost a year with the TI's I've found that I dislike the sound of J74's. It's an interesting transformation.


John Flynn
Apr-20-2004, 5:03pm
I hate to be contrary in the middle of this TI "love fest" but I have tried them and I am not giving up my J74s. I was really impressed with the woody sound of the wound strings, but I found the plain steel E's to have very weak tone. Also, while the whole set sounded great for playing solo or when heavily miked, they lacked the volume and "edge" needed to cut through in big acoustic jams. I also found the "rubbery" feel annoying. I guess I could get used to it over time, but I felt like I was "chasing the strings around" and occasionally doing accidental string bends. If I only played by myself (no jokes, please) I might try them again, but I would never try to go banjo killing with them.

I think it is all in what mando you are putting strings on, what kind of music settings you are going to play in and what your preferences are. BTW, my friend who is a professional guitarist says he only uses TIs for recording. He prefers D'Addario Flat Tops for performing. I think that is a good call.

Apr-21-2004, 12:18am
I have them on all of my mandos and they sound and play great. I would advise trying the STARKS (heavy).
I tried the mitels once and changed back to the Starks after a few tunes.
Hope this helps

May-01-2004, 7:14pm
I just put on some starks, damn decent but now I have fret buzzes where I never had before. Is this from less tension, less neck relief.

John Flynn
May-01-2004, 10:38pm
There are a lot of factors that can cause buzzing. Less tension for a given pitch would be more likely to buzz. Less neck relief can also, but your neck relief may, or may not, change with less tension. It depends on your mando. New strings do tend to buzz more than older strings. Also, something may have gotten out of whack in the string change process. Checking out the whole set up is best thing to do. If you can't do that, raise the bridge.

May-02-2004, 6:58pm
I put some Ti's on my new mando#3 I like them. Good for tremelo and easy on the fingers. I did break one of my "E" strings while bringing it up to tune. I told the store owner where I got them and Thomastik sent me two new ones with a letter. The letter said this is very rare, and if I still have the string to please send it back to their lab so they can look at it. They take breakage very seriously! But I guess I do to, any other brand I would'nt worry about and have a few single's to cover if that happens, but the price of TI's breaking a string can cost a lot!

May-03-2004, 7:57am
I'm not sure what the neck relief measurment should be. I raised the gridge to get a sting height of 5/32 to 6/32 with no change in the buzz factor. buzzing is on both A strings 2,3 and 4th frets, I,m at a loss as to what to do next, I changed the srings one at a time so I don't think I changed anything.

May-03-2004, 8:10am
Piiman: # Are your strings buzzing up at the first fret? #I had problems with one of my G strings buzzing at the first fret when I changed to TI mittels. #The narrower G string (.033 versus .040) sank lower in the slot than the EXP74 string that was there before. #I believe the TI stark G string is still only .034, so I suppose you could be having a similar problem.



May-03-2004, 7:28pm
I havn't any open string buzzing only 2nd to 5th fret on the A string. I'm lost, can't figure this out. Someone suggested it might be because new strings buzz more.
They're 3 days old now and I played them for 7 hours on Sunday, there has been no change. I really like these strings, they're awsome, I hope I don't have to change them.

Lane Pryce
May-20-2004, 9:26am
Well I finally got my A40 up and running with a fossilized ivory nut,bridge saddle,T1 starks and a great setup. Note seperation is fantastic. Treble is outstanding and the bass is greatly improved. The T1's definately add to the woody tone of the instrument. Although I do miss the ring and old timey sound of the J74's. As far as feel I like the T1's. They kinda feel like fiddle strings with a lot more backbone and #slicker surface. I will have to attribute most of the improvements to Kurt's ivory products. They look nice and are truly functional. Now to get me an F4.
Skip, great setup work as usual. Thanks man. #Lp

May-20-2004, 10:37am
I've had the Starks on my mandolin for a few weeks now. I liked the sound at the beginning but found that the G strings just didn't have as much punch as I would like. I also broke an E string and an A string. So much for these things lasting a "lifetime" as some claim. I've never broken two strings in such close proximity and I've never broken an A string ever. Must have got a bad batch or something. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif
If these lasted "forever" like they claimed and kept their tone, it would be worth it, but since they didn't, I'd have to say "Pass". Too expensive.
Probably great for recording, though.