View Full Version : Ideal string set (GDAE) for this tenor guitar?

Ben Vierra
Nov-06-2010, 7:49am

Hi all,

I finished this Selmer-Maccaferri-inspired tenor about 6 weeks ago, and have been struggling to find a good balanced string set for it (GDAE tuning, 22.8 in./580 mm scale length). Based on my tension calculations and experiences with cobbled-together string sets thus far, the ideal string set would look something like this:

* "Argentine" silvered copper (or whatever the metal is) on the wound strings.
* E = 0.013 to 0.015
* A = 0.020w to 0.022w
* D = 0.034w to 0.036w
* G = 0.050w to 0.054w

Looking on the Savarez website, I see that they make a GDAE tenor banjo set that fits all of these criteria . . . but I can't seem to find it in the USA. Does anyone know who may stock this string set, or does anyone have suggestions for an alternative set?

Thanks a bunch!

Earl Gamage
Nov-06-2010, 10:45am
An alternative could be D'darrio J80 om strings. .012, .022, .032, .046. I buy single strings but I might start buying this set instead. These gages work well on my Martin tenor.

Your gages look pretty heavy to me but they might be great for that style of guitar because the guitars I have heard that look like that are real boomers. Others will probably think different on the gage. I figured out my strings from asking questions here.

Nice looking tenor you made.

Eddie Sheehy
Nov-06-2010, 12:12pm
If the lengths fit try J76 or J72 - Mandola strings - a tad heavier than the OM sets.

F-2 Dave
Nov-06-2010, 2:59pm
Hey ben, that's a great looking tenor.

Ben Vierra
Nov-06-2010, 9:01pm
Thanks, all. Those string sets do look promising--unless I find a convenient source of that Savarez 1530 set or something similar, I'll fall back on one of them. My only hangup is that they're all phosphor bronze, and I have never personally enjoyed playing phosphor bronze strings.

Nov-21-2010, 7:55pm
I use Ernie Ball 2320 Medium Gauge Extra Long mandolin strings. They achieve the GDAE without excessive tension and the extra length fits the longer scale of a Tenor guitar. And it's like getting 2 sets of strings for the price of 1.

Ben Vierra
Feb-18-2011, 9:29pm
As a followup: I eventually gave up trying to find a US source for the Savarez 1530 set, but as my last gasp of effort contacted the company itself to see if they would tell me where a supplier might be. They were gracious to mail me a "free sample" set all the way from France. I am still playing on these strings; they seem to suit me and this tenor guitar very well. Next I'll try the mandola set mentioned above, but not until I really wear this current set out.

Feb-19-2011, 7:17pm
I see that they make a GDAE tenor banjo set that fits all of these criteria . . . but I can't seem to find it in the USA.

sounds like you are asking about Irish Tenor banjo strings , maybe just not asking the right question..

Elderly and Bernunzio's would probably be a place to ask..

Mar-09-2011, 12:28pm
Fiddlemike - aren't the mandolin strings loop-end? How do you install them on a guitar that takes ball-end strings?

Mar-09-2011, 8:48pm
Check out the John Pearse Nuages strings. Silver plated, copper wound. I know they sell singles and can probably put together custom sets if you contact them directly.

Mar-10-2011, 2:23am
The following company http://www.cordesexpress.com supplies the Savarez 1530 set and will probably deliver to the States but you'll have to e-mail them for a price first. They deliver very promptly.

Kerry Krishna
Mar-11-2011, 4:44am
Pekoetea, it is super easy to change loop end to ball end. You just need the ball ends off a set of strings, and some tools like a Vicegrip and a pair of pliers, or a bench vice. Yo just cut the string, take an inch of string at the end and start to fold it, insert the ball that you got off the other strings, and carefully start looping the string around the other half. To make ball end strings into loop end strings, you can just get a pair of side-cutters, and carefully squish the ball until it is quite flat, then squish the thing again in the 90' angle. The ball just breaks in half, and if you have not nicked the string with the sidecutters, it works perfectly. Do you want some pictures of what I am talking about, or did I explain it well enough?

Mar-11-2011, 6:53am
I run this on my reso-tenor (this is what I'd call a "heavy" set though!)

I buy them individually from Elderly Instruments

G .047 Phos bronze wound
D .035 Phos bronze wound
A .023 Phos bronze wound
E .013 Plain steel

Irish players on tenor banjos go *considerably* lighter than this as a rule, using a soft pick and light string action to get many of the fast ornaments etc. I find the heavier set listed above brings great tone out of my particular tenor guitar (resonator!!)