View Full Version : ti sting users

Feb-16-2004, 8:47am
Yes, another thread on ti strings... apologies in adviance to those who don't like 'em... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

To those who do-- are you using mittel (medium) or stark (heavy) gauge? I've been using mittels and like them a lot but am considering ordering heavies this time around.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on tone/volume/comfort/ and durability issues.



Feb-16-2004, 12:16pm
I put a set of starks on my Rigel CT-110 and like them a lot. In the past I have been using D'Addario J-74s on this mando. In comparison to the J-74s, the starks are much easier to play comfort wise and have a much rounder tone. Lost a little volume on the G and D string, but as this mando does not get played in bluegrass jam settings where the ability to cut through would be a consideration, volume is not an issue. Have only had them on for a month so can't speak to the durability issue. If they will stay in tune and keep the current tone for 3-4 months I would buy them again.

Regards, Fuzzy Purcell

Feb-16-2004, 1:36pm

Thanks for the reply-- a G-110 is the instrument that I'm considering the starks on. #I've been using mittels on my A+ deluxe and if my experience with these is any indicator, I think you should get the 3 to 4 months that you're looking for.

I'm about to order a few additional sets and was wondering about trying starks on the G-110 instead of the mittels. #


Feb-16-2004, 1:50pm
I have been using the mittles on a weber bridger, and i put a set of the starks on to see if I would get more volume. I did not notice an apriciable gain in volume. The tone seemed "harder" or not as round and smooth. I think I will go back to the mittles.

Feb-16-2004, 2:53pm

Thanks so much for posting. I like TI's so much that I won't consider going back to other types of strings, but I have considered whether the starks might be preferable, particularly in the volume dept. Sounds like your vote would be no.

Thanks again,


Ted Eschliman
Feb-16-2004, 3:43pm
Count me in as an unwaivering fan of the medium TIs (154M). I won't use anything else on my CT-110. I had a set of the starks (heavy) on a flatiron A5 I owned, and really found no benefit to the heavier gauge.
(I like a low action, and am not a thundering whacker, more a gentle articulater...)
Oh, and in light of our new "policy" on Dealer Disclosure, I do have a financial interest in that I do sell them.
LOTS of them...

Feb-16-2004, 3:47pm
Mandohack-- thanks for weighing in. I appreciate the advice especially from one who's so well known as an expert on articulation! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Feb-16-2004, 4:13pm
I n my case I think no but I also think it was worth the try. I still have them on; I will listen again when I change back. I once put strings on that I got locally and had to take them off in two hours. I don't remember the brand but they didn't work for me, probably just right for someone else. Hi Ted I just checked the length of the Octave strings I got from you they are just long enough. Maybe Ill put them on today. Thanks for the speedy serivice. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/coffee.gif

Feb-16-2004, 4:26pm

On your webpage (which I have really enjoyed BTW)you list string tensions for TI strings and say that more tension generally means more volume. I have always bought Stark gauge because I had heard that they were comparable in volume to other brands medium gauge strings. So are you suggesting now that TI Mittel will produce about as much volume as the Stark? How do the string tensions for the TI strings compare to those of other brands? Someone told me that they are a very high tnsion string. I really like the warmth and ease of playing that the TIs have and they last longer than other brands for me, but in general, if I play in a jam, then I need strings that offer decent volume. It would be awfully nice if the Mittel gauge could do this-- they should be even easier to play.


Ted Eschliman
Feb-16-2004, 5:44pm
Woody, this is tough because it's pretty subjective. I'll give you my opinion, but that and 99 cents will get you a Coke at McDonald's...
The heavier strings are capable of transmitting more vibration to the top of the instrument, which in theory generates more volume. Unless, you have a "wuss" on the other end of the pick like me.
My comment from my own experience was that in my gentler playing style, the stouter string offered no volume benefit, probably because I had to work harder than I wanted to make them sing. The jazz, choro, classical music I live in require no honk or quack, so I opt for the path of least resistance.
I recently went into a little too much depth trying to warn a Bluegrass phone customer out of the TI's because they wouldn't get the brilliance he was seeking; he described his playing style, venues, the other instruments in the ensemble, and I'll be darned if it didn't sound like a train wreck or sour customer in the making.
He bought them, LOVED them, and kidded me later about trying to talk him out of buying them.
Again, this is what works for me, but you'll find many other happy TI users that wouldn't think of going any lighter than stark.
(How 'bout that for being vague?)


Feb-16-2004, 6:10pm
Stark for sure!! I use them on my Gilchrist, San Juan and Bush

I started using them 4 years ago and havent used another string since. Thanks to Gary in Fuqay(sp) NC. I have tried the Mitel (medium) but the tone was drastically reduced. No ummmmmmppphhh, if you know what i mean.
The strings seem to add years of tone to the instrument..real vintage sounding.
The playability of the starks is like most med-light sets..very easy on the fingers.
Hope this helps

Feb-16-2004, 6:15pm
Ted, do you use TIs on your Djangolin? Also, ever try the D'Addario Chromes on your mandobird tuned CGDA (with correspondingly heavier gauges)?

Ted Eschliman
Feb-16-2004, 6:59pm
Darrell, affirmative on the Djangolin. There is not an instrument made that is better meant for these.
I'm not daring enough to try lower tuning on the Mandobird. In my own unauthoritative opinion (and that's never stopped me before...), I'd think the scale would be too short. Even with a thicker string, seems like these would just flap around in the wind.
The chromes work great in the standard tuning. As an aside, I use the Thomastik JS110 (Jazz Swing) electric guitar on my 5 string (Earnest) Boomerang. (Throw away the .018 'G' string.)
I better bug outta this thread or I'm going to overstay my welcome.

Feb-20-2004, 2:50pm
I have Mittels on my Rigel G110, and I like them fine. I took off whatever came on it 3 days after I got it because I didn't really like the sound of the original strings that much. I have mittels on my Flatiron Cadet too. Great playability, very long life, sweet tone, I'll keep using them as long as I can afford them.

Feb-20-2004, 4:48pm
I'm using starks on a Phoenix Deluxe and they did provide a rounder tone than the "regular" strings that were on it when I got it. After reading this thread I might try mittels instead. But that won't be for awhile...

Feb-20-2004, 5:27pm
I got two sets of Stark, if someone wants to trade a set
of Mittels for a set of Stark let me know.

Feb-20-2004, 8:07pm
Do these tonal changes you are all describing include the unwound strings, or just the wounds?

mando bandage
Feb-21-2004, 12:53pm
Yea vote for the Starks on my Washburn M3SW. Slightly lighter gauge on the G and D w/TIs makes it a happy medium for me. I've tried lighter gauges (not TIs) but I have a tendency to bend the G strings a bit and too light a gauge creates a little discordance for me. FWIW.


Martin Jonas
Feb-23-2004, 6:25am
Yea vote for the Starks on my Washburn M3SW. #Slightly lighter gauge on the G and D w/TIs makes it a happy medium for me. #I've tried lighter gauges (not TIs) but I have a tendency to bend the G strings a bit and too light a gauge creates a little discordance for me. #FWIW.
I tried Mittels on *my* Washburn M3SW and that didn't work for me. The tone on the top three strings was fine, just fairly quiet. The tone (or lack of tone) on the G string made me change them after a week; for some reason I only ever got a sort of muted wet clunk out of that string. I changed to D'Addario J74s, and they sound good with it, plenty of volume on all strings, just a bit more rough-edged and less controlled than the TIs.

Reading this thread makes me wonder whether I should try the Starks at some stage; I really want to like the TIs, but am getting around to the idea that they may not suit my picking style.

Speaking of TIs: does Chris Thile use them? I've been watching his Homespun instruction DVD and it looks as if all four of his strings are silver/steel coloured, not bronze.


[Bowzette: I have the set of Mittels going spare that I took off, but it's probably not worth swapping it for your Starks, as it's been cut to length on my F-style and it would be international postage to/from the UK.]

Feb-23-2004, 8:37am

My experience is like yours-- I put mittels on a rigel g110 and don't like the G in particular. Just not much uummph as one post put it. It had J-74's on it and the difference in bass is pronounced. I have mittels on an A+ deluxe and like 'em just fine-- go figure!

That said, I like everything else about TI strings. Based some of the responses here, I may try a set of starks. At more than $25 a set, it's tough to do much experimenting...

Thanks for the input.


BTW-- I think Thile's playing d'addario flat tops on the dvd.

Steve L
Feb-23-2004, 9:08am
Well, at the risk of being the resident wuss, my hands were bothering me a bit and to give myself a break I tried a set of TI lights on my Mid Mo M2. I really like them...a bit on the quiet side but so easy to play and surprisingly full sounding for a light gauge. I play Celtic music and hammer-ons and pull offs for ornamemtation are really comfortable, the tone is really nice and they last for months. I'm going to try the mediums next time, but the lights worked out better than I had hoped for my particular situation.

Feb-23-2004, 9:19am

I've been using mittels on my M-1 and they seem just right for it. #I seem to get more volume from them on that mando than from other strings I've used in the past. #I've not tried TI lights but I did have set of Elixir lights on it once-- thumbs down IMHO.

Feb-26-2004, 9:50pm
If I am not mistaken, I think Chris Thile was using D'Addario FT74 flattop phos bronze(011-015-026-039) on his video. #These strings have the wound A and balance out the mandolin quite well. #I had them on my mandolin for almost 3 months and found that they added lots of volume, stayed in tune, and played smoothly, right to the end. #
I then put my Thomastik-Infields mediums (009-014-020-031)on my mandolin. #They played well, but found the volume disappeared, and I seem to get more buzzing from the lighter guage. #My next set of TI's will be the heavy guage. TI mediums do play a lot easier than the FT74's, but seem to go out of tune easier. #The 74's were great for staying in tune and they were LOUD. #TI mediums are easy on the fingers and are bright sounding. I have a set of D'Addario J74 waiting on my desk to be tried. #My only other experience was with GHS silk and steel strings. #They were comparable to the TI in sound and feel, though they didn't seem to last very long. This is my 2 cent...subjective opinion. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Feb-26-2004, 11:18pm
Thomastiks are very expensive in Australia... $60 a set! Ouch.

Josh Pinkham posted somewhere that Chris Thile is using Elixir Nanowebs now...

Feb-27-2004, 1:49pm
Aussie, that is pretty expensive, but if you don't have to change them that often, it is worth it. Chris probably does play elixir, but he probably changes strings a couple of times a week. I talked to Doyle Lawson about TI's and he really liked them, but he said that he changes strings too often to put them on his. He played my mando for about 15-20 minutes trying them.

Ted Eschliman
Feb-27-2004, 5:26pm
$60.00 is a lot of money.
Global Priority USPS (Post office) postage is a mere $5 (US dollars), and would deliver your package of strings to you in 5-7 days.
Perhaps finding a reasonable, mandolinist-friendly US Thomastic Dealer (http://members.aol.com/teesch/Thom.html) that would go the extra mile to sell an Aussie a set cheap and then offer to drop it off at the post office for only an extra $5.
It ought to cut that price to less than half that amount...

Feb-28-2004, 11:14am
I went with the starks and that was 6 mos ago and they are till going strong, and I play every day and play a lot of shows too...I did give up a tiny bit of volume but liked the warm tone I got in return...I play into a mic during shows so Im able to overcome the volume loss, and seem to hold my own even without amplifcation...but I have a feelin in a big jam Id get buried, but I dont have much time for those anymore..the best part is that they are alot easier on the fingers which allows me to play longer and more often, I wonder if using the very lightest wound string they make, if I could use that for my E strings...because thats the only ones that seem to show any wear and tear...and they stay in tune better than any Ive used, and Im a heavy handed player......and I hate changing strings so they are perfect for me

Feb-28-2004, 12:56pm
Had mediums on my MK actually went throught 2 sets and yes I got 12 months of play time. I needed more volumn as I play with a group od 7 or 8 fiddlers a couple guitars and a bass so i put a set of starks on and I am not going back to the mediums. They took care of the volumn problem and are almost as easy to play as the mediums. I just had to adjust the attack a little which was actually a plus for me.

mando bandage
Feb-29-2004, 10:45am
I went with the starks and that was 6 mos ago and they are till going strong, and I play every day and play a lot of shows too...I did give up a tiny bit of volume but liked the warm tone I got in return...

That's been my experience too. Even the starks will never be as loud as the J-74s, but tonal quality is harder to come by than volume. Fair trade-off IMHO.


Mar-11-2004, 8:42am
I swapped out my TI mittels on my Old Wave for FT-74s. The tone of the FTs is very bright right now, but mellowing out a bit. Not sure I really want the volume that much given the big difference in tonal quality. I put the old set of TIs on my Weber Aspen to keep at work and was very pleasantly surprised. The Aspen, a flat-top instrument with great tone, but without the "punch" of the carved tops, now sounds verrry smooooth. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif #Nice to have such an option! Inspires me to learn a bit more about jazz. As I think about it, the combination of the carved top and TIs gives my Old Wave some "punch" as well as smooth tone. I'll keep the FTs for now, but will likely change them out for TIs when the FTs give out.


Martin Jonas
Mar-12-2004, 5:44am
Hmmm... #As I've said earlier in this thread, I tried TI mediums on two mandolins (a vintage flat top and a carved 1989 Washburn F-style) before and found they didn't agree with either of them. #This week I bought a new Kentucky KM-380s for my mother (a bowlback player for the past fifty years who now wants to try out a carved mandolin) and I put my discarded TI mediums on that one, replacing J75s that were put on by the shop. #The TIs are great on this mandolin! #Good volume, good control, good tone. #It just goes to show that every mandolin and every player have their own response to different strings, even in mandolins that *should* be closely similar (my Washburn and the Kentucky are both at the decent end of the solid wood PacRim models). #Recommendations such as on this board only go that far, there's no substitute to actually trying.


Mar-13-2004, 11:44am
Just put on TI starks . Lost volume and tone . Sound like tubby violin strings , like the TI's do on my fiddle (why I don't use them) , Like the wound A took the rest off after one set and put the Sam Bush Monels back on. Expensive experiment.. I guess they are good on some mandos not mine . THe will make fine rabbit snares. !!!!http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Mar-18-2004, 10:34am
Just put on TI starks . #Lost volume and tone . Sound like tubby violin strings , like the TI's do on my fiddle (why I don't use them) , Like the wound A took the rest off after one set and put the Sam Bush Monels back on. #Expensive experiment.. I guess they are good on some mandos not mine . #THe will make fine rabbit snares. !!!!http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
I'm sorry to hear about that! #Have you tried using some lower gauge TI's before trying the Starks? #

The warranty is canceled once you use the strings for rabbit snares, towing freight, dental floss... #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Ted Eschliman
Mar-18-2004, 11:19am
Need to set the record straight on dental floss. Actually, the parent company of Elixir (Gore) makes dental floss, so those strings really work much better for teeth hygiene. (Or "tooth" if you are a banjo player...)
On the other hand, I seem to get better tone when I use the TIs for flossing, and really, they just seem to last forever.

Mar-18-2004, 11:31am
(Or "tooth" if you are a banjo player...)
http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif Hysterical!

Maybe the J75's will work better for ya if you want more tension...

JD Cowles
Mar-18-2004, 1:54pm
hey mike-
since you mentioned j75's, i am currently using them but am thinking about giving TI's a try (i'd go for the starks for sure). would the somewhat large change in string tension affect my setup or action in any way?