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Thread: Heavy strings

  1. #1
    Registered User Chris Bowsman's Avatar
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    Default Heavy strings

    Does anybody use strings heavier than 11.5-41 on their mandolins?

  2. #2
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy strings

    Never, I use lighter strings, but I don't play those archtop carved top mandolins.

    And I think that's what you were asking about.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Heavy strings

    12 17 26 41

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Heavy strings

    Nope

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Heavy strings

    Anything beyond 0.012" ...0.042" and you are just begging for structural damage. Best to keep the string tension below about 25 lbs per string (that's 200 lbs in all)!

    See here for a chart.

    See here for an interactive tension calculator.

    The J-75 G-string (0.041") from D'Addario has a tension of 25.79 lbs. Going up to 0.042" would raise this to 27.20 lbs.

    If you go with an E-string that's 0.012", you're talking about a tension of 27.67 lbs. That's right at the hairy edge for me, and I would certainly not recommend going any heavier, unless your mandolin is built like a tank!!

    Of course, other types of wound strings (like silk-and-steel) can exert somewhat lower tension at these larger gauges than the D'Addario examples above. But they won't make things louder. And the unwound strings (A and E) are pretty much all the same, regardless of maker.
    Last edited by sblock; Mar-13-2018 at 4:39pm.

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  7. #6
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    Default Re: Heavy strings

    I was using a 42 for a while, but the core diameter was .003 less than the 40 that I was using, it didn't cause any problems. I am now using a 11 16 27 41
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  8. #7

    Default Re: Heavy strings

    I'm over-driving my plain strings;going to try KOakley's 12 17 26 41 since Mapes makes it easy to order.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Heavy strings

    I'm currently trying 12-41s from DR out on my A5.

    I had tried 12s for Es along with the standard mediums from D'Addario and liked the extra punch so thought I'd try it right across, but I'll be going back to my custom gauges pretty soon. On A D and G the heavier strings seem to be choking the life out of the instrument.

  10. #9
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy strings

    Brian - I tried a set of DR 'heavies' on one of my mandolins to increase the volume. However,you need to hit the 'heavier' strings 'harder'. I also noticed a lack of clarity in the G & D strings,so i swapped back to DR MD11s (mediums),picked harder on those (which was easier), & got more of an increase in volume than i had with the heavier strings. I also noticed that when i began using the Dunlop Primetone picks,on my Weber "Fern" mandolin,i didn't even need DR strings any more - EJ74s give me all the 'punch' i need,
    Ivan
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  12. #10
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy strings

    I went through a super heavy phase back when I was young and stupid
    12-17-32-42 or something like that, used that for about 2 years and then went back to stock GHS 270’s, when I mad the return to sanity, the sound I was getting was so “wide open” the moronically heavy set had started to sound “pinched and stifled”. I was working at a store here and had developed a good relationship with the folks at GHS so, the rep had hada couple of dozen sets made up for me for free so it was a very interesting experiment, back then none of us at the store noticed and detrimental effect. I don’t think I’d do it again but, I’m not 18 either.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  13. #11
    Registered User Bauzl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy strings

    I use (E)J75 on my newer mandolin. That's .0115 - .016 - .026 - .041. These are quite common among bluegrass pickers, I guess.

    Anyhow, I could not use these on my older/cheapo mandolin. I even lost one of the hooks of the tailpiece and took this as a sign to step back to a lighter gauge.

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