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Thread: Best strings for a deeper sound....

  1. #1

    Default Best strings for a deeper sound....

    Buddy has an A style Kentucky that sounds kinda thin. It has Diaddario J74's on it and just about every Kentucky works with those that I've seen.

    This one just sounds thin, no bassy side to speak of at all. Setup is pretty spot on.

    What string could be the solution?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    Assuming that changing the strings is going to make a difference (and to me it seems unlikely), depending on the characteristics of the mandolin, there is no way to predict whether lighter or heavier strings would help more, so you would need to experiment. It may be worthwhile checking how the bridge is seated, and if it has a good fit to the body.

  3. #3
    Registered User George R. Lane's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Helena, Montana

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    Get Rob Meldrum's e-book on how to set up a mandolin.
    2010 Weber Yellowstone

    I maybe wrong, but it is highly doubtful.

  4. #4
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    As David Mold sensibly suggests,try a variety of different string brands / gauges,to see if you can find one that delivers the 'tone' that you want - that's what the rest of us have done. Unfortunately,if a mandolin has an inherently 'weak / thin' tone,there's not much else that you can do - apart from installing a top quality bridege to see if that helps. It took me around 6 years of trying strings 'n things,before i discovered that the DR brand of strings brought out the very best in my slightly oversized Lebeda mandolin. I use DR MD11s on it all the time,coupled with a Dunlop 'Primetone' pick,
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    I would start with a nickel as opposed to brass or bronze and a heavy gauge string. As Ivan said try any and all types and gauges. I don't know why but the E and/or A string in most sets are too light. I use Mapes because I can get the gauge I want for each string. I know this is really fine tuning but it is how we get the most out of any mandolin.

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    Jan 2009
    S.W. Wisconsin

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    The fit of the bridge to the top, and the weight of the saddle/bridge overall will have the most effect on sound. If the mandolin is newer, and the bridge was fit and it is now older the top, most likely, has settled and I would refit the bridge. It may have a thicker finish on the body and that will also contribute to a thinner sound.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Culpeper, Virginia

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    Try these:
    Thomastik-Infeld Mandolin Flat Wound 34 cm Stark. Expensive but they are bassy.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    Try a thicker pick ~ 1.5 mm or so.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  9. #9
    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    Nacogdoches Texas

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    I would try Curt Mangan medium Monels and a pick that is at least 1.5 mm, if not thicker.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    What model Kentucky? I had a really good 1050 and it liked Gibson Bill Monroe strings. I had a 900 that sounded kind of thin and I sold it? I also like GHS 270's and they are when Tom Ellis puts on his mandolins. The other thing to check is the bridge and the bridge height. I have a Weber that I had setup and it played great but was really low, to low for chop chords. I raised the bridge a little and the volume increase noticeably.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    After any setup issues are addressed, try some silk and steel strings. But there is only so much you can do. The richness of the G string in particular is the main reason to upgrade to the Weber, Collings, Pava, etc. level of mandolin.

    I have wrung all the tone I'm ever going to get from my MK. Silk and steel was a large part of the equation.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  12. #12
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    Ones on a Mandola?
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  13. #13
    Registered User McIrish's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Chicago, IL

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    I had a mandolin that was always a bit too bright for my liking. I used GHS Silk and Bronze on it and it helped a lot. Also, changing picks might help as well. Maybe a D'Andrea Pro Plec 346 would help. They are a bit softer than the Primetones I use now and might warm up the sound.
    Gibson 2016 "Harvey" Fern
    Collings MT Mandola
    Petersen Level 2 Irish Bouzouki
    Collings 0002H
    Couple of Banjos
    Lots of other Guitars

  14. #14
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Zanesville, Ohio

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    A lot of the string suggestions dont add bass, but diminish the treble by smoothing out the higher end freq. In effect this can balance out the tone, but a mando either has it or it dont. Theres a limited set of variables that can be adjusted.

    Best bet, send it to a luthier who can evaluate why theres a lack of bass. My belief is that inside every mando is a Gilchrist just trying to get out.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    Straight Up strings medium set helps the bass for me. Heavy pick.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    Jt 75s will likely help, if anything can.

    Very cheap to try.

    They make a big difference on my 4 mandos in terms of bass and perceived power/ thickness of sound.

    While a lover and user of thomastiks, even the starks, imho, wont add much in bass.
    In any event, i think there are better and way less pricey options.

    Fwiw, im using starks on my brentrup this very day, mittles on my fern.

    Had jt75s on the brent a couple months back....preferred them in the tone, power dept...

  17. #17

    Default Re: Best strings for a deeper sound....

    I was gonna say try a pick first too, my Eastman sounds horrible with a 'standard' dunlop .60mm pick, thin and raspy.

    Two words: Blue Chip

    Preferably a thick one (60 or 80), with a round bevel (not the speed bevel), and that is as dark as you can go in a pick.

    I love triangles so my preferred pick is:

    TAD 80 BC with a round bevel, dark and loud, sounds like a million bucks...

    Heavier strings make the instrument harder to play, a BC makes it easier, seems like a no-brainer to me.

    The mando-voodoo route could help too, or just get another mandolin.
    Eastman MD-605 and MD-305, Grover 309 tuners.
    Fender Mando-Strat, Godin A8. Tin Guitar travel mandolin.
    Zoom G3 for all my plugged-in signal processing.

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