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Thread: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

  1. #1
    String Plucker Soupy1957's Avatar
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    Default Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Nothing against the folks in here who sell the grommets for dampning the strings, but did you know that McMaster Carr sells them by the 100 count for just under $4.00?

    "Item #9600K17:
    Push-in Grommet 1/8" ID, 11/32" OD, 1/16" Thk for 3/16" Dia Panel Hole
    In stock at $3.54 per Pack
    This product is sold in Packs of 100"

    -Soupy1957
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  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    This isn't new information, you used to be able to get them at Radio Shack as well. Are they real 100% natural rubber? That's the latest requirement.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Charley wild's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Oh no! Natural rubber, Mike? After I spent $1.98 for vinyl ones at Radio Shack? Now I gotta throw 'em away?

    What next?

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Vinyl is a total tone killer. I use only natural vulcanized leather.

    You can drive to 20 miles to Costco to get a gallon of milk for $3.00 or go down the street to the 7-11 and pay $3.75. Convienience is key, I guess. Convienience doesnot always equal cost effectiveness.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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    String Plucker Soupy1957's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Again, it's not to take anything away from anyone in here who sells em..........just wondering if it was comparing apples to apples..........if so, 100 for THAT price, is more economical, is all.
    They might be junk, for all I know........just wondered if anyone had tried em (knowing it was "old" news).

    -Soupy1957
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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    Vinyl is a total tone killer. I use only natural vulcanized leather.

    You can drive to 20 miles to Costco to get a gallon of milk for $3.00 or go down the street to the 7-11 and pay $3.75. Convienience is key, I guess. Convienience doesnot always equal cost effectiveness.

    Jamie
    Vulcanized LEATHER??? How do you do that?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Got them at the hardware store. I bought 4 ,at top dollar.they were 8 cents a piece that way. I don't know for sure if they are rubber or vinyl but they are "rubbery" at least. They look like rubber and smell like rubber. How else do you tell-----does it really matter?

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by barney 59 View Post
    Got them at the hardware store. I bought 4 ,at top dollar.they were 8 cents a piece that way. I don't know for sure if they are rubber or vinyl but they are "rubbery" at least. They look like rubber and smell like rubber. How else do you tell-----does it really matter?
    No, it doesn't matter. Think about it. All they have to do is deaden the strings. I have see people do that with with rubber, vinyl, leather, shoe laces, yarn, velcro, felt and moleskin, not to mention that a lot of players rest their hands in that area and wind up deadening the strings that way. I've tried nearly all of those myself and it makes no difference. Plus, it's optional to deaden the strings at all and most people don't even bother.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Never bothered before but I thought I would try it. I did think about and I thought "These things look like those deals they sell to dampen strings!" I've seen people stuff leather under the tailpiece cover for years but these are extra cool-- you can slide them into patterns to make people think you know something they don't! You can move them between tunes! Kind of like a tennis player straightening out the strings after a big serve. The jury is still out as to whether I like them or not. They do eliminate some overtones but then I might like overtones. I'm still working on that.. My wife particularly likes them on the other side of the bridge. I was just wondering if there actually is a school of thought -vinyl vs natural rubber etc.-- after all, we can go on endlessly about various picks and hats.

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    Registered User Charley wild's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Barney, Barney! Of COURSE there is a school of thought on rubber vs vinyl. Wait until the cosmics discover your post!

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Actually it does matter if they come into contact with the lacquer on the mandolin. Vinyl will eat the lacquer. In a recent thread somebody suggested using them on the posts of armrests to protect the mandolin from the armrest bracket. Those should be 100% rubber and Steve Stone says his "Steve's Silencers" are 100% rubber. As far as using them as string dampeners, you could use a wad of Kleenex (or any generic brand) rolled up and braided through the strings and it would have the same effect as any of these grommets. You can also put a strip of leather beneath the strings on a Gibson style tailpiece and get the same effect, just make sure it hangs a little over the lip of the tailpiece. On the Waverly Cloud type tailpieces used on old Martins and a few others I always stick a strip of felt to the bottom of the tailpiece cover, it does the same thing. That doesn't work well on the sliding Gibson type of tailpiece but some put felt under their Gibson style tailpieces. Some folks like the way the grommets look, I don't (personally). You will however be able to play alot faster if you do have rubber grommets on your mandolin, that's for sure.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    John,
    Regarding Jamie's comment about Vulcanized Leather...there are two ways of obtaining this material, one method is inherently more dangerous than the other, but it is more directly related to Vulcan. The dangerous method involves running across a very warm lava bed with very thick leather soled shoes. If you make it acroos the lava without having your feet burst into flames...well, there you have it, vulcanized leather. Not surprisingly, this product is extremely rare and extremely expensive. I found a source on the island of Hawaii, but even grommet size pieces retail for $35 apiece, plus $8S&H. The simple way of vulcanizing leather is to simply throw a side of pig on the barbecue, and the cracklin's, though mighty poor for deadening strings, sure do taste good!
    mr.randy

  13. #13

    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    So after posting a bit ago I was playing "How High The Moon" which is apparently where my grommet is after breaking a string! Would vinyl do that? I don't think so! The advantages of buying a box of 100 as opposed to 4 is now perfectly clear to me.
    Faster? Faster! Do you prefer the Parelli over the Michelin grommets? Does a factory authorized grommet installer fly in to install 200mph grommets on the higher end mandolins?

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flynn View Post
    Vulcanized LEATHER??? How do you do that?
    You take punches out of a Vulcan's outfit, like this one, and place them in your Vulcan Mandolin. 16 strings are so much more logical...


    Jamie

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    Phylum Octochordata Mike Bromley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    You guys are merciless, the rampant out-of-control twisting of context, the poo-poo-ing of gauche, out-of-style damping methods, the purveyors of vulcanized bullfeathers, the quashers of slim hope. For shame. All for the love of grommets, or total absence thereof.

    Me, I think they're cooler than cool. Damper than damp. And like Mike says, they instantly add at LEAST 50 bpm to my already blistering speediness.

    But I digress...
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    String Plucker Soupy1957's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Actually it does matter if they come into contact with the lacquer on the mandolin.
    Am I missing something here? "My" strings on the mando are suspended in air from the saddle to the tailpiece. How are the dampners gonna make contact with the lacquer?

    -Soupy1957
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    Destroyer of Mandolins
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Well, they're not, unless you have an unusual mandolin. But the grommets are not likely made of Vinyl anyway; that would be a poor choice for grommets in the first place. Most of them are made from Neoprene or EPDM.
    Dedicated Ovation player
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    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Soupy1957 View Post
    Am I missing something here?-Soupy1957
    Please, no need to get down on your knees to beg us to make fun of all these threads you start.

  19. #19
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Alright, that wasn't fair, now I have to clean off my keyboard and monitor and I got a little diet coke on the guys in the next cube.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

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  21. #21
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    To Quote Soupy How are the dampners gonna make contact with the lacquer?
    And the answer is to simply read the message:

    To Quote Mike In a recent thread somebody suggested using them on the posts of armrests to protect the mandolin from the armrest bracket. Those should be 100% rubber...
    Because vinyl will eat away a lacquer finish as per this article (linked above as well) on Frank Ford's www.frets.com.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  22. #22
    Destroyer of Mandolins
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Mike, just out of curiosity, can you or one of the members enlighten me? Where did all this concern over Vinyl come from? In 40 years playing I have never encountered a Vinyl product intended for direct, prolonged contact with a musical instrument. In fact, the only application I can think of is the covering of an instrument case, where it doesn't contact the instrument at all. In 25 years of rubber manufacturing, I have made grommets out of Vinyl exactly once for a customer with a specialized requirement, and I've never made them from natural rubber.

    What was the Vinyl 'thing' that caused all the problems?
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    There are several things that fall into the "vinyl" category that might come into contact with an instrument. The "rubber" coating on some wall hooks (might be used to hang a mandolin) is a type of vinyl. Anything with plasticizers in it can wreak havoc on some finishes. I received a guitar wrapped in bubble wrap a few years ago and even after cleaning and polishing you could see everywhere the bubble wrap came into contact with the finish. Fortunately I had not paid much for the guitar.
    Bill Snyder

  24. #24
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    I use the little leather strips. I find that they don't dissapear when I restring like the little rubber doo-dads. Of course, they must be 100% real leather. Hyde of the Wild Nauga is unacceptable...
    Never say "bouzouki" to a TSA agent...

  25. #25
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rubber Grommets for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim2723 View Post
    Mike, just out of curiosity, can you or one of the members enlighten me? Where did all this concern over Vinyl come from?...
    This will be third time I've linked to this article in this thread.

    LINK on Vinyl and Lacquer

    I've seen a vinyl strap take the finish right off the top of a Martin mandolin (I bought the mandolin, the strap was in the case laying over the top) and I cringe whenever I see bubble wrap straight out on laquer because I had that mar a guitar finish as well on a guitar I stored for shipment. If it hasn't happened up to now feel lucky.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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