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Thread: String journey on a Collings MT

  1. #26
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    From Caleb - "If memory serves correctly, you and I have talked here many times about DRs and sounded our praise for them."
    We most certainly have done that Sir !. The bottom line 'for me',is that being a Bluegrass player (as most of us possibly are),i want my mandolins to be able to 'cut through' in a group of instruments when 'jamming' at festivals. The DR's simply do that without having to pick really hard. Also,with regard to the bright tone that they have - as DR themselves say - my ears are 70 years old,& while my hearing is still very acute,the very top frequencies died off many years back,so the DR's most likely don't sound as bright to me as they will to other folks. I mentioned the GHS A270 strings. Of all the other brands / types of string i've used,they are second only to the DR's (IMHO). On the Ellis,they sounded sweet & smooth,evenly toned across the strings from G to E & simply all round good. I got the impression that the bronze windings on the G & D strings was finer than the windings on other strings i've used,& they felt wonderfully smooth under my fingers. If i ever leave 'DR land',i'll head straight for the GHS compound - they were that good. So good in fact,that i'm increasingly curious to hear what they might sound like on my Weber "Fern",which is a fairly 'bright' & very responsive mandolin in the first place,
    Ivan
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  2. #27
    Constantly In Search Of.. Michael Bridges's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    Those sets are poles apart, and the CA will also likely take things up a few notches, tone- and volume-wise. It did on my old Eastman. I suggest starting with the S&Bs first. I believe you will notice a volume increase due to the CA, but next put on the DR 11s and it'll be like someone turned up the volume from 7 to 10. I'm very curious to read about your findings.
    Well, finally got the CA bridge installed, along with the Silk 'n' Bronze strings.Gonna give it a week or so to see how they settle in before I give a definitive review, but so far, this combo has given me exactly the sound I was hoping for. If the GHS strings maintain this tone fairly well, my search may be over.
    Music speaks to us all. And to each of us, she speaks with a different voice.

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  4. #28
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I have a set of GHS A270s on order. I've never used them on any mandolin but have only used their Silk/Bronze and Osborne sig set. The DRs are great strings but just don't work well on my MT. Too jangly and a lot less of the sound of the wood. So far I've liked the GHS Osbornes better than anything, so I have high hopes for the A270s.
    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
    that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable.
    Favourable conditions never come."
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  5. #29
    Constantly In Search Of.. Michael Bridges's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    I have a set of GHS A270s on order. I've never used them on any mandolin but have only used their Silk/Bronze and Osborne sig set. The DRs are great strings but just don't work well on my MT. Too jangly and a lot less of the sound of the wood. So far I've liked the GHS Osbornes better than anything, so I have high hopes for the A270s.
    Caleb, how did the A270's work ( if you've tried them yet)? Thinking of trying a set of those, too. Gonna try the DR's next.
    Music speaks to us all. And to each of us, she speaks with a different voice.

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  6. #30
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bridges View Post
    Caleb, how did the A270's work ( if you've tried them yet)? Thinking of trying a set of those, too. Gonna try the DR's next.
    Finally put on the A270s from GHS. With these, my search will end on this particular mandolin. To my ear, GHS just has the best overall sound and feel. The beefed up A course is particularly nice. DRs work better on my Eastman and my wife's Breedlove, but it's GHS for the MT.
    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
    that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable.
    Favourable conditions never come."
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I've tried the DR 11s on my JBovier. I liked them . But what I like even better was not by design, but by accident. I'm using the G and D strings from a set of GHS Silk & Bronze along with the A and E strings from a set of J74s. Kind weird but it works. The Silk & Bronze G and D strings are my favorite now-they sound awesome and stay in tune better than the DRs. Now I just need to try the whole set of Silk and Bronze.

  9. #32
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    It gets kind of crazy.

    I have been going through a similar optimize the string to the mandolin. Thing is, my experience is that strings don't sound best new. At the rate I play, its two or three weeks before they "settle in". So I give them a three week trial. But then I am comparing the reality of the strings on there now with the memory of what was on weeks ago. Except for very large differences, or differences in the feel, its hard for me to confidently tell what the difference is.

    Its pretty cool to have so many options, but I am not sure my final choices will be all that adventurous. Those J74s are really great.
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  10. #33
    Constantly In Search Of.. Michael Bridges's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I decided to pass on the DR's. This thing has developed a really sweet sound that I love, and from what I've read, the MD11's aren't geared for that type of sound. Still loving the Silk 'n' Bronze, and have a set of A270's ordered. I just kind of hate to mess with what's working right now!
    Music speaks to us all. And to each of us, she speaks with a different voice.

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  12. #34
    Lost my boots in transit terzinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bridges View Post
    I just kind of hate to mess with what's working right now!
    Although, it's not like you're shaving braces or removing finish or modifying the bridge or something similarly difficult to "undo."

    Each string change is an opportunity to go back.

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  14. #35
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Other than gauges, I don't know the difference between the Osbornes and plain old A270s. I think I liked the Osbornes a little better though but can't say just why. They just seems a little clearer and more responsive. But the A270s are very close so they'll work. The DRs were all wrong for the MT and that came as a surprise. The biggest thing to keep in sight is what JeffD pointed out: the fact that we have lots of choices.
    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
    that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable.
    Favourable conditions never come."
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  15. #36
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    After following Caleb's quest, I ordered a set of GHS Osbornes and put them on my MF today. Waiting for them to settle in so I can play the little beast and get a sense of what they might add to the instrument (or detract).

    I've been playing with J74s exclusively on all my mandolins for almost 4 years now, so this is going to be interesting. I've got a spare set of J74s at the ready as a backup "just in case."

    Will share my reaction. I have a second set of Osbornes for my MT should they sound nice and play well on the MF.
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

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  17. #37
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    FYI: I've had the GHS A270s on my MT for almost three months now. A couple months is about all I usually get out of any set of strings.

    Something strange happened with these. A couple weeks ago they got a little "sticky," meaning that my fingers would grab a little during movement. I wiped them down with a GHS Fast Fret stick (a stick I've had for over a decade now) and they cleaned up nicely and the result was better than usual with the Fast Fret.

    They had seemed to go a bit dull as they got "sticky," but after cleaning them up they seem as good as new and the dullness went away. I'm going to see how long I can stand it before changing them. They're still holding tune very well too.

    I'm pretty impressed with GHS.
    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
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    Favourable conditions never come."
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  18. #38
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    So much for my string journey ending with GHS...

    I've been using the GHS A270s for a good while now and enjoying them. Oddly enough, the last set I put on seemed to tarnish in only a few days. I'm not sure if it was a dud set or what, but it gave me a good excuse to try something new.

    Enter the Curt Mangan 11's "Bluegrass" set. These are seriously nice strings, feel a little slicker than GHS, and seem to have a bit more zing to them. I've only had them on a couple days and they're still plenty bright, but I can tell they will settle down a bit. I'll play them through the holiday season and see how they fare.

    I want to try some coated strings on the MT in the coming year: Elixirs and EXPs have been on my radar.
    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
    that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable.
    Favourable conditions never come."
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  20. #39
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I've been using Dr strings now for over 18 months & as i've said,they certainly gave my mandolins a boost. However,when i came to use the Dunlop Primetone picks,i got another boost to the volume. They're far better (IMHO) than the Wegen picks i'd been using.
    I recent months,i've re-strung both my Weber & Lebeda "F" style with J74's,my old 'go-to' strings,& using the Primetone picks, i'd say that 95% of the drive of the DR's is there. This last few days,i bought several sets of the GHS A270's that i like so much on the Ellis, & i intend to try them on my Weber & Lebeda.That won't be for a few months as i just re-strung them both with DR MD11's. I like the A270's so much,that i'm hoping for the sweetness in tone that i get from the Ellis/A270 combo. plus the 'picking power' of the Primetone picks. It'll be interesting to hear what they do,
    Ivan
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  22. #40
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    . . . but will you spring for the $50/set Thomastiks?

    f-d
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I've had a set of GHS Osbornes on a MT for the past month. Mostly as a string trial but I haven't been compelled to take them off.

    They stay in tune and I'm liking the sound of them.

  24. #42
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    Other than gauges, I don't know the difference between the Osbornes and plain old A270s. I think I liked the Osbornes a little better though but can't say just why. They just seems a little clearer and more responsive. But the A270s are very close so they'll work. The DRs were all wrong for the MT and that came as a surprise. The biggest thing to keep in sight is what JeffD pointed out: the fact that we have lots of choices.
    I have been using GHS for many many years and love them. Their Silk and Bronze are also nice. The difference between the Osbornes and the 270's if i remember the Osbornes have a .38 for a G string and the 270's a .40
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  25. #43
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    . . . but will you spring for the $50/set Thomastiks?

    f-d
    Nope. I did that back when I had an old Kentucky (my first mandolin). I took them off within a few hours.
    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
    that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable.
    Favourable conditions never come."
    -C.S. Lewis, Learning in Wartime

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    . . . but will you spring for the $50/set Thomastiks?

    f-d
    I have those on my Lyon and Healy. It is a very "classical" sound to my ears. For that instrument they are really great. They are not very bluegrassy. The other thing is they seem to last for ever.
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  27. #45
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I liked the GHS strings (Silk & Bronze) except for the higher tension .16 A string. Some people like it though. I just prefer the .15 A string. Also the GHS wound strings aren't as smooth as the DR 11s, but they sound better. The GHS D string has more pop than the DR 11s.

  28. #46
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    . . . and the monels?

    f-d
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  29. #47
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I'm curious about the monels, but based on everything I've read here about them, I doubt they'd be a fit.

    I have some EXP74s and some Elixirs on order. Saved a bunch on Black Friday with Strings and Beyond.
    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
    that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable.
    Favourable conditions never come."
    -C.S. Lewis, Learning in Wartime

  30. #48
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I like the exp74s

    f-d
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    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  31. #49
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I'll post a review of each set in this thread. Might take a while though since both coated sets will prob last a long time.
    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
    that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable.
    Favourable conditions never come."
    -C.S. Lewis, Learning in Wartime

  32. #50
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I tried the Osbornes, but after playing them for a month went back to J74s. I didn't like how they felt, nor did I enjoy the tone after about two weeks. YMMV.
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

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