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Thread: String journey on a Collings MT

  1. #76
    Lost my boots in transit terzinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I'm still using the Siminoff heavies (.0115-.041). EXP75's are the same gauge. I don't find the heavier gauge harder to play at all. I like the tone and the volume a lot.

    I like Elixirs, but they don't come in that gauge.

    I did have the FW74's on for a while, and they're certainly nice on the fingers, and sound great solo. But in a jam situation, I prefer the Siminoffs.

  2. #77
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quick update: I put the EXP74s on exactly two months ago and they show absolutely zero signs of wear, and I've been playing quite a bit. I'm impressed!
    ...

  3. #78
    Registered User Doug Freeman's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    For clarity's sake, the photo of the DR MD-11 set posted on the first page of this thread is out of date. I bought a few sets recently thinking they came with .016 A strings, but in fact they're .015. As Ivan stated, DR MD-11 has the same gauges as D'Daddairo EJ-74.

  4. #79
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I just found this thread. I just got an MT0 recently. Not sure what they came with, although J-74s would seem right. Caleb, which do you prefer for your MT the GHS-A270s or the Elixers. At one point you seems sold on the A270s now the EXP74s. How do they compare. Thanks in advance.
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  5. #80
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by red7flag View Post
    I just found this thread. I just got an MT0 recently. Not sure what they came with, although J-74s would seem right. Caleb, which do you prefer for your MT the GHS-A270s or the Elixers. At one point you seems sold on the A270s now the EXP74s. How do they compare. Thanks in advance.
    Your Collings prob came with J74s if you got it new. Mine did. I did and do love the A270s, as well as the lighter Bobby Osborne set. I haven't gotten to the Elixis yet because the EXP74s were first in my coated string experiment and haven't worn out yet. I'll post my thoughts on the Elixirs when I get them on.

    I'm convinced there is some sort of emotional reaction that happens with string changes (at least with me). Perhaps we anticipate something and are sometimes let down or surprised. Maybe sometimes the initial change is exciting one way or the other. I don't know. I just know sometimes I can be excited about a new set of strings, only to be not so excited a few days later. And at other times be underwhelmed, only to find the new strings growing on me a few days later. It's weird.

    My initial reaction to the J74s and EXP74s was that they seemed a little stiff. I think my mandolin felt that way in general. Perhaps I've gotten used to the feel, or maybe it has settled or changed in some way (I have made no setup changes except for a slight turn of the bridge wheels very early on), but it feels great now. Maybe there is a breaking in period of sorts for green instruments, different than the much-debated "opening up" process. Or maybe all the hours I've put on it have loosened things up. I have no idea how this could work on a technical basis: I only know the mandolin feel a lot better now than when I got it a year or so ago.
    ...

  6. #81
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Caleb, I only have played with the J74s (I did buy it new). I found the feel of the MTO to be stiff in comparison to my other mandolins, the Ellis and the Hester. I am pretty sure that will remain even with the A270s that I plan to replace them with. I think I am looking for a slightly darker sound.
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  7. #82
    Registered User Doug Freeman's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    I'm convinced there is some sort of emotional reaction that happens with string changes (at least with me). Perhaps we anticipate something and are sometimes let down or surprised. Maybe sometimes the initial change is exciting one way or the other. I don't know. I just know sometimes I can be excited about a new set of strings, only to be not so excited a few days later. And at other times be underwhelmed, only to find the new strings growing on me a few days later. It's weird.
    This rings true to me. I'm also convinced there's something that makes mandolins sound different from day to day anyhow...depending on what, I don't know. Guitars seem less susceptible, maybe because of the larger chamber size, more tolerance for fluctuations in ambient conditions. Kind of reminds me of how tube guitar amps vary from one room to another, much more so than solid state.

  8. #83
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Well, the EXPs finally started to konk out, so I put on the Elixirs this weekend. They feel better under the fingers, i.e. easier to play. They sound about the same and I like them a lot. I'm tired of this string journey deal and will prob end up using EXP or Elixirs from here on out, depending on which one I can score on sale. But I'm leaning toward liking the Elixirs a little better. This has been fun, and thanks for following along.
    ...

  9. #84
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Caleb, I have been using GHS white bronze guitar strings, you have to get guitar strings for the D and G then take the balls off, but I am hoping they will make them loop end at some point. I prefer these to Elixirs, J74, and A270's I have also used GHS silk and bronze which are a nice string, but prefer the white bronze. Thought I would throw a wrench into your decision.
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  10. #85
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Went back through my old thread here and thought I'd chime in again with the latest.

    I bought a pile of various strings a while back, all of which have been covered in this thread. I had a set of EXP74s on for a long time. These are serious workhorse strings and seem to never really die. They fade out but I've yet to flat out wear a set out. But curiosity gets the better of me and I end up changing to something else.

    A couple weekends ago I put on another set of GHS Bobby Osbornes. There is some kind of magic combination with these strings and my Collings. It's like the wood just wakes up and I can hear subtle tonal differences that just aren't there with other strings. And the playability is so nice. After the EXP74s, the Osbornes seem a little light at first, but after a few days they feel like my favorite pair of jeans.

    These are just my findings. YMMV.
    ...

  11. #86

    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I have experimented with only a few strings but had similar experience with the GHS A270 strings. I have a Flatiron Festival and it was really bass heavy with D'ddarrio strings. I tried the A270's and it is much more balanced and the sound is amazing. I was having a hard time keeping mu strings in tune due to being worn and changes in weather during the winter. So I just changed the strings the tone is back, volume is much better (my daughter and wife may disagree) and brought a smile and enjoyment to playing. Nice when you can find a nice match.

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  13. #87
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I've been using Bobby Osborne med-lights on my Collings MT for a good while now. I like them a lot but got curious again about different strings. Today I ordered some La Bella mediums (about the same gauges as the Osbornes though): http://www.labella.com/products/880m...bronze-medium/

    I had a hard time tracking them down and ended up paying more than I usually do for strings (12.99 w free shipping via Amazon), but these have me genuinely curious. Has anyone ever used these? I'll post an update when I get them installed.
    ...

  14. #88

    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Thoughts On the coated Elixer Strings? I'm a huge fan. Especially on the Collings!


  15. #89
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Portiia View Post
    Thoughts On the coated Elixer Strings? I'm a huge fan. Especially on the Collings!

    I tried some and liked them. And they seemed to last forever. But I just prefer slightly less tension than the average medium gauge string. (Great playing, by the way.)
    ...

  16. #90
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I got the La Bella 880Ms installed on my Collings. Slightly less tension than the Obsborne GHS med-lights I normally use. I like them a lot. Very jangly and they need to settle down a bit and probably will. Might’ve found a new favorite. I normally use a red Tortex.55 (pick blasphemy here, I know) but an old-school Fender heavy sounds great with the La Bellas. Good times.
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  17. #91

    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    i have never played a collings mando;heard a bunch tho. would love to play one someday. and an ellis/pava/sorensen...

    tried all the strings that have been discussed here on two gibson f5s.

    don't know why i waited so long to try daddario monels;the regular/non-bush diameter strings. they really do it for me for tone,feel and the older they get the more i like them.

    have heard you mention 'jangly' and hearing more string than wood. the monels bring out the fundamental note/tone to my ears.

    if i had a bright/jangly mandolin i think i would try the daddario monels for sure.

    the pick i use most is a 2.5mm wegen. otherwise a extra heavy e-model red bear.

    sorry,my capital/shift key isn't working.

  18. #92
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by V70416 View Post
    i have never played a collings mando;heard a bunch tho. would love to play one someday. and an ellis/pava/sorensen...

    tried all the strings that have been discussed here on two gibson f5s.

    don't know why i waited so long to try daddario monels;the regular/non-bush diameter strings. they really do it for me for tone,feel and the older they get the more i like them.

    have heard you mention 'jangly' and hearing more string than wood. the monels bring out the fundamental note/tone to my ears.

    if i had a bright/jangly mandolin i think i would try the daddario monels for sure.

    the pick i use most is a 2.5mm wegen. otherwise a extra heavy e-model red bear.

    sorry,my capital/shift key isn't working.
    I have yet to try any monels. On my list...
    ...

  19. #93
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    The La Bella 880Ms have settled in and are some of the best strings I've tried so far. Excellent tone, volume, and playability. Not sure how long they will hold up - hopefully for a good while since they cost a bit more than the strings I normally buy. I'm impressed! Not sure why I don't see more about La Bella here.
    ...

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  21. #94
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    What is it that folks like about Monels?
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  22. #95
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    I've had the La Bellas on for a bit now and I really like them. http://www.labella.com/products/880m...bronze-medium/

    For a while now I've been using thinner picks; they just seemed to go well with the GHS Osbornes. But on a whim I got out my old Altoids tin/pick collection and started experimenting with different combinations with the La Bellas. My old (over ten yrs old) Jazzmando 1.5 Pro Plec goes perfectly with these strings. Probably the best combo I've come across thus far.

    I still want to try some Thomastiks on my Collings at some point, and I'm sure my curiosity will eventually get the best of me.

    Been reading a lot about Monels on the forum and the consensus seems to be that they are pretty bright. I will probably skip them for this reason. My MT is already loud and bright enough. I find that the La Bellas, once settled in, and coupled with the 1.5 pick, get me a much more mellow tone. On the wound strings it's almost a violin-type tone at times.
    Last edited by Caleb; Mar-06-2019 at 11:54am.
    ...

  23. #96
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Update....

    The La Bellas were great strings, probably my favorites so far. Installed them back in Feb and played them in for a long time. Then I put the mandolin away for a few months. Got it back out recently and decided I'd try some new strings. This time I put on some D'Addario EFW74 flatwounds (didn't want to spring for Thomastiks). Man, what a whopping disappointment! My mandolin lost volume and most of its character. Granted, they FEEL great but just don't sound good to me. I know some folks here love them.
    ...

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  25. #97
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    Update....

    The La Bellas were great strings, probably my favorites so far. Installed them back in Feb and played them in for a long time. Then I put the mandolin away for a few months. Got it back out recently and decided I'd try some new strings. This time I put on some D'Addario EFW74 flatwounds (didn't want to spring for Thomastiks). Man, what a whopping disappointment! My mandolin lost volume and most of its character. Granted, they FEEL great but just don't sound good to me. I know some folks here love them.
    I've always been a huge fan of D'Addario strings on both guitar and mandolin. Electric, acoustic, you name it. But when I was going through this same journey, I felt the D-Addario EFW74 flatwounds couldn't hold a candle to the Thomastiks. They were similar in appearance only. YMMV.
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  26. #98
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Jones View Post
    I've always been a huge fan of D'Addario strings on both guitar and mandolin. Electric, acoustic, you name it. But when I was going through this same journey, I felt the D-Addario EFW74 flatwounds couldn't hold a candle to the Thomastiks. They were similar in appearance only. YMMV.
    Thanks for the info. The best way I can describe the sound of the EFW74s on my mandolin is: all wire and no wood. Almost sounds like I put electric guitar strings on it.
    ...

  27. #99
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Northwest Steve View Post
    I have experimented with only a few strings but had similar experience with the GHS A270 strings. I have a Flatiron Festival and it was really bass heavy with D'ddarrio strings. I tried the A270's and it is much more balanced and the sound is amazing. I was having a hard time keeping mu strings in tune due to being worn and changes in weather during the winter. So I just changed the strings the tone is back, volume is much better (my daughter and wife may disagree) and brought a smile and enjoyment to playing. Nice when you can find a nice match.
    I found the same with GHS A270 strings ! Great sounding strings that last a long time.
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  28. #100
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: String journey on a Collings MT

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    Update....

    The La Bellas were great strings, probably my favorites so far. Installed them back in Feb and played them in for a long time. Then I put the mandolin away for a few months. Got it back out recently and decided I'd try some new strings. This time I put on some D'Addario EFW74 flatwounds (didn't want to spring for Thomastiks). Man, what a whopping disappointment! My mandolin lost volume and most of its character. Granted, they FEEL great but just don't sound good to me. I know some folks here love them.
    Interesting. I've liked them on my MT. Seemed to take an edge off the treble. It's getting to be time to change them anyway, so might go a different route. Unless I just throw caution to the wind and put on the Thomastik set I've had lying around.
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