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Thread: Monel mandolin strings

  1. #1
    Registered User mcgroup53's Avatar
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    Default Monel mandolin strings

    I LOVE the new Martin Tony Rice/Retro monel strings on my Ken Hooper 1939 J35, and they also sounded fantastic on my D18 Authentic. So I've been lobbying Martin to make them as mandolin strings as well. Just recently, they replied to a tweet of mine that Retro mandolin strings were in the works. At the same time, D'Addario has introduced a similar monel alloy acoustic guitar string called the NB, for Nickel Bronze. I'm also talking to them about a mandolin set.

    In the meantime, I've used the Sam Bush strings with success. The Cafe classifieds has an ad for Pyramid strings from Germany in a nickel/monel wrap, and I've ordered Newtone strings in that formulation. Anyone have experience with those?

    Nice to see a boarder range than just the typical 80/20-PB versions.

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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    I have been talking to GHS for years about making a White Bronze mandolin string, they make them for guitars. It's a great string and sometimes I will buy singles and spend the time changing them to loop end for the mandolin. Not as bright as phosphor bronze in the beginning and not dulling as fast either, a much more stable string. For all you magnetic pickup electric players they are magnetic winding's also. The said they would make them for me, but I would have to buy a minimum which at this point would be more than a lifetime supply, even if I weren't so old.
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    Registered User mcgroup53's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I have been talking to GHS for years about making a White Bronze mandolin string, they make them for guitars. It's a great string and sometimes I will buy singles and spend the time changing them to loop end for the mandolin. Not as bright as phosphor bronze in the beginning and not dulling as fast either, a much more stable string. For all you magnetic pickup electric players they are magnetic winding's also. The said they would make them for me, but I would have to buy a minimum which at this point would be more than a lifetime supply, even if I weren't so old.
    I just heard from D'Addario that the NB mandolin strings will debut at Summer NAMM.

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    Registered User Trey Young's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Good news! Thanks David! I also really dig the sound of monels and have used the Sam Bush sets in the past, but don't care much for the gauges of them. I've been using D'addario JS-74s and like them, but I'm looking forward to the NB strings from them. I've also switched over to the Martin Tony Rice Retro strings on my D-16 and really like them. A lot.

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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    I also don't favor the gauges on the Sam Bush monels and will be interested in finding out how the NBs are.

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    Registered User mcgroup53's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    TYpically D'Addario will offer a range of gauges, not just one set

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    I like the Sam Bush strings on a few mandolins I have tried them on ('83 Flatiron A5-2 & '23 Gibson A-2). This weekend I tried the Martin Retros on my '39 L-00 with great results.
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Gibson Sold "Mona Steel" strings while Sam And I were both children or earlier ..

    the last ones I got were called G-161 ML monel loop wound 11/41

    Ive left the Newtone British strings on my Hodson Djangolin for years ..

    Only replaced the E's as they Broke

    un wound Loop forming in the newtone is pretty old school ..

    reminds why Gibson tailpieces have 12 hooks 2 per string on the plain ones.
    as they can slip.



    You realize Monel is a specific alloy , where there are other nickel alloys

    used in winding around strings also..
    Last edited by mandroid; Feb-24-2016 at 6:05pm.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    I just found this Martin video on the history of Monel strings:

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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Thanks Jim, Sounds a lot like the White Bronze I have using for decades from GHS. A nickel alloy string that sounds great, lasts a long time and no one else has had until now.
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  15. #11

    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Quote Originally Posted by mcgroup53 View Post
    At the same time, D'Addario has introduced a similar monel alloy acoustic guitar string called the NB, for Nickel Bronze. I'm also talking to them about a mandolin set.
    Hi David,

    I know you are very in the loop on this stuff, so I'm curious about this comment. I had a dealer last week try to sell them to me as being monel "like the Martin Retro strings," so I wonder if this is a marketing line coming down from D'Addario?

    The NB strings are really nothing like monel. Monel is usually a straight copper-nickel alloy. The new D'Addario NB strings are simply nickel-plated Phosphor-Bronze strings. Here's the quote from D'Addario:

    "Nickel Bronze strings are the premium uncoated acoustic strings by D’Addario. Featuring an innovative combination of nickel-plated phosphor bronze wrapped onto a high carbon NY steel core..."

    This is not even a nickel alloy! I understand that everything about the labeling and marketing is mirroring the Retro's (old time feel, earth tones, talk about letting the guitar's voice come through, etc.), but these really are a fundamentally different string.

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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Thanks Jim, Sounds a lot like the White Bronze I have using for decades from GHS. A nickel alloy string that sounds great, lasts a long time and no one else has had until now.
    Yes the Martin Retros are very much like the GHS strings. I usually go to nickel strings in the summer as they last longer and I am not a giant fan of strings with coatings.

  17. #13

    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Quote Originally Posted by RobBob View Post
    Yes the Martin Retros are very much like the GHS strings. I usually go to nickel strings in the summer as they last longer and I am not a giant fan of strings with coatings.
    Keep in mind that GHS White Bronze are a Nickel-Iron String (iron added to mostly nickel, presumably to enhance the ability to use with a magnetic pickup), whereas Monel is copper and nickel

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    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    While the strings may be fundamentally different, tonally they are similar, the NB being just a very little bit more complex to start. On my ladder-braced Waterloo, which has very fundamental tone, I prefer the NB. On my old D18...jury is still out, but both sound good & the feel is similar. I never cared for the light E on the Sam Bush strings. I look forward to trying both the Martin & D'Addario mandolin versions.

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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Just put a set of GHS prototype strings on today that are a pure nickel wrap. Very nice strings, very clear and warm on the wound strings with a dry sound. I like them a lot.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  20. #16
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Yeah, jljohn, I think you're right. Still waiting on Martin to come through with Retro mandolin strings. Maybe at NAMM. I beta tested the NBs for D'Adarrio and liked them, but not as much as the Retros.

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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    My local music store informed me that Curt Mangan will be introducing Monel mandolin strings in the near future.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    So far we have rumors of Martin, D'Addario and Curt Mangan. I hope someone starts making them before my sets of Sam Bush strings wear out.

    As for Mangan, I don't see that they have Monel guitar strings, let alone mandolin.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Jul-08-2016 at 8:25pm.
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    While they are not monel GHS is thinking of introducing pure nickel mandolin strings that for me sound the best of any string I have yet to use. Soooo add another possibility into the mix.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    I just got an email from Josh at Martin:

    At this time there are no plans to expand the retro string line to include mandolin strings however, this is always a possibility in the future.

    I recommend checking our website periodically as our new products will debut there first.
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    I talked to Curt Mangan himself about this. He told me that the company that makes the material for the strings just decided to close up, so while rumors abound..........I think the wait is going to be long. What I found exciting is that D'Addario released some great nickel bronze guitar strings (love them). While they are not cheap ($12) I am hoping that Jim decides to make a mandolin set from the same blend soon.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Mary: Are you referring to me or some other Jim. In any case, I will look into those possibilities with the D'Addario strings.
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    No, not you. Jim D'Addario.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Well, I have three more sets of Sam Bush strings. That you last me for awhile, but I hope someone starts making Monel mandolin strings again.
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    Default Re: Monel mandolin strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Well, I have three more sets of Sam Bush strings. That you last me for awhile, but I hope someone starts making Monel mandolin strings again.
    I just bought 6 sets of Sam Bush strings a week or so ago. They were posted in the classifieds here and I signed on only a few minutes after they showed up. I always check the classifieds before I go on to the other stuff. (I'm sure that's the latent MAS kicking in.) It was the first item listed under accessories and I jumped on it. I'm set for a little while now.
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