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Thread: Mixing string gauges on G and D pairs?

  1. #1

    Default Mixing string gauges on G and D pairs?

    I was browsing YouTube and saw that apparently on John Reischman's LL F5 he has different gauge strings on both the G and D pairs.

    If you go to 2:18 into the link below you'll see what i mean.

    I am sorry if this has been discussed here before as I am still very new to using forums and searching the archives on them.

    Is anyone familiar with this and what the benefit derived is?''

    Is this common?

    Thanks in advance for your kind indulgence.

  2. #2
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Upstate New York
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    Default Re: Mixing string gauges on G and D pairs?

    Looking at other images I don't get the impression he does that routinely. I think the editor goofed by leaving it there. Just as, at around 4:38 there is a brief shot of two other mandolins, neither of which is a Gibson, and no other mandolins are discussed in the video, so again, I suspect an editor goof.

    If Reischman does it at all I would guess its for a specific effect on a specific tune. Or maybe he does it on one of the other mandolins, again for special effects, and a close up picture of it got into the video. I would never do that on a Loar.

    I am going to guess he has changed out one of each for a string an octave up. I have done this by replacing a G and a D with an extra A and E string, and tuning them down a note. Its a cool effect. I met someone who plays his bowlback that way in a rag time band, and that is where I got the idea to try it.
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  3. #3
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.

    Default Re: Mixing string gauges on G and D pairs?

    Octave-ing, pairs is done on 12 string guitars & Irish Zouks ..
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  4. #4
    Natural Born Tar Heel Perilous Deep's Avatar
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    Feb 2014
    Chicago, IL

    Default Re: Mixing string gauges on G and D pairs?

    In a performance with Scott Nygaard and Sharon Gilchrist last year (link here), Reischman talked about playing a mandola strung with octave pairs on the two bass courses. Maybe that was the instrument pictured in that bridge closeup? I highly doubt he strung his F5 that way, but of course it could have happened.

  5. #5
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Richmond, VA

    Default Re: Mixing string gauges on G and D pairs?

    Curtis Buckhannon kept an A-50 tuned that way and used it occasionally. It's an interesting effect, but I think it works better on longer scale instruments. On that short a scale, it is really hard to keep the intonation the same from fret to fret.

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    Apr 2014
    Rhode Island, USA

    Default Re: Mixing string gauges on G and D pairs?

    Previous discussion of that video: concluded that the instrument at 2:18 is a mandola.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mixing string gauges on G and D pairs?


    Thanks to all for their input.

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