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Thread: Better Strings

  1. #1
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    Default Better Strings

    Just curious about strings. Something better than the standard D'Addario EJ 74 that are on my Eastman 515.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    Most string manufactures are quality strings, unless you have something that is a fraudulent string. You may try a different brand, different alloy such as bright bronze, or white bronze or nickel or monel or a different gauge and see it that makes it more to your liking.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    I used to use the J74's and switched to Elixir nano coated. I think they are just as good and they seem to last a lot longer.

  4. #4
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    I like the EXP J74s.
    To me they feel better and sound better than the plain J74.
    I tried the EXP74CM (heavier E & A like J75), and absolutely loved them, but they were a bit much for my particular mandolin.
    My mandolin sounds a little more open and less strained with the EXP J74s.

    Strings are not that expensive, so I suggest trying out different ones and see which is best for your particular instrument.
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  5. #5
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    I switched last year to EXP74CM and have been pretty impressed and very happy with the tone of my mandolins strung with those. They're coated, phospher bronze & steel, and the A and E courses are a tad heavier than J74s.
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    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    I'm in with Mark and CW above... EXP74's are my new strings of choice after forever using J74's. Gonna try out a DR set that was given to me as a gift next string change... just to see...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Better Strings

    I've switched to Curt Mangan strings, same gauge as J74s. Sound good immediately (less jangle when new) and stay that way for a month or more. YMMV.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    If i owned an Eastman,i'd certainly try out a set of GHS A270's on it. Apart from .016" 'A' strings instead of the normal .015" gauge,they're the same as EJ74's. They're a very sweet sounding string & the go-to strings for Tom Ellis of Ellis mandolins. They're extremely responsive & could sound pretty good - well worth a try (IMHO),
    Ivan
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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    I've gone with Wyres. They're available through Elderly. Expensive, but I get about 9 months out of a set.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    A mandolin player needs to try as many different brands of strings as he/she can because different mandolins sound different with different brands of strings...I use GHS-A-270`s on all of mine but do try a different brand now and then when they come on the market just to see if there are any that are better than what my Ratliff sounds like with GHS strings...I am not a D`Addario fan as none of my mandolins sound good with any of their strings that I have tried, but that is just me and my instruments, as many have said they like the D`Addarios....I tried the DR-11`s on my Flatiron and didn`t care for the shrillness on the unwound strings, the wound strings really sounded good so I will try the DR-11`s on my Ratliff on the next string change...It is a long drawn out process to try all of the different brands that are available but in the long run it is worth it, at least it was for me...

    Good luck with this....Willie

  12. #11
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    IDK what you would consider "better" ..

    Want the windings to not be bronze ?, want flat top, or flat wound ? thicker or thinner gages ,
    dont like 1 pair out of the set?

    Just want another Brand name on the packet ?

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  13. #12
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    I agree with Ivan and Willie on the GHS A270's. I have gone through I don't know how many sets of strings and I still come back to the A270's. I haven tried the Wyres, Mangans or any of the coated ones, but the A270's just sound the best on my Yellowstone. Good luck with your search.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by CWRoyds View Post
    I like the EXP J74s.
    To me they feel better and sound better than the plain J74.
    I tried the EXP74CM (heavier E & A like J75), and absolutely loved them, but they were a bit much for my particular mandolin.
    My mandolin sounds a little more open and less strained with the EXP J74s.

    Strings are not that expensive, so I suggest trying out different ones and see which is best for your particular instrument.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    I switched last year to EXP74CM and have been pretty impressed and very happy with the tone of my mandolins strung with those. They're coated, phospher bronze & steel, and the A and E courses are a tad heavier than J74s.
    Quote Originally Posted by Glassweb View Post
    I'm in with Mark and CW above... EXP74's are my new strings of choice after forever using J74's. Gonna try out a DR set that was given to me as a gift next string change... just to see...
    Thanks to all. I think I'll start with the EXP74 then the other suggestions.
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  15. #14

    Default Re: Better Strings

    When I bought my Eastman 505, the first thing I did is take the Cleartones off (I believe that is what new Eastman's come with nowadays) because I did not like them. I've used J74s for years on other mandolins and the equivalents for mandola, but did not try them on the Eastman. I did use a set of J75s that sounded and played nicely. After trying a number of strings, I've gravitated to GHS A270s. They sound really good and play nicely. Using them now on my Weber Gallatin too. Need to try a set of J74s on the Eastman, but the 270s sound so nice.

    Flatwounds, bronze and silk, and nickel strings (including the Thomastik) weren't bad, but not my favorite once the Eastman had a good bit of play on it. If you feel the need to mellow the Eastman out a bit, those are probably good alternatives. The GHS bronze and silk weren't a big change, but mellowed out the wound strings just a bit. I'm a big string changer and experimenter, as you can probably tell.

  16. #15
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by WoodyCTA102 View Post
    When I bought my Eastman 505, the first thing I did is take the Cleartones off (I believe that is what new Eastman's come with nowadays) because I did not like them. I've used J74s for years on other mandolins and the equivalents for mandola, but did not try them on the Eastman. I did use a set of J75s that sounded and played nicely. After trying a number of strings, I've gravitated to GHS A270s. They sound really good and play nicely. Using them now on my Weber Gallatin too. Need to try a set of J74s on the Eastman, but the 270s sound so nice.

    Flatwounds, bronze and silk, and nickel strings (including the Thomastik) weren't bad, but not my favorite once the Eastman had a good bit of play on it. If you feel the need to mellow the Eastman out a bit, those are probably good alternatives. The GHS bronze and silk weren't a big change, but mellowed out the wound strings just a bit. I'm a big string changer and experimenter, as you can probably tell.
    I had a 505 for a long time and the best strings (to my ear on that mandolin at least) were the DR 11s.
    *** Specializing in mandolin mediocrity since 2006. ***

  17. #16

    Default Re: Better Strings

    Will have to try those. I've used DR strings on other mandolins, but guitars mostly. I like them a lot. They have a very nice feel to me.

  18. #17
    Mandolin Botherer Shelagh Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    I use flatwounds (FW-74s and JM-11s (while I still have some!)) on my RM-1 and Nava respectively and now prefer JHS A275s on my Taran Springwell (I like the .016 A and prefer the general feel and sound to J-74s). I tend to go for DRs on my guitars.

  19. #18
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    George - Just as another 'proof' that not all strings suit all mandolins,the GHS A270's didn't suit my Weber Fern - i'll qualify that - the .016" 'A' strings didn't suit it,they were way too bright,the other strings sounded fine.

    It really is trial & error in finding the 'best' strings. Even two mandolins of the same spec. off the builder's bench one after the other, might sound very different with the same make / gauge of strings. It's as weird as that,
    Ivan
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  20. #19

    Default Re: Better Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
    Just curious about strings. Something better than the standard D'Addario EJ 74 that are on my Eastman 515.
    There is nothing "better", since D'addario's are about as high-quality as strings can get. But there are strings which are "different", and there certainly are more expensive strings, such as Thomastik flatwounds.

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  22. #20
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    Ivan,
    It could be on my Yellowstone the top wood is Engleman and that is why I keep going back to the GHS string. Is your Fern a Red Spruce top?

  23. #21
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    Each player will have a preferred tone. Each mandolin will sound best to that player with a particular set of strings. Searching for "that" set of strings is part of the fun in purchasing a new instrument. As pointed out above unless you have purchased a counterfeit string you have a quality product. Manufacturer, gauge, material, coating .... or no coating, shape and design tension to pitch........ while the differences may appear endless they aren't..... just a whole bunch. Enjoy the journey .. or not ..... EJ74's are a quality string and largely easy to find at a local store... R/
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  24. #22
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    +1) and I also have different string 'bests' for different Mandolin's I Own ...
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  25. #23
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    I'm using Straight Ups on a 12 yr old Eastman 615. My perception is that the E and G are more responsive than with J74.

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  27. #24
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    Just tried my first set of Flat-wounds. Pyramid 532's Swedish steel. Put those on a 2001 Weber Hyalite I just bought. Love the sound they give me. Woody and Dark. Entirely different dynamic to installation and initial tuning. Seem to stay in tune better. Part of that might also be the Mahogany back, sides and neck, versus the maple on the other mandolins. I have tried so many different string manufacturers and sub sets of each manufacturer. GHS, 270/260. D'Adarrio J74/75. Elixir. Siminoff compensated. I'm certain I'll try either Pyramid or D'Adarrio flat wounds on whatever I restring next, just to see how they change the tone of that mandolin.
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  28. #25
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better Strings

    Hi George - According to Bruce Weber,mine's got a 'standard' Sitka Spruce top. It tends to be on the 'bright side' (a bit like it's owner !),but after a week or so,the brightness does wear off. The A270 "A" strings simply didn't calm down. I have to say that my Fern never sounded better than when it has it's first set of DR MD11's on it after 8 months. The tone was still full on,but had become beautifully rounded,almost 'rich',but still amazingly clear. If the strings hadn't gone so black just behind the bridge where the heel of my hand touches them,they might still be on !.

    The DR MD11's suit my Weber & Lebeda like no others i've tried, & the A270's - well,there might be strings with different tones,but none ''better'' for my Ellis. That is one hard mandolin to put down when i play it,& i owe Trevor at TAMCO UK, a huge 'thank you' for offering it to me. My buying it helped him at that time & has delighted me ever since,
    Ivan
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