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Thread: Mapes strings

  1. #1
    Registered User Gutbucket's Avatar
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    Default Mapes strings

    Mapes mandolin strings. Any one use these strings on their mandolin? I'm not familiar with this brand but they've been around a long time and are based out of east Tennessee. Any input would be appreciated.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Mapes makes the Music wire steel for supplying the string making industry, AFAIK..

    Ships Huge rolls of that wire to them..

    So many brands at their core, literally, can be Mapes based..
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    I have a couple of sets I ordered a month or so ago. I haven't tried them yet. I'm anxious to see the advantage of curing them with "Appalachian Moonshine."

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    David Hopkins

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  6. #4
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    i checked out the web site and I'm intrigued! So I ordered some phosphor bronze to try out.

    Billy

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  7. #5
    Registered User Gutbucket's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Yes, I saw that reference in their website description. What's up with that? There's been a few picking parties where I "Cured" myself with that stuff. I've mended my sinful ways quite a bit since then. I'm anxious to try the sets of strings I've ordered for my mandolin and guitar.
    A couple of mandolins
    A couple guitars
    An Upright Bass
    Some banjos
    Wax Paper over a comb
    A Loar era Didjeridoo

    "I Never Wanted To Be A Barber. I Always Wanted To Be A Lumberjack !"

  8. #6

    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Very interesting. Mapes is a legendary name in strings. They've been around for way more than 100 years and their business has mostly been the production of piano strings and raw wire which is sold to manufacturers of instrument strings or springs. As I understand they produced the HEAVY gauge guitar strings in the 30's and 40's that led Martin to change from scalloped braces to stronger straight braces in the mid 40's. I hadn't seen any reference to Mapes guitar strings since maybe sometime in the 50's? I suspect they have only recently gone back into the production of fretted instrument strings. Below is a picture of the OLD Mapes string packages, said to be from 1953.

    I never remembered them being a Tennessee company. According to this page they were originally located in New York and moved to Tennessee in the 1950's. Nice to know, and it's always good to support American manufacturing.

    Steve

    http://www.cartercountyhistory.com/m...g-company.html

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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    I been playing music for 50 + years. When I was a young picker Mapes guitar strings came with a xtr first string because you probably were going to break it before you got the guitar in tune. Then you made sure you had a set or two in your case before your gig or jam because you were going to need them. They sounded good and were cheep but not very strong, at least that's the way I remember them hadn't heard anything about them for years and if they are making core strings for about all string makers they must have improved.

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    I remember they gave three extra strings in a guitar set, a G, B and an E but only one in their mandolin sets, an extra E string...but then again I am probably older than mandoplumb...

    Willie

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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    I have a couple of sets I'm waiting to use. I checked and now it only includes the standard 8 strings.
    David Hopkins

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    The older I get, the less tolerant I am of political correctness, incompetence and stupidity.

  13. #10

    Default Re: Mapes strings

    I had some questions so I called Mapes and had a chat with them. Here's what I found out.

    They've always produced guitar strings but their distribution has been limited. (That's why I really haven't seen them mentioned in many decades.)

    They only recently began selling them online. Their sales through distributors is still fairly limited. (They're cautious about competing with the major string brands who buy their wire. Manufacturing wire and selling it wholesale is probably 99% of their business, so it's understandable they wouldn't want to jeopardize that income.)

    They wind their own strings onsite.

    I asked what it meant that the strings were "Cured with Appalachian Moonshine". I was told that it's "proprietary". So, I interpret that to mean it's more of a marketing slogan than anything serious. It's cute and will get attention from the Bluegrass crowd.

    Steve

  14. #11
    Registered User Gutbucket's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    I've just changed stings and put on a set of D'addario Nickel Bronze and like them a lot. I haven' received the Mapes set yet. It might be a while before I get a chance to try the Mapes strings. Always in search of that perfect set of strings. I'd also like to try a set of the Siminoff strings.
    A couple of mandolins
    A couple guitars
    An Upright Bass
    Some banjos
    Wax Paper over a comb
    A Loar era Didjeridoo

    "I Never Wanted To Be A Barber. I Always Wanted To Be A Lumberjack !"

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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    I have some sets of Mapes in the old gold and blue box like I used to get for my guitar back in the mid-1906's. They are wrapped in some kind of cellophane around the sting packets. I bet they are as good today as the day they were made. Twenty years ago friend found them at a sale and gave me these two packs but my memories of using them is still so fresh I am saving them for that rainy day.

  16. #13
    Registered User Gutbucket's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Mapes strings

    Quote Originally Posted by RobBob View Post
    I have some sets of Mapes in the old gold and blue box like I used to get for my guitar back in the mid-1906's. They are wrapped in some kind of cellophane around the sting packets. I bet they are as good today as the day they were made. Twenty years ago friend found them at a sale and gave me these two packs but my memories of using them is still so fresh I am saving them for that rainy day.
    You used Mapes strings back at the turn of the last century? Did you ever get a chance to meet Orville Gibson or that Loyd Loar guy?
    A couple of mandolins
    A couple guitars
    An Upright Bass
    Some banjos
    Wax Paper over a comb
    A Loar era Didjeridoo

    "I Never Wanted To Be A Barber. I Always Wanted To Be A Lumberjack !"

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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Not to hyjack a thread, but I got a laugh out of Gutbucket's instrument list. Just wondering, is the comb a barber comb or a pocket comb. Everyone knows you get more bang for your buck with a pocket comb.

  18. #15
    Registered User Gutbucket's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Two octave range on a barber comb.
    A couple of mandolins
    A couple guitars
    An Upright Bass
    Some banjos
    Wax Paper over a comb
    A Loar era Didjeridoo

    "I Never Wanted To Be A Barber. I Always Wanted To Be A Lumberjack !"

  19. #16

    Default Re: Mapes strings

    1946 Mapes Strings advertisement. Gold box and "3 extra strings." "Mapes strings are made for Guitars, Mandolin, Violin, Banjos and Ukulele."

    They never seem to mention the string gauge but I've heard it said that they were heavy.

    Steve
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  20. #17
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Hey!!

    My Mapes Mandolin Strings 'Cured with Appalachian Moonshine' arrived today!

    I will install them on my Gil A3 tomorrow because the current Siminoff set is old, tarnished and done.

    More to follow!

    Billy

    billypackardmandolin.com


    ps, Steve, the gauge is indicated on the web site as well as the string set itself, 11-15-26-40, which is a standard medium gauge.

    https://www.mapesstrings.com
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  21. #18

    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Steve, the gauge is indicated on the web site as well as the string set itself, 11-15-26-40, which is a standard medium gauge.
    I meant that the old string packages and ads from the 40's don't indicate the gauge. The legend is that they were heavy strings which were loud on those big archtop guitars but were causing damage to the lightly built Martins. And that is supposedly the reason Martin abandoned scalloped braces.

    Steve

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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    My earlier response should have said mid 1990's. Guess that is what I get for responding in my phone in the doctors office. There again btw. It is getting old. Would rather be playing mandolin.

  23. #20
    Registered User Gutbucket's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Packard View Post
    Hey!!

    My Mapes Mandolin Strings 'Cured with Appalachian Moonshine' arrived today!

    I will install them on my Gil A3 tomorrow because the current Siminoff set is old, tarnished and done.

    More to follow!

    Billy

    billypackardmandolin.com


    ps, Steve, the gauge is indicated on the web site as well as the string set itself, 11-15-26-40, which is a standard medium gauge.

    https://www.mapesstrings.com
    Received my Mapes strings this past weekend, too. My mandolin has a recent set of D'addario Nickel Bronze strings on it now and they seem to last a long time. I'm interested in what you think of your Mapes strings.
    A couple of mandolins
    A couple guitars
    An Upright Bass
    Some banjos
    Wax Paper over a comb
    A Loar era Didjeridoo

    "I Never Wanted To Be A Barber. I Always Wanted To Be A Lumberjack !"

  24. #21
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Ok!
    OK!
    I'm doggin' it
    I got the strings and I promise I'll put them on the Gil and report back ASAP.
    It's been a sweet easy weekend in the rain & I just couldn't settle down to change the strings...
    And ALREADY Monday has passed!

    I AM very curious to see what they are like...

    Billy
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  26. #22
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Aw-riteey, here we go!

    I put the Mapes phosphor bronze medium gauge on my Gil A3 and here are my initial observations after several hours,

    --Very nice balance across the strings AND up the neck.
    --Not particularly bright but consistent, more of a mid-tone quality, not dark.
    --Intonation is excellent all up + down the wound strings as well as the plain wire strings.
    --Plain wire strings are very strong, again not overly bright.
    --They are responsive + punchy.
    --They show very good volume dynamics.

    After I had been playing an hour or so I called Mapes and spoke with the charming Tammy who confessed that their "Cured with Appalachian Moonshine" was indeed a proprietary coating. She said they put on a very thin coating.

    I have not tried the 'Elixir' brand or any coated strings on any mandolin. I tried them once on a guitar and I hated it--it sounded like somebody had their hand over my guitars mouth, very muffled and dull. Not so with these strings.

    I have read how many of us here don't like the brightness of new strings & look forward to them "calming down" after a week or so of playing. I think these Mapes Phosphor Bronze strings will please you right out of the box. I'll report back after a couple of weeks on how they hold up in this regard. Personally, I like that initial brightness. While these strings don't have that, they are very acceptable to me and if they stay consistent for a month or better I'll be happy.

    Mapes has four sets, 80/20 Brass, Phosphor Bronze, Nickel Plated Steel and Stainless Steel.

    Get this, they offer light gauge (10-14-24-38), medium gauge (11-15-26-40) AND "my custom gauge" which lets you put your own set together.

    As far as I can tell these aren't sold in stores but directly from Mapes.

    Billy

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    Billy Packard
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    Gibson F4 Hybrid #1, D. Harvey 2009
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  27. #23

    Default Re: Mapes strings

    Mapes may be best known for producing Larry Sparks's personal brand of Heavy guitar strings. Available from the Sparks Store.
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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    From Billy - "Personally, I like that initial brightness...". I have to agree,as long as it's not too bright. It's mostly that bright(er) tone that distinguishes the new from the old,although my Ellis just seems 'right' with old or new strings,
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  29. #25
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    Default Re: Mapes strings

    I just put a set of custom Mapes, these have a .16 A string just like my GHS A270's. I agree with Billy, they are not overly bright or dark in tone. They feel very comfortable on the fingers, not like some strings that feel rough like a file. I will keep them on for awhile and see how they settle in. I still have a set of A270's just in case.

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