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Thread: Heiden string choices

  1. #1

    Default Heiden string choices

    I was wondering what the Cafe preferences were for string choices on Heiden mandolins?
    I’m generally using D’Addario 74’s phosphobronze. I’m open to trying other strings.
    Has anyone experimented with Dogals or Thomastiks on your Mando?
    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    Help us out a little, Barry. What sort of change are you looking for? Brighter sound, darker sound, more tension, less tension? Something optimized for a given style of music, or maybe a given playing technique? What strings have you liked or not liked, and why?

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    Firstly I find the Daddarios die rather quickly.
    I have used Thomastiks on my Phoenix Jazz. The Thomastiks are a bit dull for my liking but work well amplified on the Jazz Mando when tuning in the piezo and magnetic pickups.I play most genres of music. I and am looking to hear from some of the cafe members personal experiences with their own Heidens.
    Thanks for you response Bruce!

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    Why not check with Mr. Heiden and see what he recommends ?
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    I'm a big fan of Curt Mangan strings on my Heiden. You can get the same gauges at the J74s which is what I think Michael recommends. The Mangan strings don't have that awful brashness when new--they sound great pretty much right away and I keep them on anywhere from 6-8 weeks. They cost a bit more then J74s but you get that good tone for a lot longer. Worth a try.
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  10. #6
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    Tom Ellis recommends GHS A270's for his own mandolins,& that's what i use on my Ellis. I have a suspicion that the A270's might work very well on your Heiden. A friend of mine has a beautiful Heiden "A" style on which he used to use Tomastik strings - they were way too light. He went to D'Addario EJ74's which sounded better,but when he began to use DR MD11s (same gauge as EJ74s),the mandolin really came to life. DR MD11's also sounded well on my Ellis. They're a 'punchier' sounding string & usually last anywhere between 3 & 5 months. I had my first set on my Weber "Fern" for 8 months, & it sounded incredibly good,
    Ivan
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  12. #7

    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    Bruce,
    Mr. Heiden sets them up with J74s.

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  14. #8
    Registered User Denman John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    I'll be seeing Michael next week and will ask him what he recommends for string choices on his mandolins.
    ... not all those who wander are lost ...

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  16. #9
    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    I've been happy with D'Add. Nickel-Bronze 11-40 recently on my Heiden. Sound good to me and seem to last better than J74s for me.
    Currently trying the Monels, but I suspect that I'll return to N-B later.
    Phil

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  18. #10

    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    Phil,
    Maybe you could ask Mike which strings he has tried and for which genre of music. Often players choose strings based upon their preferred genre of music. Here is my personal example. I presently use Dogals on my classical mandolin only because Carlo Aonzo suggested that I try them on my instrument. I had never heard of them nor would have ever had access to them if I had not participated in masters workshop with him in Germany! Now they are my preferred classical string on this particular luthier built instrument. Thanks, Barry

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  20. #11
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    The strings need to suit both the instrument and the music you use it for. I've liked the Dogals on a bowlback in a Ukrainian orchestra, and the J73's on a flattop in a choro band. But I'd want more tension on a carved-top f-hole mandolin, unless it's very lightly built. I've never owned a Heiden, but on my Givens I've preferred the d'Addario Flat Top set. Similar tension to the J74's, but a little fuller and evener sound across the strings, and punchier than flatwounds. And they seem to last very well-- I just realised I've had the same set on now for three years!

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  22. #12
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    Regarding 'which' strings luthiers use or prefer themselves,our personal choice might differ. Tom Ellis says that he prefers GHS A270's,but he's tried most of them & doesn't think badly of any of them. It's just that 'to him' the A270's have it !.

    The very best option is to try several brands / gauges to see which strings sound best to you. The opinions of others & how 'x' brand / gauge of string sounds on their mandolins,is just that - their opinion - yours may very well differ. It's been said countless times on here,that strings & picks are the easiest & least expensive upgrade - & when you've found the right combo.,the difference can be astounding,
    Ivan
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  24. #13

    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    I've been happy with D'Add. Nickel-Bronze 11-40 recently on my Heiden. Sound good to me and seem to last better than J74s for me.
    I have also gone to the D'Add nickel-bronze, but found they have a set that is 11.5-40, which I really like. Those J74s seemed to die within two weeks at my level of playing, but I get 4-6 weeks out of the nickel-bronze depending upon whether or not we are in the sweating or freezing season.
    "Those who know don't have the words to tell, and the ones with the words don't know so well." - Bruce Cockburn

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  26. #14

    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    I recall trying the D’Addario flat tops and they didn’t appeal to me! I agree with Teak and find the D’Addario J74s have a limited lifespan of nice sound.

  27. #15
    Registered User rockies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    I was down at Michael's on Saturday and got my A back. I had it refretted and large dots put in sude of fretboard to help my viaion. Michael uses J74's in his mandolins. However I did have him put the J75's on mine as I've used them for years. I like the tone (and feel) of the slightly heavier E strings. Also the over all tone from the J75's. So EVO frets, new vintage bone nut and a slightly lower action it is performing wonderfully.
    I had also got my Heiden dreadnaught guitar a week ago and Michael and I discussed slimming the neck a little. The guitar is beautiful, 3 piece IR back, IR sides Very dark, almost purplish All selected from Michaels large stash of wood. Andirondac top picked by Michael for tone and stiffness. It is a killer. Anyway sorry I digress from the string topic. Me bad.
    Also Michael is on a fire warning so is not wanting to keep too many instruments there right now. The same here in Kimberley BC, we are on evac alert and the St Mary's Valley has bee evacuated. He has about 3 OM's started there so some very lucky guys are going to get some beautiful instruments.
    Dave
    Heiden A, '52 Martin D-18, Taylor 510, Carlson Custom A with Electronics

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  29. #16
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    The very first mandolin that i ever held,was the Heiden F5 belonging to my late Canadian friend,David Tinkoff,when he came to stay with me back in 1994. I remember being amazed by it's lightness & at it's volume. I've not been near a Heiden mandolin other than my friend's "A" style since then. For me - the Heiden build standard is very similar to the Ellis = they're a ''lightly built'' instrument. I wouldn't want to put too heavy a gauge of strings on one,not because of structural damage,but you might be compressing the top to the point where it's no longer vibrating ''freely'' & sounding it's best. I'd try a few different brands,but in the same gauges as the EJ74s. GHS A270's are the same except for the heavier "A strings which are .016" against EJ74s .015". On my Ellis they sound terrific. However - i have to import them from Germany,& the postage is pretty stiff. When my A270 sets are finished,i'm going to try a set of DR MD11's again,& if they sound ok,i'll stick with those,as they're easy to get & i usually get them the day after i order them. The DR MD11s are the same gauges as EJ74s,so you might care to try a set of those,
    Ivan
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  31. #17

    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    Ivan,
    Yes, the Heiden’s are exceptional instruments. They are up there with the Gilchrists, Dudenbostels, And Kimbles.
    Mike is a wonderful guy to deal with. I’ve used the J75’s with no problem. You do get a little more bottom end but these instruments have it already! Rocky, I would suggest trying EJ 74’s and swapping theE strings for a slightly heavier gauge.

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  33. #18
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    My Heiden likes the DR MD11 set, with the A strings swapped for .016's.

  34. #19
    Registered User rockies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    I've been using the j-75's for about 8 or 9 years on the Heiden and Michael has dressed the frets a couple times and put the new J-75's on as he knows I like them. After the EVO fret job and new nut a week ago he installed the J-75's with no comments pro or con.
    It sure sounded great when he put it through it's paces down there.
    Dave
    Heiden A, '52 Martin D-18, Taylor 510, Carlson Custom A with Electronics

  35. #20

    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    Aren’t these Heidens magnificent! Proud to be a Canadian!

  36. #21
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    I've used J75's ( now EJ75s) a couple of times,& yes,the G & D strings do sound more 'full',but to my ears,they also sound dull. Being a heavier string,you need to pick harder for the same volume as EJ74's - well,i do !.

    Yes,Heiden mandolins are superb in every way. If you use GHS A270's,the 'A' strings are .016" to begin with & the whole set sounds superbly well balanced. With the DR MD11s,they're such a strong sounding string anyway,you don't need .016" 'A' strings.

    This is my late Canadian friend from Ottawa,David Tinkoff,with his Heiden,
    Ivan
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    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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  38. #22
    Registered User scapier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    I use the D’Addario Chris Thile set and my Heiden likes the sturdier A string and E string, but I also used the Simonoff sets for a while and they were good too. I’ll try those GHS sets.

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  40. #23
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    Default Re: Heiden string choices

    I personally have become attached to Elixir nano-web. They seem to sound just as good as the J74's I used to use but last a whole lot longer.

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