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Thread: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

  1. #1

    Default Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    Recently restrung with as set of Straight Up Strings. The quick review is that I absolutely love the way they sound on my mandolin. (Old Wave C#, maple and spruce with ironwood fingerboard) It is the tone that I have tried to get for several years with different strings and attempt to get whenever I EQ the mando through a PA. The best part was no break in "brassy" tone. I am not qualified to comment on the "compensated downloads" that is spoken about in the package propaganda but really don't care. I liked the way they sounded from the get go. Now for the other side of the story.

    Unfortunately, from the first set, on the first gig, these buggers just would not stay in tune. Anytime I hit them hard they headed south, especially the A stings. Even normal play offtuned them. Yes, I know that "mandolin" is from an Italian word meaning "out of tune" but this was far worse than usual and far worse than 74's. I usually front the band and it hard to tune an talk at the same time. At this point I am ready to go back to something else I don't like as much and not have to fight it.

    Has anyone else had experience with these strings? If so, what did you think? I am hoping that maybe it is just this pack but am aware that hoping is not a great tonal strategy. Just to avid getting off topic, they were strung correctly and I am one of those folks that thinks changing strings is only a slightly better experience than having a colonoscopy with no anesthesia.

  2. #2
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    Not tried them but,
    I have had strings react the same way the first hour or two. They are fine until you really “Dig In” and then things can go flat as an old helium balloon! However, once they get retuned (always up to desired pitch) they usually settle in.
    I don’t get the whole “I hate to change strings” thing to be honest. If you do it right, it’s not a bad project.
    A guitar playing buddy does the “Change them the night before and do not touch them until the next day” thing. I tried it once, put them on, tune them up, close the case until the next day, meh.
    Only a slight derail from topic.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  3. #3

    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    When I learned to change guitar strings I was taught to "stretch them" a little by pulling gently upward and then tuning them....still do that....it helps the initial stretch and detune issue.
    One thing I've learned about mandolins is that they all respond differently to different picks so if you buy it and you don't like the tone, try a different pick.

    Kentucky KM-150
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    Registered User spud3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    I recently converted from 74's to the Straight Up mediums and love the sound and balance. I didn't notice any issues with staying in tune, once they settled in. At least not any more than most any other set I've tried...

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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    I've got them on my '99 Flatiron Festival. They sound much better than the J-75s which were my old favorites. I've been using them for a couple of years now.

    I haven't had the tuning issues, but you may want to add a little graphite in the nut slots, in addition to B381's advice.
    Steve



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    Registered User Chris Bowsman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    An extremely credible source told me the Straight Up Strings are manufactured by D’Addario. I wonder what they do differently when making those.
    "There ain't too many folks, who can play too many notes... on the mandolin"

  9. #7
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bowsman View Post
    An extremely credible source told me the Straight Up Strings are manufactured by D’Addario. I wonder what they do differently when making those.
    According to Siminoff, the core wires and wrappings are matched to create a linear density of string that creates the optimal downward force (as determined by Siminoff) on the various parts of the saddle when tuned to standard tuning. (Unless I'm mistaken.)

    I tried them and didn't feel or hear any significant difference from J74s. That's my experience with them.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

  10. #8

    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    Philphool, This is kind of above my pay grade but wouldn't "optimal downward force" depend on the characteristics of the individual mandolin, especially the top?

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    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    For those that may not have been around or don't remember, considerable bit of information on the subject published here in 2014: String Tension: What It Means and How It Became Important.

    As the founder and owner of this big mess of posting I have concerns about the opening post. It's fine to make these observations but it's also fair game to challenge them.

    There are far more questions unanswered, and the answers were not provided. There are a number of very well known reasons why a mandolin might have problems staying in tune that could be at issue here. Improper bridge placement or just general issues with the bridge itself, the bridge leaning forward as a result of tension over time which causes intonation problems (ie., out of tune), issues with the nut, frets, tuner gears, nut slots needing attention, not leaving enough wind around the post (some "lock them," but not everyone subscribes to that) to really hold the string effectively, what gauge are the strings (matters more if light gauge, possibly) and more. Yes, some of these can happen as a result of a single string change. Happens only on cheap mandolins you say? No, they're all prone to it over time. Play any mandolin long enough and they'll have one of these issues eventually. Serious setup issues impact mandolins regardless of price.

    How do we know the strings were properly changed, and who changed them and how do we know it was handled properly? Not trying to be difficult, but boy, there's a lot missing information here to suggest sub-standard product manufacturing or simply bad product design with the experience of one set of strings. I think we can do better. It's true these are manufactured by a major string company. It's also true they're constantly in use by a lot of major artists, people I personally know and find to have uncompromising demands and standards. I've personally had on probably 25 sets, never had an issue with them but that's one musician, one mandolin. I typically stick with EJ74 D'Addarios most of the time. And just because someone will likely suggest it because I know full well how the internet works: you'll have to leave off the Cafe is paid in some fashion to make a post like this. Not the case.
    Last edited by Mandolin Cafe; Nov-04-2018 at 10:20am.

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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    Hey! I have two cents worth! I've also tried Roger's Straight Up Strings and they were cool. I used them until I chanced upon the Mapes brand. You can buy their pre-made sets or make your own at $5-$6 a set direct from Mapes. Mapes makes the actual wire other string makers use and they produce most of the piano wire in the world. I am currently using their 80/20 Brass set on my daily player. I have also used and like their phosphor bronze. https://www.mapesstrings.com/product/mandolin-strings/

    Billy

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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    I love the tone of Straight Up Strings and have not had any tuning problems after the initial stretching period which was no different to the strings I used to use. I play mainly Irish/Scottish music and do not play particularly hard, mainly melody lines with little strumming or chopping. That may make a difference.
    Cheers

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    I've been using mostly J74's for years. When I tried a set of straight up strings I noticed absolutely nothing different or special, good or bad. Recently went with Martin monels on my F4, really like them. I also had a set of the D'addario flat top strings on both my F4 and F5, and they sounded great on each.

  18. #13
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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    I tried the Straight up strings when they were first announced and knowing Mr. Sminioff's vast experience in the mandolin world, I gave them a try on my Yellowstone. They did not work for my particular instrument. I tried many different strings and combinations of sizes, but again nothing worked for me. Until I came across a thread for Mapes strings and I thought OK, one more try. I chose a custom set of PB strings, 11.5-16-26-40 and to my surprise I loved them. I am not affiliated with them just one very happy customer. If you are searching for the best set of strings give the Mapes a try.

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  20. #14
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    Quote Originally Posted by JimKo View Post
    Philphool, This is kind of above my pay grade but wouldn't "optimal downward force" depend on the characteristics of the individual mandolin, especially the top?
    JimKo:
    Just so you understand, some of us remain unconvinced by what I consider less than scientific evidence attaching meaningful attributes to 'Straight Up Strings'. That said, I doubt that the strings themselves are the cause of your tuning difficulties.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

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  22. #15

    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    I have been using them as my preferred strings for a while. I think they are great. Even balance and good response. I did notice a recent set gave me some minor (but noticeable to me) tuning issues more so than I ever experienced. I just change them do I’ll see how it goes.

  23. #16

    Default Re: Straight Up Stings - Review and Question

    Update: Strings have settled in. Played the weekly gig last night and didn't have any tuning issues. Well, no more than expected with any strings. Still really liking the way they sound. Am guessing that there are about 15 - 20 hours of playing on them.
    Thanks to everyone who replied with personal experience about Straight Up Strings.

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