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Thread: String opinions for bowlbacks: Dogal, Pyramid, Thomastik, etc.

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    Default String opinions for bowlbacks: Dogal, Pyramid, Thomastik, etc.

    Hi, friends. I've got a nice French mandolin, right around 1900 (of course!), fluted ribs, but it sounds quite thin with the inexpensive strings the restorer put on. I have little experience with "higher end" strings, so I'm soliciting comparisons of strings to try to make it sing with a fuller voice. I play music of the period, "classic, not classical" as the banjo folks say. I know I can trust this group for a variety of opinions, so please offer them freely.
    Thanks in advance,
    Chris.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: String opinions for bowlbacks: Dogal, Pyramid, Thomastik, et

    Dogal Calace rw92B are nice strings. The wound strings are a bit rough to the touch at first, but then they smooth out and get comfortable. Lenzner used to make a "Consort" set out of bronze; i believe the "a" string is wound. Also good strings. They're still available, but under a different label which I don't recall. Bronze are more mellow, the Dogals are probably brighter.

    They're not cheap, but they last a loooong time.

    I don't care for Thomastiks; flatwounds belong on German-style bowlbacks.
    Of course your mileage may vary; there ar folks here who swear by them.

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: String opinions for bowlbacks: Dogal, Pyramid, Thomastik, et

    Bob A made good suggestions - now, I ask what gauge strings are on your mandolin? low to high?

    thanks

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    Default Re: String opinions for bowlbacks: Dogal, Pyramid, Thomastik, et

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Bob A made good suggestions - now, I ask what gauge strings are on your mandolin? low to high?

    thanks
    Thank you for the question, David. The answer is that I'm not sure. I'll have to put a micrometer on them, but I know they are light. I'll let you know when I get the time. While waiting, why do you ask?

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: String opinions for bowlbacks: Dogal, Pyramid, Thomastik, et

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Stetson View Post
    Thank you for the question, David. The answer is that I'm not sure. I'll have to put a micrometer on them, but I know they are light. I'll let you know when I get the time. While waiting, why do you ask?
    To help pick out another set.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: String opinions for bowlbacks: Dogal, Pyramid, Thomastik, et

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob A View Post
    Dogal Calace rw92B are nice strings. The wound strings are a bit rough to the touch at first, but then they smooth out and get comfortable. Lenzner used to make a "Consort" set out of bronze; i believe the "a" string is wound. Also good strings. They're still available, but under a different label which I don't recall. Bronze are more mellow, the Dogals are probably brighter.

    They're not cheap, but they last a loooong time.

    I don't care for Thomastiks; flatwounds belong on German-style bowlbacks.
    Of course your mileage may vary; there ar folks here who swear by them.
    Lenzner mandolin strings, at least the Consort ones, were taken over by Fisoma the last I checked. Bernunzio carries the Dogal Calaces. Currently on sale, too. Those are my preferred strings for vintage bowlbacks.
    Jim

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: String opinions for bowlbacks: Dogal, Pyramid, Thomastik, et

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Lenzner mandolin strings, at least the Consort ones, were taken over by Fisoma the last I checked.
    As they say: "It's complicated".

    There are now two companies making "Consort" strings, the result of some sort of commercial dispute about the ownership of the "Lenzner" brand.

    The original company Lenzner Saitenmanufaktur OHG sells their mandolin strings, including the Consort set, under the brand name Fisoma. The Fisoma Consort set with the wound A string sells at EUR 20.99 at schneidermusik.de (Link).

    However, the brand name Lenzner has somehow been acquired by one of their competitors, Optima Strings, who are selling their own Consort set as "Optima Lenzner EMBERGHER CONSORT MANDOLIN - Strings for ancient mandolins (model Embergher) and baroque mandolins, wound with a finely polished Bronze wire." Also available at schneidermusik.de at EUR 25.95 per set (Link). At one stage, the Optima set was sold in packs prominently featuring the Lenzner name. However, it looks like right now, neither Optima nor Fisoma are using the name Lenzner in any way on the packaging (although it still appears in the item description online).

    Alex T. will be better placed to comment on which of the two competing "Consort" sets has their endorsement and comes closest to what he originally developed with Lenzner around 2005. I would say that the original Consort set from the last decade had a flatwound A string that I found problematic in that the material tended to wear through at the frets, resulting in the string unwinding. I am now using the Fisoma Consort set, which has a bronze wound polished A string (same as the D and G string) which I like a lot -- no problems with breakage, unravelling or tuning. I have not tried the Optima Consort set, but I see that it has a nickel flatwound A string, different from the bronze wound polished D and G.

    Martin

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