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Thread: Silk and Steel Strings?

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    Registered User Joe-TN's Avatar
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    Default Silk and Steel Strings?

    The Rosa String Works videos frequently mention and endorse the GHS Silk and Steel mandolin strings. I've used silk and steel strings on guitars, and they are indeed easy on the fingers, and easy on the guitars, but not particularly loud. How do they work as an all around string on mandolins? Thanks, Joe

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    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    I have a set on my Eastman 515 right now. I have to say, I don't love them. They are slightly easier on the fingers, but it seems like they rob my mandolin of its mids. They sound a little bit like when I keep playing my J74s after they've gone dead, and I prefer the brightness.

    However, they might sound wonderful on my 1913 Gibson oval hole, which has an unusually full, midrangey sound compared to others of the era. I'd be willing to try them for that purpose.

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    Registered User Joe-TN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    Thank you. Good info indeed!

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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    I have been using them on my f hole mandolin for a year or so and I do like them. As mentioned already, they are not as bright as the J74's but a warmer sound. I do believe they are easier under the fingers. I did not like them as well on my oval where I have preferred flatwounds, which sounded very dull on the f.

    I also enjoy switching strings from time to time for the change in sound. I will likely put the 74's back on the f hole on my next string change simply to mix it up. I am always surprised at the differences strings and picks can make and much more economical than switching mandos so often although, admittedly, not as fun!!

    Gene

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    the winding wire is the same as wound around the 3 lower strings on nylon strung guitars,
    a silver coated copper.

    so Rather soft.

    GHS also has a silk and bronze wound mandolin set ..



    writing about music
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    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    I have always believed that for each mandolin and player there is a perfect string. IMO silk and steel don't sound good on a mandolin. So much so that I have never even tried them out on one of mine. Tone is paramount and silk and steel just don't generate a sound with my tonal preferences. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  9. #7

    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by UsuallyPickin View Post
    I have always believed that for each mandolin and player there is a perfect string. IMO silk and steel don't sound good on a mandolin. So much so that I have never even tried them out on one of mine. Tone is paramount and silk and steel just don't generate a sound with my tonal preferences. R/
    If you’ve never heard them on your instrument, how do you know what sound they’ll generate?
    Play it like you mean it.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    I put a set on my Michael Kelly on Jerry Rosa's recommendation, as he said it would fatten up a thin sounding mandolin, which it did. Didn't turn it into a wonder machine though, not that I expected it to.
    Silverangel A
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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    I put a set of s&s on my Ibanez "beater" and it fattened the sound. I tried a 3.0mm Primetone pick instead of my usual 1.3 mm and it fattened the sound even more.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    I’ve been using silk and steel on my ovals (Collings MT2-O and 23 A-Jr) for years and love them. Not sure how they’ll sound on my Hamlett with F-holes but they are fantastic on the ovals.
    Gunga......Gunga.....Gu-Lunga

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    I've used them on my old and new F-5's, it warms the sound up, I prefer D'Addario strings for their brightness! I'm in love with the EJM74's-the Monel throwback strings-they be awesome! Or you can't go wrong with J-74's or the heavier J-75's!

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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    GHS has silk and bronze as was mentioned above. For those putting silk and steel on a mandolin for less tension be warned, the silk and bronze have about the same tension as phosphor bronze. They are a nice sounding string, I have used them, and similar to phosphor bronze, but warmer.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    I tried silk & steel strings several years ago on a couple of mandolins which were a little "tinny" sounding instead of mellow.
    The silk & steel strings made them sound significantly better, more mellow, but the softness of the windings and my heavy handed playing caused large worn areas and dents where the strings touched the frets. So they had to be changed often.

    I switched to Silk & Bronze and got a similar improvement in sound but much better string longevity.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

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    Registered User Joe-TN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    Thanks to all. Appreciate the great info!

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    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    A couple of years ago i cut the tendon on the index finger of my fretting hand. Playing mandolin during recovery was almost impossible. I tried some silk and steel strings and didn't love them....but I did have success with the silk & bronze set that GHS makes for Doyle Lawson. They were a very good compromise for me on my Ellis.

  18. #16
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    Joe, here’s a thread on one of my mandolins that you might be interested in looking at. I recorded two videos. The first one is with silk and steel strings and the second is after I changed to phosphorus bronze j74’s.
    Here’s the thread: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...l-violin-style

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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    Thanks to everyone for this information. It was interesting!

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    Registered User Joe-TN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    Great demos and a really beautiful mandolin!

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    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silk and Steel Strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Streip View Post
    I have a set on my Eastman 515 right now. I have to say, I don't love them. They are slightly easier on the fingers, but it seems like they rob my mandolin of its mids. They sound a little bit like when I keep playing my J74s after they've gone dead, and I prefer the brightness.

    However, they might sound wonderful on my 1913 Gibson oval hole, which has an unusually full, midrangey sound compared to others of the era. I'd be willing to try them for that purpose.
    I used them for years before I discovered flatwounds. They are great for those of us like me who don’t like the brightness of bronze. I loved them when I was using them.

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