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Thread: Martin Style A Mandolin - EFW74?

  1. #1
    Registered User Leo37's Avatar
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    Default Martin Style A Mandolin - EFW74?

    I own a 1950 Martin style A mandolin. It sounds very nice with Martin M400 10-34, resonant and sweet. But for my taste the E string (.10) is too flabby. Maybe ok when played with soft pick.
    When the instrument came to me it was equipped with a 11-40 set. The strings were coroded to black. They must be on for decades. Without damage on the mandolin.

    In previous postings I read the recommondation to string this kind of mandolins only with light gauges. I would like to try Thomastik 154 stark (heavy) or the EFW74 wich were a touch lighter than EJ74. Any experience or advices? Maybe there was a string recommendation in oder Martin catalogues?

    Here it a soundsample

    Martin D35S
    Martin Style A
    https://soundcloud.com/leo-dilemma

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style A Mandolin - EFW74?

    First off - very nice playing. Don't hear the E string as being weak in that recording. But you obviously do hear it, so if you are going to change strings I would try the Thomastik first. The D'Addario Flatwounds have pretty much the same tension as regular medium strings. Am not as much a fan of the D'Addario Flatwound sound on my mandolins. Dull on my Collings. However, a friend uses them on his Austin Clark F and it's a great match there.

    Or better yet, try the GHS Silk & Bronze set. Medium gauge but lower tension. Set is LSB250.

    Good luck.
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    Default Re: Martin Style A Mandolin - EFW74?

    GHS silk and bronze are not lower tension like their silk and steel. According to GHS there phosphor bronze strings on a guitar, medium gauge is 194lbs tension. The silk and steel is 140lbs. tension, the silk and bronze 174lbs. tension. A little lighter, but not much. Extra light phosphor bronze 11-50 are 146 lbs. for reference. All the other are the same gauge string for the comparison.
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  4. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style A Mandolin - EFW74?

    Martins have shorter ~13" scale length so you could just up the gauge of the E-strings a bit and not worry too much. You mention that when you got it it had medium strings on it anyway. Unless it showed the bad effects of that gauge you can feel safe upping the gauge some.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Martin Style A Mandolin - EFW74?

    You might want to order some 10 1/2 loop end single strings. They are available from GHS and D'Addario.
    I use them frequently when I want just a little bit more tension.

  6. #6
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style A Mandolin - EFW74?

    Im one who likes a pointier pick on my 10-38 set, ..
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Martin Style A Mandolin - EFW74?

    I am a big fan of the D'A EFW-74 strings on my 1916 F-4. Bearing in mind that the F-4 has a longer scale length than the Martin (13 7/8" vs. 13"), they do have a much "softer" feel than the EFT-74 (PB vs. SS) that I used in the past. Here is a chart of the string tensions of the EFW set. You can see that the G strings (.036") are about the same tension as the A strings and they are about 1/2 the cost of Tomastik Infeld strings so give them a try also. ymmv

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style A Mandolin - EFW74?

    I have been hesitant to try heavier strings on my mandolin of the same type. Mine is the model B with a mahogany neck and no reinforcement. When I asked Martin what type of strings to use they recommend the M400’s, and that is what I have been using. Some of the others I have been considering are the Dogal Calace RW92B, the Elixir 10-34. I have also considered the new DAddario X series, but they are a heavier gage at 11-40.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Martin Style A Mandolin - EFW74?

    The heaviest I would be willing to use on an old Martin or Vega cant-top mandolin would be 10 1/2 - 14 - 24 - 38.

    These instruments are much more lightly built than a Gibson carved top mandolin. I've seen an awful lot of these instruments that have suffered warped necks and/or distorted tops from being over-strung. Sometimes, they can be repaired without taking the instruments apart, but often, they cannot.

    I have been known to make up my own sets by buying singles instead of a pre-packaged set.

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