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Thread: 5 string electric mandolin string info

  1. #1

    Default 5 string electric mandolin string info

    Hi. I'm new here great forum.
    I have a few questions if ok.

    1. Why are the two high strings in flatwound nickel string sets usually plain steel? And the rest nickel? (Tuned C-G-D-A-E the A and E being Plain steel)
    2. Does anyone see any issue with stting gauges .011, .018, .027, .039 and .050
    Is the gap between .011 and .018 too much?
    If so would .012, .016, .025, (.037 or .039) and .050 be a better mix?
    3. Anyone know what gauges Tiny Moore used in 70s and 80s and what his mandolins he sold came with etc?

    Many thanks and sorry if these questions already answered.

  2. #2
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    On a standard Mandolin scale of 14" my low C is as you describe .. a 15 or 16 for the A 25 for D
    as to the mix its a personal choice...
    for 3rd Q, I believe there are archived threads on this site to search..
    writing about music
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  3. #3
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    1. Don't know. Can't remember having seen plain nickel strings for sale. The core wire in the wound nickel strings is steel.

    2. For a balanced set of very nearly equation tension on all strings on a 14" scale:
    .011p
    .015p
    .024w
    .036w
    .050w
    (I prefer flat wound for C G & D.)

    3. No clue.

  4. #4
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    Tiny used Black Diamond guitar strings, but I don't know the exact gauges.

    .018 is really heavy for an A string. 5-string players tend to want slightly lighter strings than acoustic players, for ease of bending.

    The A and E are usually plain steel because there just aren't many wound strings available lighter than .018.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  5. #5

    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    Thanks. Yeah the reason I was looking at .018 for A string is because I can get a flatwound in that size. Probably will not do it though. thanks again
    Last edited by Octopoli; Nov-04-2019 at 3:47am. Reason: Mistake

  6. #6

    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    My two 5-string electrics (both with a scale-length of 14.7") are strung with D’Addario NYXL’s: 48, 32, 21, 13.5, and 9.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    https://i.imgur.com/Krf8cAO.jpg this is a close up of Tiny playing his own mandolin. Not sure if anyone can predict those string sizes from the photo?
    Heres another https://imgur.com/gallery/FIGQmLz
    Last edited by Octopoli; Nov-04-2019 at 12:08pm. Reason: Mistake

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    Yes, I do know what strings Tiny Moore used but I wouldn't recommend his solution.

    Tiny used Black Diamond silver plate mandolin strings for the GDAE portion of his 5-string electric. For his low C string he used a Black Diamond guitar set low E string, tuned to C.

    His mando set:
    N76 Mandolin Silverplated Wound, .0095PM(2).012PM(2).022SM(2).035SM(2)

    Tiny's guitar low E (for mando C string) was also silver plated but I no longer remember which gauge he used.

    I tried this solution many years ago and hated it. These strings fell apart very easily -- windings easily beaten up by the frets.

    For what it's worth, here's what I use:
    PSG052
    PSG038
    PSG024
    PL014
    PL010

    The wound strings are D'Addario, ball-end, stainless steel, round wound strings. Trust me. Try them. You'll have to order them individually.
    Paul Glasse
    Driftwood, Texas
    http://paulglasse.com

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  10. #9
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    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    GHS makes a white bronze guitar string that works with magnetic pickups. You can order them single.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  11. #10

    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    Hi great.
    Would thomastik jazz swing strings work ok? I have some with the tin coated treble strings? I was going to try those and the D'Addario out.
    I play exclusively jazz with a polytone mega brute and plan to use the mandolin only for jazz. Many thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by pglasse View Post
    Yes, I do know what strings Tiny Moore used but I wouldn't recommend his solution.

    Tiny used Black Diamond silver plate mandolin strings for the GDAE portion of his 5-string electric. For his low C string he used a Black Diamond guitar set low E string, tuned to C.

    His mando set:
    N76 Mandolin Silverplated Wound, .0095PM(2).012PM(2).022SM(2).035SM(2)

    Tiny's guitar low E (for mando C string) was also silver plated but I no longer remember which gauge he used.

    I tried this solution many years ago and hated it. These strings fell apart very easily -- windings easily beaten up by the frets.

    For what it's worth, here's what I use:
    PSG052
    PSG038
    PSG024
    PL014
    PL010

    The wound strings are D'Addario, ball-end, stainless steel, round wound strings. Trust me. Try them. You'll have to order them individually.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    I'm not familiar with the particular Thomastik strings you mentioned.

    Will the strings I mentioned be good for jazz? Absolutely. That's the bulk of what I play on electric mandolin.

    Here's why this setup is good for 5-string electric mando. 5-string electric mandolin, though it may look like a little guitar, it's really not. It has it's own issues that are at times different from guitar.

    One of the issues is that it doesn't naturally sustain as much as a guitar. Round wound strings will help give you more sustain.

    Often there is a tendency for the lower register strings (C in particular) to sound much darker than the always unwound A and E strings. (This has to do with the tuning, short scale length, string tension, etc.) If we put dark sounding wound strings on a 5-string electric it only emphasizes the problem. You can't gracefully EQ away this imbalance. So, counterintuitively, I've found it works best for me to use bright-sounding (high sustain) wound strings to give the most even tone. You can always roll off some treble on the mandolin or amp.

    These D'Addario stainless steel round wound strings are the best solution that I've ever found. They definitely give a more balanced sound than regular nickel electric guitar strings. The only downside is that your local music store probably doesn't have them in individual gauges. Mail order is your friend here.

    Good luck to you.

    Oh yes, and one of these will help too. https://www.stevensguitars.com/models/mandolin/
    Paul Glasse
    Driftwood, Texas
    http://paulglasse.com

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  14. #12
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    I've used D'addario XL's and Ernie Ball Super Slinky's.

    11p 16p, 24w, 42w, and 56w

    These go on both my 14.25" JBovier EMC5 and my 15" Arrow G5. I have to say the Ernie Ball strings were less slinky than the D'Addario.

    I'm trying Elixirs next time I change string, same gauges.

    You'd think the jump from 24 to 42 and then to 56 would be a bit weird. It's not.

    YMMV
    Daniel

  15. #13
    Chief Moderator/Shepherd Ted Eschliman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 string electric mandolin string info

    Thomastik JS110 Jazz Swing 10-14-18fw-23fw-33fw-44fw.
    I've used these frequently, throwing away the 18 (G) string. They work great, but they are double the price of the D'Addario Chrome series.
    D'Addario ECG23 10-14-20w-28-38w-48w gives about the same quality feel and sound.

    The Chromes are what the Flatwound acoustic mandolin sets are based on with a loop instead of a ball.

    E & A strings plain. It's hard to get a flatwound A thin enough to actually work, so I've settled on only the three thicker strings to be wound.
    Ted Eschliman
    Tenor Guitar Enthusiast

    Author, Getting Into Jazz Mandolin

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