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Thread: do many of you mix strings

  1. #1

    Default do many of you mix strings

    its fairly common in the violin world. wondering how it is in mando land!
    Last edited by JEStanek; Feb-12-2020 at 8:12am.

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Jan 2004
    Dallas, Texas

    Default Re: do many fo you mix strings

    I have in the past but found the hassle of it not worth the small change in tone and playability. I have learned how to make standard sets sound like I want them to sound.

  3. #3
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Redwood City, CA

    Default Re: do many fo you mix strings

    No, not many folks do this. First off, the A and E strings are generally all steel (with rare exceptions for the A), and sound pretty much the same in all brands, provided that the same gauges are used. Chris Thile used to mix the D'Addario J74 (medium) gauges for the two lowest strings (0.040, 0.026) with their J75 gauges for the two highest (0.016, 0.0115), but this combination is now commercially available from D'Addario as their 74CM set, so there's no need to mix.

    Of course, if you break an E string and replace it with a generic E that you buy as a single string (or in bulk), I suppose you're technically "mixing" strings, but that doesn't count!

    Also, it doesn't count, in my opinion, if you're making up a mixed, custom set for a mandolin-family instrument that's not a 'standard scale,' 8-string mandolin, like a 5-string (10-string), mandola, bandolim, octave, fan-fret, electric, and so on!
    Last edited by sblock; Feb-11-2020 at 2:26pm.

  4. #4

    Default Re: do many of you mix strings

    Last edited by JEStanek; Feb-12-2020 at 8:13am.

  5. #5
    Distressed Model John Ritchhart's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    Mars Hill, North Carolina

    Default Re: do many of you mix strings

    Yea, I found that coated strings or things like nickel plated strings last longer on the G and D strings but the A and E strings corrode like normal J-74's. I asked this question on the Thomastik thread as well. So what I'm doing is ordering bulk A and E strings from Just Strings and replacing those while leaving the bass strings on. So you get both the broken in sound on the chop and the bright trebles on the highs. Works for me.
    We few, we happy few.

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  7. #6
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: do many of you mix strings

    I have mixed sets for both guitar and mandolin. Fiddle and violin players are often using mixed sets. I do mix sets on my fiddles. I have yet to find a coated string I liked the feel of so I generally replace the strings all at once. The light on the bottom and medium on the top set that D'Addario now sells is a favorite. I regularly did that on guitar with lights on the E A and D and mediums on the G D and E. I have in the last few years moved to Curt Mangan strings light gauge due to increasing troubles with my joints. So yes , no, and enjoy the process. It's always going to be about tone. . . . at least we are not replacing cello or bass strings. Cha ching $$$ R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  8. #7
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Upstate New York
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    Default Re: do many of you mix strings

    I have messed around with mixing from among various sets of strings. It hasn't, in my case, made enough difference to settle in on a mixed set. What makes the most difference to me is just changing them regularly.
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  9. #8
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.

    Smile Practical Mixing

    The manner in which the Neutone plain strings winds their loops, reminds me of why Gibson tail pieces have those 4 extra hooks..

    Their simple twisting method can come undone, so I have replaced those with D'add/GHS for A & E,

    The nickel wound G & D have been fine, for years ( loop made then winding wrapped over it.. originals on my Hodson D'jangolin)

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  10. #9
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Blue Zone, California
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    Default Re: do many of you mix strings

    I mix, but I mix for string tone since I routinely use a non-standard tuning on mandolin. I use DA EFT-74 8-7 (G 0.039) and 6-5 (C 0.026) with DA custom 4-3 (E 0.017) and 2-1 (G 0.015).

    I originally got used to mixing and selecting strings decades ago on banjo for various scale lengths and tunings.

    I also routinely mix strings on double bass (standard 4ths tuning).
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

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  11. #10
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Rockville, MD
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    Default Re: do many of you mix strings

    Certainly for a custom set like for 10-string I have to do something other than packaged sets. After settling on the best gauges I now buy in bulk, a dozen of each gauge at a time. Saves money and I have the set I want. A set of 10 strings costs me about $5. Ditto for nickel-wound which I use on my solid body electric 10.
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  12. #11
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Bozeman, MT

    Default Re: do many of you mix strings

    I have yet to spend time doing it, but have wondered about mixing brands or styles of string by the course(regular g and silk-n-steel g) or one flat top with one round wound. I suspect that the lack of paired sympathetic vibrations might decrease the cohesive sound of the course...
    I guess I’ll only know if I try!
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