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Thread: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

  1. #1
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Went to the symphony hall last night to see some great trio pieces. As the harper (harpist?) was playing, I kept thinking of what a time she must have changing strings. Made me grateful to have only eight!
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Quote Originally Posted by caleb View Post
    went to the symphony hall last night to see some great trio pieces. As the harper (harpist?) was playing, i kept thinking of what a time she must have changing strings. Made me grateful to have only eight!
    amen !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    You said a mouthful!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Try changing strings on my sitar sometime!!
    A string change on a mandolin takes me about 10 minutes.
    A string change on my sitar takes an evening.

    19 strings, and all wooden friction pegs.
    No mechanical tuners.
    The wooden friction pegs have to be cleaned and chalked.
    The sympathetic strings underneath the main strings have to be fed up under the frets, through tiny holes, fished out of the side with a small hook, and then attached to the friction pegs.

    Not only that, but the bridge has to be recarved about every six months, and there are only a handful of people in the country who know how to do it.
    All is all, a very difficult instrument to keep maintained, much less play.
    It is a gigantic pain in the rear.


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    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Do harpists regularly change their strings? At $500 or so for a full set of 47, I doubt if it happens that often.

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    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Do harpists regularly change their strings? At $500 or so for a full set of 47, I doubt if it happens that often.
    I was thinking the same, but when it does happen it must be a whopper of a job and a bill on top of that. That harp was absolutely beautiful and the sound the young woman got out of it was heavenly. Since it was a trio, my wife and I (and everyone else) got to sit up on the stage where the orchestra normally sits and watch. The trio was down on the lowest level of the stage facing us. The rest of the hall was empty. Absolutely magical.
    ...

  9. #7

    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Do harpists regularly change their strings? At $500 or so for a full set of 47, I doubt if it happens that often.
    Correct. Breakage rarely occurs.

    Wire harps are particularly idiosyncratic and difficult to maintain - much moreso than nylon or orchestral guts. Some even use gold and silver wire for stringing. Wire harps have been known to incur "cascade" breakage of several strings at once simply upon change of climate. This happened once on my large 30 string bronze strung when I moved it into a drier environment.

    Fortunately, once a harp stabilizes it's very infrequent to experience string breakage with normal playing - I think it's been 4 or 5 years since my last break, when a harp inadvertently fell into a table.

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    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Once changed the strings on an autoharp. Opted out of doing another.

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    Registered User Rick Jones's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Hammered dulcimer would be a PIA also. Years ago I had a Djangolin, which had a slotted headstock. if you think a regular mandolin is a pain, try one with a slotted headstock. Never again.
    "I don't want to get technical or anything, but according to chemistry, alcohol actually IS a solution."

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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Does anybody ever restring their piano?
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

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    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Quote Originally Posted by HonketyHank View Post
    Does anybody ever restring their piano?
    My wife’s piano is from 1898 and is still operational. I’m not sure if we have the original strings or not, but the last time it was tuned the man said it needed new ones. He also said the job would cost about $1200.
    ...

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    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Our piano is also from 1898 and has the original strings, and sounds surprisingly good. Some day Id like to change them, but its a big job!

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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    Went to the symphony hall last night to see some great trio pieces. As the harper (harpist?) was playing, I kept thinking of what a time she must have changing strings. Made me grateful to have only eight!
    I don't think you change strings on a harp to often,from what I gathered on this forum over the years: you change strings on fretted instruments (supposedly 20 hours mandolin,40 hours guitar)because the frets deform the strings,on a harp,like a violin,no frets,no deformation,,my violin has strings 10 years old and still sound good,,mandolin I change every other month,,,so would this be correct?

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    New strings for a typical auto harp costs more than just buying a whole new one..
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    is like dancing,
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    How about a pedal steel? Mine has occupied many many hours so far and ... not really in tune


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    Last edited by gtani7; Feb-20-2020 at 4:36pm.
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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Quote Originally Posted by T.D.Nydn View Post
    I don't think you change strings on a harp to often,from what I gathered on this forum over the years: you change strings on fretted instruments (supposedly 20 hours mandolin,40 hours guitar)because the frets deform the strings,on a harp,like a violin,no frets,no deformation,,my violin has strings 10 years old and still sound good,,mandolin I change every other month,,,so would this be correct?
    The lack of frets is much easier on the strings. Still, I suspect quite a few violin players are cringing at your remark. The symphonic violinists certainly change strings often, and those babies are expensive compared to mandolin strings. On the other hand, most of the fiddlers I admire were working people of an earlier era, who, by and large, had inexpensive instruments and didn't change strings often, so there is an argument for not getting too involved with expensive equipment if you want to emulate an old folk fiddle sound. Personally, I often don't notice when my fiddle strings are getting dull but I do notice the change after I put new ones on (about once a year). Changing them is much easier than changing mandolin strings -- never any bloodshed. I sometimes buy inexpensive "fiddle" strings, but then I'm afraid to take my fiddle to my Hungarian luthier, who's sure to give me a proper scolding!
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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  21. #17
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    I have a Zimmermann 5-bar Autoharp from C F Zimmermann's original Philadelphia shop (i can tell because the bars have red felt on them). It's a Model 2 3/4, manufactured about 1885, and it has its original bass and lower-octave strings, as far as I can tell. I've replaced a few treble strings that broke during playing, but since the short wound strings -- where the wound portion only extends over the body of the instrument, and the unwound core goes over the upper and lower bridges -- aren't made any more, I'm sticking with the old strings, even though they're 135 years old now.

    Maybelle Carter said she restrung her entire Autoharp only once, and "would never do it again." She replaced broken strings, but that was it.

    By the way, info about my, and other, Autoharps is courtesy of Becky Blackley's excellent The Autoharp Book, published 1983 and still the best source I've found.
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Jones View Post
    Hammered dulcimer would be a PIA also. Years ago I had a Djangolin, which had a slotted headstock. if you think a regular mandolin is a pain, try one with a slotted headstock. Never again.
    I built a hammered dulcimer several years ago. Never again. I don't play it a lot and, fortunately, the strings are still in pretty good shape. Tuning a hammered dulcimer is perhaps a more daunting task than changing the strings. For those that don't know, the same string plays a different note on either side of the bridge (mine has 2 bridges) and it sometimes involves moving the bridge and loosening or tightening the string. And, there are a million strings, plus or minus a few.
    David Hopkins

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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    I wonder how much a set of strings for these beasts costs

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    Eoin



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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    Non-custom strings for a standard 3/4 or 4/4 double bass typically cost between $50 and $750 depending on quality and material of the strings.

    The larger "Octobass" instruments shown above are non-standard (and very rare) oversized double basses and require custom strings, probably costing a few thousand dollars to string.
    -- Don

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    Registered User kookaburra's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you think changing strings on a mandolin is a pain...

    I've never considered what a pain string changes can be for some instruments. Wow!

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