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Thread: String Gauge Difference and Effect On Intonation

  1. #1

    Default String Gauge Difference and Effect On Intonation

    I'm looking to give flatwounds a try. My mandolin is set up for medium gauge strings and I'm currently using D'addario EXP74's. The closest gauge flatwound set I can find is the EFW74 but the G's are .036. Will the .004 difference have any effect on intonation? I'm assuming the answer is no but figured I'd check here first. Any other variables to consider? Thanks in advance!
    Kentucky KM-1050
    Taylor 514CE
    Martin D18

  2. #2
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Gauge Difference and Effect On Intonation

    Yes it may. For every action there's a reaction. Especially with mandolins. May be too minor to worry about or maybe not.

  3. #3

    Default Re: String Gauge Difference and Effect On Intonation

    Fair enough. I'll give them a shot. Thanks!
    Kentucky KM-1050
    Taylor 514CE
    Martin D18

  4. #4

    Default Re: String Gauge Difference and Effect On Intonation

    I had been using D'A EFT-74s on my 1916 F-4 for years and liked the sound a lot except that it sounded too similar to my F-5 style mandolin (with F holes) also strung with EFT-74s. When the EFW-74s came out I decided to give them a try on the F-4. Wow!! What a difference in sound and play ability. The F-4 no longer sounds like the F-5 and has a sweeter, more classical sound closer to flat wound Tomastik Infeld strings and the feeling is much softer under the fingers due to lower string tension at pitch. I don't notice any perceivable difference with the intonation. I think the flat wound, stainless steel strings are ideal for an oval hole mandolin if you are not seeking a bluegrass sound. (I already have the BG sound covered with my F-5 style). Viva la difference!!

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  5. #5
    Registered User mandocaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Gauge Difference and Effect On Intonation

    Some folks have different experience with flat wound strings. The crux the matter is the wound A string. Normal saddles are cut so that the A string breaks farther from the nut than the E string. They are cut that way because a plain A has a bigger diameter than a plain E.
    My experience made me unhappy with the A string that got out of tune up the neck. Eventually I made a saddle that compensated the A string about the same as the E string. That worked much better. After all that I ended up selling that mandolin.��
    I don’t know how wound A strings work for some folks with a stock saddle cut for plain A strings. I don’t know a lot of things.
    Mitch Lawyer

    Collings MF5V, Schwab #101 5 string
    1918 Gibson A, 1937 Gibson T-50 tenor guitar
    Jones OM, Hums bowlback

  6. #6

    Default Re: String Gauge Difference and Effect On Intonation

    Thanks all. I didn't realize the A strings were wound. That might be a deal breaker for me. I think I'll just continue on with PB's.
    Kentucky KM-1050
    Taylor 514CE
    Martin D18

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    Default Re: String Gauge Difference and Effect On Intonation

    I recently put a set of flatwounds on one of my Breedloves. The results was terrible: string buzz and very poor intonation, In another thread, it was explained about a difference in tension, among other things. I determined that a new setup would solve the problems. Very, very shortly thereafter, my coffee-soaked brain also determined that replacing the new strings should also solve the problem. It did. I gave the other set of flatwounds away.
    David Hopkins

    Breedlove Legacy FF; Breedlove Quartz FF
    Gibson F-4, (1916); Blevins Octave Mandolin, 2018
    McCormick Oval Sound Hole "Reinhardt"
    McCormick Solid Body F-Style Electric;
    Recording King Resophonic Mandolin; Slingerland Songbird Guitar (c. 1939)

    The older I get, the less tolerant I am of political correctness, incompetence and stupidity.

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