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Thread: Strings for magnetic pickups

  1. #1

    Default Strings for magnetic pickups

    I have an El Rey electric mandolin with magnetic pickups. My question is: do different string metals make a difference as to magnetic response? Should I avoid brass/bronze metals?

  2. #2
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: Strings for magnetic pickups

    Yes. to both questions.
    Last edited by Bill McCall; Jun-11-2020 at 1:17pm.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Strings for magnetic pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by Merula View Post
    I have an El Rey electric mandolin with magnetic pickups. My question is: do different string metals make a difference as to magnetic response? Should I avoid brass/bronze metals?
    emando.com sells strings for electric mandolins. I picked up a set when I impulsed purchased a Mandocaster. I was happy with them

  4. #4

    Default Re: Strings for magnetic pickups

    The reason I asked is because I looked up the strings that were on my Eastman El Rey and it said D'adarrio Nickel Bronze # NBM1140
    The bronze bit made me wonder! The strings are not bronze on the outside though.

  5. #5
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Strings for magnetic pickups

    Ferrous content Nickel round wound or ribbon flat wound , All else the core wire is always carbon steel on all of them ..

    but you will not have to live with s string you dislike ,

    try it, form your own opinion..
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  6. #6
    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Strings for magnetic pickups

    Yeah, the magnetic material needs a ferrous string, ie steel. But brass and bronze strings have steel cores, so they may work to some extent. A bronze wrap over a steel core does mean less steel in the magnetic field of the pickup, lowering the output at least somewhat.

    You can get different types of steel, with different nickel content, which alters the magnetic properties of the steel, or stainless steel, and then there is flatwound vs roundwound strings, a distressing array of options. Stainless always sounds very bright to me, almost brittle, high nickel content doesn't seem to alter tone much from what I can tell compared to plain steel. I don't like flatwounds on guitar or mando, I don't think I can describe the difference relative to round wound very well, but it's very noticeable to me. Not a bad thing, but not my thing, if that makes sense. I do like them on a bass, gives a thumpy rounded tone. A lot of jazz guitarists use 'em. String weight also matters quite a bit on electrics, changes can really alter the tone.

    Try some different things, use your ears.

    Most electric instruments also allow you to adjust the pickup height and tilt. This will change both volume and tone. The tilt can be used to adjust string balance a bit. The ideal height may change with string type, it may take a bit of trial and error adjustment. Too low loses output, too high "mushes" the sound, producing a bit of distortion. You may or may not want that, I want it on some guitars, but not on a mandolin.

    If you know a musician whose tone you really like, figure out what they use and try that. Otherwise, you just have to try some different combinations of weight, wrapping and metal type to figure out what really works for you.
    -Dave
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