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Thread: two frets sound the same/newbie restringing problems

  1. #1

    Default two frets sound the same/newbie restringing problems

    Hi, I bought a cheap mandolin to have fun with, I am actually a violinist. I have never restrung an instrument with gears and did a really bad job on my e strings, basically bent them at one end. So now I have two G naturals, the 4th fret will not play a G# no matter finger placement. I googled this but only received guitar fret issues. Also, I used D'Addario strings, I wouldnt use DAddario on my violin. Not sure if quality matters.
    And lastly, my two local music shops DONT carry mandolin strings, I dont want to drive far, and had to order more. Thought I could get an opinion or two here, rather than wait around for the new strings and get more frustrated. Help!

  2. #2
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: two frets sound the same/newbie restringing problems

    Regarding replacing strings, if you can't find a local store online stores such as JustStrings.com carry mandolin string sets as well as individual strings. Various types of D'Addario strings are very popular for mandolins.

    From your note description it sounds like you have a high fret or two. This is not at all unusual, but it sounds like this mandolin requires some setup work to make it playable. You can have someone do the setup work for you, or you can learn to do it yourself. There's a beginner's setup guide online discussed at this Mandolin Cafe thread:

    Thread: Mandolin Set-up E-Book by Rob Meldrum

    Fretwork is more advanced and you may want to bring up questions here about how to do it if you decide to do so yourself. But it may be more worth your time to have a mandolin specialist do it, as long as you can find one in your area. If you are serious about learning how to play, even an inexpensive mandolin is worth having setup properly.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
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    2002 Gibson F-9
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  3. #3

    Default Re: two frets sound the same/newbie restringing problems

    Two quick tests: First, lay a sharp-edged ruler or just a sheet of paper along the frets to see if one or more are high or low. Betting on this. Next, measure the string heights above the 12th (octave) fret. Without a proper gauge, if the strings are 1/8” or more, the bridge is way too high. This is common on new cheap instruments. The bridge adjusts with those two little wheels, even under tension. Read up on mandolin setup in this forum for next steps, like how straight the frets have to be, and adjusting string height.
    Strings shouldn’t be a problem, but if that kink you mention is between the nut and the bridge, it won’t work.

    Also, if the octave isn't at the 12th, the bridge is in the wrong place!

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  5. #4

    Default Re: two frets sound the same/newbie restringing problems

    thanks, going to read up on it

  6. #5

    Default Re: two frets sound the same/newbie restringing problems

    thanks, I will probably end up going to someone. Its a starter instrument, i dont have a budget for a quality instrument at this time, I was expecting trouble

  7. #6
    Registered User bennyb's Avatar
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    Default Re: two frets sound the same/newbie restringing problems

    I can't quite visualize your problem, mrsl. You seem to be talking just about the E strings, so for the moment, I'll assume that. And you're getting a G natural on the third fret as expected, and a G natural on the fourth fret? If you were getting an A natural on the fourth, that would suggest a low fourth fret or a high fifth fret, so some basic fretwork would be required: however, you're implying you get G natural on both the third and fourth frets. So maybe you can add some more information.

    benny

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