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Thread: Mixed octave strings on low end

  1. #1

    Default Mixed octave strings on low end

    Hi folks - I have J80 strings on my Eastman OM and I'm interested in swapping in higher octave G and D single strings, so I'll end up with gG dD AA EE. The gauges on the low end now are 46 and 32. To get to that higher octave on the replacement strings, what gauges would you use? Or maybe a better way to put it is, if I'm replacing those two strings with mandolin strings, what gauges? Tim O'Brien does this, I believe and it gives a 12-string guitar like sound on the low end.
    Girouard A5
    Girouard F5
    Eastwood Mandocaster
    Fender Tenor Telecaster (GDAE)
    Collings O1A
    Martin OOO17-SM
    Paramount A Tenor Banjo
    Recording King Tenor Guitar

  2. #2
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Mixed octave strings on low end

    No OM expert, but I've done lots of such experiments ....

    I'd simply look up several makers' 12-string guitar sets, and see what gauges they're pairing for the D course (same as your OM) and the guitar E and A courses (just below and above your OM's G). That the scale lengths don't exactly match s/b irrelevant, as you're not trying to make an OM sound like a 12-string, but just get the right balance of string tensions.

    Keep in mind that 12-string sets are often slightly lighter than the equivalent 6-string guitar set (and your OM process is NOT doubling the number of strings that were already there!), and you'll probably find an exact match for the OM's G.

    In any case, I'd still consider this just a starting point... so it's good that strings are cheap!
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Mixed octave strings on low end

    Quote Originally Posted by EdHanrahan View Post
    No OM expert, but I've done lots of such experiments ....

    I'd simply look up several makers' 12-string guitar sets, and see what gauges they're pairing for the D course
    Good advice, thanks. A quick look at Just Strings seems like the 12 string pairing for the G string would be a 46 and 30 and the D string would be a 32 and 14. I must have something close around here :-) so I'll Frankenstein first and if it seems like I'm onto something, go from there.
    Girouard A5
    Girouard F5
    Eastwood Mandocaster
    Fender Tenor Telecaster (GDAE)
    Collings O1A
    Martin OOO17-SM
    Paramount A Tenor Banjo
    Recording King Tenor Guitar

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mixed octave strings on low end

    i used
    18-44
    14-34
    10-22
    12 -12

    I have since went back to unison courses.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  5. #5
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mixed octave strings on low end

    Many many previous posts on this. The dead simplest way to go is buy two sets of strings. Use one regular G string. Pair it with an extra A tuned down one step to G an octave higher.

    String up one regular D string. Pair it with an extra E tuned down one step to D an octave higher.

    I've used octave pairs on multiple instruments for several years. A simple rule of thumb based on physics anyone can grasp is you can double the frequency (one octave higher) and halve the string diameter while maintaining the same tension.

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  7. #6
    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mixed octave strings on low end

    Just use approximately 1/2 the gauge of the existing strings: .023 for the G and .015 for the D.
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  8. #7

    Default Re: Mixed octave strings on low end

    Quote Originally Posted by zoukboy View Post
    Just use approximately 1/2 the gauge of the existing strings: .023 for the G and .015 for the D.
    That's easy to remember, thanks!
    Girouard A5
    Girouard F5
    Eastwood Mandocaster
    Fender Tenor Telecaster (GDAE)
    Collings O1A
    Martin OOO17-SM
    Paramount A Tenor Banjo
    Recording King Tenor Guitar

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