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Thread: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

  1. #1
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    I tried searching, but "F4" is too short for a search term!

    I think I've read that J74s are the preferred choice for vintage F4 mandolins.

    Specifically 1921. Pre truss rod.

    Thanks,
    Bazz

  2. #2
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    Strings are all over the place. Medium gauged sets are fine on old F4s assuming there are no structural issues. The flavor of those strings is a personal preference. Mixing up your pick and strings is the easiest way to vary the instrument's tonal nuances. Some folks love EJ74s, other Silk and Bronze, others flatwounds like the TI Mittels. Get a bunch and see what works well.

    Jamie
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  4. #3
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    I wouldn't go any heavier.
    I prefer to string most oval hole Gibsons a little bit lighter. I make up my own sets: 10 1/2 - 14 - 24 - 40. I'm back and forth between nickel and 80/20 bronze.
    If the mandolin is a new acquisition, have the brace beneath the soundhole checked to make sure that it is securely glued. These braces have a way of loosening up. And it's a good idea to check them every year or two, no matter how long you've had the mandolin.

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  6. #4
    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    I put this question awhile ago. Here is the thread. I very much like the Mangan monels. After trying them I bought a set for my A4 as well. Good luck!

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    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Bartl View Post
    I put this question awhile ago. Here is the thread. I very much like the Mangan monels. After trying them I bought a set for my A4 as well. Good luck!
    Thanks! That was just the thread I was looking for.

    Will try the monels at some point

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    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    I've been enjoying the sound and feel (and price) of the D'Addario Flatwounds on my Gibson ovals.

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  11. #7

    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    I have had J74s or EXP74s on my 1913 F2 for many years, with no deleterious effects on the instrument. It has always been a stable instrument; I might not want to put those same strings on a more delicate 100+ year old

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  13. #8

    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    I've had J74s on my 1915 F4 since I aquired it, no problems at all.

    Dave H
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  14. #9

    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    Should have said, aquired it in 2019


    Dave H
    Last edited by Dave Hanson; Apr-30-2021 at 12:58am. Reason: lay out
    Eastman 615 mandola
    2011 Weber Bitteroot A5
    2012 Weber Bitteroot F5
    Eastman MD 915V
    Gibson F9
    2016 Capek ' Bob ' standard scale tenor banjo
    Ibanez Artist 5 string
    2001 Paul Shippey oval hole

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    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    My 1923 F4 sounds wonderfully bright and piercing, which is not all too common in F4s AFAIK. D'Addario monels medium (EJM 74; I exchange the .015 A strings for .016) sound somewhat mellow and work just fine for me.
    Have a great weekend.

  17. #11

    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    J74s work fine on my 1919 F4. Having said that when I got it, it had the lighter 10-34 and they worked fine as well but as I've always used 11-40 phos bronze, I felt it had to be them. In an ideal world I would probably use 11 15 25 38 but too messy getting 25s and 38s tend to come in one brand only.

    I'd go for J74 with low action to start.

  18. #12
    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    When I was trying to answer this question myself, I did a sort of survey of related Cafe postings. The result was the attached document. Each line represents the preferred strings mentioned in a single posting related to Gibson vintage mandos. I retained the repetitions just to give an idea of what is most popular. The couple of listings in red represent the only negative comments I found. So, for what it is worth ...

    Joe
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Mandolin Café postings of suggested strings for vintage Gibsons.pdf  

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    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    I use Elixir nano web on my early 20's F 4 and have had excellent results.

  20. #14
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    Thanks for the responses. It really rings with the J74s. I'd tried mediums on the A model (1918) I had before this F4, and they really choked the sound to my ear, and lights were the right flavor for that one. The same lights (Martin 80/20) sounded a bit lacklustre on this F4, but the E74s sound just right to me.

    The mandolin is structurally sound, and it came from the previous owner with mediums, so we'll stick with those.

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    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    I have 10~38 on my Pre TR A, 11~40 on ihe TR A4.
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  22. #16

    Default Re: Strings for an F4 - Medium Okay?

    So, in 1921, gauges were much lighter. Structurally, as long as the instrument doesn't have structural issues, it can definitely handle that gauge. I bought an earlier 1910 F-4 that had been strung with medium gauge strings and it felt tight and constricted. I put on the GHS .009-.032 I use for my antique bowlbacks, and it sounded great.

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