Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 35

Thread: What's the big deal about changing strings?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,191

    Default What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I have a few gigs this weekend and have been playing my strings for quite a while so decided to change them. It took me like all of five minutes to change all the strings. I have heard of folks hating to change strings only when they have to as they hate it so much. Practice makes perfect.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  2. #2
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    13,163
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I think you need a new watch battery, or you're exaggerating. Takes me a while longer than that. But I'm also doing some cleaning and polishing as well, so ...

    But one of the most remarkable things I've ever seen at a show concerns this. My old jug band had opened for John Hammond one time, and during his set he broke a string. He kept playing, keeping a rhythm going, while he put on a new string and tuned it up - in about a minute. Never seen anything like it.

    The opposite end of this was when I went to the Newport Folk Festival, and the Indigo Girls played. They were so rough on their guitars they swapped them out after every song and their guitar tech had to tune both of those guitars before they were done with the next song, and had to swap them out again. That poor guy. He definitely earned his money.

    And those poor guitars.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Lucinda Williams and Eric Von Schmidt (who would have turned 90 5/28/21), the night devotee met hero (and both my heroes)

  3. #3
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Wheeling, WV
    Posts
    5,228

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I'm not a fast string changer and fortunately don't seem to have them break on me these days. I do take two mandolins to gigs should a string break occur. I saw Sam Bush years ago with Bela Fleck's Acoustic World tour. Sam was breaking them through the sets and had a tech hand him his backup as it would happen. It was amusing to observe. I don't know if he lightened up later on but the last time I saw him with his own band, he did not have any string breaks.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    673

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Two things factor in this for me:

    1) I'm busy (not to imply that you are not...I don't know). Wife, daughter, career, adult responsibilities (taking care of house, vehicles, etc.) playing mandolin in a bluegrass band. And other interests - guitar, singer/songwriter, outdoor activities, motorcycle, etc. So when I get a limited amount of time to spend with my mandolin - I want to play, not change strings.

    2) I don't actually like the way that new strings sound. Too bright, too jangly for my ears.

    So I change strings every couple of years. (I do have more than one mandolin - I rotate among 4, or so...)

    To each their own,

    Kirk

  5. #5
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,331

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Have gotten it down to under 30 minutes. But that's with stretching and re-tuning. Might be able to do it faster if I wanted.

    FWIW, took about half that time today to change strings on a guitar. Same thing, stretch, retune, repeat about 3 times. Still easier than mandolin.

    Am another one who isn't thrilled by the sound of brand new strings. On anything. Won't need this acoustic for another week, but wanted to change now to let them sit and settle.
    2017 Northfield F5SA, Strad-O-Lin, 2008 Weber Gallatin F, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 2018 Eastman MDO-305
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  6. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,766

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Saw Michael Cooney -- geez, must be 55 years ago now! -- break a banjo string, and he sang Nu Grape, a cappella, while he put a new string on.

    On the other hand, saw the Osborne Brothers a few years before that (!); Bobby broke a string, just kept playing. Then Sonny broke a string, and they had to take an early break between sets.

    I change strings pretty infrequently, but when I do I like to put a bit of polish on, microfiber the fingerboard, etc. Make a bigger production of it, take a bit more time.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  7. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:

    chuck3 

  8. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,191

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I change strings when I gig a lot about every 2 months. Longer during the last year when gigging was non existent. I will clean the fingerboard only when I take all the strings off, which I don't like to do unless I need to something else or the board really needs cleaning. This was a simple string change, nothing more. I like the sound of new strings, the G string will get dead sounding and I like it brighter. The plain strings usually sound the same new and old, it's really only the G string that really benefits, my mandolin is warm and not bright so changing strings doesn't make it unpleasant sounding. I use Pure Nickel strings and they aren't bright like phosphor or 80/20. They also hold their sound a good while before going dead, I had fret bumps underneath, with 3 gigs the next two days that tells me I need a change.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  9. The following members say thank you to pops1 for this post:


  10. #8
    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Austin, Tx - some call it heaven
    Posts
    1,151

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Five minutes is very fast, a lot faster than I can do them. It probably takes me around 20 minutes, but I actually like the process and take the time to look over and inspect my mandolin. My dad taught me when I was a kid, but he never told me to stretch the strings. Really does help a bunch.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

  11. #9
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    near Boston, MA
    Posts
    616

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Changing strings sucks.

  12. The following members say thank you to Frankdolin for this post:

    chuck3 

  13. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Lewiston NY
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Yeah I'm not nuts about changing strings but is is necessary so just do it. And more in the thirty minute range because I also clean the fretboard, polish the instrument etc.
    And I actually don't like the sound of brand new strings but after a day or two then I'm glad I changed them. Like them slightly broken in.
    As for changing a string on stage I learned a long time ago to bring two mandolins.. Much easier to just grab my backup than trying to fumble through a string change. Talk about a way to kill an audience. And the rest of the band just stands there waiting. Not good stage presence or entertainment.
    Now of course that is perfect justification to have multiple mandolins on hand at all times.
    You can thank me later, like when buy your next mandolin and say to your significant other "But Bob said......"
    Ratliff R5 2007, Capek A5 2003, Washburn M5S-SB Jethro Burns 1982, Mid-Mo M-2, Epiphone MM 30 Bk mandolins, Harmony Batwing 1970's, George Bauer bowlback early 1900's Philadelphia.


    "Don't cloud the issue with facts!" Groucho Marx

  14. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Panama Cit
    Posts
    1,594

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I don't play as much anymore. But If I did I would change after a couple of shows at least. It didn't take too long but always fifteen minutes more or less. Now days I may go 6 months or more. I'm blessed to not have corrosive hands/sweat either.
    Now if I'm home I do a lot of things like:
    -locking the string around the post.
    - making FOR SURE the bridge doesn't move or tip forward as I tighten them up
    - draw blood from one or more of my fingers with the end of a string
    - grease or graphite the nut,
    -grease or graphite the strings slots on the saddle
    -trim the loose ends and bend them.
    - clean up/put up/
    -don't play that mandolin till tomorrow.

  15. #12
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    5,086

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I have it down to about 20 minutes, taking it nice and easy. Once a month or a little sooner depending on when I might be playing out of the house at a gig or Irish session (no gigs these days).

    I pour a glass of wine or crack open a beer, and set it on the table next to me. A few sips to relax and start changing strings. The rest as a reward at the end, while playing some tunes to stabilize the strings. If you can frame it as a pleasant ritual instead of a chore like this, it goes easier.

  16. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to foldedpath For This Useful Post:


  17. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I cut my stringing time by more than half by changing to the method shown towards the end of this video. Seems obvious once to do it a couple of times.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNl6jMfX2Rk
    Northfield F5S
    Weber Bitterroot F20-F Octave
    Home built F5 (1995)

  18. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Chris Calley For This Useful Post:


  19. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,191

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Calley View Post
    I cut my stringing time by more than half by changing to the method shown towards the end of this video. Seems obvious once to do it a couple of times.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNl6jMfX2Rk
    I've been doing that method for over 40 years, much faster. One at a time and you don't have to worry about repositioning the bridge so quicker yet.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  20. #15
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Co. Mayo, Ireland
    Posts
    3,218

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I don't mind string changing, takes me about 15 minutes. I use monels on my acoustic guitar and probably only change them once a year, they last so long and sound so great. Recently switched to using monels on my mandolin, really happy with the sound too, will be interesting to see how long they last as compared to phosphor bronze.
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
    2015 JP "Whitechapel" tenor banjo
    2018 Frank Tate tenor guitar
    1969 Martin 00-18




    my Youtube channel

  21. #16
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    1,096

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I have a few gigs this weekend and have been playing my strings for quite a while so decided to change them. It took me like all of five minutes to change all the strings. I have heard of folks hating to change strings only when they have to as they hate it so much. Practice makes perfect.
    37.5 seconds per string change is quite fast. How fast do you play?
    Wait…you never said mandolin….was it a domra(3), morin khuur(2), or a washtub bass(1)?
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

    BridgerCreekBoys.com

  22. The following members say thank you to MontanaMatt for this post:

    pops1 

  23. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    37.5 seconds per string change is quite fast. How fast do you play?
    Wait…you never said mandolin….was it a domra(3), morin khuur(2), or a washtub bass(1)?
    Yeah, I did the math on that too...

  24. The following members say thank you to Denny B for this post:

    pops1 

  25. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,191

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    37.5 seconds per string change is quite fast. How fast do you play?
    Wait…you never said mandolin….was it a domra(3), morin khuur(2), or a washtub bass(1)?
    OK i didn't actually time myself, but glanced at the clock with the last two to go and they took about a minute and a half. It could have been more than five minutes, but it wasn't much. Just saying I don't know what the distress is over changing strings. I wasn't hurrying. Years ago at a luthiers convention there was a string changing contest on a Martin guitar. Take all 6 off, new on, tune and play a chord. I was a minute and a half, but broke a string tuning the last string so was out. The winner was faster than me by a fair piece.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  26. The following members say thank you to pops1 for this post:


  27. #19
    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,875

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I'm in agreement with Austin Bob, Folded Path and a few others. I kind of like changing strings. It's a bit of down-time, unwinding with my mandolin. I like my mandolins, so I get some pleasure out of taking care of them.
    Purr more, hiss less. Barn Cat Mandolins Photo Album

  28. #20
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeastern Indiana
    Posts
    391

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I'm just happy not to need a bandaid when I'm done with the change.

    D.H.
    Last edited by Dave Hicks; Jun-19-2021 at 3:57pm.

  29. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I'm another one of those guys who doesn't see changing strings (whether on my mandolin or one of my guitars) to be a chore or anything to rush thru...I'm not on a mission...

    I relax, take my time, and enjoy the experience of taking care of my instruments...it's like a cross between therapy and meditation...

  30. The following members say thank you to Denny B for this post:

    chuck3 

  31. #22
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI.
    Posts
    7,318

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I don’t get it either, it’s not hard or even dangerous. Take your time, do it right do it the same way each and every time and you will build up speed and accuracy, try working in an acoustic music store and you learn quickly that there is always some cute girl that is in love with her 12 string guitar but is afraid to change strings.
    Well, that’s another story...
    Youth is wasted on the young!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  32. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    St Paul, Minn
    Posts
    490

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Used to go to hear Peter Ostroushko fairly frequently....took my first lessons from him. I asked him how often he changed strings.

    "When they break."

  33. The following members say thank you to ajh for this post:


  34. #24

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    I don't mind changing strings. In a prior life I did work on guitars, even built a few. But, mandolins, yeah. The mandolin I just got came from a friend, who, when I said I was going to try learning some mandolin again, said, "You can show me how to restring mine when you come visit." I restrung it, then talked him into selling it

    Like anything, figure out what works. (Which you will do if it's important.)

    I like coated/treated strings. I'm not hard on regular strings, but if I can stretch the time between replacing a set by 2 or 3x, duh....

    I do like to replace strings in sets. I broke a single E string on a relatively new set. My only option was some Ernie Ball (good company!) 0.011 from probably an electric set. It doesn't sound the same. (I digress...)
    2009 Eastman MD815/V
    some home music videos (no mando yet!)

  35. #25
    bass player gone mando
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Brooklyn and Rhinebeck NY
    Posts
    437

    Default Re: What's the big deal about changing strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by still_fiddlin View Post
    I don't mind changing strings.
    I don't mind choppin' wood ... and I don't care if the money's no good.

    Seriously - good thread. A few things to think about here.
    Collings MT O
    Collings MF5 0
    Weber Gallatin Mandola
    Weber Bitterroot Mandola
    Weber Sage Octave

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •