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Thread: a couple of MC related string questions

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    Default a couple of MC related string questions

    1) I have a single set of Kaman Phosphor Bronze Wound ball ends (0.074 0.048 0.0340.022).
    These are precisely the size of the Heavy round wound set on emando.com, but they are only available there in nickel. Does anyone have a source for these in phosphor bronze?


    2) Does anyone know about resurrecting phosphor bronze strings? I've seen mentions of boiling, but I'd consider chemical methods. Then there is the question if restoring the phosphor bronze 'surface' actually restores the physical properties of the string. I suspect the physics of aging strings is more complicated than that.

  2. #2
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    I can't help with the first question, but on the second one, there is really no way to resurrect phosphor bronze strings past their prime.

    I've heard of upright acoustic bass players boiling strings to resurrect them because they're so expensive, but they play a fretless instrument. Our problem with mandolin is the frets. Every time you press a string to the fret, it makes a small change in the surface of the string. A tiny dent over time, and you're also differentially stretching the string at that location.

    Because most of use fret below the 12th fret, eventually half the string length is stretched and dented while the other half is untouched except for minimal pick contact. Strings only intonate perfectly when they're new and physically the same along the entire length from nut to saddle, so this means the intonation goes out over time.

    Intonation usually goes out even before our strings sound dead unless we're really paying attention. That's why it's a bad idea to leave stings on for a year even if you like that sound. Unless you don't care about intonation.

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    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    Back in the day, yes, we used to boil our guitar strings and I suppose you could do the same with mandolin strings. It does work but only for a limited period so I suspect that all we were doing was washing the grot out of the windings so I suppose it’s a matter of balancing how much you like changing strings against the depth of your pockets.

    I did start a conversation about this back in about 1975 - the club we were resident in at the time had a barman who also lectured in metallurgy at a local university! Either we left or he left but we didn’t get much further than using an ultra-sonic cleaner he had access to at the time.

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    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    Quote Originally Posted by mlewis1973 View Post
    1) I have a single set of Kaman Phosphor Bronze Wound ball ends (0.074 0.048 0.0340.022).
    These are precisely the size of the Heavy round wound set on emando.com, but they are only available there in nickel. Does anyone have a source for these in phosphor bronze?
    ...
    Have you asked Mapes if they'll make a custom set for you?
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    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    Newtone strings in UK does custom strings (including mandocello) at very reasonable prices. They offer several options, check them out.
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    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    Yes, Newtone. Anything from .008 to .119 - https://newtonestrings.com/shop/cust...v=79cba1185463 - My only criticism is that their new string packets don’t fit in my old size string box!

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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    Those gauges are offered by Ernie Ball in phosphor bronze. I like JustStrings.com -- here's the single-strings Ernie Ball page.
    https://www.juststrings.com/phosphor...lestrings.html

    GHS and D'Addario singles don't come in .074.
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    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    Curt Mangan has a PB set as well as a Mandocello "light set" and I believe they will do single string custom orders.
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  10. #9

    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    looks like EB Eastwoods only come in 0.070 and 0.076


    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post
    Those gauges are offered by Ernie Ball in phosphor bronze. I like JustStrings.com -- here's the single-strings Ernie Ball page.
    https://www.juststrings.com/phosphor...lestrings.html

    GHS and D'Addario singles don't come in .074.

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    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    Quote Originally Posted by mlewis1973 View Post
    Kaman Phosphor Bronze Wound ball ends (0.074 0.048 0.034 0.022
    The Kaman string set is probably for the Ovation Mandocello. looks like this: http://mandoweb.com/Instruments/Ovat...andocello/1398

    So check scale length before using elsewhere.

    As for "reviving" old strings, not possible. mostly because of intonation problems, as others noted.

    In the nutshell, as strings age, they go false (google false string). for true vibration,
    string density (mass) and elasticity (ability to bend) has to be uniform along it's length, but:

    1) wound strings wear out non-uniformly (biggest wear is where they touch frets)
    2) windings of wound strings fill with crud non-uniformly (mostly where you touch them with fingers)
    3) strings corrode non-uniformly (original metal is replaced with oxides, lost to pitting, etc)
    4) plain steel strings and steel cores of wound strings fatigue non-uniformly (google metal fatigue)

    all these processes are irreversible, therefore, old strings cannot be reused.

    (crud can be removed by washing/cooking/etc. fatigue can be restored by annealing and re-tempering. material loss from wear and pitting cannot be undone, except for anchor chains
    and similar).

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    Try Curt Mangan. These sound truly wonderful. I use his "fusion matched" phosphor bronze strings on my F5 mandolin, A4 mandola, F4 octave mandolin and F4 mandocello. I actually use the light mandocello strings.

    These are loop end, not ball end. On my Eastman MDC805 when I got loop end strings I would just save the balls from old sets of strings and put them in the loops Or you buy single ball end strings from Curt Mangan and other websites (or most brick & mortar music stores) and build your own custom set, which is also what I do on my F4 octave mandolin and F4 mandocello because I use octave pairs.

    I don't see any value in attempting to resurrect old worn out strings. Why spend a few $1000 on a nice instrument and then cheap out on strings?

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    Default Re: a couple of MC related string questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    ... buy single ball end strings from ... and build your own custom set ...
    +1. i buy single ball-end thomastic flat wound guitar strings from juststrings.com. (remove the balls, in my case).

    my Bruce Weber Sage-1 octave mandolin 60cm scale length takes 12-gb20-gb28-gb41.

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