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Thread: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

  1. #1
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    How could I anticipate the tone of my mandolin to change using T-I mediums or heavies.
    BACKGROUND: I have not been adventurous with string experimentation. I have always just used D'Addario PB Mediums. Recently I put on D'Addario Monels which I do not like very much.
    So from those experienced how might the tone and volume of my mandolin change from the using the PBs or the monels to either of the Thomastik-Infields Medium and or heavy.

    Before investing $50+ in for me experimental strings I would like some idea of what to anticipate. (Oh, I'm not a grasser and do not play chop chords)
    Stiver A style custom #388-5-20
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  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    What type of mandolin do you play? F style, A style, oval hole?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  3. #3
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    What type of mandolin do you play? F style, A style, oval hole?
    I am inquiring about A Style F holes. I tried the Monels on my Stiver sometimes described as "more Bluegrass than Bluegrass". Mostly play classic country, honky-tonk, but also a mix of Beatles, folk, and show tunes.
    Stiver A style custom #388-5-20
    Big Muddy EM8 solid body (Mike Dulak's final EM8 build)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool & emergency canoe paddle)

  4. #4
    Registered User webber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    I love Thomastik heavies (stark)! Before you invest in a set, try a set of the D'Addario flatwounds (EFW74). They're not as good as the Thomastiks, but they're $15 instead of $60 and are the closest thing in sound and feel. If you hate the D'Addario flats, you will not like the Thomastiks.
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  6. #5
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    Previous thread about TI's...

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...infeld+strings

    In the past I tried the D'Addario flatwounds on an oval hole mandolin I have and it suffered a lack of volume. Never tried the TI's tho.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  7. #6

    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    Here you go. Same mics, same processing (none) into Audacity.

    With EJ73's:
    https://soundcloud.com/martyjacobson...on-nautilus-26

    With Thomastik Mittels:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W3d69mZMYY

    It basically sounds like an EQ adjustment (there's not one - same preamp settings, signal chain, and mic placement, other than whatever normalization YouTube does) - rolling off the trebles 1/3 of the way on an electric guitar is how I tend to think about it. Or maybe like switching from a bridge pickup to a neck pickup.

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  9. #7

    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    Quote Originally Posted by webber View Post
    I love Thomastik heavies (stark)! Before you invest in a set, try a set of the D'Addario flatwounds (EFW74). They're not as good as the Thomastiks, but they're $15 instead of $60 and are the closest thing in sound and feel. If you hate the D'Addario flats, you will not like the Thomastiks.
    +1 on the dEFW74's. They feel and sound great on my MT2. Seem to last a long time, too.

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  11. #8
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    From my short infatuation with TI Starks years ago, the tone will be darker with less highs, less "bite" in the sound on the wound strings. No real difference on the unwound E string. The reason I finally gave 'em up, was that I needed to cut through a mix of fiddles and the flatwounds just got lost in the mix.

    One other thing, the G and D strings will feel more slippery under your fingers than phosphor bronze. On tunes where I was sliding up to notes along the same string, I would overshoot until I got used to it! I did like the feel under my fingers.

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  13. #9
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    Another vote for trying the D'Addario flatwounds first. Have decided they sound better on my Coombe than the TI stark. Not sure why.

  14. #10
    Registered User mcgroup53's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    The first player I ever saw who used Thomastiks on an f-hole mandolin was the legendary David Peters, the first person to win Winfield on mandolin three times who went on to play in the Modern Mandolin Quartet. He had them on both his Nugget mandolins, and they sounded kind of dull and muffled compared with bronzewound strings. When we asked David why he would stifle the sound of such gorgeous mandolins, his answer was straightforward:

    What does it matter what it sounds like if I can't play what I want?

    Exactly. In my experience, the Thomastiks are far easier to play than stiffer roundwound strings, so it's not the sound, it's what they let you do on the fretboard that makes the difference, at least for my playing.

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  16. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    Back in the 1980s, I had never heard of them but a few players in the NY Mandolin Orchestra were raving about them. I put them on my 23 Gibson A and absolutely hated them. If you prefer the bright crisp sound of PBs you might not like them. They are more or less the polar opposite. Smooth and mellow. Maybe they are fine with the types of music your play. It's worth trying them or the D'Addarios. The only mandolins I like them on are my Lyon & Healy and my Bacon Artist. Again, that is me and my taste. Far be it from me to dissuade anyone from trying something.
    Jim

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  17. #12

    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    It’s hard to recommend a set of strings to somebody else. I don’t think anybody can know what a set of strings are going to sound or feel like unless they put them on there mandolin and listen with there ears, playing with there fingers and there pick. That said, in 2018 I changed from D’Addario’s PB to Thomastik mettle/medium on my Collings MT2 oval and haven’t looked back. I thought my mandolin instantly sounded better, my wife walked in and without any prompting said how much richer my mandolin sounded (but not my playing ). And as with anything your ears my very. I’ve never tried the D’Addario flats yet, but I’ve been advised by several members here on the cafe that also use Thomastik that they’re pretty good strings but don’t last as long. Strings and Beyond, a sponsor here on the Cafe usually have some of the best internet prices on the Thomastik strings, as of today discount code THI10 will get you 10% off and they already ship free.

    https://www.stringsandbeyond.com/tho...-loop-end.html

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  19. #13
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    As Jim, Erich and others say, it's a matter of preference and perhaps genre. I would also suggest that every mandolin is unique. Two similar mandolins out of the same small shop might sound and feel different with identical TI string sets on them. I think it is hard to generalize about mandolins and you simply have to experiment with your own mandolin and TI's.

    One thing I have noticed about TI mittels is that it is easy to break the E strings when installing. I always order extra E strings.

    I use TI mittels on my 3 mandolins and love them.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

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  20. #14
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    Get the, "Heavy" set of T-I's.

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

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  22. #15

    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    Get the, "Heavy" set of T-I's.

    f-d
    After using the mettle/mediums for years I just order the heavy/stark to give them a try.

  23. #16

    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    They are not a punchy in the bass but they look and feel like works of art. They are very durable. I have found the TI mediums last about 9 months on my Collings. The very finely wrapped A’s are…interesting. Get spares or order 2 sets. Which is the issue in that price range. Do try the D’Addarios first if you aren’t a confirmed flatwound junkie.
    The TI’s sound a bit better and feel a LOT better than the D’s. And last about 50% longer in my experience. But I only get them for my best instrument.
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  25. #17

    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    Quote Originally Posted by 707erich View Post
    After using the mettle/mediums for years I just order the heavy/stark to give them a try.
    I replaced the Thomastik mettle/mediums strings I’ve been playing for years with a set of there heavy/stark. Initially I could tell they were a little higher tension and the strings were a little harder to press down on the frets. After playing them over the last few days I really don’t notice the difference.

  26. #18

    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    Has anyone compared the Fisoma Supersolo, Lenzner Mandolin Strings to Thomastiks and if so how do they compare in sound quality, loudness and longevity?
    Thanks!

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  28. #19
    Registered User Polecat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another Thomastik-Infield string question

    I used Thomastik starks for many years until they became too expensive. Then switched to Fisoma Supersolos, because they are affordable. Regarding ease of playing, there's not much difference, the TIs may be a little louder, but I would say it's only a nuance. Regarding sound quality, I wouldn't like to say - it depends so much on the instrument, the plectrum and of course, the player! Suffice it to say that I find the supersolos a very adequate substitute for the Thomastiks. One cave, though - german strings seem to be made of softer material than their american counterparts; both TI and Fisoma E-strings are more prone to breaking, but if you replace them with the same gauge D'Addarios or GHS strings, the E will sound different. I always have a couple of Hannabach E strings in reserve - they sound similar and seem to be robuster.
    "Give me a mandolin and I'll play you rock 'n' roll" (Keith Moon)

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