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Thread: Tried this string comparison technique?

  1. #1
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Tried this string comparison technique?

    After many years I am just now deviating from J74s to try other strings. My first adventure was with D'Addario monel mediums. Not impressed and was not immediately apparent to me that I wasn't pleased.
    Has any one tried putting on each course a comparison string for instant comparative feed back? Or maybe this is something many people do unbeknownst to me? i.e. one G J74 and one monel repeated on each course? Next rainy day I am going to try this method of comparison unless I hear from those more knowledgeable than me with logic not do this.
    Last edited by Pittsburgh Bill; Oct-12-2022 at 12:55pm.
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    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    This would make more sense to me if you changed one course (both strings of the pair) at a time. I might be wrong, but it seems like it would be confusing to have unmatched strings in a single course. Not much to lose, though, either way. Good luck.

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  4. #3
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    Mike
    My thinking is that I will not actually play a tune but instead strike each string individually to compare, volume, tone, etc. Yes, confusing if I were to attempt playing in this manner.
    Thanks and will keep your thoughts on this in mind.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    I know there must be. Some difference in the unsound strings but I would guess that the major differences are with the wound ones. But you should try it and report back to us. Maybe record so we could perhaps hear the differences?
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    Who knows, the blend of strings being played may open up a whole new palette of tonal possibilities. Or put a warp in the space time continuum.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    I do see what you are thinking, now. Two different string types at the same pitch. That does make sense.

    And, yes, Charley, I thought of that, too. Some people, for some tunes, tune the pairs separately to different pitches. Why not different strings?

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    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    My only issue with this is that I hate changing strings. Lol. Otherwise let us know what happens
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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    Or just save yourself the trouble and switch to Curt Mangan phosphor bronze strings. I already compared most all the brands and found they give audibly better tone, volume and sustain.

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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    Nope. I give a set of strings the full shot. A full year of experimenting and I am almost narrowed down to one. Goin through one last round of monel experiments.
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    Registered User TonyEarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    I think this would give me a little information about the sound of each string, but the problem with this for me is that it's a very "artificial" test. You'd have to listen to single strings at a time and pluck very specifically (from the middle out or from the outside stopping at the middle), neither of which well represents the technique or sound of regular playing.

    When I test strings, I want to hear what my instrument actually sounds like with them, what my playing sounds like, what a tune will sound like, how they ring out together in chords or double stops, tremolo, etc. And how they will feel through those things.

    Basically, this test is telling you "what an individual string from each set sounds like on this mandolin", not "what this mandolin sounds like with each set of strings", which to me is necessarily a more complex characteristic. So I suspect it wouldn't give me enough information for it to be worth it. But of course, I've not tried this, and it can't hurt for you to try. And people are different. Maybe you find it is useful for you.

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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Stein View Post
    Nope. I give a set of strings the full shot. A full year of experimenting and I am almost narrowed down to one. Goin through one last round of monel experiments.
    "NOPE" to Mandobart's Curt Mangan PB suggestion or to the monels?
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyEarth View Post
    Basically, this test is telling you "what an individual string from each set sounds like on this mandolin", not "what this mandolin sounds like with each set of strings", which to me is necessarily a more complex characteristic. So I suspect it wouldn't give me enough information for it to be worth it. But of course, I've not tried this, and it can't hurt for you to try. And people are different. Maybe you find it is useful for you.
    Interesting thought and not saying you are incorrect. But does it not stand to reason that if they sound better individually that they would not sound better played in tandem?
    I just ordered on Mandobart's suggestion the Curt Madnam PB to try this test comparison against the D'Addarrio Monels I am presently using.
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  14. #13
    Registered User TonyEarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    Interesting thought and not saying you are incorrect. But does it not stand to reason that if they sound better individually that they would not sound better played in tandem?
    I just ordered on Mandobart's suggestion the Curt Madnam PB to try this test comparison against the D'Addarrio Monels I am presently using.
    I'd say not necessarily for the previously stated reasons. For example, I could envision a scenario where you play them individually and "ooh, this one has a kind of nice zing to it that I like, the other one is too mellow", but then when played together (as a course or multiple strings) the combined "zing" is overbearing and the "mellow" strings pop more (simply because pick them more aggressively together, for example).

    This feels similar to "solo vs band" sound in that all the parameters of the test don't accurately reflect the intended use. An instrument may sound great in the bedroom or alone on stage, but you can find that it doesn't quite "sit" well when playing with others, and an instrument that could have sounded worse solo comes through more nicely.

    Basically, I'm just unconvinced that we're very good at predicting or accounting for combined effects or emergent properties using only a unit test - we need the comprehensive test to really know. There's probably people either experienced or clever enough that they could get away with isolated tests like this, but I'm personally not sure I'd ever have that certainty, so I'd always lean towards more representative tests. Even if one or two types of strings showed this correlation (single string better = all strings better) I'd be hesitant to assert that this is always the case.

    But again, this is all speculation, so I could be dead wrong. Or maybe I'm just superstitious!
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    Agree. I'll buy a new mandolin just to avoid changing strings

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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    If you find you don't care for the way the new single strings sound in a mixed paring (your experiment), then what becomes of the remaining strings in that set? I'm too cheap for that. I'd put the whole set on and play them for a while and who knows, maybe they'll grow on you but a least you'll get your monies worth. I've found out that when new strings are first installed, they need to be played for a while to settle down and loose that new string sound so I can't really see the experiment having any real value.

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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hudmister View Post
    If you find you don't care for the way the new single strings sound in a mixed paring (your experiment), then what becomes of the remaining strings in that set? I'm too cheap for that. I'd put the whole set on and play them for a while and who knows, maybe they'll grow on you but a least you'll get your monies worth. I've found out that when new strings are first installed, they need to be played for a while to settle down and loose that new string sound so I can't really see the experiment having any real value.
    Not certain I understand your question. i.e. If on each course I tried String brand X and string brand Y and my preference was for string brand Y, logically I will then use all 8 strings Y. Set of Strings X would then be used on a beater mandolin. ?????
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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    It's an interesting idea, PB. I hope you'll try it and report your findings. My question is that if the different strings from two sets have different tensions, will you get a fair representation of the sound without having the entire set on your mandolin? On the other hand, you might find a sound you like with a mixed set of strings.
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    For me, it takes some days + some hours of playing for the new strings to really break in, so try to avoid instant gratification. How much I'm smiling a month from now is what matters.
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    Default Re: Tried this string comparison technique?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    After many years I am just now deviating from J74s to try other strings. My first adventure was with D'Addario monel mediums. Not impressed and was not immediately apparent to me that I wasn't pleased.
    Has any one tried putting on each course a comparison string for instant comparative feed back? Or maybe this is something many people do unbeknownst to me? i.e. one G J74 and one monel repeated on each course? Next rainy day I am going to try this method of comparison unless I hear from those more knowledgeable than me with logic not do this.
    TEST RESULTS LIMITED!
    This AM my arthritis was hurting too much to play so I decided to try my experiment in string comparison. I began by changing one string on each course with Curt Mangam PB mediums. The prior course being the D'Addario monel mediums. Comparing single open strings I detected little difference. As I moved up the neck the difference was more distinct with the PBs sounding more alive (brighter) than the monels. By the time I moved beyond the fifth fret the difference was more noticeable as the monels above the fifth fret seemed to "thud" on the G and D strings.
    The real difference came after having replaced all the strings and playing a blend as TonyEarth alluded to that I was most able to determine my preference. This was especially true playing in the second and third positions. The PBs to me sounded alive playing in the second and third position while the monels to me sounded DEAD. This explains why I found testing individual strings while moving up the neck to provide more noticeable differences than doing it on open strings.
    Please keep in mind that this is not an endorsement of any particular type or brand of string as this is a personal preference depending upon instrument, genre, and playing style, but instead as an experiment in string comparison.
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