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Thread: Martin Style BB mandola: strings?

  1. #1
    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Martin Style BB mandola: strings?

    Used my credit card today for a 1924 Martin Style BB mandola:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The luthier at the store is asking what strings I'd like to have him put on. Mandolas are sort of new territory for me. Suggestions would be welcome!

    Thanks.

    Joe

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style BB mandola: strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Bartl View Post
    Used my credit card today for a 1924 Martin Style BB mandola:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The luthier at the store is asking what strings I'd like to have him put on. Mandolas are sort of new territory for me. Suggestions would be welcome!

    Thanks.

    Joe
    Fair play to you, Joe. That's a beauty.

    Are planning to tune it CGDA?

    I've got Dogal Calace Dolces on my Martin mandolin now and I love the sound and feel.

    It looks like their set is for 'tenor mandola' tuning, though.

    Mick
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Martin Style BB mandola: strings?

    I make up my own sets from D'Addario, GHS, or Curt Mangan singles.
    For CGDA tuning: 12-20w-32w-48 or 49w.

    The closet thing I can find in a pre-packaged set is the D'Addario EJ80 set, which they call an "octave mandolin" set, but you can use on your mandola in CGDA tuning.

    Warning: Do not use either of the D'Addario mandola sets. They are too heavy for a Martin mandola. Their EJ76 set can tear your mandola to pieces before you get it tuned up to pitch. And the EJ72 set is still too heavy.

    Congratulations-- that's a nice instrument, and in better shape than the few others that have come to my attention over the years. They built only 43 of them, and my guess is that no more than a dozen or two survive.
    Last edited by rcc56; Mar-11-2023 at 1:01am.

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  6. #4
    Joe B mandopops's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style BB mandola: strings?

    Welcome to the Martin Mandola world. I’ve got a ‘29 A Martin Mandola. Plays & sounds great. A very conservative looking instrument.
    I currently use GHS PF280 (12,24w,34w,48w). A bit heavy, but they work good.
    I have a set of the DAddario J72 that I never used, like rc56 said, I thought they would be too heavy.
    I used Thomastik alt Mandoline 164 for a while. If you are going for the Classical Orch thing, they fit in well. I have used Thomastiks before on Mandolin, too. They are favored by many in the Classical world. I have to say, easy on the fingertips but they aren’t very exciting. I find the Bronze are more robust.
    Like Mick, I’m using Calace Dolces on my Sicilian Catania Mandolin right now. I’m sure their Mandola set would work. That are more like Thomasticks.
    Always be careful which set you get for ‘dolas, the Euro & American ’dolas are different.
    I like rc56’s homemade set idea. I got a set of John Pearse octave Mando #2260 set recently (12,20w,32w,45w). I haven’t tried yet. Wonder if rc56 might think the 45w is too light?
    What genre of Music were you thinking of playing on it? I mainly use it for Classical, but I will play Blues & moderate tempo fiddle tunes.

    Enjoy your new ax,

    Joe B
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    Default Re: Martin Style BB mandola: strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandopops View Post

    I got a set of John Pearse octave Mando #2260 set recently (12,20w,32w,45w). I haven’t tried yet. Wonder if rc56 might think the 45w is too light?

    Enjoy your new ax,

    Joe B
    The 45's might be a little floppy, but it won't hurt anything to give them a try.

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    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style BB mandola: strings?

    Thanks for the responses. As always, I'm left with one more question:

    rcc56 said: I make up my own sets from D'Addario, GHS, or Curt Mangan singles.
    For CGDA tuning: 12-20w-32w-48 or 49w.


    I thought of sending a PM but the answer to my question might be helpful for others as backward as I am about these things: I would like to follow rcc56's advice for a home made set. How do I do this? How do I locate the correct gauge strings, for CGDA tuning, for a 15" scale length? Seeking D'Addario or other brand, where do I go for "singles" and when I request, say, a 48W, do I say that I want this for a C on a mandola with 15 " scale length?

    Sorry to be so lame about all this. I really appreciate your help. I'll likely be starting another post for another mandola I just received (an L&H ... talk about an embarrassment of riches!) for which I received some wildly conflicting advice re strings.

    Joe Bartl

  11. #7
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    Default Re: Martin Style BB mandola: strings?

    Loop end single strings are available in various gauges and alloys from D'Addario, GHS, and Curt Mangan.

    My friendly neighborhood music store is a D'Addario and Curt Mangan dealer. I order from him.
    For special orders, you might have to order 10 or 12 of each gauge.
    If I wanted GHS, I would have to find a store who is a GHS dealer.

    If your neighborhood store does not have a dealership, or has trouble remembering to put an order in, you can go to one of the on-line string dealers, such as juststrings. I believe their are several others also. Also, Elderly used to sell loop end single strings. You can check with them to see if they still do.

    Or when all else fails, I think that all three brands will sell direct. Go to their websites to make sure.

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    Default Re: Martin Style BB mandola: strings?

    I have the Curt Mangan regular mandola set on my Gibson H1 which is 16inch I believe, they work fine,
    12 24w 34w 48w Phosphor bronze

    so they are a tad Bluegrassy, if you are looking for more classical maybe try the Dogal Calace Dolces or Thomastik
    you could probably get the 34 and 48 in monel to tone down if need be.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
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