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Thread: Flatwound mandolin strings

  1. #1
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    I'm curious to try flatwound mandolin strings. Does anybody have some insight on flatwound mandolin strings?

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    I would say that it depends on what type of music you play. I do not think they are suitable for bluegrass but for other types of music they can be lethal. Thomastics are simply THE BEST strings I have EVER played. I use them on an old Lyon and Healy and they compliment it perfectly. I know they are pricey (@ 21.50 from mandohack) but they are truly worth twice that in my opinion. But who am I to say what sounds good? I would take the plunge. You may lose a very tiny bit of volume but the tone gained is amazing!
    Phyn

  3. #3

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    I have played D'Addario Flat Tops before, and I thought they had more of a bluegrass sound than the Thomastics I'd played once before. They have wound A strings also (flat-wound, of course).

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    Ben Beran Dfyngravity's Avatar
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    I use d'addario flat top and I love them. Especially the wound A string. It really gives great balance all the way across the strings. I am not too sure if he still does but I know Chris Thile was using at one time. He did the recording of their self titled CD and Not All Who Wander Are Lost with flat top...at least I am pretty sure he did. The reason I say that is because on the Homespun Chris Thile DVD he says that what he is using. But it is all personal preference.....my philosophy is if you don't try em' then you may never find the perfect set of strings for your mando.

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    The Flat Tops aren't really flatwound, though. #They are roundwound strings that have been polished after winding. #In contrast, Thomastik (and other flatwounds) are wound with a flat ribbon. #That's not to say one is better than the other, just that they are very different types of animal, with a distinctly different sound and feel.

    Martin




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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    something i've done is mixing the flattop a strings with the j74 set. you get all the volume of the round wound phosphor bronze, but a little bit smoother sound.
    john
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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    I just changed the strings on my mandolin to D'Addario flattops and they are great. My mandolin actually sounds louder.

  8. #8

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    It's FT74's for me on my Collings mandos

  9. #9

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    Bluegrass all the way on FT74's here on a Givens

  10. #10
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    thanks for the suggestions everyone, i think the D'addario flattops are the ones i'm going to try.

    hippo

  11. #11
    Mandoholic Mike Bullard's Avatar
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    Used them until I tried Elixir. The "A" strings would break during heavy play so I switched back to Elixir. The Flat Wound strings sound and play good and are nice for recording.

    My 2 cents...
    It cost no more to go first class...You just have to pay a little longer....

    All Bluegrass Videos ---> http://www.youtube.com/mikeb43

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  12. #12
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    So has anyone come across a problem when using the flat wound strings? The intonaton on the A string is messed up after puting on the A wound. Do I have to replace the bridge saddle?

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    I have used flat tops for a couple of years now..mostly bluegrass
    also use them on mandola,and wish that they made them for mandocello!
    If you play hard the "A" string will break..and they are costly to replace(and to find a dealer who carries the "A" string seperatly)
    the mandola has a .016 gauge "A" string,as such I have a few of the mandola "A" strings on order (I hope) from a local music store.
    The mandola "A" works pretty well on mando
    After they have been played for a while the "A" string will start to unravel where it hits on the frets,as such intonation will go to bad!
    They could stand to put replacement "A" strings with a set,at least one anyway!
    I keep using em! cause I like em.....but I do go thru about 12 or 18 "A" strings in a year, they break at the bridge and it ain't a problem with my bridge!
    SO THAR !

    Boyd

  14. #14

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    gdae_boy1: #Similar to mandorose above, I use J75's on the A string (E string, too, for different reasons--see below). #Originally I did the A-string switch to get around the exact intonation problem that you appear to be having with the wound A. #However, I do not care about the A-intonation #phenomenon any more, because the J75 E's and A's sound terrific on my instrument (a Givens) with the FT's on D and G. #Tons of strength on the top end, and that beautiful mellowness of FT's on the lower end.

    Try it (or as per mandorose, try the J74 A's).

    As per above posts, the FT's are not true "flat wound" (not that such a thing should matter, in that FT's have a wonderful sound of their own--different animal from TI's)

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    do they sell the flattop G and D strings seperately? (since the a string breaks so often) and i wonder what kind of life the Thomastics get? someone told me they change their Thomastics out about once a year. also i understand that the Thomastic thickness gauge is off... i.e. a medium set is a light, a heavy set is a medium. does anyone know about this?

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Fatt-dad weighs in:

    I went to the music store to buy some strings for my 1919 A-3. Yeh, I had some J74s, but I wanted to try the elixirs. They didn't have them, but did have the FT-74s (at about $12.95 a set). Well, I bought them (this was last weekend). I had never heard of these (sometimes I think I live in a cave), but what the heck.

    Well, I replaced the old (rusty) silk and steel strings with the FT-74s and WOW. It is amazing to me, the balanced tone and still good volume from that old mandolin. I think it is the best!

    So, here is my take. Whether T-Is are better, I do not know (I've never tried them - actually, I've never even seen them). But, comparing a $6.00 set of J-74s to a $13.00 set of FT-74's is just not that much difference in price, but for the right mandolin maybe a big difference in tone. I don't know whether they would be great for my Flatiron A5, but time will tell.

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

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    Registered User Trip's Avatar
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    The TIs are worth every penny....I play 2-3 hours a day and my last set was on for 6 months...then I took the old set and strung them on to my full blown electric(4 strings)and they will last another 6 months....and they are much easier on the fingertips if you play alot.....the only string that goes bad is the E since its not a wound string it gets crusty but the other six strings just keep going and going.....the downside is a slight loss in volume, but most of my time is in front of a mic, or by myself, so its not a big deal.......if your trying to be heard at a loud jam.....you better be diggin in pretty hard

    StrangerStringBAnd

  18. #18
    Registered User Trip's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention....no intonation probs with the TIs on the A or any other string...as a matter of fact, Ive never had strings that stayed in tune as well..once they are strecthed for a few hours

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    So what string gauges are the TIs? anyone seen them online where I can order some of these?

  20. #20
    Paul Wheeler
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    You can read the TI string specs at JustStrings website. #Best deal available for TIs appears to be at mandohack's website (for which I have no financial connection, etc.). #-- #PDW



    He joyously felt himself idling, an unreflective mood in which water was water, sky was sky, breeze was breeze. He knew it couldn't last. -- Thomas McGuane, "Nothing but Blue Skies"

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (fatt-dad @ July 29 2004, 12:11)
    I went to the music store to buy some strings for my 1919 A-3. #Yeh, I had some J74s, but I wanted to try the elixirs. #They didn't have them, but did have the FT-74s (at about $12.95 a set). Well, I bought them (this was last weekend). #I had never heard of these (sometimes I think I live in a cave), but what the heck.

    Well, I replaced the old (rusty) silk and steel strings with the FT-74s and WOW.
    It's entirely possible that for your mandolin, FT-74s are the perfect fit. Still, if I were you, I would try those J74s on at some stage as well. It's not that surprising that you get a big WOW out of the FT-74s compared to the rusty old strings you took off, but the comparison next to the J74s would be interesting. For what it's worth, I tried both on my F-style and found that the FT-74s were more playable, but the J74s had much the better tone. Then again, on that mandolin, TI Mittels were a dead loss, whereas they're just great on my mother's Kentucky A, so you really do need to try every combination of strings and mandolin to get the optimum.

    Martin

  22. #22
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    martinjonas,

    I have had J-74s, and most of the GHS lineup on my A-3 (it's been with me for awhile). I was truly impressed with the playability and tone of the FT's. Yeh, they also needed changing too.

    Now what I want to see is what I think of the FTs on some of my other mandolins. So, I may try them on my Flatiron A5-1 at some point in the future. I mostly use the J-74s on the A5 and they work great. So, maybe the FTs won't make quite the difference on the A5.

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

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  23. #23

    Default Re: Flatwound mandolin strings

    Quote Originally Posted by phynie View Post
    Thomastics are simply THE BEST strings I have EVER played. I use them on an old Lyon and Healy and they compliment it perfectly. I know they are pricey (@ 21.50 from mandohack) but they are truly worth twice that in my opinion.
    I guess now you can say whether they're worth twice that price. They're ~$50 at most online retailers I've found!

    I'm planning to get some soon. I've only ever read glowing descriptions of them.

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  25. #24
    Registered User bstanish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flatwound mandolin strings

    I've been using Optima Mediums Flatwounds (Set 2135) on my flatback mando and I just recently switched from Dogal Calace strings to Optima Soloist Flatwounds (.010-.030 3050 L) on my bowlback. I'm really impressed with them. A bit less expensive than the TI's and still a great sound. I've gone up to 8 months without changing strings on the Optima Mediums and never had any intonation issues with the wound A or breakage. I get both from Strings By Mail (NFI) but others may carry them, I've just never looked.

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    Default Re: Flatwound mandolin strings

    Quote Originally Posted by bstanish View Post
    I've been using Optima Mediums Flatwounds (Set 2135) on my flatback mando and I just recently switched from Dogal Calace strings to Optima Soloist Flatwounds (.010-.030 3050 L) on my bowlback. I'm really impressed with them. A bit less expensive than the TI's and still a great sound. I've gone up to 8 months without changing strings on the Optima Mediums and never had any intonation issues with the wound A or breakage. I get both from Strings By Mail (NFI) but others may carry them, I've just never looked.
    Thanks for the info. I looked up the strings on the Strings by Mail site but could only find the Optima Flatwound Mediums... didn't see the Soloist line offered. Maybe they took it off their shelves. I was really hoping to try them.

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