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Thread: S.I.T. Strings?

  1. #1
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
    Northeast Ohio
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    Default S.I.T. Strings?

    Hi All:
    S.I.T. strings are made about 50 miles from me, right here in Ohio. (Also, the founder of the company, the regionally famous Virgil Lay, performed the initial set-up on my much loved Gibson MK-35 acoustic guitar back in the late 70s).
    Anyways, in an effort to support an Ohio manufacturer, I'm thinking of picking-up a few sets of the SIT light gauge Mandolin Phosphor Bronze strings (10-36).
    Has anyone tried these?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Bay Area, California

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    We sell 'em for guitar... they seem pretty good, and it's a nice touch that they throw in an extra high E. We sell them for less than the bigger names, but (and I have restrung a lot of guitars with them) never felt that they sounded any 'worse'.

  3. #3
    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    Arnhem, the Netherlands; Nanjing, China; Ithaca NY USA

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    Jiri Lebeda used them as standard on all instruments shipped from his workshop. I've bought extra sets of the mediums (11-40) and used them a lot. I'd compare them to J74's (PB), since I couldn't A/B with same age strings on the same instrument I can't say which was better, but the SIT were certainly good strings and matched well with the Lebeda mandolins I've owned.

  4. #4
    formerly OldDirtyTurtle Jason Kindall's Avatar
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    Feb 2009

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    J Bovier mandos come with them installed. I liked them but ended up switching to J74s for no real reason. They sounded good and I thought they held up pretty well. Of course, they were the first mandolin string I ever picked on...

  5. #5
    Registered User DesertDan's Avatar
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    Apr 2020
    Cedar Valley, UT where the deer and the antelope really do play

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    Reviving this just in case somebody can use this info, they are a good value substitute for ej74, about $4 a set less currently at JS. They sound and last the same to me, feel normal and, dang it, they stay in tune! LOL...Same as any other decent string, truth be told. Easily an emergency substitute or maybe a go-to. I've been playing D'A's for years, quite familiar with them. I play Kentucky A's and F's...YMMV, you know, playing style, skin chemistry, etc.

  6. #6
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.

    Question Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    I go by diameter and what its wound with more than brand of string making company ...

    A Peeve the loop unwinding under tension ... whammy bar guitar strings
    got a spot of solder, but not loop end ...
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  7. #7
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Grass Valley

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    I'm a broken record...but...

    I have been quite satisfied with the Mapes strings for many years now.

    Billy Packard
    Gilchrist A3, 1993
    Stiver Fern, 1990
    Weber Fern, 2007
    Gibson F4 Hybrid #1, D. Harvey 2009
    Gibson 1923 A2
    Numerous wonderful guitars

  8. #8

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    I've mentioned this before and nothing against SIT strings (I've used them and they are fine) but they are just strings repacked from a major manufacturer. There is no SIT string making factory. This is true of many, if not most, boutique string companies. The "stay in tune" is a great gimmick, because who wouldn't want to have less tuning issues? Anyway, this comes directly from the owner of SIT/Lay's Guitar Shop, FWIW.

    Common practice. I worked for a music store and we bought bulk strings from Martin and packaged them with our own store label on the pack. I've seen other stores do the same to provide some advertising for the store and provide a better price point for the customer. SIT has managed to get them out to a wider audience.

  9. #9
    Registered User Lucas's Avatar
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    Feb 2020
    Inland Empire, California

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I've mentioned this before and nothing against SIT strings (I've used them and they are fine) but they are just strings repacked from a major manufacturer. There is no SIT string making factory.
    Are you sure about that? According to their website, they manufacture their own strings at their factory in Akron, Ohio.

  10. #10

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    S.I.T. manufactures strings in Akron, OH. I love their Royal Bronze strings on my Martins guitars.

  11. #11
    Registered User Murphy Slaw's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Southern Illinois

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?


    So, which is it?

    Do they build strings, or just re-package strings?
    1933 Gibson A-00 (was Scotty Stoneman's)
    2003 Gibson J-45RW (ebony)
    2017 Gibson J-15

    The Murph Channel

  12. #12

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    Here is a 2015 article from the Akron Beacon Journal telling the company's history, FWIW. It appears Virgil Lay's grandson now runs the company and is very proud that the Black Keys endorse their strings. (at least as of 2015) It appears they now own a building and make their own strings, FWIW. The article mentions they have 30 employees and take in $2-3 million dollars a year in sales, not too shabby.

    It also mentions Virgil Lay started the business in his basement around 1980 by adding an adhesive to the string windings to keep them from stretching out of tune. My info is from 35 years ago when I was working for a music store. A good customer of ours was having a lot of restoration work done by Lay's Guitar Shop -- they are known for world class repair and refinish work. My friend saw the SIT string package and asked, "are you making these?" Supposedly, Virgil told him, "naw, I just buy they and repackage them with my company name!" My friend added, Virgil ended this statement with a "wink!"

    Obviously, a wink won't hold up in court, but I feel the answer is SIT started small in a basement and now is a larger company. Sorry for any confusion, but I stand by the wink story. I'm also surprised at how many people want to believe what is stamped on a package or mentioned online.

    Again, nothing against SIT or Lay's Guitar Shop, they seem to be good people.

  13. #13
    ************** Caleb's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    DFW, Texas

    Default Re: S.I.T. Strings?

    I've not tried their mandolin strings but have used them on my acoustic guitar a time or two. I was at the big Dallas Guitar Show a few years back and SIT had a rep and booth there. I talked to the guy for a long time and he sold me some strings for $5 a set, a really good deal in these times.

    I remember back in the 80s I loved all those music mags like Circus and Hit Parader. Often times the rockers would have SIT t-shirts on and that always stuck out, so I knew about SIT strings long before I even started playing music. Brilliant marketing on their part there! Seems like they always had full-page ads in the guitar mags too.

    I started playing music in the early 90s and learning about and buying strings was one of the coolest parts of it all. And back in those times strings were always 2-for-1, and at a particular local shop they were usually 3-for-1. I haven't seen deals like that in many years. And back then it seemed like all the strings came with cool stickers and things inside the packaging. Good times. I miss them!

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