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Thread: Stainless steel strings

  1. #1
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    Default Stainless steel strings

    A month ago or so I ordered some strings from Musicians Friend (both mandolin and guitar strings). I ordered some D'Addario J74s, which I've been using for a while. So last night I took out a set to change my mando strings and I noticed that the strings I had received were not the usual bronze wound strings I thought i was getting, but stainless steel wound. I ordered them inadvertently, and got two sets, not realizing they weren't bronze. I put them on, and they seem fine, but I'm just wondering if anyone here has used these, and what do you think of them? Do they last as long as bronze strings, sound as good for as long? Do they corrode faster? Just looking for some reviews; I have to say, I didn't know stainless steel strings existed!

    thanks,

    Jack

  2. #2

    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    I'm confused...D'Addario J74 has phosphor bronze windings on the G and D courses and tinned, plain steel A and E courses. Are you saying you ordered J74 and got something with stainless steel windings? Or you actually ordered a different set than J74?

    There's a JS74 that has nickel-plated windings, which I've not used. I have tried the FW74 with flat-wound steel G's and D's, they were fine but not especially suitable for me.
    The first man who whistled
    thought he had a wren in his mouth.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Trey Young's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    I've been using the JS-74's for a while now. I really like them alot on my current mandolin (didn't care for them as much on my previous mandolin). I actually just put regular J-74s back on last week and prefer the sound of the stainless steel strings so much to where I may just go ahead and change back to the JS-74's before I wear out the J-74's. I've found that they do last longer (for me) than the phosphor bronze, but I've heard they'll create fret wear quicker.

    Elkhorn A-5, #3
    White F-5, #6

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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    A
    re you saying you ordered J74 and got something with stainless steel windings? Or you actually ordered a different set than J74?
    Well, I thought I was ordering just plain old bronze ones, but the package says stainless steel winding (not nickel silver). I'll have to look at the package to see if they're designated JS-74; didn't notice - I'll check that out this evening. Anyway, I'm trying them out and I'll decide if I like them or not.

    Thanks for your feedback, Trey. I'm sure it's a matter of individual taste as well as the parameters of each different mandolin. When I first tried J-74s I was pleasantly surprised at how nice they sounded, maybe this will also be a nice surprise.

    Jack

  5. #5
    Registered User Steve Lavelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    I've been using monel (stainless steel) strings for over a decade on my only mandolin (93 Flatiron Performer F). The strings do last longer, but being a harder material, they may contribute more to wear. Because everyone plays differently (frequency of playing, varying finger force on the left (or right for lefties) hand) fret mileage may vary. As a precaution, when my frets needed replacing a couple of years ago, I replaced them with stainless ones, figuring that the wear would be minimized with the similar material hardnesses. I think the monel strings are a little more mellow than the bronze, and since I don't play BG very often, that sound suits my style better.

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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    Monel is not stainless steel. It is an alloy that is largely nickel.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

  7. #7
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    the core wire in all 8 cases is a carbon steel..
    You are talking about the windings of the 4 lower strings..

    the physical hardness of the winding metal resists flattening the
    underside of the string against the fret.

    the fret is softer than the core wire , but harder than the winding wire ,
    real stainless steel windings will wear the frets, but not as fast as the plain string

    So, pick on,dude..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Registered User Terry Allan Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    Aren't those electric mandolin strings?

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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    I checked the package and they are JS-74s, not J-74s. Doesn't mention anywhere on the package that they are for electric mandolins, but maybe that doesn't matter. Wouldn't electric strings be more likely to be flat wound? Anyway, I'm giving them a good try and, who knows, I may like them.

    mandroid - I'm a-pickin'!

    Jack

  10. #10
    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    I actually much prefer the sound of stainless steel. I use FW-74 flatwound strings now, which have stainless steel flat winding, but before I used flatwound strings I used GHS Silk and Steel for years. I don't think they corrode as fast as bronze. I have found they last much longer. Some pickups work better with nickel or steel as opposed to bronze, but electric strings for mandolin wouldn't necessarily be flatwound.
    Larry Hunsberger

    2013 J Bovier A5 Special w/ToneGard
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    3/4 guitar converted to octave mandolin

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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    I have JS-74s on my Collings Mt for bout two weeks now. I've been averaging about two hours a day playing time since the string change and I like them. They still sound fairly new.

    Paul

  12. #12
    Registered User Grandude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    So, how do the flat wound strings sound compared to Silk & Steel, or compared to bronze wound for that matter? Are the flat wounds mellower? Less volume acoustically?
    Randy Leferink

    '95 Flatiron A5, Weber signed
    '07 Daley F5 Vintage, #59

  13. #13

    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    Flat wound strings have a rounder, more fundamental tone that is easier to control than roundwound, bronze strings. They don't get as bright and cutting when played hard, their loud and soft tones tend to be more similar than bronze in my opinion. OTOH, it is harder to get any "pop" on a note with flatwounds and they don't "chop" as well if you need percussive chords for rhythm work.

    Silk & Steel strings by comparison are just soft and quiet and, in my opinion, dead sounding. Way more lively, rich sound in a set of flatwound chrome steel strings than silk & steel.
    The first man who whistled
    thought he had a wren in his mouth.
    He went around all day
    with his lips puckered,
    afraid to swallow.

    --"The First" by Wendell Berry

  14. #14

    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    Contrary to their name, GHS Silk and Steel strings are silver-plated copper wire wound over a silk and steel core. They are quite soft and metal fatigue sets in on the windings quite quickly, although they have a very mellow sound while they last. GHS Silk and Bronze sound just as good if not better and last a good long time. I tried nickel mandolin strings once and they sounded terrible.
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    And Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

  15. #15
    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    I haven't used stainless on my Mandolin yet but use them on my electric guitar and have since the early 90s . I think they last longer and increase fret wear. I used them during a period when I played electric one practice and 1 or 2 gigs a week and they lasted at least 6 months between changes. Strings last me a long time anyway as my sweat is not too acidic but the stainless reg slinkys def lasted longer then the regular (nickle?) ones.
    Jim Richmond

  16. #16
    Registered User Grandude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless steel strings

    I have been using EXP75's for a couple of years now because I like the way they sound after the "bright" wears off. I do rely on the percussive nature of their broken-in sound, but part of that is my deliberate chop and part is the extremely responsive custom mando I play, with Adi top. I'm hoping I can get better playability with flat wounds, and a sound that I can work into the type of music that I am now playing - more accurate to call it cosmic American acoustic jam music, rather than bluegrass. I played a Fender J-bass for a while, and was a loyal flat wound fan because they sounded more accurate in tone with less overtones and buzzes than wound bass strings. I'm hoping to get the same results on the mandolin. For the little investment, I've ordered a set of FW74's. Looking forward to the experiment.
    Randy Leferink

    '95 Flatiron A5, Weber signed
    '07 Daley F5 Vintage, #59

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