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 How often do you replace your mandolin strings?

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EndIf

United States
5 posts
since 1/2/11

03/10/2011 12:41:49 Reply with Quote

I change out banjo every couple of weeks or so, depending on how much I play. I change out fiddle about every six months to a year, depending on strings, playtime, etc. How long do mando strings last? How often do you change out your mando strings? Thanks!

Gerry Cassidy

148 posts since 1/4/11

03/10/2011 12:59:27 Reply with Quote

Same as you mention for your other instruments: It depends on what kind of string, how much you're playing, preference, etc.

I used to like my strings to sound as bright as possible, so I'd use the standard D'Addario J series strings just like everyone else. I'd change them every month, on average.

Now, I like them to have a little thump and I use either the D'Add Flat Tops, or actual flatwounds and I will leave them on until they start getting hard to keep in tune.

Again, that will happen based on how much I'm playing. I would say that could be anywhere from 3-5(maybe 6) months.


Edited by - Gerry Cassidy on 03/10/2011 13:00:19

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UsuallyPickin

United States
222 posts since 12/26/10

03/10/2011 13:16:05 Reply with Quote

If you are wondering if it is time to change strings it probably is. Strings deteriorate from use and moisture in the air and case. Fiddle strings last longer than mando guitar or banjo strings which is good because they're several times as expensive. Change them as often as you want, and can afford to. The kicker is always when they no longer stay in tune properly you really need to change them...... tonal properties disappear before this happens so sooner is really better... polymerized strings do last longer if you can find a brand you like they can be worth the expense..... R/

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Aaron Hardebeck

15 posts since 2/21/11

03/10/2011 14:28:12 Reply with Quote

The same set of strings can be used for years, depending again how much they are used. It's really a matter of personal preference. Some don't mind old strings, and will continue to beat on that same old set until It's hard to distinguish the difference between two different notes. But as for myself, I just can't stand old strings. I prefer to change mine at least every six or eight weeks. Any longer than this and tone, volume, and resonance really start to decrease. Again all this is entirely dependant upon the brand of strings, the instrument being played, the amount of wear and tear on the strings, etc. So all this might be irrelevent. Anyway, Just my opinion.

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TSSNPlayers Union Member

United States
685 posts since 1/3/11

03/10/2011 14:49:33View TSSN's MP3 Archive View TSSN's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by Gerry Cassidy
Again, that will happen based on how much I'm playing. I would say that could be anywhere from 3-5(maybe 6) months.



That's about typical for me also.

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Weber F

United States
27 posts since 12/31/10

03/10/2011 15:39:02 Reply with Quote

I think that as your playing improves you are more inclined to change them more often. I went to a workshop once with Alan Bibey he said he has chaged his after on an hour or two of playing time. Probably helps if a string company is providing strings also.

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jazzrambler

United States
74 posts since 1/3/11

03/10/2011 16:36:51View jazzrambler's MP3 Archive View jazzrambler's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Some people, luckily not me, have a chemical ability to eat strings in a short time. I can play strings for a long time, months. My friend Steve, has to change his strings after every gig.

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SDenizen

United States
47 posts since 12/31/10

03/10/2011 17:01:15 Reply with Quote

I generally use J-74's and I replace them every couple of months. I average an hour or so a day practice.

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un5trung

145 posts since 12/26/10

03/10/2011 18:27:44 View un5trung's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I change my strings when they need to be changed. Sounds simplistic but it makes sense -- look at the variables that necessitate string changes:
* amount of play time
* type of music being played
* the age and condition of the instrument
* quality of the strings
* play conditions (humidity, cleanliness of hands, etc)

And there are probably more. Most of tha variables, week, vary. During a few month period I may play guitar more than mandolin or one mandolin more than another. One of my mandos is a vintage Gibson and another is a new National resonator. It's a dry northeast winter now (except for the last few days of straight rain) but will be a humid summer soon.

Take all these conditions together and in one case I may change strings after a few weeks or not for half a year. I've had the National almost a year and just changed strings for the first time a few weeks ago. About the same tie I changed the strings on my National guitar twice within few weeks.

At some point the strings begin to sound flat to me. My wife can't tell the difference, but themshe can't tell when I change tunings! Then again I may be imagining it. But whe I've restrung an instrument it feels like it does after I've brushed my teeth -- fresh and bright and clean. And foe the record I never wait six months between teeth brushings!

Finally I'd note that when this topic came up in the banjo hangout people seemed to be in a competition for hoe long they could take between changes. "I haven't changed my strings in seven years!," then the next person would claim 9 years etc. Very odd, I thought.

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EndIf

United States
5 posts since 1/2/11

03/10/2011 19:26:00 Reply with Quote

Thanks to everyone. This has been very helpful. Ballpark sounds about halfway between banjo and fiddle, depending on playtime, chemistry, etc. Un5trung, I can't even imagine a 7 year old banjo string..it'd be like trying to tune chicken wire

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Tom Andre

United States
7 posts since 1/4/11

03/12/2011 10:51:59 Reply with Quote

About 6-8 months is average for EXP74s. I like the dry sound that old strings give me more than the bright new sound. Just personal preference.

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PaulR

Canada
87 posts since 12/28/10

03/12/2011 21:48:37 View PaulR's Photo Albums View PaulR's Blog Reply with Quote

It depends. I had a long layoff where I hardly ever picked up the mandolin (same thing with banjo). So it was time to change strings pretty much from the time I started playing again. When I notice a real "thumpy" or dull/dead sound I'll change again. Since the tone I'm getting now isn't as "woody" or warm as I'd like (has a lot to do with the instrument), it will be a while before I change. I'm more particular about the sound of my guitar strings - I like new strings, although my L'Arrivee guitars sound good even with dead strings. Changing banjo strings has had more to do with adjustments and repairs that have been done recently, and with experimenting with tone. The weather is also a factor. If it's a humid summer, I suspect I'll be changing strings on all the instruments.

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un5trung

145 posts since 12/26/10

03/13/2011 09:00:39 View un5trung's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Another thing comes to mind: events. I changed my guitar strings before a workshop w/ Woody Mann a few weeks back, and today I'll be chaining my mando strings in anticipation of a workshop w/ Steve Kaufman later this week. If I gigged regularly I imagine I'd cha be strings more often.

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Gerry Cassidy

148 posts since 1/4/11

03/13/2011 10:30:33 Reply with Quote

I think we are seeing the same trend that we see on every topic that has to do with how we do stuff: It depends on who you are and how you like doing things.

As always, it seems the best way to do it: As you see fit.

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un5trung

145 posts since 12/26/10

03/13/2011 10:46:40 View un5trung's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:

As always, it seems the best way to do it: As you see fit.


Right, and we could leave it at that, but the point of the the discussion is to hear what other people do and why, either out of curiosity or in the hopes of learning something new.

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Mandolin Ant

United States
289 posts since 12/27/10

03/14/2011 10:20:08 View Mandolin Ant's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I like my J-74's to be bright also, but then again, after playing them for a few days that "too bright" sounds mellows out and they start to sound real nice. I think they are best from after being on about a week to somewhere around the 4th or 5th week depending on moisture, frequency of use, etc. I usually change 'em about every month and half.

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TI_USER

United States
382 posts since 1/8/11

03/18/2011 05:33:33 View TI_USER's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I used to use GHS silk and steels and changed them once a month on average with regular playing. Now I've been using flatwound strings (Thomastik) for the last 14 years and I only change them about once a year. I could probably go longer but the lower frets start to dig into the string winding and I start having intonation issues. Otherwise, they never sound any different.

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DaddyJ

United States
71 posts since 1/5/11

03/18/2011 06:01:52 Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by un5trung

Another thing comes to mind: events. I changed my guitar strings before a workshop w/ Woody Mann a few weeks back, and today I'll be chaining my mando strings in anticipation of a workshop w/ Steve Kaufman later this week. If I gigged regularly I imagine I'd cha be strings more often.

Same here - usually it's before a contest or performance, which are irregular events for me. Realistically, I probably only change mine 4 times a year.

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devilsbox

United States
4 posts since 1/21/11

04/07/2011 10:31:32 Reply with Quote

They need to be changed?   smiley

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Charley Wild

United States
59 posts since 12/25/10

04/08/2011 18:35:57 View Charley Wild's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by SDenizen

I generally use J-74's and I replace them every couple of months. I average an hour or so a day practice.

 This is about my take on strings. Most any set. I play an hour or two a day. I change about every couple months. I may be able to get more out of some sets depending on the type but I figure in two months they have payed for themselves, I'm had no problems tuning or otherwise,  I don't want any so I change them out. It's not that big a deal. But I don't use the expensive types either. smiley

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