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"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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September 20, 2005 | Electric Five-Strings

Electric Five-String Mando Options: String Selection

If you've recently acquired a Five String Mandolin, it won't be long you're going to be thinking about replacement strings. We are a very small market, so there really isn't much choice out there outside of custom sets.

This isn't a huge problem in that there is not a lot of consensus what is "standard" in gauging, so you might end up purchasing single electric guitar strings (assuming ball end) and making your own set.

However, there is a cheaper option. Consider starting out with a six-string pack of electric strings, throw away the G-string, and your going to come pretty close. At the "economy of scale" of a larger market (electric guitar players) and it is well worth throwing away one of the strings out of the six to come up with a decent compromise. (Your unwound strings are the cheapest ones, anyway, or you could use it to slice cheese...)

For example, our favorite solution is a set of JS-110 Thomastik Electric Guitar Flatwound:

.018w (throw away...)

Nice warm tone, dig the smooth flatwound feel. Good harmonic fundamental in the low side. Sounds great on our Mann Electric 5-string, but we tend to favor flatwounds on all our mandos, including the acoustics.

Head to the store and try your own. Want a beefier C string? No problem, move up in gauging on the whole set, or just buy a single. Either way, this will get you started toward the perfect string set-up for you!

Posted by Ted at September 20, 2005 2:26 PM

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