Strings

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Strings

Postby Fox Paws » Tue Apr 23, 2002 9:55 pm

When I got a mountain dulcimer as a gift, I decided to change the somewhat dead strings. I used banjo strings. A copy of the book by Force and d'Ossche, In Search of the Wild Dulcimer, told me I could get away with that, and it works. (The book is terrific by the way.) Using banjo strings doesn't strike me as ideal, though. I've seen that Martin makes some strings and I know that some are available on the internet. What do most people do in this regard?
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string-y

Postby KenH » Wed Apr 24, 2002 11:15 am

For the dulcimers I sell, I use GHS brand Dulcimer string sets that I get by the dozen from Stew-Mac for about $2.25 per set. The gauges are .012, .012, .012, and .022. For my own use, I like the D'Addario brand Dulcimer strings with the slightly heavier mid-drone gauge string, they run about $4.50 per set (retail) from a local guitar shop. The gauges are .012, .012, .014, and .022. I have a set of Martin strings, but haven't tried them yet. If you buy single strings, the use (banjo/mandolin etc) isn't as important as the gauge, and whether the string has ball or loop ends.
Last edited by KenH on Wed Apr 24, 2002 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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squeakless?

Postby KenH » Fri Apr 26, 2002 11:58 am

Has anyone tried any of the several brands of strings which advertise as "squeakless"? This would be a real advantage on those wound Bass strings. Even the little 'finger dancing' that I do has sometimes objectionable squeak.
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strings

Postby kwl » Sat Apr 27, 2002 12:29 am

I've used a variety of strings from banjo to different dulcimer sets. I haven't tried the squeakless, but would interested in hearing from others who have. I put Darco strings on the dulcimers I make. They are made by C.F.Martin (the guitar company) in Mexico. They were made in Nazareth, PA, but with NAFTA moved south. I like to use the strings with the heavier middle string on the instruments I use for DAD tuning. The Darco's work fine for DAA.
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Postby clark » Thu Jul 25, 2002 9:51 pm

I have used Elixr poly web coated strings on my mandolin and they do reduce if not silence string squeak. Of course, I don't slide around on the mando like I do on the dulcimer, but if they are available for dulcimers would probably work until the coating wears off. For some, string squeak is just another part of the music, like pick slap. I may stand corrected, but I personally don't think there is any difference in a .012 dulcimer, banjo, guitar, ukelele, etc string. The lengths are different, some have ball ends, some loops, but a .012 silver plated steel string is a .012 silver plated steel string.
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strings

Postby Gail Knapp » Thu Jul 25, 2002 11:10 pm

I use Darco acoustic strings for the Dulcimer A set of 4 = .012,.012,.012 and a nickel alloy wound .022 I buy them mail order from Elderly Instruments for $1.60 per set. they are loop ends. I buy many sets at a time and they get here within 10 days. I use these on all the dulcimers that i build and all the ones that i play. My first handbuilt wooden dulcimer had banjo strings on it. I am really happy with the darco strings. And the price is great too and so is the service. GailK
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Postby jakstall » Fri Jul 26, 2002 9:17 am

I've used the Darco and GHS strings as well as McSpadden's and other packaged sets. Most of the time I use strings bought in bulk from Folkcraft. I can't really tell a difference among these. Either banjo and guitar strings in appropriate gauges will work fine. Be sure you know if you need loop or ball end strings, although some instruments can use either. I have never used the squeakless strings. I've known some guitar people who did use squeakless strings for the wound strings only and they do reduce or eliminate the squeaks. I use Fast Fret, which reduces the squeak some but does not eliminate it. As far as gauge goes, I've used a variety from 0.010 to 0.014 on the plain strings and 0.022-0.024 on the wounds. The 0.014 is a little heavy for the melody strings in DADD tuning and 0.010 seems a little light for the A strings in DAAA or DADD. Heavier strings will give a little more volume and punch. The lighter strings are a little easier for chording. One other word of caution. Most dulcimers seem to have similar active string lengths (distance between nut and bridge). If yours is significatnly different (more than 2-3") than a McSpadden or Folkcraft instrument (mentioned because they are common) you might need to adjust the string gauge a little from what I mentioned. The easiest thing there is to start with whatever gauges your builder used. You can then try other gauges to see what you like best. I have got to get a lfe! LOL! I just wrote a LONG note about string gauges! Rolled Eye
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strings

Postby Gail Knapp » Fri Jul 26, 2002 4:13 pm

Jakstall, You DO have a life--it is in the Dulcimer world now...get used to it and enjoy the ride!LOL! GailK
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Postby SMO » Mon Jul 29, 2002 8:22 am

I generally use the GHS banjo/tenor banjo/mandolyn strings. Most of my dulcimers have 12, 14, 24 gauges, but the 6-string has 12, 14, 26's.
Last edited by SMO on Mon Jul 29, 2002 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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