Ahh! the joy of new strings.

Ahh! the joy of new strings.

Just put new strings on the banjolin (also dismantled and cleaned throughout). Sounds like new. New strings on this, and on the mandolin just drop straight on and keep tune straightaway, and sound so good. Same when I oil the old flute - good as new.

What about you? Does a good clean and a new set of strings/reeds/pads etc fill you with joy? Or do some instruments take a time to settle and make re-stringing a necessary evil? Do you dread touching your instrument other than to play, in case you upset some delicate balance? Come! Tell us how it goes for you, and we will listen with sympathy and a serious demeanour.

Re: Ahh! the joy of new strings.

I’ve only been playing the banjo for a few years,whenever I got it (second hand) there was a lighter gauge of strings on it than are used for gdae,so with a little bit of trepidation and a lot of fear I started to restring it,after the first 2 HOURS I was nearly giving up and taking it back to the shop,but I eventually got there and it sounded 10 times better than what it did before.Still haven’t tried it again,though I will whenever I get a week of work.

Re: Ahh! the joy of new strings.

Heh, Dave, strikes me that your strings aren’t the only thing in the showaddydadtio household that have been ‘dismantled and cleaned throughout’ of late. Glad to hear the plumbing is in working order….

Fiddle strings always take some time to settle in, especially the synthetic core types I use. But my fiddle sounds better right away, probably because I’m cheap and I leave the old ones on till their tone is dead or the wrapping is peeling off in chunks.

Changing banjo strings results in a more subtle improvement, and I always end up tinkering with bridge placement and tailpiece angle, just to see if I can find an even sweeter sweet spot.

Flute—well, flute always sounds better the more I play it. Mine lives in a plastic, air-tight box when I’m not playing it, to keep the humidity as constant as possible (despite the desert I live in), so I don’t notice much change when I oil it. Of course, I also oil it frequently—a light buffing with a swatch of silk (from an old tie) and a drop of bore oil after every outing. The flute is fairly new, and the wood continues to soak up the oil, so I’ll go on oiling it. It recently went with me on a business trip to damp Ohio (where it was made, in fact, by Dave Copley), and it did sing out very nicely there.

Posted .

Re: Ahh! the joy of new strings.

Hey, Dave. Good to see you.

My wire harp restrings like an angel, no problems, takes about a half hour of playing and she’s good as new. My fiddle takes about 2 days to settle back in —- or half an hour if I do AEAE tuning for Shetlandtunes :p . My mountain dulcimer takes about 2 days also. My nylon harp I haven’t hadto restring yet (knock wood) so far. With the first three the improvement in tone makes the slight delay worthwhile.

But my psalteries, well. Different story entirely. The solid-body was strung (by the maker, not by me!) so one wire makes 2 strings. Consequently restringing is a real bear, and when i have to retune one string its neighbor needs tinkering also. I’ve considered simply restringing it so each string is a separate wire, but I’m afraid that will change its (lovely crystalline) tone. Since it also needs restringing only about once an eon, I’ve decided to live with it. The hollow-body, well, I’ve had it 3 years and it’s still not sure what the point is to staying in tune. I think it thinks it’s a hammer dulcimer. ;) (Q: How long does it take to tune a hammered dulcimer? A: Nobody knows.) Of course, if I just played it more often than about once a month, maybe it would start to behave better. Anyone want to pay me a salary to practice my instruments so I don’t have towork for a living? Harfharfharfharfharf.
Sara†

Re: Ahh! the joy of new strings.

JOKE

This has probably been around for ages…but I only just heard it.

How long does it take to tune a banjo?




NOBODY knows!
I apologise for this before you all get on at me. But it did make me laugh.

Name and address withheld.

Re: Ahh! the joy of new strings.

When I buy my Obligatos for fiddle, I put them on that day, and tune them up a semitone sharp, and leave the fiddle till the next day.

Then it sounds great, with only minimal tuning adjustments needed.

Jim

Re: Ahh! the joy of new strings.

As the owner of a guitar, mandolin and bouzouki, I have three sets of strings to monitor and maintain. But I seldom change them all at once, mainly because I seldom play the instruments with an equal frequency — I tend to use the guitar most, for example, and the mando the least.
One thing I’ve found somewhat helpful, actually, is that I write down the date of my previous string-change and stick it inside the case. While I can usually tell by listening whether it’s time to change strings, sometimes it actually helps (especially with the mando) if I have a reminder: "Wow, I’ve had this set on for a few months, and I’m going to be playing a lot in the next few weeks, so I’d better change."
I find changing the guitar strings to be generally easier and more satisfying on the whole than the other two instruments. There really is something quite fulfilling when you’ve got the fresh six on, and how crisp the chord changes and melody runs sound.

Posted by .

Re: Ahh! the joy of new strings.

A new A string for the viola should arrive this week. I’ve got Dominants on at the moment but am looking forward to a new A.
Hope you are feeling better yours worzel

Re: Ahh! the joy of new strings.

I just feel like seconding/thirding…. this.
And I didn’t feel a new thread was needed.
So thread necromancy it is:
Re-strung both my fiddle and viola after 12 months and wow. how they open up.

What’s your string hygiene routine?

Re: Ahh! the joy of new strings.

Two bouzoukis, three guitars, a cittern, a tenor banjo, two mandolins and a hammered dulcimer with 66 strings. All sitting in a room that’s above 40% humidity. Only three of the instruments get played a lot but even just sitting on their hooks on the wall (not the HD - I don’t want the wall to fall down), the humidity and the dust* from the humidifiers deteriorates the strings on all of the instruments. As much as I’d like to change strings on the fretted instruments every three or four weeks like my local luthier recommends, the cost would be prohibitive. The "change strings" moment is when they start becoming difficult to tune accurately due to wear or they start sounding too dull. I’m starting to buy strings in packs of 10 just to keep the cost down. FWIW, I’m using D’Addario phosphor bronze on most of the instruments and I buy them from one or two internet sources that have prices that are about 60% less than what I would pay locally.

I’m in Arizona, it takes three ultrasonic humidifiers just to keep the humidity at 40% even with one of those heavy plastic vapor barrier door thingies like you find at the back of the supermarket on the door of the room with the instruments. Though the humidifier instructions stipulate distilled water, I can’t afford that much distilled water so I just use filtered water and the remaining mineral content deposits as "dust" on everything. Not much choice. I’ve had instruments self-destruct in environments that are too dry.

Re: Ahh! the joy of new strings.

The dangers of MIAS I guess..