Cittern new strings

Cittern new strings

Need new strings for my 24 fret Ashbury as they are not staying in pitch as I move up the frets. It is tuned GDADA. What gauge strings do I need please.?
Also, can you get strings without the ‘O’ brass ring at the end.? I want simple hook on ends as those rings get in the way.

Re: Cittern new strings

head to the mandolin cafe forums (search the general, repair and CBOM forums, if cannot find answer, ask in the repair or CBOM forums): https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum

likely answers you will see: ask the maker of your cittern, use a string tension calculator, juststrings.com and “email Rob Meldrum to get his free setup guide”.

Re: Cittern new strings

most strings sold are ball-end guitar strings. you are looking for loop-end strings. many people buy ball-end strings and remove the balls (check mandolin cafe forums for the many discussions. i remove the balls by crushing them with big pliers).

Re: Cittern new strings

If you google “string tension calculator” you will find a number of different websites that can work out the “ideal” string gauge for a given pitch and length.

The stringsdirect.co.uk website have a useful service where you can request an arbitrary set of specific strings (including loop ends) and they will create a custom link for you to be able to reorder as necessary - mine is here:

https://www.stringsdirect.co.uk/strings-c1/string-sets-c865/custom-gauge-sets-c889/folk-world-c894/calum-galleitch-custom-gauge-11-53-acoustic-cittern-strings-p15452

(This set is ball ends, for a converted acoustic, so don’t buy these!)

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Re: Cittern new strings

In looking at photos on the web, it looks as though the Ashbury has a floating bridge. It’s possible that your bridge moved when you were stringing it up, and that would cause the intonation issues.

The way to figure this out is to play each string at the 12th fret, and then play the harmonic at the 12th fret and compare them. If the fretted string is sharper than the harmonic, the bridge needs to move toward the tailpiece. (This is the most likely scenario, where re-stringing or even just tuning strings up can slowly pull a floating bridge toward the head stock).

So if you compare all of the strings, and the fretted note is consistently flat or sharp compared to the harmonic, then you’ll need to move your bridge a bit. The way to do that is to loosen all the strings a fair amount, but not so much that they’re floppy. Then the strings will help hold the bridge as you gently slide it whichever direction it needs to go. (It probably has a compensated bridge, so it will probably still be pretty close to perpendicular to the strings). You want to move it just a few millimeters at a time. Tune back up and check it. Rinse and repeat…

Another reason for this might be that your neck angle has changed, which would be easy to spot if your action is higher (or lower) than it used to be. And moving the bridge a bit can help with keeping it in tune until you get a chance to get the neck looked at…

If you’re using a string tension calculator, your best bet is to try to find gauges that have all the strings as close to the same tension as possible. On my citterns, my preference was always right around 22# of tension on each string… If your strings are wildly different tensions, the higher tension strings will sharpen more than the lower tension strings when you bend the string to reach the frets. (It’s also true that thicker strings will sharpen more than thin strings at the same tension, but that’s generally what a compensated bridge is for…)

Re: Cittern new strings

“i remove the balls by crushing them with big pliers” - yikes 🙂 I am going to be extra polite to mandocello8 from this moment forward.

Re: Cittern new strings

Hobgoblin have loop end Cittern strings at £16 or so.