Visit Banjo Studio

 All Forums
 Other Banjo-Related Topics
 Banjo Building, Setup, and Repair
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Who Makes Gibson Strings?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link.

Bobw - Posted - 09/15/2007:  12:20:13


Does anyone know who makes strings for Gibson.....or do they make their own? I've been using Gibson Earl Scruggs Signature Mediums: 10-12-14-22-10. I love the way they sound on my Banjo, but they are a little pricey. I can't seem to find this exact combination of sizes pre-packed from D'Addario or GHS. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Bob


Edited by - Bobw on 09/17/2007 17:58:54

Cabin_Hill - Posted - 09/15/2007:  13:18:32


Try American Made Banjo. They have Cryo strings in lots of sizes.

www.americanmadebanjo.com


Rbretro5 - Posted - 09/15/2007:  13:58:30


"Stelling" offers a fine line of strings also. Avail in bulk if needed.

"Don't count your chickens until you get them in the boat" - Dad

"Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any direction" - Cowboy Logic

desert rose - Posted - 09/15/2007:  21:59:07


To answer your question

Gibson makes Gibson strings

Scott

flake - Posted - 09/16/2007:  03:32:32


10 12 14 22 10......Black Diamond Lights. I used them for years and loved them.


mike

Bobw - Posted - 09/16/2007:  10:07:03


Thanks Mike & Scott. Isn't it funny how two companies can sell the exact same set of string sizes and one calls them Light and the other calls them Medium?

Bob

kenhunt - Posted - 09/17/2007:  18:20:51


Bob,

Are you buying your stings local, or buying online? Lots of online stores give bulk discounts.

Ken

"I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee." (seriously, I really do!)

stanger - Posted - 09/17/2007:  23:55:08


Hi, Bob...
If you buy a box at a time, you may be able to get your Scruggs strings at a substantial discount. Like Scott said, Gibson makes their own strings, and has for a very long time. They do have a distinct feel all their own.

To all you other guys... thanks for answering Bob's question.
regards,
Stanger

"Sometimes I like green shade, and sometimes I like dry shade"

FXHERE - Posted - 09/18/2007:  08:34:27


First Quality has single strings from different makers and you can build the sets you like..good prices also--Doug

No such thing as a bad sounding banjo

rwkuta - Posted - 09/18/2007:  12:15:03


There is one manufacturer that makes most of the strings for most of the string companies. I read here at the BHO that Gibson does not make their own strings. I am not really sure if this is true but a BHOer said it and it camt be wrong..... Each string company gives the manufacturer their specific formula for their strings and the manufacturer takes it from there. There was just a thread a couple ofweeks ago regarding this. I forgot the name of the manufacturing company though.

"Obsession is a great subsitute for talent" Steve Martin

http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists...5033&alid=-1


Edited by - rwkuta on 09/18/2007 12:17:06

flake - Posted - 09/18/2007:  13:59:49


Mapes is one company that has been making string for a lot of people for a lot of years. Click on the following link, then click on the hyper-link labeled Specialty Wire to find out just who

http://www.mapeswire.com/


mike

rwkuta - Posted - 09/18/2007:  15:03:46


quote:


Mapes is one company that has been making string for a lot of people for a lot of years.
quote:



Thanks Flake......that's the company

"Obsession is a great subsitute for talent" Steve Martin

http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists...5033&alid=-1

ZEPP - Posted - 09/18/2007:  15:39:05


10, 12,14, 22, 10 are Ome mediums, Stelling mediums, Martin Bluegrass mediums, Black Diamond lights, GHS PF-150 (phosphor bronze 4th), and GHS PF-130 (ball end).

Please see http://zeppmusic.com/banjo_string_gauges.pdf for a compilation of the more common string set gauges.

Cheers,
ZEPP


* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *

stanger - Posted - 09/18/2007:  15:58:46


quote:
Originally posted by rwkuta

There is one manufacturer that makes most of the strings for most of the string companies. I read here at the BHO that Gibson does not make their own strings. I am not really sure if this is true but a BHOer said it and it camt be wrong..... Each string company gives the manufacturer their specific formula for their strings and the manufacturer takes it from there. There was just a thread a couple ofweeks ago regarding this. I forgot the name of the manufacturing company though.

"Obsession is a great subsitute for talent" Steve Martin

http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists...5033&alid=-1



Hi, rw...
If Gibson quit making strings, it must have been recent. I know for a fact that they were still making their strings in house in 2004, and I can't imagine why they would quit, as their MonoSteel strings, which were super popular back in the day, were very successful when Gibson re-introduced them in 2002. They were selling more strings than ever afterwards.

In 2003, Gibson introduced their own long-lifed acoustic guitar strings to compete with the Goretex dipped competition. The Gibson strings were made without the dip, but used a special process which drove all moisture out of the process... apparently, the process achieved the same thing as the Gortex.
regards,
Stabger

"Sometimes I like green shade, and sometimes I like dry shade"

Bobw - Posted - 09/18/2007:  16:33:10


Mike,

I followed the "specialty wire" link on Mapes and it said that they sold wire "used in the manufacture" of strings. So......does this mean that Mapes makes the strings or just the raw materials? Now I am really confused. Though.....it don't take much

Bob

Joe Jakonczuk - Posted - 09/18/2007:  16:36:10


GHS PF150s are those dimensions. That's all I use now. I didn't know Gibson owned wire extruders, heat treating, and cleaning equipment. Or the winding equipment for the wound strings. Thanks, I didn't know that.


Edited by - Joe Jakonczuk on 09/18/2007 16:40:39

rexhunt - Posted - 09/18/2007:  18:02:56


I beleive Mapes and possible a another one or two make the raw wire. The various string companies apply the windings and the loop or ball end. Stanger should know about Gibson but do they actually manufacture the raw piano wire as well?

Rex

Cabin_Hill - Posted - 09/18/2007:  18:47:00


You can buy the Cryo strings in the PF150 size also. More for your dollar in the long run.

stanger - Posted - 09/18/2007:  20:29:30


quote:
Originally posted by Bobw

Mike,

I followed the "specialty wire" link on Mapes and it said that they sold wire "used in the manufacture" of strings. So......does this mean that Mapes makes the strings or just the raw materials? Now I am really confused. Though.....it don't take much

Bob



Hi, Bob...
Yes. Mapes supplies big spools of wire to most of the string makers, who then wind them. Mapes also supplies most of the wire used for piano strings, which constitues a large share of their business. The wire is drawn through dies to very specific gauges, so it is not a 'raw material' situation. I don't know if GHS, Mario and D'Dario buys spools from Mapes. Those 3 companies make most of the strings that are sold as finished sets under a huge number of different brands.

Mapes makes large quantities of finished goods as well. They have always been a major supplier of finished piano strings to the industry. Mapes guitar strings were a staple of the early bluegrass guitar players- heavy as all get-outs, but they lasted and really made a lot of old Martins go boom, boom, boom. Mapes strings also played a probable roll in the necessity of neck resets on a lot of those old Martins, too. Lotsa tension!

Regards,
Stanger

"Sometimes I like green shade, and sometimes I like dry shade"

Bobw - Posted - 09/19/2007:  07:41:13


Thanks for all the great information guys! I am getting an education.

So....what does all this mean?

That there really is not a major difference in string brands?
That gauge/material is more important than brand?

This was the reason for my question in the first place and why I wanted to see if I could get the same strings through another less expensive brand name.

Buy the way Stanger, Mapes does suply both GHS & D'Addario.


tonehead - Posted - 09/19/2007:  08:16:29


http://www.mapeswire.com/specialtywire.html

Looks like they make strings for lots of folks.


Play it like you mean it.

Joe Jakonczuk - Posted - 09/19/2007:  09:32:31


Didn't someone send their equipment to Mexico and then added the Darco brand to their line?

rickr - Posted - 09/19/2007:  10:07:54


The last information i had (ten years ago)
Gibsons string manufacturing facility is in
a suburb of Chicago Ill. and is a independant,
but wholly owned subsidary of Gibson..

Rick

John Gribble - Posted - 09/19/2007:  10:28:51


Martin makes some (but I don't think all) their strings in Mexico. Darco used to be an independent maker. Maritin bought the company in the late 60s or early 70s and pretty much let the brand die. Now they are using the name for a budget line of strings. I came across a set of Darco banjo strings made in Mexico recently, but they are not listed in the current Martin string catalogue

John Gribble
Tokyo, Japan

desert rose - Posted - 09/19/2007:  10:39:58


The Gibson string factory is still running strong no change, they also make the Gibson electric guitar pickups there and other accessorys

Mapes is the major but not exclussive supplyer of music wire in the United State and does make finished strings as well as was mentioned

The major string makers in the US that supply 95% of all strings of all brands are

Vinci, Mapes, GHS, DAddario, Fender, A number of small makers like DR, John Pearse, Darco Gibson that make for their own use

And LOTS of brands like Snuffy Smith Huber etc that keep the oem makers in business

Scott

I worked in the Fender string factory for a short while and learned string making, and the lay of the land in the industry

geemott - Posted - 09/19/2007:  11:05:14


quote:
Originally posted by Bobw
So....what does all this mean?
That there really is not a major difference in string brands?
That gauge/material is more important than brand?


Being in the manufacturing business (not strings or musical instruments, just mfg in general) I would hasten to point out that just because it's made by the same company doesn't mean it's the same string. A Ford Escort is not the same car as a Ford Mustang.

So just finding the maker of your fave strings won't necessarily find you an alternate source. But it might.

And having heard my banjo played by people who play better than me, I'd also hasten to point out, as Johnnie Cochran might say "It ain't how it'smade, it's how it's played."


GeeMott
"Sir, music played on the banjo is like a dog walking on its hinder legs. It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all." --Sam'l Johnson (not the famous one).

Bobw - Posted - 09/19/2007:  14:04:55


Thanks again to all for the great input. So.....what I think I have learned is:

1.The string wire basically is all supplied by the 1 or 2 makers
2. All the string mfg's do is apply a loop or ball end or in the case of the 4th string, the winding.

Outside of the fourth string, it's hard to see where a manufacturer can greatly affect the quality of the wire. It should all be fairly standard.

Would that be a fair conclusion?

rwkuta - Posted - 09/19/2007:  17:37:26


quote:

Hi, rw...
If Gibson quit making strings, it must have been recent. I know for a fact that they were still making their strings in house in 2004, and I can't imagine why they would quit, as their MonoSteel strings, which were super popular back in the day, were very successful when Gibson re-introduced them in 2002. They were selling more strings than ever afterwards.
quote:



I sit corrected Stanger....you are right about Gibson Strings. As my post stated I was repeating what another string thread said about Mapes Wire. As you know BHOers are the smartest people in the world so I assumed what I had read was true.......

I am shocked that I got some bad info here at the BHO....first time that has happened


"Obsession is a great subsitute for talent" Steve Martin

http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists...5033&alid=-1

geemott - Posted - 09/20/2007:  11:41:17


quote:
Originally posted by Bobw

Thanks again to all for the great input. So.....what I think I have learned is:

1.The string wire basically is all supplied by the 1 or 2 makers
2. All the string mfg's do is apply a loop or ball end or in the case of the 4th string, the winding.

Outside of the fourth string, it's hard to see where a manufacturer can greatly affect the quality of the wire. It should all be fairly standard.

Would that be a fair conclusion?


Again, not necessarily. Metallurgy is a weird and wonderful science. It may be that Mapes makes only one kind of (for example) 0.0095" wire, but I doubt it. Probably they offer a variety of price/quality/material tradeoffs, and probably they won't divulge who buys which. There are many kinds of steel, and many kinds of bronze, and so on.

Beyond that, each string maker may (besides looping the end) coat the string, or freeze it, etc. They may do a stringent quality control check and sell the duds to some other string maker. Or they may let it sit on the loading dock for a month and let it get rusty. And their markups may be way out of proportion to the value added.

Pay yer money and take yer chance.

GeeMott
"Sir, music played on the banjo is like a dog walking on its hinder legs. It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all." --Sam'l Johnson (not the famous one).

stanger - Posted - 09/20/2007:  11:55:35


quote:
Originally posted by Bobw

Thanks again to all for the great input. So.....what I think I have learned is:

1.The string wire basically is all supplied by the 1 or 2 makers
2. All the string mfg's do is apply a loop or ball end or in the case of the 4th string, the winding.

Outside of the fourth string, it's hard to see where a manufacturer can greatly affect the quality of the wire. It should all be fairly standard.

Would that be a fair conclusion?





Hi, Bob...
Not exactly.
Mapes doesn't make the steel wire stock. The steel itself mostly comes from Sweden, where musical instrument steel wire was invented, and the patent is closely guarded.
The Swedes make many different musical wires.

Mapes buys spools as big as cable spools. It sells spools about 2 12' in diameter to the string makers. These spools are small enough to be handled by one string worker, and they fit on the winding machines.
The string makers have different methods of tensioning the wire, polishing it, annealing it (which adds flexibility), etc. They also have Mapes provide them with differering alloys.

The wire has to be stretched coming off the spool before any winding happens, as well.

There are lots of steps, and each company does things their way. The differences in strings is very real.
regards,
Stanger

"Sometimes I like green shade, and sometimes I like dry shade"

Bobw - Posted - 09/20/2007:  12:34:53


Think I got it now. Thanks to all who responded for their great info.

Bob

Possom - Posted - 09/20/2007:  14:25:14


i picked up a set of light gibson scruggs signatures for 11 bucks i didnt think that was too bad

www.myspace.com/possomking

rexhunt - Posted - 09/20/2007:  16:54:24


quote:
Originally posted by Possom

i picked up a set of light gibson scruggs signatures for 11 bucks i didnt think that was too bad

www.myspace.com/possomking


Surlely you jest! Gibsons are a little pricy but you should be able to get them for under 5.

Rex

Bobw - Posted - 09/21/2007:  21:29:15


On line they are under $5 but then add shipping. In this neck of the woods at your local music store they run about $6.95. GHS or D'Addario about $3.95.

$11? I think Possum is pulling our legs.


Edited by - Bobw on 09/21/2007 21:32:12

SlowPockets - Posted - 09/21/2007:  21:38:50


quote:
Originally posted by Possom

i picked up a set of light gibson scruggs signatures for 11 bucks i didnt think that was too bad

www.myspace.com/possomking



You think that's something my fiddle strings retail at $64.00. Banjo strings are a steal, although you don't have to change them out every month and you can get them wholesale for about $22.00, but that's still a chunk to lay down.

/ We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread already in progress.

stanger - Posted - 09/22/2007:  02:07:48


I buy strings a box at a time, and right now, I'm burning right through a box I bought just a couple of months ago!
I can't play on dead strings and be happy, and I've been playing my banjos in rotation again, dang it. I should just stick to one, but I can't.
regards,
Stanger

"Sometimes I like green shade, and sometimes I like dry shade"



Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!




You are not logged in.
Log In


Not a member? Create an Account (FREE!)



4487 BANJO LOVERS ONLINE

HOME | FORUMS | MEMBERS | MEDIA ARCHIVE | TABS & LESSONS | CLASSIFIEDS | REVIEWS | LINKS | CALENDAR | STORE | TERMS OF USE