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Jul 11, 2020 - 6:56:41 PM
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FastR1Red

Australia

20 posts since 4/2/2020

I've just re-twanged my banjo with GHS PF145 Medium Light. I'd call it re-strung but is that the correct term LOL? I actually thought it sounded OK, I'm a real newb and only been playing just on 4 months now so I have no idea when the strings were last changed, I bought it (Epiphone MB250) as is, used and in a case. Being quite a newb, well hey it sounded great the more I practised. I guess it's just like listening to the sound of your own baby's cry.
Well anyway, I changed all the strings this morning, set the bridge/intonation using a tuner, and it sounds so different, really nice and twangy! With my extremely limited repertoire of 4 songs, the first thing I noticed was the huge amount of sustain. Also they sound hugely brighter, so I'm thinking the neighbours are going to start complaining.
Is that normal with new strings? (Not the neighbours but the twang and sustain?)

Jul 11, 2020 - 7:13:08 PM
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3859 posts since 10/13/2005
Online Now

Yes. After a week or so they'll settle out and stay the same until they don't, weeks to months depending upon your play. Then they start to sound dull/dead and it is time to replace them. banjered

Jul 11, 2020 - 7:38:57 PM

FastR1Red

Australia

20 posts since 4/2/2020

quote:
Originally posted by banjered

Yes. After a week or so they'll settle out and stay the same until they don't, weeks to months depending upon your play. Then they start to sound dull/dead and it is time to replace them. banjered


Ah ok thanks Tom. I thought maybe I'd put the wrong strings on. I bought 3 sets, all different, just for experimentation and learning.

Jul 11, 2020 - 8:10:23 PM
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10930 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by FastR1Red

I've just re-twanged my banjo with GHS PF145 Medium Light. . . . and it sounds so different, really nice and twangy!  . . . Is that normal with new strings?


New strings always make a difference. Especially if the old strings were starting to go.

PF145 has been my main set for close to 10 years now. Good choice.  Light with a .22  4th for more punch.

Jul 11, 2020 - 11:35:48 PM
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dabish

USA

1 posts since 7/11/2020

The GHS PF145 Medium Light is what I use as well... except I replace the 12 with an 11 on the 2nd string. Deering says I should use light gage on a Goodtime Americana, nevertheless, I love the 22 on the 4th string... Yes, they're very bright when new, sound good when mellowed as well.

Jul 12, 2020 - 5:09:29 AM
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pjfolino

Australia

652 posts since 9/20/2011

quote:
Originally posted by dabish

The GHS PF145 Medium Light is what I use as well... except I replace the 12 with an 11 on the 2nd string. Deering says I should use light gage on a Goodtime Americana, nevertheless, I love the 22 on the 4th string... Yes, they're very bright when new, sound good when mellowed as well.


Exactly same here! 12 on the 2nd a tad dull.

Jul 12, 2020 - 7:54 AM
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13102 posts since 10/30/2008

Pay close attention to the sound of these strings and figure how many days/weeks/months it takes for them to sound dead to you.

Personally, strings can last months and even years on my bluegrass banjos. Your skin chemistry has something to do with that as does the environment your banjo is in.

New strings always sound super bright for the first few days of playing in my experience. They also take a few days to settle in to hold pitch. I was playing in a pretty good band out of Boston 30+ years ago and one day I changed banjo strings right before a gig, and BOY did I get yelled at! The banjo was "jangly" and I was tuning constantly.

Usually, it's the 4th string that goes dead or thuddy the quickest, and forces a change of all the strings. Pay attention to your 4th string especially for your next change.

Jul 12, 2020 - 4:24:53 PM

FastR1Red

Australia

20 posts since 4/2/2020

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

Pay close attention to the sound of these strings and figure how many days/weeks/months it takes for them to sound dead to you.

Personally, strings can last months and even years on my bluegrass banjos. Your skin chemistry has something to do with that as does the environment your banjo is in.

New strings always sound super bright for the first few days of playing in my experience. They also take a few days to settle in to hold pitch. I was playing in a pretty good band out of Boston 30+ years ago and one day I changed banjo strings right before a gig, and BOY did I get yelled at! The banjo was "jangly" and I was tuning constantly.

Usually, it's the 4th string that goes dead or thuddy the quickest, and forces a change of all the strings. Pay attention to your 4th string especially for your next change.


All great things to know thank you everyone and Dick that's really good info too thank you.

I'd totally forgotten to put the string change in the diary, will do that now. It was jangly all weekend and settled down somewhat today and far easier to tune. The 4th string was so twangy it was coming up on both D4 and D3 on the tuner when I first installed it. It's now just settled on D3 and sounds a lot nicer (smoother) all over. My callouse is getting caught in the winding of the 4th now so I'll pop a bit of fret oil on it when I get back home (I brought it in to work for more practice as I'm the only one here)

I must be practicing to much but it sure puts a smile on my face.

Jul 13, 2020 - 9:07:49 AM
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72478 posts since 5/9/2007

When I put on new strings I tune them to pitch then go to the 22nd fret,get a finger under each string.
I then pull the string about 3/4 to1 inch up,away from the fretboard.
This flattens the tuned note which is then retuned.

Repeat this process until the string no longer goes out of tune when pulled up...usually around 4 pull/retunings.
This fully seats the loop ends and the peg windings to their final shape that would normally take some hours of playing and retuning.
This process also takes the "new" sound away and the banjo doesn't go out of tune from "settling".

Jul 13, 2020 - 3:44:25 PM
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FastR1Red

Australia

20 posts since 4/2/2020

quote:
Originally posted by steve davis

When I put on new strings I tune them to pitch then go to the 22nd fret,get a finger under each string.
I then pull the string about 3/4 to1 inch up,away from the fretboard.
This flattens the tuned note which is then retuned.

Repeat this process until the string no longer goes out of tune when pulled up...usually around 4 pull/retunings.
This fully seats the loop ends and the peg windings to their final shape that would normally take some hours of playing and retuning.
This process also takes the "new" sound away and the banjo doesn't go out of tune from "settling".


Thatnks Steve, I just saw a video on that too. Great idea and it worked.

The good thing is the banjo sounds great now, I'm very happy with the new strings and the banjo sounds happier too :)

Jul 15, 2020 - 8:14:17 PM
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5049 posts since 9/5/2006

i hate the sound of brand new strings on mine,,, as soon as i get mine on i tune to G sharp pick it for a few minutes,, then run over them with emery cloth top and bottom lightly and it takes that edge off that drives me nuts. then drop back to standard tuning.

Jul 16, 2020 - 9:15:23 AM

3981 posts since 10/18/2007

Your next leap in banjo sound: bridges.

Jul 16, 2020 - 3:30:54 PM

FastR1Red

Australia

20 posts since 4/2/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Cornflake

Your next leap in banjo sound: bridges.


Totally :) I have a few bridges here and put a snuffy smith on before I changed the strings. It made an improvement too. The old bridge had bowed in the centre quite a bit.

I really think this very average Epiphone MB250 sounds great now after the new bridge plus new strings, and I've adjusted the tailpiece and action to spec after reading all the great advice here. I don't think I'll to upgrade for some time, maybe when the right banjo comes along and I've earned enough stripes to play it. I have 3 in mind, Grundy, Stelling, or Gibson.

Jul 17, 2020 - 12:25:06 PM
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54 posts since 12/5/2015

I love new strings! I used to use the GHS PF145 as well. I don't remember why, but switched to DDarrio I use straight mediums. Always pre-stretch. Stretching (falling out of tune) will happen regardless..more so at the start of a string's life. Pre-stretching will lessen that.

Check your bridge frequently. A lot of tuning/playing will knock it slightly forward.

I like the Snuffy Smith III bridge for tone an base, I like Huber bridges for brightness and volume.

Have fun picking.

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