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Oct 6, 2021 - 7:56:46 AM
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98 posts since 1/24/2016

I fool around with several instruments and ,actually, love them all.
I use GHS Silk and Bronze strings on my mandoins at present which (to me) gives a woodier, more mellow tone.
What strings on a banjo would do the saame, in your opinion? I don't see any silk and bronze strings for banjo. But quite honesetly I prefer the woodier more mellow tone rather than the shriller, brighter ring.
Thanks

Oct 6, 2021 - 8:14:48 AM
Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

4141 posts since 3/11/2004

You will likely hear from folks who use Aquila Nylgut strings to get a plunkier sound. I use them on my 19C banjos and like them a lot. Aquila seems to change the makeup of their strings fairly often. You could get some help from Bernunzio if you don't see it from other Hangout members.

Bernunzio Uptown Music

David

Oct 6, 2021 - 8:16:59 AM

22 posts since 1/7/2021

Have you tried nylon/nylgut or fluorocarbon ?

Definitely more mellow than steel. Maybe too much so, depending on your tastes.

Oct 6, 2021 - 8:22:07 AM

rmcdow

USA

1035 posts since 11/8/2014

I use gut strings, and like them better than the Aguila strings. It takes a bit of looking around to get a full set, and for the 4th string you will need to either use a 1mm gut or a 20 gauge wound on nylon string. Clifford Essex is a good start, and has a complete set of moisture resistant strings they sell.

cliffordessex.net/index.php?_a...ductId=16

Oct 6, 2021 - 9:09:07 AM

1648 posts since 2/9/2007

If you switch to non-metal strings, you'll also want to change your bridge.

You also might be able to get the tone you want by changing just the bridge, and not the strings.

Oct 6, 2021 - 10:22:59 AM

cmic

France

199 posts since 4/17/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Gellert

If you switch to non-metal strings, you'll also want to change your bridge.

You also might be able to get the tone you want by changing just the bridge, and not the strings.


Do you mind elaborate about this. Which bridge is "softer" or "Mellower ?

Oct 6, 2021 - 10:27:43 AM

919 posts since 3/23/2006

I use gut strings on my Bowling 1851 model. Because I like to play it with fiddlers, I use gauges that can be tuned to open G, like the Clifford Essex set, rather than traditional lower tunings. I also use a 1" plain wooden bridge appropriately cut for the larger diameters of the strings. Unlike the Clifford Essex set (that I'm going to try), I have a gut 4th string. With its skin head, the banjo is very mellow and woody.

Oct 6, 2021 - 12:35:17 PM

374 posts since 1/23/2015

GHS has a phosphor bronze set that has a nice mellow tone. Elixr does as well, I believe

Oct 6, 2021 - 12:45:17 PM

1648 posts since 2/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by cmic
quote:
Originally posted by Dan Gellert

If you switch to non-metal strings, you'll also want to change your bridge.

You also might be able to get the tone you want by changing just the bridge, and not the strings.


Do you mind elaborate about this. Which bridge is "softer" or "Mellower ?


Very broadly, a heavier bridge will tend to make the sound softer and less edgy, but every possible variation in a bridge's shape, size, or material will have some effect upon the response and sound of the banjo, and of course it's all dependent on the bridge's interaction with the innumerable variables in the particular banjo's construction and setup, as well as the player's technique and preferences.....     

Search the forums for "bridge design" or something like that. It's one of those perennial subjects for experimentation and discussion (argument?) among us banjo geeks. 

Oct 6, 2021 - 12:52:36 PM

2057 posts since 2/4/2013

I use a bridge with a thicker top. I guess it's heavier but it does make things more mellow. Along with medium strings (10-12-16-23-10).

Oct 6, 2021 - 2:35:55 PM

4190 posts since 10/13/2005

I like the heavier Sampson bridges for mellowing out the tone. Right now Elderly has a good selection of them which they don't always have. banjered

Oct 7, 2021 - 3:27 AM
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Bill H

USA

1763 posts since 11/7/2010

I agree with the idea of a bridge having more influence over tone than strings. I have Sampson bridges (recommended by Banjered) on several banjos with nylon strings. The concept of tone and sound is a very personal and subjective quality. Strings certainly are part of it, but head material and tension and bridge are major influencers. Most banjo players experiment with different bridges, strings and heads until they find just what they like--which is likely never, so the experimentation is ongoing and never ending for many of us.

Oct 8, 2021 - 6:04:31 AM

R Buck

USA

3017 posts since 9/5/2006

I tend to like Sampson bridges made of walnut. They tend to be heavy and come in several designs. Then I use GHS PF-160 strings for their heft. Also finding that sweet spot on the head tension helps too. All part of the art.

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