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Thread: Monroe's strings

  1. #1

    Default Monroe's strings

    Please forgive me if this has been covered a lot already.
    I'm wondering what string brand/gauges Bill M. used. I imagine that for a lot of his career he used anything and everything that was free or cheap, and didn't pay much attention to it.
    But after he became the icon that he is, did he settle on any one brand or set of gauges?
    What made me think of this is that I recently changed from the D'Addario EJ75s to the same brand with the .11 high string (instead of the .115). To my ears the lighter high string sounds more Monroe-ish. (Disclaimer: I have no illusions of ever playing at anything but a mediocre level.)
    I'm guessing the heavier set wasn't available back then, though of course he could have made up a custom set to suit his preferences.
    The lighter E string just seems to have more of that "urgent" (for want of a better word) tone (think of his Dusty Miller recording) than the heavier string. Of course the set of hands doing the playing is the big factor, not the set of strings. But I'm curious.
    Any thoughts/knowledge on this?
    Thanks - bgpete

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    Remember on some mandolins a heavier string may dampen the top. Your mandolin may like the lighter string. Seems like you do and that's what matters.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    I have gone back and forth between j74s and j75s for years. Currently I am on a j74 kick. The 75s give a more explosive pop and rapid note decay which is awesome. The 74s are more resonant and also sound awesome. Not sets have great volume. I think the heavier gauge stiffens the top which accounts for the discernible sound difference on my mandolin.
    It doesn't matter . . . I'm going to WINFIELD!!!!!

  5. #4

    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    Thanks for the input, pops1 and goose 2. I'm thinking I do like the tone of the lighter set better, but wonder if I lose significant volume. When we get out of this quarantine thing I want to get someone to play my mando (Red Diamond Vintage '22) at me with one gauge, then the other, to see if I can hear a difference from the front. Might be a while yet! Stay safe, y'all.

  6. #5
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    Gibson makes a signature set....

    https://www.stringsandbeyond.com/gibimophbrwo.html
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  7. #6

    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    Thanks, Charles E. I knew those existed, have been around for a while, no? I wonder whether Bill M. ever used them.

  8. #7
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    Past discussion.....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...did-Monroe-Use

    Looks like you hit it in the first part of your query.

    Post #21 is quite telling.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  10. #8

    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    Thank you Charles E.! Look how old that thread is - nearly 18 years! Answers a lot of my questions, from folks who would have the real scoop.
    I saw Monroe on stage many times, and more than once he did complain about what condition his mandolin was in. Just a tool to him!
    Anyway - I think we can put this one to rest, at least for another 18 years or so.
    Thanks to all repliers.

  11. #9
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    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    Quote Originally Posted by bgpete View Post
    Thanks for the input, pops1 and goose 2. I'm thinking I do like the tone of the lighter set better, but wonder if I lose significant volume. When we get out of this quarantine thing I want to get someone to play my mando (Red Diamond Vintage '22) at me with one gauge, then the other, to see if I can hear a difference from the front. Might be a while yet! Stay safe, y'all.
    bgpete if you go into your bathroom and face the mirror or play into a corner you can get a good representation of what your mandolin sounds like in front of you.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Note that these are out of stock.
    So far as I know, Gibson stopped offering mandolin strings several years ago.
    I'm not sure why these are still listed on the Strings and Beyond website.

  13. #11

    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    Thanks, pop1 - I do that pretty often, though I'm old enough so that actually looking in the mirror is getting dangerous! I'm afraid that when I do comparisons that way, I play in such a way to confirm my preconceptions, conscious or not. I've always found it interesting and often surprising to hear other folks play my instruments.

  14. #12

    Default Re: Monroe's strings

    Re the old thread - I bought a junker mando a number of years back, and in the pocket of the original case I found a bunch of old Gibson individual mandolin strings, and an old orange Gibson string box (empty) - all in great condition and apparently untouched for maybe 60-odd years! Like finding buried treasure! I gave them to a friend who has a fine collection of old bluegrass artifacts. Speaking of which - I'm still looking for one of those Curly Ray Cline keychains - I'll pay big bucks for one!

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