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Thread: Question for Thomastik strings users

  1. #1
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    Default Question for Thomastik strings users

    I have had these strings on a few days and absolutely love them. I have read a lot of different things in the archives about these, but I’m curious to hear from actual users..

    How long are these strings actually lasting you? And how do you know when it’s time to change?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    They don't change tone much with age, if at all that I can detect. I replace them when they wear out - the windings eventually fall off. A strings mostly, the G and D courses seem to last essentially indefinitely. You should get a least a year out of them. I would hate to admit how old the Thomastiks on my violin are... but they last longer there without pick wear.

    Whatever you do, don't EVER slack the strings completely and expect to be able to just tune back up and get on with your day. The windings will just fall right off the round core, and it will sound really mushy and muddy. Slacking the strings means you need to replace them. So if you want to be able to adjust your bridge, for example, without it being a $40+ activity, you need a bridge that can be adjusted under tension.

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  4. #3
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    My experience is that, on the right mandolin, they sound amazing for about three weeks, and just fine for up to a year or more.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    I tried a set on one of my mandolins, they were very quiet compared to D'Addario J74s

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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    A few years ago I dug out the first mandolin I ever made which had a set of TIs on it that were over twenty years old. They were probably a bit subdued, but they sounded remarkably okay.

    In general I agree with Jim that they'll go for a year. Even the E strings don't seem to break as much as other brands.

  7. #6
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    I did a year-and-a-half tour of South America without changing my TI strings (the mandolin was only heard for about five minutes in a two-hour show).

    Figuring that these strings were heard by about 10,000 people per week, I was reluctant to finally throw them away, wondering if they should go in the Guinness record book.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    I have gotten at least a year out of a set before feeling the need to change them. Once the A string starts to require more tuning, that is when I have to start thinking of making a change. They are the best strings for sound, reliability and longevity that I’ve ever tried, and well worth the cost since changing strings is not one of my favorite things to do.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Love these strings and mine lasted a year. I put a set on in Feb 2020 and just recently changed them in the last month or so. I would buy more but the price has nearly doubled from the last time I bought them so I'm going to try the daddario flat wounds - I like the wound A string.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    bigskygirl- do me a huge favor and let me/us know what you think about those D’Addario’s

    I think they sound pretty good, I hear they feel pretty good, similar to TI’s in both of those categories (just going off what I have found here in the archives)

    I hear the term “extended life” when describing these, but I do not know how extended we are talking about.

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  12. #10
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    ...You should get a least a year out of them. I would hate to admit how old the Thomastiks on my violin are... but they last longer there without pick wear...
    So are these Thomastok mandolin strings very similar to the Thomastik Otto Infeld chrome tape wound violin strings? I used those a long time ago, and they usually lasted till the tape winding on the A string tore.

  13. #11
    Professional Cat Herder Phil Vinyard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    I put a set of the light ones on my new/old bowl back and they sound terrific.

    I've been using them on my mandocello for years. Flat winding keeps the fret noise down when you shift, which I do a lot in our mandolin orchestra. I tried another brand about 6 months ago, gave them about a month to break in, and they still didn't sound anything as good as the Thomastik. I replaced them and decided I'm never ordering anything else for my mandocello.
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Thank Phil. That’s kinda the direction I am leaning. I’m thinking even at the current price, the cost per month would be minimal for what you are getting…

  15. #13

    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Phil,
    Which Mandocello Thomastiks do you use and will they work on a Gibson Mandocello?
    Where do you purchase them?
    Thanks,
    Barry

  16. #14

    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hanson View Post
    I tried a set on one of my mandolins, they were very quiet compared to D'Addario J74s

    Dave H
    That's true. They are not for every player, and not for every mandolin. I build my mandolins intended for Thomastiks differently than my mandolins intended for round-wound strings, to maximize the benefits from the Thomastiks while mitigating their weaknesses.

  17. #15
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    That's true. They are not for every player, and not for every mandolin. I build my mandolins intended for Thomastiks differently than my mandolins intended for round-wound strings, to maximize the benefits from the Thomastiks while mitigating their weaknesses.
    So does National.
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  18. #16

    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    So does National.
    Can't argue with that, haha. It's a perfect match, really, because the low mass of the cone means you're still going to have more than enough volume and sustain. Basically any mandolin with exceptional volume, attack, and treble clarity will work fine, while if you take something that is already on the mellow and quiet side and put Thomastiks on it, it will sound pretty dull and uninspiring.

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  20. #17
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Expensive as heck and worth every penny! I have them on my Oldwave oval hole for two years or so, no issues, still sound great. The next time they go on sale I will buy a couple more packs for a couple of builds I keep fiddling with. I use the heavy set. I think they were called starks?
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  21. #18

    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    I find the A string and E strings wimp out much sooner than the D and G strings and become rather difficult to tune.
    Do any of you have the same experience? I then use regular D’addario steels to replace them and keep the D and G strings which seem to last and last and last.

  22. #19
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    This is my first set… so which D’Addario A and E do you use for spares? I may go ahead and get some

  23. #20

    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    I would start with 11 and 15 gauges for the E and A. These are common gauges corresponding to the gauges used in the D’Addario J74 set.
    You could also try other gauges and customize to your own preference. It is important to choose gauges according to the tension limit capacity of your particular instrument. Some builds require that you choose lighter gauge strings. For example Phoenix Neoclassical mandolins are designed for lighter strings!
    The overall advantage is having the ability to customize your string choices while maintaining the long lasting nature of the more expensive Thomastiks G and D strings.
    Replacing individual strings with the Thomastiks brand is also possible if that is what you would prefer to do. I believe they could be purchased individually or in sets of two.

  24. #21
    Registered User Steve Lavelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    I use the TI stark (heavy guage) and have for over 10 years. When I'm in a band they get changed after about 1.5 yrs. I've gone over 2 years. Lately, I've been doing some recording and I tend to put on a new set a week or so before. I've never had the windings get loose, but when the G starts sounding dull I get ready to replace. I don't play trad or much BG, so the abuse factor is low.
    Steve Lavelle
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    Registered User Darwin Gaston's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    I use the Thomastiks medium 154 string and I’m very happy with the sound and they usually last for a year before I need to put new strings on. I have used them on all my mandolins (1924 Gibson F2, Clark 2 point, Heiden Artist A5 and my Girouard F5 oval hole mandolin.)
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  26. #23
    Professional Cat Herder Phil Vinyard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Canada View Post
    Phil,
    Which Mandocello Thomastiks do you use and will they work on a Gibson Mandocello?
    Where do you purchase them?
    Thanks,
    Barry
    I get them from a good MandoCafe Sponsor: JustStrings.com Here is the link https://www.juststrings.com/toi-1804.html They make a world of difference on my Freshwater Mandocello. Check their specs to see if they will fit your Gibson, but I would guess they would. My last set lasted well over a year.
    Phil Vinyard
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  27. #24
    Registered User withfoam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Just looked around...flatwounds? Ya'll are nuts.
    I'm just going to ask the dumb question...do they sound like flatwounds? Seems like it'd be a very much subdued sound for any bluegrass playing.
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  28. #25
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for Thomastik strings users

    Quote Originally Posted by withfoam View Post
    Just looked around...flatwounds? Ya'll are nuts.
    I'm just going to ask the dumb question...do they sound like flatwounds? Seems like it'd be a very much subdued sound for any bluegrass playing.
    I have them on my L&H, and have used them on another oval, but no, not very loud and not bright enough for bluegrass is my impression. They sound like flatwounds. As for durability? I don't know about mandolin strings but I have 10 year+ sets on electric and upright basses that are played a lot and have no need to change them. In fact they get better with age.

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