Mandolin Strings - Beginners Buyers Guide
Hello everyone and welcome to our beginners buyers guide to Mandolin strings.
If you’ve made your way to this page, you are most likely in need of a set of Mandolin strings but not quite sure which ones to go for.
Well fear not. This concise, jargon free guide has been designed to help you select a great set of strings super quickly.
We’ve cherry picked three sets of mandolin strings from our extensive range. All the sets presented below represent great quality from trustworthy brands and we can assure you that no matter which set you choose, you’ll be more than satisfied with the results they deliver.
First Thing’s First
The mandolin family consists of several different sized instruments with a variety of tunings.
Before we start, we should state that the sets we recommend in this article are for conventional sized 8-string Mandolins tuned to GDAE, similar to the one in the image below. This is arguably the type of mandolin that most people will need strings for.
If you want to be 100% sure that we are recommending strings for your instrument specifically, you can of course measure the scale length of your own mandolin. Scale length refers to the distance between the nut (near the headstock) and the saddle (down at the bridge). A traditional mandolin has a scale length somewhere between 13 and 14 inches.
If you take a look at our image below, you’ll see exactly where you need to measure.
If your measurement is a bit longer than the one above, you’ll have a larger sized mandolin that requires a different set of strings. If that’s you, then please send us a message or give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you source a set that’s just right for your instrument.
If you’re still in the right place, great! Let’s get you some mandolin strings!
When it comes to Mandolin strings there’s a wide array of different facets to choose from and for somebody new to the instrument, being faced with all these options can understandably prove confusing.
We’re big advocates of keeping things simple, so to help eradicate any confusion we’ve recommended a couple of great sets. These sets are the most common type of mandolin strings and will be the best place to start. For those of you who are interested, here’s a few of their common key characteristics;
- All sets contain 8 strings. Enough to fully restring your mandolin.
- All of the sets will be ideal for standard mandolin tuning; GDAE
- All of the thicker strings in the sets will be bronze wound. Bronze strings are the most common type of string found on mandolins and helps to give the instrument that lush, rich and vibrant sound. There are different materials available, but if you are just starting out we highly recommend the bronze sets suggested below to get you off on the right foot.
- All the suggested sets are 10-34 gauge. 10-34 is a very common gauge and will be suitable for a whole range of mandolins and styles of music too. It’s an ideal gauge particularly if you are new to the instrument.
You may ask yourself, what are those numbers all about?
Each individual string in a set has a specific number that describes exactly how thick it is. This is known as the string gauge and the higher the number, the thicker the string.
You’ll see the gauges of all string sets written like ‘10-34’ or similar. This displays the values of the thinnest (10) and thickest (34) strings in the set and helps us determine how the strings will feel and play when comparing one set to another.
- All of the strings will be loop ended. What does this mean? Each string has a small loop at the end. This loop is what helps anchor the string in place down at the base of your mandolin. If you take a closer look at your instrument, these loops go over the hooks at the bottom of the mandolin (down near where you pick and strum) and are what help to keep the string in position.
**NB** In the unlikely scenario that your mandolin requires a set of ball end strings (a small metal doughnut shaped ring instead of a loop) we can certainly provide you with a set. We've suggested a set lower down in the guide.
Here at Strings Direct we have no hesitation in recommending these sets below. No matter which set you opt for, you’ll have a great set of strings that will serve you and your mandolin very well indeed.
Best Value for Money - Martin M400
If you are unfamiliar with Martin as a brand, they are one of the most well known acoustic instrument manufacturers in the world so certainly know a thing or two about great sound. A great set to start your mandolin journey with.
"High Quality Strings. Perfect for the job." Peter
" Having tried several other 'premium' makes I find that these Martin Light Mando strings are great for the tone I need." LincsMando
Best Seller - D'Addario EJ62
This set of strings is made by D’Addario…one of our best selling brands here at Strings Direct. D’Addario are the biggest string manufacturer in the world and are well respected for their quality, value and consistency from set to set. This set is certainly a ‘safe pair of hands’ for any mandolin.
" I've never had any problems with D'Addario products which is why I seldom buy anything else." Tom
"Great tone, long lasting, excellent strings as I have come to expect from D'Addario" Tim
Ball Ended Strings - D'Addario
As mentioned above, we can also supply ball-ended Mandolin strings. These strings are needed when the strings aren’t anchored down at the tailpiece using the ‘loop and hook’ combination that is typically seen in our image above. If your instrument needs ball end strings, the D'Addario EJ70 set below that will be just the ticket.
"Really nice bright and full sounding strings." Bruce
"Very Good Strings." Patricia
**Please Note** Because ball end mandolin strings are less common, not every brand makes them and consequently the choice is limited. As a result, the gauges in these ball ended sets are slightly thicker than the ones we initially suggested above, nevertheless, they will be equally suitable for your mandolin.
We hope this guide has helped you easily choose your next set of mandolin strings.
As someone new to buying strings, we totally understand that you need assurance that the strings you are buying are suitable for the job at hand and won’t let you down. We are happy to say that we proudly stand by these recommendations knowing they tick all the boxes for somebody just starting out on their mandolin journey.
No matter which set you choose, we’re confident that you’ll be more than satisfied, safe in the knowledge that they will serve you well and help you progress through your journey as a musician.
Of course, if you need any further guidance, please feel free to get in touch with us by contacting us on 01702 540068 or emailing us at email@example.com