joe sanguinette
joe sanguinette
@joe-sanguinette
5 years ago
73 posts

when recording i always used an unwound base string .

Kusani
Kusani
@kusani
5 years ago
134 posts

You may like the lack of 'squeeking' as you slide up and down the fretboard.  I, and my family, do. 

Sean Ruprecht-Belt
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
@sean-belt
5 years ago
33 posts

I'm going to have to try an unwound string for the bass. Thanks to all for the unwound posts!

Steven Berger
Steven Berger
@steven-berger
5 years ago
144 posts

I use an unwound bass string (18 ga. if I  remember correctly) on my Will Singleton (3-string) dulcimer. I did some experimenting before arriving at what I like. The other 2 strings are 12 ga. for the melody, 14 ga. for the middle.

 

Steven

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
5 years ago
1,616 posts

I personally try to use the heaviest gauge strings that sound OK on a particular instrument.  Sometimes it takes some experimentation to find out what that is.  Heavier strings sound less tinny rounder.  They might require heavier callouses, but I find the improved tone to be worth it. Also, if you like to bend strings, you have more control with heavier strings since there is more resistance.  Also, because heavier strings are louder, you can play more delicately and still get decent volume, so they allow a greater dynamic range.

It never occurred to me to swap out wound strings for plain steel. Maybe I'll give that a try.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
5 years ago
2,103 posts

I'd like to mention that when i got my Keith Young teardrop dulcimer almost 20 years ago, he explained to me that he favored stringing his dulcimers with heavy unwound bass strings.  Also, quite a few minstrel style banjo players favor unwound gut or nylon bass strings.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Dan
Dan
@dan
5 years ago
168 posts

....music wire, number 8 (.020) for the bass string is how I string them too!

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 years ago
2,010 posts

Sean -- it's a "sound" thing.  To me an un-wound string is a crisper sound than a fat wound string flopping back and forth.


updated by @ken-hulme: 07/07/17 02:03:37PM
Kusani
Kusani
@kusani
5 years ago
134 posts

I'm in the non-wound camp also, the 'whine' for lack of a better term, is very distracting to me. 

Sean Ruprecht-Belt
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
@sean-belt
5 years ago
33 posts

Ken,

Why non-wound for the bass string? Is it sound, feel of the winding or cost? I don't think I've met anyone else who doesn't use a wound bass string.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 years ago
2,010 posts

I play mostly old-style traditional instruments with 27-28" VSL, three strings, fretting only the melody string.  I normally buy bulk 12s for the melody and middle drone, and non-wound 20s or 22s for the bass string.

Sean Ruprecht-Belt
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
@sean-belt
5 years ago
33 posts

I tend not to worry about VSL so much when choosing strings as I do about what sounds good on a given instrument. For the most part, I buy bulk banjo strings in .012, .014 and a wrapped .024 gauge. However, I sometimes use .010s or .011s for melody strings if that's all I have on hand.

On a beautiful Modern Mountain dulcimer I had (gee, I wish I hadn't sold that to a student a few years ago!) made of poplar, spruce and Osage orange wood, I used .011, .014, and a nickle-wrapped .022 because it was just to bright sounding with a .024. 

As always, my recommendation is that you experiment with different strings, different winding materials and see what works best for you. Strings are inexpensive and only take a few minutes to change.

Webb
Webb
@webb
5 years ago
6 posts

I am always experimenting and curious with string gauges on the dulcimore. I am curious to what size string gauges the community uses varying on different VSL's and what conclusions they have come up with, if any.