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Thread: String response problem. Over wind vs string gauge

  1. #1
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    Default String response problem. Over wind vs string gauge

    I made a design error. On a prototype instrument I made the scale length slightly too long to tune to desired pitch with anything greater than a .009. The string responds weak in comparison to the other strings. (15 scale electric mandolin). The pickup I built is basically a 4 pole P90. It has 11,000 turns of #42 wire which is 10% overwound for a P90. Not that it matters but the dc resistance is 7.7K. Controls are limited to only a 500k volume pot.
    If I play 2nd string(s) 7th fret (the same note as the 1st string(s) open), the 2nd string is significantly louder and fuller sounding than the open 1st string. The note is the same and the only difference is the string gauge. The same response problem exists for every fretted position between the 1st and 2nd string(s). The response is awesome for #2, 3 and 4. The pole piece for the 1st string is elevated. Because the same note on the two strings responds so differently I assume that string gauge is the issue.
    Does anyone have any ideas how to address this?
    Ernie Ball manufactures their paradigm strings that are advertised to be significantly stronger and Im going to try and acquire some single 010s and .011s. I can also incrementally shorten the length of the P90 pole piece screws for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th string pairs. They are actual P90 pole piece screws that extend between the pair of magnets in the base just as they do in a real P90. Id be satisfied to reduce the response of #2, 3, and 4 to get a balance (a shame to need to).
    Any other ideas?
    Last edited by wrnchbndr; 09-14-2019 at 08:15 AM.

  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: String response problem. Over wind vs string gauge

    Are you tuning it like a normal mandolin? Regular scale is just under 14”, and I use 11.5 for the high E course. I bet a 10.5 or 11 would be fine.

  3. #3
    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: String response problem. Over wind vs string gauge

    A slightly longer scale length shouldn't prevent you from tuning to pitch with heavier gauge strings.

    A smaller gauge string will normally have less oomph (all else being equal). Just use a size larger gauge for the high string (10 - 11). Then turn the tuning keys a bit more to get up to pitch.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

  4. #4
    Mojo's Minions JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: String response problem. Over wind vs string gauge

    ^ tuning a mandolin up to pitch is horrifying, but yeah, you’ll be fine.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: String response problem. Over wind vs string gauge

    The 15” scale is too much for regular strings. Both GHS and EB .010s break around D#. I bought some DAddario NYXLs and the .010s are holding for 3 days now. Still, the high pair of Es are weak. I did slightly over wind the pickup by 10%. Does anyone think I might get a more balanced response if I wound 8500 turns instead of 11000? I could try slipping a small neo button magnet under the pole???

  6. #6
    Mojo's Minions JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: String response problem. Over wind vs string gauge

    Try using lighter strings on the A course.

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