Best Mandolin String Review – Top Rated Models in 2019 with Buying Guide
Here you can find out which are some of the best mandolin strings you can buy right now, especially if you are in a hurry and you don’t want to do all the research by yourself. We analyzed the options you can find on the market, went through all of the advantages and disadvantages and concluded that D’Addario Bronze Strings is one of the top products to consider buying. It is a premium model that relies on the sturdiness of the bronze strings and has a price that you won’t even feel. This is the set for you if you are planning to use your mandolin daily and if you want something that won’t hurt your fingers. If by any chance this model is unavailable, the next best buy you could make right now is Ernie Ball Earthwood Set, that has all the features of a successful product.
Our Top Choice
If you are looking for a mandolin set that will withstand the test of time and help you achieve great results, this model might be just the answer to your quest. Made of phosphor bronze, a material that adds to the product’s durability, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to rely on it. The high-quality materials used render a beautiful and warm sound.
As with any other strings, you need to make sure that they are correctly used, to avoid any damage. For some users, these can seem too loose or too strong, but it’s a matter of personal preference.
If you need a mandolin set that you can rely on, then you should add this product to your list since its good construction could be exactly what you are looking for.
When it comes to materials out of which strings can be made, few can compare to a high-quality bronze alloy. For this reason, Ernie Ball’s Earthwood Set is preferred by many musicians, as it delivers accurate acoustics. Even played by a beginner, these strings can render a beautiful sound with rich tones.
These strings are rather light which makes them ideal for beginners or musicians with hand strength issues, but if you are into more aggressive styles of playing, then these might be too light.
All in all, this set is crafted using superior materials and it delivers beautiful sounds, which means that you can definitely give it a try.
What makes the Elixir Strings stand out is a super-thin NANOWEB coating that actually transforms the strings by giving them a more traditional texture, this way enhancing the tactile feedback and adding to the experience that players have with this product. This also makes the strings suitable for extended use.
If you are not used to playing coated strings, these might seem a little strange in the beginning. Some players don’t like them at all, but this is just a matter of what the person is already used to.
Even if you’ve never played coated strings before and you’re not sure if you’re going to like it, you should give this set a try and see for yourself.
12 Best Mandolin Strings (Reviews) in 2019
We went through all the best reviews to find models worth mentioning, and that can be anything but a waste of money. Only high-quality models were taken into consideration, and we allowed no flaws or downsides so you can make a wise investment.
- 1. D’Addario EJ74 11-40 Medium Phosphor Bronze Mandolin String
- 2. Ernie Ball Earthwood Mandolin Medium 80/20 Bronze Loop End Set
- 3. Elixir Mandolin Sets Ultra-Thin Nanoweb Coating – Light Acoustic
- 4. D’Addario J74 Phosphor Bronze Medium
- 5. D’Addario EXP77 EXP
- 6. GHS A 240 Ultra LT Mandolin String, Phosphor Bronze
- 7. D’Addario EJ73 Phosphor Bronze Mandolin Strings
- 8. DD’Addario EXP74 EXP Coated Phosphor Bronze Medium
- 9. D’Addario EJ70 Phosphor Bronze Medium Light Ball End Mandolin Strings
- 10. Jim Dunlop Nickel B001AK7HAU
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Frequently asked questions about mandolin strings
- Best mandolin strings brands
1. D’Addario EJ74 11-40 Medium Phosphor Bronze Mandolin String
These are some of the most competitive items on the market because they offer a great balance between price and quality. It is a best selling mandolin set that will last a long time, even if you use the strings daily.
This is the complete answer to your musical troubles.The construction makes for a universal fit, and that will ensure that you can use it even with your own instrument. Quality is guaranteed since this set is made in the U.S.A.
And they are created of phosphor bronze, which adds a long lasting life to the product. And the materials make the sounds the model creates warm and bright and very pleasant to hear.
Because they are crafted out of durable materials that don’t damage sound in any way, your notes will always be articulate and accurate no matter in what environment you’re playing the mandolin.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($6.89)
2. Ernie Ball Earthwood Mandolin Medium 80/20 Bronze Loop End Set
When it comes to materials that have a lot of potential, few other choices are as sturdy and nice looking as bronze. And this set is made of only of a high-quality bronze alloy, that will be kind to your fingers while you’re playing your instrument.
All strings are created in a loop end style, meaning your sound will be just the way you like it all the time. This set can please even the pickiest musician because it will deliver accurate acoustics.
This kind of strings and the materials they are made of will bring a lot of value to your purchase and will make you enjoy the mandolin even more. Ernie Ball created a product that pleases all types of aesthetics.
They will deliver, even in the hands of beginners, crisp sounding tones with pleasing overtones, that’ll enrich all the songs you are going to play with them, and so you will impress your audience even more.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($8.5)
3. Elixir Mandolin Sets Ultra-Thin Nanoweb Coating – Light Acoustic
This is a product that stands out in the best way possible, which is a rare feature that should not be overlooked. Add that to the competitive price, and you have a choice to be considered.
The extra feature we were talking about is a super-thin NANOWEB coating that transforms the strings by giving them a traditional texture, which adds to the experience of this product, enhancing the tactile feedback, all the mandolin strings reviews say.
This set is a joy to use for an extended time, and it won’t feel rough to the touch so your fingers will not hurt. This will make hours of rehearsal a breeze and will make you forget about band-aids around the tips of your fingers.
When it comes to models that combine all the secret ingredients, it doesn’t get better than this. This one is sturdy, unique and it offers a lot of using hours because it can withstand a lot of tension and extension.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($10.99)
4. D’Addario J74 Phosphor Bronze Medium
This manufacturer has been in the industry for a long time, so it knows how to create well-made products. And this model is no exemption to that rule because it packs a lot of sturdiness in such a light body.
The string themselves are made from premium phosphor bronze, a material that can survive a lot of hours of aggressive guitar tuning and is non-toxic and cool looking.
And since attention to details is essential, this model is made in the States, for an added touch of quality and as a guarantee that all the notes you want to create will sound to the point and beautiful.
The fit is universal and the materials carefully selected. These are strings that can be used by both beginners and professionals alike because they respect all the acoustics rules and are what you would want from a product in this category.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($7.95)
5. D’Addario EXP77 EXP
There’s no such thing as an unbreakable product. This one gets close to that impossible task. It is a unique set of strings that will meet all of your needs and deliver quality so it won’t fail you when it matters the most.
The model features something unique to this brand – it has custom gauges for consistency and balance across the strings, to get a uniform sensation when using them so you can create beautiful melodies.
The sound it provides is crystal clear, and the quality is high-class. The items are sturdy, and you can use them daily, and they won’t break, even when rehearsing for many hours.
The bronze product has a looped construction that makes it a universal fit and is totally non-toxic and environmentally friendly, and what’s even better is that it won’t rust if you play in humid places.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($14.89)
6. GHS A 240 Ultra LT Mandolin String, Phosphor Bronze
This product is packaged in a young and fun way, that will add to the overall quality of the set. The model has enough strings for you to use for a long time and since they are so well made, you won’t have to repurchase them anytime soon.
It features NitroPack singles, a type of string that pays tribute to the quality of the traditional ones but in new clothes, fitted for the modern times.
They have a lot of strength, so they won’t break during your concerts or at unexpected times and are made of phosphor bronze wraps, which are rust repellent and sturdy. This way you can even play the mandolin in the rain, and they will still do their job just fine.
Other features are the loop ends for a universal fit and the lock-end twists for added strength and they are also lightweight and kind to your fingers at all times.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($6.49)
7. D’Addario EJ73 Phosphor Bronze Mandolin Strings
Good light strings for musical instruments are hard to find. There’s no wonder why this model is one of the best selling sets from D’Addario. It combines a sophisticated manufacturing with excellent materials for a reduced price tag.
In order to fit almost all types of mandolines, they have a loop end construction that also adds to the quality of the notes the string produces.
They are made of phosphor bronze, the top choice in materials from which this type of product is created. It is an element that gives them strength and sturdiness but also makes them flexible enough not to hurt your fingers.
The sound is warm and bright in tone, and it can please even the best-trained ear. That performance is achieved because the model is made in the U.S.A. which adds a boost in quality.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($6.49)
8. DD’Addario EXP74 EXP Coated Phosphor Bronze Medium
The product is a classic set that provides immense quality at a lightweight price. It offers consistency in sound and a warm tone to ensure that when you pour your heart into the songs you’re playing, the audience will feel it.
Also, the string has a thin layer of XP coating over the bronze wire via an elaborate craftsmanship that only adds extra value when purchasing this product. This adds a protective barrier against rust and damage.
The fit is universal, and the lifespan is extended since they are flexible enough to take even extreme mandolin playing sessions.
One of the best properties of this model is that it provides a natural tone and quality notes. That is important when you have a specific feeling you want to convey through your music and should not be overlooked.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($14.89)
9. D’Addario EJ70 Phosphor Bronze Medium Light Ball End Mandolin Strings
This is a product that comes from a brand associated with quality. And the sturdiness of these strings confirms that. They are made from phosphor bronze that gives them a long life, and that helps with creating accurate notes with no distortion whatsoever.
They can be used on all kinds of mandolines that require a ball end, and their light construction will make using them a joy since they won’t damage the tips of your fingers when playing the instrument.
The set is made in the U.S.A. and promises a professional packaging and a high-class performance. The models can be used by everyone, and everywhere from your room to a concert hall because they won’t break when you least expect them to.
All types of songs can be performed on these strings, and they will sound beautiful a clear. The sound output is accurate and is the best product to grow accustomed to. They will inevitably become your go-to strings whenever in need.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($8.48)
10. Jim Dunlop Nickel B001AK7HAU
When creators have respect for sounds, products like this come to life. It is a set that offers articulate and focused tonal response and will make even playing the most difficult songs rewarding and comfortable.
The texture of the strings offers a balanced tactile feel so you’ll never miss a note and which makes a beginner’s life so much easier since they’ll develop finger memory for the chords much faster.
Nickel is the chosen material for manufacturing, and it gives it a long life, even if you are going to use the items every day and for an extended period of time.
Everything about this possible purchase is non-toxic and nonallergic so you can be safe at all times.
The style of the strings is looped, and they are tuned in 4 pairs, this way you will always have a backup.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($8.48)
11. DR Strings Mandolin
These items are made of phosphor bronze, and that is the element that enhances the robust nature of the product. The material not only makes it able to withstand daily use, but it also makes it rust free.
This can quickly become your favorite model if you prefer your notes crisp, clear and warm in tone. They are exceptionally beneficial if you are a beginner and you want to train your ear. They’re quality mandolin strings for sure.
You can use them on any type of mandolin, and the quality manufacturing won’t make them strain or add tension, so that you can play this instrument in a very stress and pain-free way.
It is going to make your mandolin sound even better, and they could last a user for a very long period because of the durable construct. And as a bonus, they are very flexible, and your fingers will thank you for that.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($5.99)
12. Thomastik-Infeld 150 Mandolin
The manufacturer created a product that can last endless hours of use, so you won’t have to change the strings every other day. They are made of phosphor bronze and can be ideal for all types of mandolines.
As a factor to differentiate this model from others on the market, is the fact they are tin-plated. This standard will ensure the sound will be bright and with the extra smooth polish, there isn’t the risk of scratched and tensed fingers as cheap mandolin strings would have.
The core is elastic, and that will aid the musical vibration for an enhanced experience. Optimized strings are hard to come by, but this product is just that. And to that add an extended lifespan and crazy reasonable prices, and you have a deal hard to ignore.
The strings are responsive, and you won’t ever miss a note while using them because they offer a lot of tactile feedback. All of these features make it an item to give a chance to and to let it become a tradition.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($7.53)
Yearly Guide & Report
When it comes to mandolin strings, things might look simple since they are just almost like a plain long wire. But beneath the surface, there’s a hidden complexity that you should be aware of. Below we explained in detail, but in a straightforward manner, all there is to know about a good mandolin string.
Everything is analyzed from size to materials and types of strings, so you can see an in-depth global view of what makes a good purchase. These are all the tricks and tips highlighted by the experts in this field for you to take advantage of.
What are strings made of?
When it comes to such an item, the perfect material does not exist. It is more about experimenting with sound and finding the tonality that you like the most. The best idea is to buy different types of strings made of diverse alloys and see which one sounds more melodic to you.
The type of alloy can also change the projection of a note and for how long you can hold that specific note. The most known choices when it comes to the creation of these products are phosphor bronze and nickel, but there are a lot more materials to choose from in this overflowing market.
But you don’t have to settle for just one type of chord. You can even change them to fit your songs. If you want something bright and warm in tone, go for the bronze ones, but if you want something a bit more powerful and sharp, nickel can be your best friend.
It is essential to know what type of genre you’re mostly going to play on your mandolin, as some types of music sound better if played on a particular type of string. For example, the magical atmosphere of jazz is enhanced when phosphor bronze chords are used.
What type of string should I choose?
The choice between heavy and light is mostly a personal one. The professionals don’t recommend one in particular, but they say every musician should try at least once both types of strings. None is better than the other, but the sounds they help create are different, so think about the specific tonality of that song and buy the chords that fit it.
The terms light and heavy are mostly used to describe the gauge of the mandolin which is basically how much tension the strings place on the instrument. It is what gives the sound a boost of power and projection. Some types are harder to play than the others, but you shouldn’t sacrifice the atmosphere of your song because it might be difficult to use the strings.
This difficulty is increased by the fact that the heavy models need more pressure on the fret in order to move them. It can be challenging if you have to play a dynamic part or one that requires you to change the notes very fast.
It is all about finding the right sound for your compositions when looking for mandolin strings for sale. When it comes to tension and power, it is a quite well-known fact that heavy strings are the go-to strings that place a lot of tension and that produce a more rich sound. The light ones are perfect for delicate and romantic songs because they produce elegant melodies.
How often should one change a string?
Changing your strings can be quite complicated if you are not an experienced user. So the answer to the question regarding how frequent one should change the chords is, well, every time the cords break or start to sound out of tune and impossible to recalibrate.
There is no need to change them after a set date if the sound output is still clear and rich as you are accustomed. The most important criteria that reveals that maybe it is time to buy some new ones is when you want to experiment more with the music you’re playing.
An often thing that happens with experienced musicians is that they replace the strings when they want to convey a certain emotion or when they have an important concert coming up. This is a great way to avoid accidents, and more importantly, it is an ideal way to not have your strings break on stage.
In general, new chords equals better sounds. A new set will improve the certainty with which you will play the songs because you know they are not going to break. It increases the overall playability of an instrument. It is best to replace them every three months or so, just to be safe.
Other things to keep in mind
The length of a product can also be a decisive factor. It is important to measure your strings to make sure that before you buy a new set, their sizes will match so you won’t have to return it. It has to be measured from the ball/loop end to the bridge but also from the bridge to the nut and then from the nut to the peg meant for tuning. The best string height for mandolin is revealed by following those steps.
Speaking of the ending of a string, this is an aspect that matters too. It is a term that refers to how your strings are attached to the tail of the mandolin. And usually, there are two types: ball end or loop end strings. To see which one fits you, just look at pictures of the endings and then look and see what type your instrument uses.
There is another trick to consider when buying a new model. And that is the wrap of the string. It is the alloy than covers the metal core of the product, and it can affect the tonality in its entirety, and in that aspect, it matters just as much as the core material. Some of the popular choices are silver, nickel alloys and all types of other unique coats for each brand.
All of these things combined make for a product to watch out for. Now that you are educated regarding the essentials of a string, it should be much easier for yourself to find a model that you will be using for a long time to come.
Frequently asked questions about mandolin strings
What are mandolin strings made of?
Most of the strings on the market are crafted from a high-quality phosphor bronze, that keeps the tone as neutral as possible, without distorting the notes it creates. Other choices can be made of steel, but those tend to be ignored unless you’re looking for a specific type of sound. And, of course, you can opt for alloys and for strings that are made from a mixture of materials. It is all about finding the right sound for yourself.
Why are mandolin strings doubled?
This pattern was used in the old times for most musical instruments, but the mandoline is one of the few that has retained it to this day. It helps with the longevity of a note by bypassing a quick fading away trough tremolos. It is basically a way to create an illusion of a sustained note by playing many short ones very fast. And somehow this ended up being the signature sound of a mandoline.
Are mandolin strings the same as guitar?
The answer to this question is considerably simple. In essence, all string instruments use the same type of strings to create the notes and the tonality they are known for. There are a few interesting differences between them, notably the anchor which for mandolines can be either ball or loop ended. But if you’re a bit crafty, you can use them even for guitars. Also, keep in mind that sometimes the length can vary from an instrument to another.
How to change mandolin strings?
Changing them is a task that requires a bit of concentration. There are a lot of time-efficient methods you can find on the internet to save you some time and some frustration. But the main thing is you’ll have to do is remove the broken strings by sliding off the tailpiece, and that will expose the loop ends of the chords. Detach them in order by paying attention to how they are positioned, and then replace them with the new ones.
Best mandolin strings brands
D’Addario is a brand trusted by professionals and amateurs alike. They offer high-quality and sturdy products at a competitive price. They focus on performance and accuracy, by making models that will create natural sounds that can steal emotions out of everyone who listens to music played on their strings.
A lot of amazing performers used their products, as a statement of quality and all of them are made in the United States to ensure the highest standards are reached. They only use top of the line materials, exclusively non-toxic and environmentally friendly, perfect for the modern times.
DR Strings is one of those brands that are synonymous with quality by now. They offer a lot of products that great musicians use all the time, because they are sturdy enough to survive extreme hours of use. The company is dedicated to bringing premium products to the public for small prices.
Their strings are created form the best available materials around and are purchased by thousands all around the world, as a proof of how good they are. The models are diverse, and they have items for most types of stringed instruments for you to choose from.
Dunlop is one of the oldest and most sought out for string manufacturers in the US. They are known for the articulate sound they produce and for the enhanced tactile feedback the strings offer, which makes the models perfect for beginners and experienced users alike.
They offer a large palette of musical accessories for you to choose from and the long life of every purchase is ensured. Most of their stuff is produced in the States, and they ship all around the continent. It became a famous brand mostly because they sell a lot of value for a reduced price tag.