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I've just had a few old banjo strings on my Imperial micrometer, here are the results :- Cammeyer unused, still packeted, wound silk 4th 0.23, old unidentified wound silk 4th retrieved from a banjo case 0.24, another unidentified wound silk 4th 0.23. Cammeyer unused, still packeted unplated plain steel (Cammeyer did not supply plated steel strings) .007, Cammeyer 2nd .009, Cammeyer 3rd (unplated, plain steel) .015, Cammeyer gut third .06.

Joel Hooks said:

All strings on the market currently are thicker than the strings used historically.

Rob MacKillop said:

Well, after 20 minutes of playing today, this happened while tuning from C to D. The string seemed to get stuck in the nut, so the result was inevitable. Now, the nut presumably is original - it certainly looks it - so either the CE string is too thick OR the nut needs the grooves smoothed-out.  

Frustrating, but not the end of the world. I was beginning to get a really nice sound before it happened. C'est la vie!

Thanks for that, Richard. Facts and figures are always of prime relevance. 

So, historic 4ths were .23 or .24. The current CE 4th is .28 or .26 depending on the set. That is substantial enough to make a difference. 

Historic 1sts were .07, the present CE 1st is .09 or .08, depending on the set. 

Clearly the new CE strings are unquestionably thicker. 

The closest modern CE set is the Cammeyer 8-34 set, though with a nylon 3rd:

1st - .008" Plain Steel Loop-End.

 2nd - .010" Plain Steel Loop-End.

 3rd - .034" Ground Nylon Tie-On.

 4th - .026" Wound On Nylon Tie-On.

 5th - .009" Plain Steel Loop-End.

That is good stuff Richard, I am adding this to my string notes.  Thanks!



Richard William Ineson said:

I've just had a few old banjo strings on my Imperial micrometer, here are the results :- Cammeyer unused, still packeted, wound silk 4th 0.23, old unidentified wound silk 4th retrieved from a banjo case 0.24, another unidentified wound silk 4th 0.23. Cammeyer unused, still packeted unplated plain steel (Cammeyer did not supply plated steel strings) .007, Cammeyer 2nd .009, Cammeyer 3rd (unplated, plain steel) .015, Cammeyer gut third .06.

Joel Hooks said:

All strings on the market currently are thicker than the strings used historically.

Rob MacKillop said:

Well, after 20 minutes of playing today, this happened while tuning from C to D. The string seemed to get stuck in the nut, so the result was inevitable. Now, the nut presumably is original - it certainly looks it - so either the CE string is too thick OR the nut needs the grooves smoothed-out.  

Frustrating, but not the end of the world. I was beginning to get a really nice sound before it happened. C'est la vie!

Richard - there is no comment in your last post, just a copy of previous stuff. Did you intend to add anything?

 This is what has worked for me:

"108" and "73" are Aquila codes.  The 108 is a copper wound "D" type string (again Aquila-speak) which is wound on nylgut filaments. The gauge is between 25.5 " and 26".  The copper winding reduced the higher partials resulting in reduced "clang".  No clang actually.  

Scale of 27" or less

9,11, #73 gut or nylgut, #108, copper w on nylgut, 9 for 5th

Scale of more than 27"

8,10, #73 gut or nylgut,  #108 copper/nylgut, 8 for 5th

I have always preferred the 1st and 5th strings to be the same gauge.

Cheers, Jody. I've used Aquila D-type strings often on lutes, so know their properties. It seems they would indeed be a good choice - thanks for reminding me of them. 

The scale of the Temlett is 26". At the moment it has 9, 11, unspecified thickness of varnished gut, 28 wound, 10. The steel strings are fine, so it's just a case of getting the 3rd and 4th sorted, and I'm good to go. Then there's the bridge - I'll try a few that will cope with steel strings. 

Yes, I first found out about D type in a lute context (I don't play lute, I just stumbled upon the existence of these strings more less accidentally).  

At a scale of only 26 inches   #112 D might be as good or better than 108.  I can't recall which I used on my Temlett when I had it. 

Rob MacKillop said:

Cheers, Jody. I've used Aquila D-type strings often on lutes, so know their properties. It seems they would indeed be a good choice - thanks for reminding me of them. 

The scale of the Temlett is 26". At the moment it has 9, 11, unspecified thickness of varnished gut, 28 wound, 10. The steel strings are fine, so it's just a case of getting the 3rd and 4th sorted, and I'm good to go. Then there's the bridge - I'll try a few that will cope with steel strings. 

No, I don't know why the last post posted itself again, that's computers for you, I probably looked at a button in the wrong way.



Rob MacKillop said:

Richard - there is no comment in your last post, just a copy of previous stuff. Did you intend to add anything?

Just to clarify the situation, Nick Bamber and I were the consultants/advisors on the two CE sets of zither-banjo strings. The choice was based on instruments we had encountered with original strings; Nick's 30 odd years experience of playing zibs and discussions with both Richard and Chris Sands and finally paasing our ideas on to Clem.

I sampled a couple of Camm 4ths and sent them to Epi Segerman at NRA in Manchester - they produced several samples for me (I think Tom Ryan may have witnessed some of them being wound).

They struggled to get down to 024 with the same composition as the Camms and we decided, principaly on cost and availability to compromise on the 026 for "mass" production. I've not experinced any problem with my performace instruments. Generally speaking 008 works best on the slightly longer string length of a Camm, hence the CE Camm set.

I recently re-strung a Sydney Young Vibrante Royal with a complete set of original Camms - works a treat.

Thanks for the clarification, David. I wonder how Camm's engineers managed it? But if it is impossible to emulate, all that is required on my instrument is a little widening of the grooves. 

I now have a classical guitar 4th in place, but it too gets stuck at the nut. Hopefully it will last until I get someone to work on the nut - I just don't have the tools myself, though how hard could it be? What file should I buy? I don't need the groove any deeper, just a smidge wider. 

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