Page 1 of 1

String Gauge & Tension

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:50 pm
by Teddy Dupont
A sad story from Rusty:-

Dear Mr Dr Dewpont,

Three weeks ago I bought an authentic Selmer from a charming passing nomad which, he assured me, had been owned briefly in 1954 by Django Reinhardt. It was a magnificent specimen rather like yourself. Rhimlerblatt Rostocheline, the chap who sold it to me said for real authenticity I should put some heavy duty strings on called "Brazilians" like Django used.

I was unable to find that particular brand and during the search experienced a rather unpleasant incident that has since prevented me from being able to sit down properly. In the end, the best I could was a set of strings for an acoustic bass guitar which seemed to fit Rhimlerblatt's recommendation perfectly. But you can see from the enclosed pictute what happened when I tried to fit these strings! An absolute disaster!

What do you think I did wrong? I followed the experts advice to the letter. And do you have any idea where I can get the Brazilians he mentioned?


Rusty Balls


Not too sure what the problem could have been here Rusty. Perhaps the bridge height was incorrect. That can be critical factor in such failures. You would also need to know whether the side panels were laminated, rusticated or castigated. - Cabo is your man when it comes to Brazilians. He's had more of them than you could possibly imagine.

Why not consider switching to a mandolin? These instruments can take the level of damage shown in your photo without any effect at all on the sound they produce.

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:58 pm
by Jono
Infamy, infamy!

I would like to add that if you decide to go down the (honourable and virtuous) mandolin path, remember that you'll need matched pairs of Brazilians.

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:58 pm
by Phydeaux3
I Bid £1 for it in this state or should I wait and see if Jacques gets hold of it and then pay a reasonable price..............

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:07 pm
by Teddy Dupont
Dear Mister Doctor Dewpoint,

Thank you so much for your helpful advice and I just love your section in the forum (I also listen to Steve Wright on Radio 2). I considered having the Selmer repaired but thought it could cost as much as £500 so I used it for firewood instead. It burnt beautifully, particularly the bridge.

Based on what you said, I decided to get a mandolin as a replacement and found our local pawn shop was absolutely full of them. The one I got was an real beauty and within an hour of getting it home, I could play to professional level. But would you believe it!!! The next morning disaster struck. I mistakenly picked up the mandolin to swat a bluebottle that had landed on my vegetarian muesli and broke the neck as you can see from the attached photo.


I was devastated until I remembered what you said so I changed the strings as they were covered with crushed bluebottle and masticated muesli - and you were right. It played perfectly. The damage had no effect at all. It is now even possible to change key without moving to a different position on the fingerboard.

Jono and I are playing at the "Mandolin and Mango" pub in Tiddly Widdledown and would very much like to invite you to come to see us perform.



Thank you for the invite Rusty but I'm afraid I recently broke all my fingers whilst trying to adjust the bridge on my Gitane replica and seldom leave the house at the moment.

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:54 pm
by Jono
Rusty wrote:vegetarian muesli
Dear Doc,

is hedgehog muesli more acceptable for swatting a mandolin against in this playing style?

Jono (c/o Mandolin & Mango, Tiddly Widdledown)