Straight Up Strings from Roger Siminoff

Straight Up Strings from Roger SiminoffFor the past fifty plus years, Roger Siminoff has been at the forefront of technical analysis for fretted stringed instruments. He has published his research over the years in a number of publications geared towards acoustic musicians, notably Banjo NewsLetter and both Frets and Pickin’ magazines, with which he had been affiliated while they were active.

A matter of special interest to Roger has been string tension and the load that different string gauges assert on the bridge. While it was in print, Frets magazine ran a regular column of Siminoff’s called the Frets String Clinic, which examined various questions related to string performance, many of them controversial when published in the late ’90s.

More recently he has been examining string response on non-fixed bridges, particularly for banjo and mandolin, and the impact of string tension on volume and tone for strings not directly over one of the bridge feet. Roger calls this issue “string balance,” and has written about it extensively this week over at Mandolin Cafe.

To address this concern, Siminoff has introduced a new line of mandolin strings called Straight Up Strings which are designed to counter the question of the vibrational path of string energy through the bridge to the top. The idea is to address the problem of the inside strings responding differently as they are not located over the feet, as are the outer pairs.

He explains his concept in this brief video…


Roger’s roughly two years of research have show what he finds to be the optimum down pressure on the bridge to compensate for this difference in direct access to the soundboard. The result is found in the new Straight Up Strings which he hears offering a more balanced response on the mandolin.

You can find more information about Roger and his new strings online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.