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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: String Sizes


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.mandohangout.com/archive/46065

Picking Dick - Posted - 03/21/2017:  07:59:59


What difference in sound is there between light and medium strings?  My new Mando/Banjo has very tight strings.  I'm fretting better now, but it's still a grunt for my old fingers.  Perhaps it'll become easier with time?

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 03/23/2017:  04:35:24


Yes it does get easier with time. Just be sure that your instrument is properly set up. With double courses of short strings a hitgh action will always be tough to play.

Picking Dick - Posted - 03/23/2017:  06:03:37


Thanks, Richard, I can fret the strings, even the first fret. Maybe I've just gotta get usta 'em. I have been playing a 5-string and an Irish tenor.

I just wondered how "light" strings would sound.

DHopkins - Posted - 03/23/2017:  19:37:30


Light strings are usually easier to play but there's not as much volume (or "bark"). It doesn't happen often but they are also easier to break. Many pickers prefer the light strings. It's all a matter of taste.

Different brands also sound different from each other. Gibsons don't sound like GHS and D'Addario don't sound like Mapes, etc. Mapes strings are made in Tennessee and "cured with Appalachian moonshine," according to the label. You need to try different strings to find the feel and sound you like.

Picking Dick - Posted - 03/23/2017:  22:48:30


Thanks for the info, David, I don't know what I'll do. I played terrible today. It surely is frustrating sometimes. But my mando/banjo is brand new. So maybe I outta give it (and myself) a chance to improve. We'll see . . .


Edited by - Picking Dick on 03/23/2017 22:49:34

DHopkins - Posted - 03/24/2017:  07:01:50


PD, I missed the mando-banjo part. I have little experience with those. I have a flock of mandolins, including a Recording King resonator, but no banjo-type. I have to assume that the basic information is true, however. You're right, though. It'll take time. The smaller fingerboard complicates it. I use a Breedlove mandolin with a little wider nut on most of my gigs. That helps with men's larger hands, in my opinion.

I've been playing professionally (a little country band) for about 9 years but I still try to pick up the mandolin and practice every day. Sometimes it's only for 10-15 minutes but it's become a daily ritual. It gives me a chance to experiment with new songs and it keeps the fingers in condition.

Picking Dick - Posted - 03/24/2017:  10:25:58


I've been playing either my new mando/banjo or my Irish Tenor an hour every day. I also try to squeeze in a little 5 string just to keep from getting rusty with it. My memory is a constant millstone nowadays.

I've been playing music for 70 years, but always wind instruments. I had trouble with my keyboard, and finally quit trying with it. Playing the melody and chords at the same time was just too confusing. I use it as a learning tool now. Chords are giving me the yips now too, but I'm handling them so far.

I'm trying to pick a pick too. Some say flexible for beginners, some say stiff. I have both, but . . . more to learn.

I'm worried about the blazing speeds of banjoists and mandolinists, and I'm feeling a little defeated.

Donnie - Posted - 03/28/2017:  14:15:42


I use 0.10's on all but one mando, and as soon as all the 0.11's are used, I'll be using 0.10's on all three. I like Elixers because, for me, I can slide into notes easier. I also use Wegen 1.4 picks so I still get plenty of volume. If you go that route, practice a light grim, letting the pick get a slight flop- it's a fine line between a grip where you drop the pick, and still let it "flop" while still having control. Play around with it, a lot- you'll get there!

Picking Dick - Posted - 03/28/2017:  18:52:04


Yeah, Donnie, I'm working now with the floppy pick, and it works a lot better than the death grip.  I'm using a Prime Tone 1.4, and it's working out fine when I can remember where to pick.  Thanks for the info.  I need all I can get.

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