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Apr 13, 2021 - 4:35:32 PM
56 posts since 4/6/2021

What are some other options? I posted recently about Thomastik, not a lot of traction there

I battle neuropathy in my fingers and my fingers are a bit sensitive.
My new mandolin will have med J74’s and I can use those, and I will for a bit, but I’d rather something a little more forgiving to my fingers eventually. It’s not a matter of building up callouses, I’ve done that.

I gave used GHS silk in the past, and that helped me a lot. I’m really interested in the Thomastik, based on what I’ve read about the “feel” as well as what I’ve heard in the sound. I really see myself giving these a try at some point.

But, what other options might be out there that I don’t even know about? What other strings are truly “easy on the fingers”

I don’t know anything about Monel, Nickel, Elixir, and any of them really

Apr 13, 2021 - 5:35:30 PM
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699 posts since 10/3/2012

I like the flatwounds from — I use them on my longer scale mandola

Apr 13, 2021 - 5:42:15 PM



1016 posts since 1/3/2011

I have used GHS Silk and Steel on my mandolin and mandola, and Elixirs on my guitars. Not sure I can recommend one over another.

Steven's suggestion is intriguing.

Apr 13, 2021 - 6:39 PM
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81 posts since 9/5/2016

Originally posted by joemed


I battle neuropathy in my fingers and my fingers are a bit sensitive.

I wrestle with a similar situation.  Whether they call it peripheral neuropathy or paresthesia the sensation in the fingers is essentially the same.   Mine is left over from Guillain- Barre Syndrome.  I know what it feels like.

In my case GABA inhibitors help a lot.  Take your meds.  Beyond that ...

My first suggestion is to use lighter gauge strings.  Instead of the j74's (11's), try j73's (10's).  Martin also makes a similar set of 10's.  If you can find a set of 9's use those. Your volume may suffer but your hands will be happier.

A more off-the-wall suggestion is to try to isolate the skin on your fingertips from direct contact with the strings.  Years ago I would coat the fingertips with a layer of Super Glue.  It acts as a stand in for calluses or a booster layer if you have good calluses.  Not a perfect solution but it helped.  Make sure the glue is dry before you go near the mandolin. surprise

While going through my latest bout I used silicone fingertips for several months.  They are available on eBay.  They come in various sizes and some are thicker than others.  You may have to try a few different types to find one that works and helps with the nasty sensations.  Again not a perfect solution but it might be helpful. 

Have fun with your new mandolin.  Remember, it is called "playing" for a reason.

Hope that helps.


Edited by - Mandodennis on 04/13/2021 18:46:55

Apr 13, 2021 - 7:03:40 PM

56 posts since 4/6/2021

Thank you Dennis. Mine is a souvenir from my long battle with cancer. The chemo really got me. Thank you for all of your ideas a

Scott, Patrick , Steven- sorry if I didn’t word the actual question right. What I am asking is....

Is there another string, other than Silk or Thomastik, that is smooth on the fingers?
I have no idea what Elixirs feel like, or Monels, or any of the others...

Apr 13, 2021 - 7:17:27 PM
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699 posts since 10/3/2012

Makes complete sense — the mandolin flatwounds from Martin at work great on acoustics and are less expensive than the Thomstik option — flatwounds are, imho, the easiest string on the fingers if you like their tone.

Apr 13, 2021 - 8:39:23 PM

56 posts since 4/6/2021

Thank you Stephen I am going to have to try to find an example so I can hear what they are like.

Do you use them yourself and have you been using them for a while?

Apr 14, 2021 - 3:27:21 AM

699 posts since 10/3/2012

Yes and yes — I use his strings on my acoustic Gilchrist mandola and she shines

Apr 14, 2021 - 3:56:41 AM
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56 posts since 4/6/2021

Thank you Steven, this is good to hear. I have heard some not so good things about Martin strings more than a couple of times, so I had pretty much written them off. But I think this is more directed towards their standard strings. I am going to look into these though

Apr 14, 2021 - 3:57:24 AM

699 posts since 10/3/2012

Originally posted by Steven Clarkson

Yes and yes — I use his strings on my acoustic Gilchrist mandola and she shines. I use Thomastik heavies on my Girouard mandolin mainly because she was voiced for that string choice. If you decide to try them, make sure you check loop end -- I made that mistake once -- ball end is his default 

Apr 14, 2021 - 4:25:59 AM
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699 posts since 10/3/2012

This is my Girouard strung up with Thomastiks (the strings are new and will mellow out

This is my mandola with flatwounds

Apr 14, 2021 - 5:38:15 AM
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56 posts since 4/6/2021

Thank you for the links Steven. I’ll have to check those out later today, didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you..

I’m a 3rd shifter, and it’s about my bedtime

Apr 14, 2021 - 4:01:56 PM

56 posts since 4/6/2021

Great videos, and great playing Steven. Yes, the strings sound fantastic.

Side question as I am always trying to learn some things: what genre of music would you classify that as? I’m not into labels, but I could get into playing like that...

Apr 14, 2021 - 8:25:17 PM

699 posts since 10/3/2012

The genre would probably be organic World or so a curator told me

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