Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Best beginner strings for a mandolin

Hey guys,

My daughter got me an entry level mandolin for Christmas.

Everyone is telling me to swap out the strings first thing.

What are the best beginner strings you recommend from the general store?

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D’addario EJ74 strings are the old stand by

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I do not know why they are telling you to swap strings
I guess you could probably find a lighter gauge that is a little easier to play but either way it is going to take conditioning to toughen up your fingertips.

Personally my favorite was “Gibson Sam Bush Monel Wound Mandolin Strings 11-41”
but they seem to have stopped making this set. A few other manufactures make something like it though. It is a heavier gauge but I have always found them to be comfortable to play once you get your fingertips toughened.

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I tried heavier strings on my inexpensive mandolin and the neck bowed. I went back to light strings and the neck straightened out. I have found playing the mandolin is a little harder on my fingertips than the banjo. I wish strings were the only thing wrong with my mandolin playing!

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I use the EJ74 myself: https://store.banjobenclark.com/products/daddario-ej74-phosphor-bronze-medium-gauge-mandolin-strings

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I recommend starting with EJ74s as well. Great versatile strings.

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Because the strings that come on most beginner instruments are very bad.

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I doubt that is actually true.
Strings are not expensive to begin with -the set Ben suggest is only 7 bucks and a manufacturer buying in bulk would pay significantly less. I can certainly believe that one can always spend more money though.

Regardless of string quality an amature is not likely to start off with great tone. The only real question is comfort and I just do not see much difference between light and heavy guage. The mandolin is a bit harder on the fingers than a guitar and it will take a while to condition the fingertips.

Thanks everyone I’ll get some ordered.