Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

New strings - lighter version needed

As a banjo player I’m probably a bit spoiled with regard to string tension, but my fingers complain loudly when playing the mandolin, and I tend to blame it completely on the strings. They came with the mando (about 3yrs ago, it has not been used too often…) so no idea what type they are. The idea is to buy light strings, but have no clear idea what to get.
In the store close by they sell D’addario strings in three materials: nickel, bronze and phospor bronze, what is the difference between those and do you have a preference for a certain material? Online other brands are available, do you prefer a specific brand?
Any other tips on this are welcome too! Thanks!

I’ve used a variety from Gibson to Elixer what I’m on now and really like are Martins "Bluegrass " brand strings. They have a good feel to me and a great bright sound. Its all about personal preference however.

I went through String madness when I got both of my Kentucky’s. After many,many sets of strings I found that each of them liked different sets? My KM1000 was a huge fan (or should I say I was a huge fan) of the D J-73, I tried the old bluegrass standard D J-74’s but it was just a bit thick for my taste, so the 73’s is all I put on it any more. Now the KM505 liked the lighter set of strings, just sounded better. I just put a set of D J63 (?) nickel on a MK that my sis in law is playing, she is new and has the tender fingers and she REALLY likes them as they are not as tough for her. However, I must say I probably went through 12-15 different sets before I got one for each Mando that I was happy with. Interesting though on that MK I changed the tail piece to solid and put those thinner strings on it, WOW, it made it twice as loud!! Try and Try till you get somehthin you like they are out there, but for me I had to change a ton before I found what I was happ with.

I tried lights on my mandolins a long time ago to make it easier on my fingers but the sacrifice in volume just wasn’t worth it to me. Put the J-74’s back on got the calluses and strength built up in my fingers and never looked back. But…if you want to use lights anyway, I’d start out trying the D’Addario J-73’s and go from there.