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Thread: Light Strings

  1. #1

    Default Light Strings

    I have a Kentucky KM 855 Bella Voce. I know this is asking what does a banana taste like? But, what will my mando sound like with light strings on it? Should it sound better with lights or mediums that everyone seems to use. What are some things I can expect to hear? Thanks for the input.

  2. #2
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Summit County Colorado

    Default Re: Light Strings

    IME, it sounds not as loud and feels easier on both hands. Give it a shot

  3. #3
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Default Re: Light Strings

    It’s a cheap enough experiment to conduct. My guess would be that light strings might not be enough to get everything out of the top, but that compromise could still be sufficient for your purposes.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
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  4. #4
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Grass Valley

    Default Re: Light Strings

    Experiment, try them each and compare.
    It's very interesting to hear the difference between light and medium gauge.
    Various brands often have their own distinct sound.

    My way of keeping track of what I put on last is to keep the label and date it.

    Billy Packard
    Gilchrist A3, 1993
    Stiver Fern, 1990
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    Gibson F4 Hybrid #1, D. Harvey 2009
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    Numerous wonderful guitars

  5. #5
    Resident Hack
    Join Date
    Jul 2020

    Default Re: Light Strings

    If you haven't trained yourself to play with the lightest touch you can, you may find yourself bending the strings the strings while you play. For my playing, there's no upside to light strings. I get worse tone and suddenly have to worry about my intonation, while I play.

    What will your experience be? About 6 bucks and some time will tell you.
    What I play
    2021 Skip Kelley Two-Point
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  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    charlottesville, VA

    Default Re: Light Strings

    It's one of the cheapest experiments you can try. I personally have been using Curt Mangan bluegrass lights for the last year or more, and haven't noticed a change in tone or volume. But I also have a mandolin that has exceptional volume. The intonation thing is an issue, but working on a lighter touch is an ongoing project of mine. I can't honestly compare them back-to-back because I just switched and didn't go back, but I recently got some mediums to see how they feel now.
    Mitch Russell

  7. #7

    Default Re: Light Strings

    Will make vibrato more apparent.

  8. #8
    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Crockett, TX

    Default Re: Light Strings

    I'll join the consensus and tell you to just try it out, it's cheap enough.

    You want to start doing expensive string experiments? Try violin strings. (Don't even try to complain to cellists or bass players).
    Chris Cravens

    Girouard A5
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    Passernig Mandola
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  9. #9
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Light Strings

    Yeah .... try out some different gauges and alloys. You can even go to and mix and match gauges and materials. Have fun. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  10. #10
    Registered User
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    Jul 2003
    Portland, OR

    Default Re: Light Strings

    I was talking with Greg Boyd about this a few years ago - he was on a roll and really got going on this topic...
    According to Greg - Bob Givens thought that his mandolins should have light strings. There was a lot of theory about this, and I think I've got this right, but Mr. Givens thought that heavier strings would hinder vibration of the top and actually have a negative effect on tone and volume. Another thing - It wasn't necessarily what you would hear in your hands but it would influence how sound would travel and be perceived across the room. I put light strings on one of my Givens mandolins and have been happy (the other Givens really likes Monels). Definitely didn't make it any quieter.


  11. #11

    Default Re: Light Strings

    I installed D'Addario EJ73 Light strings, much easier to play and easier on my fingers. Cost was only about $7 and worth it.
    Loar LM-110-BRB Honey Creek A-Style

  12. #12
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    So Cal.

    Default Re: Light Strings

    What about 9's just to learn on?
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

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