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Thread: Strings for sore finger tips

  1. #1
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
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    Default Strings for sore finger tips

    Was wondering if others (beginners?) are having problems with sore finger tips using 74's/mediums? I was doing all right with playing about 30 min. per day, healing for 24 hrs., but now they are taking a few days to get back to normal. Two days after playing for 30 min. is too long of a wait.

    I'm looking at Martin (and others) 10-34 80/20's and am wondering if others have tried them? I know that with guitar 80-20's are easier on the finger tips compared to Phosphor Bronze.

    Also, I'm going to have the Mando set up, so also wondering if I should have it done with mediums on it, then switch to 10's even if they buzz a bit? Thanks.
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    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie D View Post
    Was wondering if others (beginners?) are having problems with sore finger tips using 74's/mediums? I was doing all right with playing about 30 min. per day, healing for 24 hrs., but now they are taking a few days to get back to normal. Two days after playing for 30 min. is too long of a wait.

    I'm looking at Martin (and others) 10-34 80/20's and am wondering if others have tried them? I know that with guitar 80-20's are easier on the finger tips compared to Phosphor Bronze.

    Also, I'm going to have the Mando set up, so also wondering if I should have it done with mediums on it, then switch to 10's even if they buzz a bit? Thanks.
    Definitely get your setup checked. We can't see the instrument so it's hard to advise, but a good setup is especially important for a beginner. Learning to play is challenging enough with a good setup.

    I would say that, after you know everything is good, just stick it out with the strings you plan to play. Some will suggest moving to lighter strings, and that will make some difference, although minor in my opinion. Coated strings also seem to wear a little less on the fingertips. There's nothing wrong with experimenting with strings to find what you like, but most of us eventually end up on some version of the J 74s. Hang in there and soon enough the fingers won't even notice.

    But again, the most important thing (i think) is to make sure the mandolin is well setup. My own first attempt at mandolining had me struggling with a very high action, and it was painful and discouraging experience. A teacher would have saved me a lot of frustration.

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    Default Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    to me the Monel are slicker, and somewhat easier on the fingertips, of course if the action is too high it isn't going to change much.
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    One other thing, make sure you're not pressing down too hard when fretting notes - if you have to press down hard then that could be your sign that your action is too high. But even with perfect action some beginners press down harder than they need to, which can result in sore fingertips. A good exercise it to play a scale and focus on only using enough finger pressure needed to get the note to sound clearly.
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    Got Buckstrips? Jerry Byers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    One other thing, make sure you're not pressing down too hard when fretting notes - if you have to press down hard then that could be your sign that your action is too high. But even with perfect action some beginners press down harder than they need to, which can result in sore fingertips. A good exercise it to play a scale and focus on only using enough finger pressure needed to get the note to sound clearly.
    Absolutely good advice. Too many beginners apply the wrong pressure on the strings and have the wrong placement on the fret. This is not a guitar; do not try to press the strings to the fretboard. With good placement, you can fret with a very light touch on the strings. Also, if your fingertips are hurting, lighten up on the right hand. Practice your placement on your fretting fingers and your right-hand movement, but don't worry about volume. Noodle for a couple of days while your left fingertips toughen up; don't try to go for projection. In other words, ease up!
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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Byers View Post
    This is not a guitar; do not try to press the strings to the fretboard.
    Even on a guitar, use only as much pressure as needed to get a clean note.
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    Got Buckstrips? Jerry Byers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    Even on a guitar, use only as much pressure as needed to get a clean note.
    Guitar or mandolin, most beginners try to fret a note by placing their fingers in between frets. Once you figure out (learn) how to place your finger right up on the fret, you get a clean note with minimal pressure - very little pressure. When I'm fretting, it's almost a thought to fret and unclean notes are a mistiming with the right hand and not fretting issue.
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    Default Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    If its well set up, its a trade off between patience, perseverance and changing to playing air guitar!

  10. #9
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    Or Aquilla 1M mandolin strings (nylon, Not steel) go for baroque ..
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    Default Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie D View Post
    Was wondering if others (beginners?) are having problems with sore finger tips using 74's/mediums? I was doing all right with playing about 30 min. per day, healing for 24 hrs., but now they are taking a few days to get back to normal. Two days after playing for 30 min. is too long of a wait.

    I'm looking at Martin (and others) 10-34 80/20's and am wondering if others have tried them? I know that with guitar 80-20's are easier on the finger tips compared to Phosphor Bronze.

    Also, I'm going to have the Mando set up, so also wondering if I should have it done with mediums on it, then switch to 10's even if they buzz a bit? Thanks.
    It's less about the kind of strings and more about their age and care. Strings not wiped down will be harder on fingertips than those that are clean. Wipe residue after each practice, each gig, even if you think they're clean. They probably are not. More importantly, do whatever is necessary to keep the fingertips on your fretting hand as dry as much as possible so the callous can harden. Anything keeping fingertips continually wet will soften callouses and diminish the amount of time you can comfortably play. Long hot showers, lots of time washing dishes with both hands submerged, doing laps in a pool for exercise, lots of time in a sauna, all of those will soften callouses. And if you really want them to disappear, go to the ocean, spend a few days swimming and let that salt water take care of them. Those are all things we do without thinking about how it impacts the fingertips. I even try not to get hand sanitizer or lotion on the fingertips. Anything that is wet is going to soften them and make longer playing times more difficult. My opinion.

  12. #11
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    Forgot to mention I bought the 305 from the Mandolin store with their pro setup, but to me the action seems as though it could come down a bit more. The problem I have now is finding someone who really knows Mandos in the San Diego area without having to roll the dice.

    When I lived in Riverside County I had a highly referred guy set up a 515 and a cheap Fender Mando leaving the 7th strings on both Mando's buzzing. He went too far. After that I'm not too fond of fishing in the dark.

    I'm absolutely guilty of fretting the notes (at least half the time) between the frets. Thanks for pointing that out. It doesn't seem that I'm pushing down on the strings too hard. If anything I get buzzing not pushing hard enough, but I will work more on finger placement as that might be most or at least part of the problem. Maybe some too hard, and some not hard enough. Also, maybe I shouldn't be doing any sliding until my finger tips are tougher? Mistiming with the right hand? I never gave that a thought... Thanks.
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  13. #12

    Default Re: Strings for sore finger tips

    I went with light strings and had my local Luthier lower my bridge and check my action. Much better now and no more sore finger tips.

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