I have always used medium gauge strings on my mandolins. Always (25+ years). If you would have asked me about lights two weeks ago, my reply would have been: "Meh, those are not for me..."
On a whim, I purchased a set of light gauge strings the other day. I was a little concerned that they would be too pingy and I would lose some volume and tone. Well, I have been pleasantly surprised.
While I think I might have lost a little volume and my g & d strings aren't quite as richly deep as they were before, I like the over all tone.
I was able to overcome the pingy sound by changing picks. I used to alternate between a tortoise, a tortex 1mm, and a nylon Dunlop 1mm. Depending on the mood and feel. The nylon Dunlop seems to work pretty well on the lights for me.
I was also concerned about how the change would affect my chop. I am kinda known locally for having a strong chop that cuts through banjos and dobros and such. I was really surprised at the new percussive possiblilities presented by the light gauge strings. I can't really describe it though.
Now I am in the process of re-teaching my right hand to not over play on the lights. I have already broken 2 strings since saturday, generally I only break strings when they are already worn out.
Next, I am thinking about mixing a set of mediums with a set of lights within the pairs. My theory is that it might give me the best of both worlds. Anybody tried this, yet? One forseeable drawback would be a lot of dischording caused by the light string in each pair, because I don't think I will ever be accused of having a light touch...
Thoughts? observations? Redicule?