Re: "Tight-playing" mandolin
When someone brings me an instrument and the complaint is it "feels tight" one of the first things I check as "part" of the setup is the nut slots. Most of the time I find the strings are not down to the proper height at the first fret. Find the mandolin that feels the best to you and with a feeler guage measure the clearance at the first fret pushing the string down ahead of the 2nd fret. Have a good repairman cut the slots for that same clearance on yours. I usually set that clearance on my mandolins at .003" to .004".
Heiden A, '52 Martin D-18, 2007 Martin 28-HD,