Re: Any exercises or tips on how to reduce fret finger pressure..
If the string height on any mandolin is set to where the mandolin sounds ok & the volume is what the player wishes it to be,then the string tension is 'as it is'.There's nothing you can do about it other than lower the string height at the expense of volume,or,maybe use lighter gauge strings.Lowering the height of the strings will make it easier to fret them,& lighter gauge strings don't need as much finger pressure to fret them,but they will change the tone of the instrument. For most players,we set the string height to where we get the optimum volume & still find the strings easy to fret.
Bill Monroe's comment was about not pressing down on the strings any harder than you need to do,might seem obvious to most of us,but i'd bet there are some players,who,quite unconciously, fret the strings far harder than they need to do.I used to do it when i first started playing banjo,which,of all the bluegrass instruments requires the least pressure.I used to fret the strings so hard it hurt.The high string tension on a mandolin does need quite a bit of pressure in order to fret the strings,mainly at the top 2 frets.That's one of the reasons i hate the key of Bb. Pressing down on that 1st fret,especially if you have large hands,is a PITA !.
If any players are experiencing undue pain of any sort,then other than adjusting the set up of their instrument or using lighter gauge strings, all they can do is back off for a while & rest. Meanwhile,have a close look (feel) to determine if you are using more fretting pressure than you need,
Weber F-5 'Fern'.
Lebeda F-5 "Special".
Stelling Bellflower BANJO
Tanglewood TW-1000SR Guitar
Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.