View Full Version : Strings to Tight?

Matthew Bowtell
Sep-14-2011, 10:23pm
Hello Everyone.
I am an incredibly new Mando player (I got my first crappy one yesterday)
Now it is cheap and I've tuned it by ear to the best of my ability.
However the E and D strings sound like they should but they're very hard to press down and it's hurting my the tips of my fingers something shocking and not producing the proper sound when played. (It basically just twangs because the string isn't properly touching the fret board thingo because I can't press it down hard enough)
I was wondering if they could be to tight?
Or maybe that's how they're meant to be and I'm not using my fingers correctly.

It's my first musical instrument and I'm really keen to learn so any help would be appreciated.
P.S Please forgive the lack of technical terms :redface:

Sep-14-2011, 10:38pm
The nut could very likely be too high, which makes it very uncomfortable to play, especially on the lower frets. This is common on most inexpensive mandolins (and even some expensive ones) if they are not properly setup by the dealer. Take it to a good repair shop and they should be able to do a setup for you, or at least check it out based on the problem you are describing.

I'm sure if you tell us where you are located someone can recommend a place for you to take it.

Sep-15-2011, 9:19am
Hi Matthew and welcome to the Cafe.

I had a similar experience with my first inexpensive mandolin and, like Extremescene says, your instrument could use a set up by a competent person. This will lower the nut and saddle to allow for an easy fretting comfortable action and make sure the bridge is in the correct place of goood intonation. After I had my first mandolin adjusted, it was a completely new instrument and a pleasure to play.

The mandolin has a high pitched voice and therefore a lot of string tension but it should be playable. A poorly set up instrument stops more beginner players from progressing. Get yours adjusted as soon as you can and you'll be making music in no time.


Pete Summers
Sep-15-2011, 9:46am
I'm with the others here. It is almost certain that the nut is too high, making the strings not only hard to press down, but causing them to stretch as you push them down, thus distorting the pitch. It's also probable that the bridge is too high, making the strings too far above the fingerboard to be playable.

Get it to a luthier, music store, instrument repairman, etc. Cheap mandolins are almost never playable without a set-up. In fact, neither are most good mandolins.