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Thread: Loose vs tight feel

  1. #26
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    Shuan: I can't answer your question but when I played your RD I thought it played like butter and sounded like a million bucks. Chuck
    1914 Gibson A-4
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  2. #27

    Default Re: Loose vs tight feel

    Return of another zombie thread...

    So I have a early 2000's Gibson F5G that feels pretty tight. As I get older, my left hand has been bothering me more and more (trying to stretch more). I lowered the action to where it's low enough to not buzz and it's clear of the frets.

    I've used J74's for years. Curious if other strings feel more loose than J74s to give the left hand some relief.

    (I know, I know... simply try different strings... Monals, lights, DAD NB's, etc.)

    Thanks y'all.
    Last edited by lespaul_79; Jul-11-2018 at 7:35pm.

  3. #28

    Default Re: Loose vs tight feel

    This is a combination of string gauge, action at the bridge and nut and finally scale length.

    Lighter gauge strings will be easier to fret. Have you checked the action lately?
    Robert Fear
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    " - Pete Seeger

  4. #29
    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loose vs tight feel

    Silk and Steel are easier on the hands.

  5. #30
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Loose vs tight feel

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    ... and finally scale length.
    While not everybody's cup of tea ("everybody" mostly meaning bluegrassers), Martin mandolins have a 13" scale, rather than the common 13 7/8", and can sound really sweet.
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

  6. #31
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    Default Re: Loose vs tight feel

    In theory, if you set up 5 mandolins with identical scale lengths, identical strings, the nut slotted to the same height as the first fret, and the bridge set for string height of 4/64" above the 12th fret; the string tension should be identical on all 5 mandolins.

    But we know that it doesn't always feel that way. Other factors that may affect the way a mandolin feels are the neck profile, the height of the fret crown [which no one has mentioned], and the response of the instrument.

    For me, small necks are harder to play. The same for necks with steep sides. Other people may have different preferences.

    When I refret an instrument using fret wire with a .040" crown height, the height is enough to keep my fingertips from contacting the fretboard. All the force is applied directly to the strings instead of some of it being dispersed against the fretboard. The instrument plays easier than it would if the fret crown height was .030" or less. Many mandolins leave the factory with frets that have been ground low, and many instruments have had the frets dressed, often rather indiscriminately, to take care of grooves or uneven fret height. I have found that if finished fret height is below .035" or so, an instrument becomes increasingly harder to play with every thousandth of an inch of reduction in fret height.

    I also find that if an instrument does not have an easy response, I tend to bear down harder with both hands in an effort to pull the sound out of the instrument.

    It's not always about string tension. Other factors can make a player feel that he has to bear down harder. And if your fingertips are bumping into the board, you're wasting energy.

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  8. #32
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loose vs tight feel

    There can be more to it than setup. The stiffness of the plates tend to affect whether a mando feels tight or loose. Don't ask why because I dont know.

  9. #33

    Default Re: Loose vs tight feel

    I used to paint bodies and necks for Teles and Strats for a local blues musician who would make and sell parts guitars. He bought the same neck from the same company, USA Custom. About one in ten necks was just special. Bending strings was just like butter. Wood is an interesting material.
    Silverangel Econo
    Michael Kelly LSFTB

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