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I just received an inexpensive mandolin to see how I would like playing it before I buy a better quality instrument. I am sure that the strings that came on this instrument are of poor quality and they are VERY difficult to fret.

Should I be using silk and steel strings or maybe some other variety that would be more playable?

  • I have removed the request for recommendation - as that type of question is off topic here. – Doktor Mayhem Aug 31 '16 at 10:08
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I worked in a guitar store, and I can tell you that you want anything that says "extra light". Now, to most brands, that means a specific mm measurement, but it will vary from brand to brand. But most of our brands were in the same range. So get anything that says "extra light" and make note of the mm measurement. If that still feels too thick, get smaller.

And don't spend to much. As a beginner, you can't tell the difference between cheap or expensive strings yet. (Heck, I still can't!)

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