I put the mandolin down during college, about the same time that I picked up a camera. That was 10 years ago. Recently I realized that there was no reason that I couldn't do both. After all, I've moved back to my home town for love and there's not much to do around here. After living in New York and Chicago, Green Bay moves pretty slowly and even after buying a house and getting married - I find myself with more time largely because there's nowhere to go after dark unless you want to shop or get drunk. Which I don't. I want to swing.
Realizing that the mandolin that I bought for myself back in high school was too painful to play, I got myself a used Mid-Missouri M-2. I'm really happy with it. However, I desperately need to get some new strings for it. Now, since my mandolin playing has pretty much been confined to the Green Bay area, which is not mandolin country, I've only ever bought the strings that were available around here: GHS, Dean Markleys, and Gibson strings and the like. I realize now though that this is only the tip of the iceberg. I'd like to get some guidance:
1. Which set of strings are the darkest and warmest on the market?
2. The Argentine strings that are made for the mandolin, are these good? How do the sound?
3. Which are your favorite strings and what do you like about how they sound and feel?
4. Is there any relationship between strings and vibrato? If so, which set of strings are optimal for vibrato?
It's hard to put into words what I would like in strings; I guess I'd like some strings that are able to be dark/warm when played with moderate force, but progressively brighter when played harder.
Thank you very much,