11 Gauge strings for Tele?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by guitarplayer, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. dreamingaxe

    dreamingaxe Member

    Mar 18, 2018
    I started with 9's.. LP type guitars, pointy ibanez, washburns, and even one Strat copy... I went to 10's when I switched to Tele's.. it was working great, but I thought I wanted to try something different, a small change to make my tele a bit different but something cheap, something reversible if I dont like it.. coincidentally it was time for a string change, went to the store, asked for 10's and saw 11-49's beside it, and thought why not.. I've put on 11's, never looked back.. ever since I've put 11's on everything.. Gretsches, Tele's, strats.. Havent tried with an LP or an ES335/Casino yet.. I dont have those guitars as of the moment.. but for sure I will put 11's on those guitars as well..

    While Im not sure what it did to my tone, my ears arent picking up anything significant tone change, maybe bigger, more defined low E,A,D string tones? I did have an easier time tweaking amp and pedals EQ, maybe better bass response? Im not really sure, but the feel for me was better for me than slinky spaghetti strings.. I like my guitars to fight, 11's felt home and I stuck with it.. I havent tried 12's, I wanted to, but I dont want to redo all my set up.. Maybe if I will, I am eager to try 12's on a top loader affinity tele and see how I like it..

    I play 12's on an acoustic.. no matter what scale length.. I think heavier gauges drive the acoustic guitar top harder, especially if its all solid.. thus I can feel it vibrating more and I can hear bigger tone than lighter strings..

    harder to play, yes, especially the first time, but I got used to it.. bending is okay too, takes a little bit more effort than 10's but eventually it feels normal.. I doubt I'll go back to ligher strings..if anything Im wanting to try 11-52's or a hybrid set of 12-49's or 12-52's if there's such a string set.. but for now, I love 11-49s on strats, gretches and teles..
  2. Richard Clinton Davis

    Richard Clinton Davis Member

    Apr 17, 2019
    I used 10 s for years switched to 11 for a year fatter thicker tone but felt a loss in twang plus you gotta have a lot of ass behind you to bend them thru a four set bar gig . Some players have the hand strength to pull it off and after a few weeks you get used to whatever your using playing a acoustic a lot helps but my hands didn't have the stamina after about 25 songs. It really depends on the player hand strength to me.
  3. s2y

    s2y Member

    Jan 3, 2012
    Caught somewhere in time
    My hands get a little tired when I'm using 11s on a 25.5" scale guitar and bending a lot. Sure, I play flat top and arch top acoustics with 13s. I don't bend on those.
    enharmonic likes this.
  4. AbePhroman

    AbePhroman Member

    Dec 6, 2011
    Vineland, NJ
    I do 11's Tele, 10's PRS, 9's Strat. Not sure why, I just like those.
  5. paulbearer

    paulbearer Member

    Apr 14, 2008
    51°31'55.8"N 0°10'40.0"W
    Big fan of Ernie Ball Skinny/Heavys: (52-10)
    On a Rick Kelly Pine T Style w/ Double D neck,
    Twang, bite and fat low end as necessary.
  6. lavinci

    lavinci Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    9s on my Fender
    10s on my Kelly
  7. patshep

    patshep Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2010
    new york city
    as of his last album, he was, when i saw him a few months ago it was a wound G ... he used to play .12s
    whatever he plays, it doesn't matter, his technique is ridiculous as is his concept
    trying to sound like him is nuts.... but a lot of us will... he did make me crazy for the tele/champ combo
    rwijaya likes this.
  8. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

    May 16, 2006
    Philadelphia, PA
  9. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

    Feb 18, 2013
    Denver CO
    With nicely polished, slightly taller and wider frets, 11s all day on my Fenders.
    I do 10s on a couple 25.5" guitars, one being a 78 Strat with very worn down frets, so it plays a little easier, and the other my 84 Ibanez with jumbos, so it plays like the shredder it is.
  10. Pongo

    Pongo Member

    Mar 9, 2018
    • Not sure about bending and how hard it would be on the left hand. On 25.5" scale guitars, 11s with bending is totally doable with practice, but it is also totally a lot harder; I use 11s when tuned down to Eb, and even that is noticeably rougher on the paws than the normal 10s I use in standard tuning. That said, if you don't do a lot of bending, 11s aren't too hard so long as the action is low enough.
    • I suspect larger gauge would provide a thicker tone? Indeed, they do! Keep in mind, however, that "thicker tone" is not necessarily "better" than anything else unless that's specifically what you're going for.
    • Any experience with this with respect to playability and tone differences? See above -- thicker tone than 10s (slightly more volume, too), but it comes with slightly harder runs, noticeably harder bends. I would shred my fingertips playing rock or blues on 11s, but wouldn't be bothered by jazz or just straight rhythm guitar.
    • In the Lange article I read, he also said he used wound 3rd string. What is the advantage of this? It's got a fuller, darker sound that some people prefer. Some claim that it stays in tune better, too, though I suspect the perceived bonus stability may simply be due to the fact that it gets bent less when it's not plain!
    • I'm sure this topic has been discussed 1001 times already. ;-) 1002!
  11. toasterdude

    toasterdude Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    I agree 99%. Except for the classic pedal steel type oblique bend in G. Bending that A up to a B can be hit or miss. Mostly miss if I have not been playing a lot.
  12. Ace1432

    Ace1432 Member

    Sep 8, 2010

    12 gauge all day, brother
    Mike Duncan likes this.
  13. jamester

    jamester Silver Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2010
    Baltimore, MD
    This was me until about a month ago...

    Got a new Tele that came with 10's, hadn't played with 10's in like twenty years so I figured I'd keep it that way for a while and enjoy the easier bending and slinky feel. Much to my surprise, once I got adjusted I started realizing I actually prefer them! No loss in tone really, can get my fat tone for jazz and blues just the same. But the guitar seems more "tele like" with the lighter strings to me, like each pickup position has a little more personality.

    I will continue using 11's for my semi-hollows and acoustics, but for teles I think I like 10's better.
  14. Stratburst70

    Stratburst70 Member

    May 25, 2013
    I have used .11’s on my electric guitars for the past 25 years.

    I started on .10’s but noticed, when I started gigging, that I would accidentally bend my strings out of tune just from sheer adrenaline. I moved up to .11’s and never looked back. Yes, you lose twang but you gain a more acoustic ring from the guitar. I have had no issues with bending strings; I just keep practicing regularly and my hands are fine.
  15. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    Northern MD
    11’s on a Fender-scale guitar feel just about right to me. 11’s on a Gibson scale are ok, but I prefer 12’s.

    I don’t bust out 2.5-step bends too often, though. I’m a ham-fisted rhythm player. I can appreciate how a lead player might want a more friendly set of strings for all of the fretboard pyrotechnics.
  16. Joe L

    Joe L Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    White Plains,New York
    I use BeeBop 11s on my Heritage H555 and my Gretsch 5420 and they work and sound great best of all is that last forever.. Great strings!

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