Changing string gauge: 10s to 9s...!!!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by thisfire, May 19, 2008.

  1. thisfire

    thisfire Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    San Francisco
    If I'm switching from the factory 10s down to 9s (on a strat with a bone nut, if that matters), is intonation and string height/tension normally a problem? I've heard that drastic changes in string thickness without adjustment can lead to problems, but I don't know if that applies here.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. teleman55

    teleman55 Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Shouldn't be a problem. After a while you might have to adjust your truss rod but that's about it. 9's and 10's aren't too far apart.
  3. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2002
    Santa Barbara, Marin, Chico, CA
    And if it needs a change or tweak to compensate, then just make the changes. Adjust the truss rod, adjust the action, and adjust the intonation, all in that order. If the nut's cut right, even if you take it to a tech it should only cost $40-$50 for a setup, since you already have the bone nut.

    Change gauges and try it. If you really like the feel but there are setup probs that are caused by the slinkier strings, you'll just have to decide which gauge you prefer and have it set up for that gauge.

    Either way it doesn't cost too much.

    Dana O.
  4. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    New Orleans + in the past
    12s to 9s would be drastic. 10's to 9's ain't drastic.

    What you could try is this: Buy and install a set of 9.5- 44s on the guitar as an interim step. You may find that no tweaking at all is required, and you might like the result.

    And if it isn't enough, certainly trying the 9-42s on there makes better sense than changing the setup all around before the trial.

    I do live in a mild, humid climate, but I find string guages can be changed a LOT before adjustments are necessary. Or said another way, I find myself tweaking on the next guitar in the rack, not the one that just had the guage change.
  5. GtrDr

    GtrDr Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Central Florida
    I think the biggest adjustment is on the players part. With the lighter strings you will need to lighten your touch so chords dont sound out of tune & strings dont buzz. Boosting the lows at your amp will compensate for the slight decrease in bass response.

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