Does tone come from strings?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by PrestonBrick, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. PrestonBrick

    PrestonBrick Member

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    I have heard both sides of the story...

    I have heard Jeff Beck quote BB King on " You cant play comfortably with really heavy strings"(something like that) and I have heard people say "The strings have a lot to do with the tone"....


    I cant play comfortably with heavy strings and I cant play comfortably with horrible tone....What should I do?

    Im using 11's now and the G string (haha) is really uncomfortable to even play let alone bend...(haha again)...


    -Preston
     
  2. Todd Lynch

    Todd Lynch Member

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    For this reason, I use a custom gauged set - gives me max tone and playability:

    .011, .013, .016, .024w, .030, .038

    Back when I was using GHS, the first string was a .0115; I'm playing Curt Mangan strings now and they aren't currently offering half sizes.
     
  3. PrestonBrick

    PrestonBrick Member

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    .0115's?!

    thats bad ass! hahaha.

    How do you get them?

     
  4. 4styx

    4styx Member

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    I think the choice of pick has a lot to do with tone and which end of it you use.
     
  5. trushack

    trushack Member

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    I think the string might be the most important part of the tonal equation. After all, if you don't have strings, you just have a nice plank of wood... :)

    That said, there are all sorts of factors that play into what makes a particular gauge right for you as a player. The pressure you fret with, whether you play with a pick or fingers, how hard you thwack the strings, the construction of the guitar you're using, etc etc etc etc. You just have to find the right mix of factors that works for you and your guitar. I have a Telecaster that just sounds and feels right with a set of .010s. while my Strat likes .011s.
     
  6. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    I find different string guages simply to provide different tones ...
    Not better tones, just different tones ...

    So please don't believe the myth that thicker guage equals a better tone...
    Certainly a thicker tone, but that doesn't equate to "better" in my book
     
  7. CWFurst

    CWFurst Member

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    Is cheese the only ingredient to pizza?
     
  8. doublee

    doublee Member

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  9. Todd Lynch

    Todd Lynch Member

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    Any GHS dealer can hook you up with an order for the GHS Custom Shop - you can get .0115s as well as .0135". Good stuff.
     
  10. knob

    knob Member

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    for me i can't play comfortably with light strings..
    its way to easy and i bend way to far... i use 13's and they have the perfect amount of tension and i dont have any trouble bending... i'd say im probably the minority, but i like bigger strings for playability reasons more than tone..
     
  11. loudstuff

    loudstuff Member

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    First, don't use heavy strings just for the sake of using them. Like others have said, find what works for you. I started with .009s on electrics and .012s on acoustics. Over the years I went up to .013s on electrics because I thought it made me a man, but realized I didn't like the feel or tone. Now I use .011s for electrics, .012s for acoustic, and .012 flatwounds for my archtop. Find something that works for you. Everyone has their own opinion, but yours is the one that matters.

    Different materials in string composition also can also have an effect on your tone. Not sure the specifics, but for electrics: nickel = warmer; and for acoustics: phosphorus bronze = warmer.

    Good luck on your search.
     
  12. Rapmaster

    Rapmaster Member

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    +1

    Thing is, my G is what really irks me. Sometimes, I like the feel of a wound G, then I'll try some real bendy stuff and it just doesn't work.

    Tone wise, I've never played real light strings, so I have no clue what they sound like in my application.
     
  13. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    D'Addario makes a set that goes from 105, 13, 18, 28, 38 ,48. It's nice on short scale guitars or Fender scale too if you have decent frets.
     
  14. tybone

    tybone Member

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    For me, generating tone from a vibrating metal string is not as much about gauge alone but gauge, pickup height and pole piece height. If you change your string gauge then you need to adjust your pickups too.

    I personally use anything from 9's to 12's on my guitars.
     
  15. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    If you want to try some sets that have progressively increasing tensions, try these...

    10-13.5-17-26-36-50

    10-13.5-17-28-38-52

    10-14-18-28-38-52

    I used to use the standard... 10-13-17-26-36-46 set, and I've now found that the above sets have a more balanced feel within each complete set, and the slightly higher gauges, make for a bigger tone, which as Joseph said, is not necessarily better, just bigger, fuller, punchier, etc.
     
  16. clamdip7714

    clamdip7714 Guest

    I play my strat fairly high action/tension with the SOB Original LH. They are .010, .013, .017, .028, .038, .048 and I like the heavier bottom than 46s have to offer. I still might like a bit larger on the bottoms but I like 10s on top. :)

    And yes, to a point tone does come from strings. Strats IMHO seem to luv pure nickel strings but I am going to switch to SOB rock formulas for my LP, not bright enough for me with nickel.
     
  17. cray2008

    cray2008 Member

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    Billy Gibbons uses 9's and Brian May uses 8's! Enough said.....I played 10's for years and the only thing I lost going to 9's was some bass.....so i just compensated on the amp.
     
  18. Frenster

    Frenster Put your Rock Face on!

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    Everything counts. Heavier strings on a cheap guitar will usually make it sound better. Then again, so will a better guitar. Put heavier strings on IT. And cooler pups, and a quality bridge and nut, and a decent setup. Don't forget your booteek cable and amp.

    Of course, fingers help. ;)
     
  19. redpill

    redpill Member

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    There's no one answer. The string is doing the vibrating, so the string is clearly important. But lots of things are, particularly your playing. I like the sound of a wound third. So I use a 10-13-18w-26-36-46 set from D'Addario.
     
  20. mcdes

    mcdes Member of no importance

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    i tried some dr hand made strings couple of weeks ago because i couldnt find my usual (elixirs) and they were just real muddy! hated it. tracked down some elixirs the next day and the guy in the shop said he loves the dr strings instead of the elixers,....... because the elixirs were too slippery! what a sacrifice!
     

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