Forced to use lighter gauge strings last night, kind of liked it.

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Lephty, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Lephty

    Lephty Member

    Messages:
    1,392
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Playing out of town gigs this weekend, thought my extra strings were in my bag and they were not, so I used a set of strings that happened to be sitting in the equipment closet at the venue. For many years, I have played mediums (11 on top) and this set was a light gauge (10 on top).

    Once I figured out how to not over-bend my bends, I really started to like it. Forced me to play with a lighter touch (which is something I've been trying to focus on lately), and I liked the tone a LOT. Snappier bass notes, very smooth when the OD was on. Also considerably easier on the fingers.

    Sometimes it's good to get forced out of your comfort zone.
     
    brockmann, fretless, rusty and 2 others like this.
  2. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

    Messages:
    25,771
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Location:
    Monterey, CA
  3. negative.feedback

    negative.feedback Member

    Messages:
    468
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    The most iconic guitar sounds on the most iconic albums ever made were done with light strings.
     
    PBGas, RoryGfan, fretless and 2 others like this.
  4. Rayneman

    Rayneman Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,255
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
    You guys that can use 11s or larger are monsters of hand and finger strength, IMO. All my guitars are tuned to Eb and I use 9.5s on strat type guitars and 10s on my Gibsons and anything with a similar scale. Anything heavier and its just too much for me. I suppose with time I could get used to it, but I see no reason to try.
     
    PBGas likes this.
  5. JiveJust

    JiveJust Member

    Messages:
    1,130
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Location:
    Cedar Park, Texas
    I would like to know the type of guitar/scale length you were using for context please.
     
  6. Northerner

    Northerner Member

    Messages:
    1,013
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Location:
    PNW
    My age is forcing my gauges down so i’m learning to make it work.
    Harder to do on the acoustics.
     
  7. Bluedano1

    Bluedano1 Member

    Messages:
    5,727
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Manassas, VA (Wash.D.C. suburb)
    I use the Ernie Ball Barbed Wire Steroids Slinky's ( 16-90) on ALL my electrics-no wimpy tone for me!
    KIDDING!

    I use 10-46 ( usual Nickel alloy) on everything, though certain guitars 'prefer' certain brands as even though gauged the same, there is a bit of difference in tension/feel, or I'm just mental.
    I've tried both 11's and 9's but they just felt strange- I guess 10's are my Goldilocks string- " just right"
    Happy New Year!
     
    Dr.Lee and fretless like this.
  8. William Bohensky

    William Bohensky Member

    Messages:
    85
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    You will find a set of eights feels even better.
     
    chumbucket likes this.
  9. PierreL

    PierreL Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,047
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    France
    I have found that going to lighter gauges, especially for the wound strings helped with the overdriven sounds. It blended better, for lack of a better definition.
    I was using 10-52 with my ES-330, then I switched to 11-49. I found that it added texture to the OD tones on the low strings.
     
  10. negative.feedback

    negative.feedback Member

    Messages:
    468
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    When going from 9-42 to 10-46 you'll notice that the high E string is only thicker by "1" and the low E string is higher by "4". You are getting a disproportionate increase in string size which means you get more "volume" and low end on the bass strings while the treble strings stay close to the same. Now when you play an open E chord in the first position the bass strings will be louder and have more low end than the treble strings. It's an increasingly uneven response as your bass strings get thicker. That is why lighter gauge strings sound better - because they are more even across the spectrum with volume and low end.

    EVH, and others, made up for the lighter gauge strings by tuning down a half step which brought in a little more richness to compensate.

    That's my voodoo opinion about it all.
     
  11. Fulldrive-1

    Fulldrive-1 Member

    Messages:
    4,976
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Location:
    TX
    People just use 11s to emulate Stevie. Hard on the hands.

    Jimi used regular gauge strings.
     
  12. negative.feedback

    negative.feedback Member

    Messages:
    468
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Agree 100%
     
    Dr.Lee likes this.
  13. ripple

    ripple To keep fresh, keep capped & cold. Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,967
    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    The Old Dominion
    Lighter gauge strings + higher action is a tone secret I wished I had learned in my 20s, not my 50s.
     
    brockmann likes this.
  14. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,874
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    I’ve used everything from .013 down to .008. Dropping a gauge is usually fun for a bit, but then I feel like I’m missing something.
     
  15. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

    Messages:
    12,762
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    St. Louis, Mo.
    When I was a kid and just learning I used light gauge strings. I used to go to this shop that sold singles and pick up 8s and swap them for the 9s in the EBs I was using. Drop the action as low as possible fretbuzz be damned.

    These days I still like low action but tolerate no fretbuzz, even acoustically, and I use 10-46.
     
  16. rwmct

    rwmct Member

    Messages:
    2,234
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    I think, with some guys, it is because they are coming over from acoustics. The lighter gauges don't feel right. 10s seem OK to me. Lighter than that seems too light.
     
    Black Squirrel and dlguitar64 like this.
  17. The Opera Panther

    The Opera Panther Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,683
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Yeah, I dunno about that. I like 10s on 25.5” scale guitars, but if I use them on 24.75” scale guitars, they seem really floppy to me. So, those guitars get 11s. They feel the same, tension-wise, as the 10s on my Strat, which is kind of what I’m going for. I don’t find them to be hard on the hands at all.

    The string gauge some dead guys used long ago is kind of irrelevant.
     
    Dr.Lee and dlguitar64 like this.
  18. Lephty

    Lephty Member

    Messages:
    1,392
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    The guitar in question is a Suhr Modern Satin:
    https://www.suhr.com/instruments/modern/suhr-modern-satin/

    Played it again last night, think I have officially converted to 10's, certainly on this guitar anyway.
     
    JiveJust likes this.
  19. negative.feedback

    negative.feedback Member

    Messages:
    468
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Yeah, but what YOU say is relevant? Some nobody on TGP? LOL
     
    tenchijin2 and Scary Uncle G. like this.
  20. The Opera Panther

    The Opera Panther Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,683
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
     

Share This Page