Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Lephty, Dec 31, 2017.
I think Jimi used an oddball set though. It was something like .010-.38
It makes more sense to have thicker treble strings and lighter bass strings. More even volume and tone across the neck from bass to treble.
I checked out your tunes on Soundcloud. Those thick strings are really helping you out. Way better than those "dead guys". LOL
Not monsters - masochists. Their fingies are killing them after every gig. .010 = Goldilocks for me.
Having played guitars that were set up by Renee Martinez (SRV's tech) I can tell you that you pretty much HAVE to use 11s or 12s because his setup makes 10s feel like rubber bands. I don't know how he does it, but believe me, Stevie's guitar was NOT hard on the hands at all. It actually makes sense when you try it because SRV never sounded like he was straining in the least. By the way, his hands weren't all that big either, Stevie was only 5'5", just like me. Tommy Shannon towered over him.
Hey, thanks for the listen! You seem like a swell guy. Where can I hear your tunes?
I don’t really care what strings you prefer. Nor should you care what strings I like.
I don't think I have ever used 9s. I probably used 10s for a fairly long time because they were in every music store. But in about 1999 or 2000 I tried 11s because I thought they might last longer and/or stay in tune longer, probably because I was gigging more then than previously and often played two hour sets during a four to six hour gig. And after I got that first set of 11s I continued using 11s. And I have been primarily using 11s on my solidbody guitars ever since. All things considered, I don't recall 11s being more difficult to play than 10s. If they were it wasn't enough of a difference to notice or be bothered by. And I didn't have to set up my guitars differently when I switched from 10s to 11s. I reckon I change strings on the guitar I gig with the most, a 1957 Les Paul TV Junior, every two weeks to a month.
My archtop hollowbodies have 12s with a wound third. I use flatwound 12s when I want a particular old school guitar sound. I also use 12s with a wound G on two short scale guitars- a Fender Bronco and a Silvertone 1448. The Silvertone especially feels right with 12s. The only full scale solidbody I have with 12s is my Jazzmaster. I think 12s work well with the stock bridge on Jazzmasters. And to my ears the 12s make the Jazzmaster more suited for jazz.
Occasionally when I am buying 11s from a store I am asked if I tune down a step or two. I tune to standard. The main reason I use 11s now is because I am used to 11s.
Most (and I mean like 98%) of the players I've dealt with are blissfully ignorant to just how much a difference tuning down a halfer does to the overall tension...figure around a set of D'addario 11's to 10.5's tuned to concert pitch, (25.5" scale guitar of course), with the action jacked up a bit more than average oughta do it.
All the PRS's I owned just sounded bad with anything other than .009s.
I now play strats exclusively. I used 9-42 for decades but several years ago I stepped back up to 10-46. I agree about the balance thing in lower gage sets. But I prefer lower action and heavier strings for overall tone and playability.
This is worth repeating. I've been using 9.5-44's and 9-42's on most of my solid bodies for the last few years after years of using 10-46's on everything. The decrease in mass on the lower strings really helps eliminate boominess and retain clarity and definition, especially when playing with a dirtier sound.
I have been using 9-46 on strats for years now. I tried them on my Les Paul and it just didn’t feel right to me at least. The bottom strings were fine but like many have said, the top strings were a bit floppy so the 10-46 feels a bit better to me at least on that guitar.
Then again, lots of folks using 9s on a Les Paul with no issues. Mine has a Gotoh Floyd on it so that may be part of the reason coupled with different scale length.
I use .011s on my acoustics and my archtop and .009s on my electrics (mostly short Gibson scale). I've never had any problem going from one to the other.
That was a standard Fender string set in those days. I used to use them, although I forget the set number. They were called "light gauge, rock and roll" IIRC.
I switched to Fender 150XL (.008/.011/.015/.024w/.032w/.040w) and used them for 43 years until Fender quit making them last year. Now I'm forced to buy a regular .009 string set and swap out the .016 G string for a .015, since NOBODY makes a .009 set with a .015 G.
I started with 9-42's and 40 years later, I'm still riding with 'em. Sort of like Jack Daniels now that I think about it.
Curt Mangan will make you sets with whatever gauges you want. Highly recommended.
Man, talk about tough finding info. I'd definitely give a 10-42 set a test drive. Does anyone know if Ernie Ball makes such a set? I actually went to Juststrings and the EB web sites and could not find an answer to this question. Jeebus, how freakin hard is it to list gauges for your product?
Edit: Just ordered two sets of GHS GBLXL 10-38.
10-46 always seems like the happy medium to me. And if someone hands me their Les Paul with 9's, I'm tempted to go down to 9's too, because I'm suddenly like "wow I can fly!". And why keep impediments to my playing?
These things partly depend on your playing style too. I am pretty legato-heavy in my playing, and that includes a light touch. And, in my experience, it is almost impossible to pull off light-touch playing on 11's and up. The tension simply requires harder touch.
Thought maybe 11s up?
But yeah, basically I do what Hendrix and Trower did/do, which is the first two strings a higher gauge. I think it does even out the tone. That is really the whole goal, whatever avoids a couple weak strings. A lot of string companies sell them like this now, basically, which makes bulk savings possible. I use either 10s or 11s. Generally I have fairly strong hands, but I just try all the bends to make sure I can do them with control. I'm not a fan of tuning down just because I play with too many others. I don't want to have to tell the harmonica player he has to F off and play a kazoo, or get a midi harmonica. Oh wait.
You bring up a great point when you say "Why keep impediments to my playing".
Ever see a virtuoso violin player play with a 10 pound bow? Ever see a virtuoso piano player strap weights to their fingers? It's stupid. haha
Scott Henderson says 10’s sound better with distortion than 11’s.