From 9s to 11s

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Robert1950, Oct 5, 2005.


  1. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Member

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    I played for 10 years, quit for 30 and started again. I started out with 9s so it would be easier on my fingers. I just restrung the cheapo Ibanez with D'addario 11s. What a difference in tone. Rythmns more full and growly. Leads fuller with more bite. But bending and vibrato is an effort even when I tuned to Eb. My other guitar is a MIJ semihollow body, I have 9s on it right now.

    I plan to work with both, improve my playing on 9s, and exercising my fingers on the 11s.

    Does this sound okay? Any suggestions??

    Thanks, ... Robert 1950
     
  2. HammyD

    HammyD Supporting Member

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    I started with 9's, went to 9.5's, then 10's and soon 10.5 D'Addario. Found I just got that sound I was looking for with the heavier strings.... I have 11's on a Washburn Jazz Box and once I developed the technique to match it sounded remarkably better.

    Sometimes I wonder if the best (and cheapest) upgrade to any guitar is a heavier set of strings!

    I also discovered I play better with the longer (and more difficult for me) scale necks. I have to work harder as I have small hands for a big guy so the lines have more substance and less wankage......
     
  3. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Member

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    The sound of the Korean Made early 90s Ibanez improved 200% with the 11s. I have to agree on the heavier strings as the cheapest upgrades. I've tried a few different brand of strings, but I keep going back to D'Addario.

    I didn't know D'Addario Made 10.5s. I didn't notice them on their website. I'd like to string my relation-to-an- ES335 with them, ... a little later. I like to bend, really bend. Weight training time for the fingers.

    Thanks,... Robert1950
     
  4. HammyD

    HammyD Supporting Member

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    I found them on Just Strings.... 10.5's
     
  5. NyteOwl

    NyteOwl Member

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    I played 9s for years, moved to 10s maybe six months ago and just made the move to 11s, which I found it to be a relatively painless transition. As for strings, I've been using Everly B-52s for about a year and am totally satisfied with them.
     
  6. Antero

    Antero Member

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    I started on 10's, then said "screw it," went to 11s, never looked back. Might go up to 12s soon enough.
     
  7. crazy4blues

    crazy4blues Member

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    I generally favor heavier strings, too. I just ordered some Elixir 11s from juststrings.

    One note: I've that the shorter the neck scale, the lighter the strings need to be. I used to have a PRS McCarty (still kicking myself for selling it!), and I had Elixir 10s, and the tone was nice and fat; I never felt the need to put heavier strings on it. That could be that the Elixirs are really good strings, too.

    I play G&Ls with a 25 1/2" scale, they take 11s very well. But Les Pauls and the like (24 1/2") don't seem to like anything more than 10s in my experience.

    Have fun!
     
  8. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    Are you saying you want to improve finger strength and stamina on 11s, to improve your playing with 9s? I wouldn't do it. As you build up your strength with 11s, you might discover you are too heavy handed with 9s. You may end up fretting too hard, with the 9s, and going sharp, without ever intending to bend the strings. I play with 10s, and whenever I play a guitar that has 9s, I find I have to make a conscious effort not to fret too hard.

    Many, many years ago, I played with 8s, then 9s. When I moved from 9s to 10s, I thought the difference in tone was rather significant. For a period of about six months, several years back, I went to 11s. I never thought the difference between 10s and 11s was all that great, tonewise, certainly not as great as the difference between 9s and 10s. I went back to 10s, and I've been using them for about the last 12 or 13 years.
     
  9. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    That is the opposite of my experience. I use .010s on my 25.5" scale guitars and .011s on my 24.75" scale guitars. I find that the shorter scale length needs heavier strings to make up for the looser tension that is inherent in the design. All of my guitars have fixed bridges, by the way.

    Bryan
     
  10. Priestunes

    Priestunes Member

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    +1
     
  11. pedalpat

    pedalpat Guest


    +1
     
  12. crazy4blues

    crazy4blues Member

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    Hmm, maybe I should re-examine this. Frankly, I dislike shorter scale necks, hence the preference for G&Ls and the like. I did have a McCarty (25"), and it seems right at home with Elixir 10s. I felt that the elevens would have been too tight.

    Who knows, given the whole GAS thing, I'll probably end up with another paul some day . . . I'll have to string it up with 12s and see what happens!
     
  13. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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    I find this too (currently have .011s on my Legacy though).
     
  14. exhaust_49

    exhaust_49 Member

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    I playing some blues now that requires me to bend 2 steps. I play 11's right now but just can't bend them that far. Im going back to 9.5's so I can work on my technique and actually bend.
     
  15. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Member

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    I just moved from 9s to 11s on my ES335 copy('70s Epi Riviera ). Harder to bend, yes, but it's worth putting in the extra effort for the improvement in tone.
     
  16. markp

    markp Member

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    9's for me.
    A fatter pick for me and or fatter amp.

    Every body has a differant tone objective.
    Some stay well below powertube saturation (big strings may help)
    Some play old school fenders or are trying to cop a tone like (stevie ray vaughn etc..)Fat strings may help.

    For the most part big strings does not = big tone,
    just differant.IMO

    I heard a BB king story.where some big time player was telling BB about his frustrations with trying to make the big strings work for him,and BB said "why dont you just turn up the bass knob,that is what it is there for" BB has FAT tone!
     
  17. Calloway

    Calloway Supporting Member

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    I've been using 11's for about 5 years now, on everything from a firebird to an R6 goldtop. The fat sound you get from thick strings is one of a kind, as for the bends, i tend to not really notice the extra tension, except when i do three nights in a row or something, but if you keep your hands conditioned its not so bad.
     
  18. kwaves99

    kwaves99 Member

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    Just put .12s on my Ibanez 335 copy. Its a piece of cake for me because I've been playing mostly acoustic for 33 years. Bends aren't too bad and the tone is just unreal...especially the low end.:D











    1979 Guild D-40C
    1996 Taylor 814ce
    1999 American Standard Strat
    2002 Ibanez artcore as73 SB
    1972 Fender Deluxe Reverb
    2003 Fishman Loudbox
     
  19. Antero

    Antero Member

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    Just put .12s on my Carvin. I'll see how it works out over the next few days, but I doubt I'm going back - It plays like an electric, but I can slam the hell out of the strings like an acoustic, and it really fattens the single coils...
     
  20. ZiggY!!

    ZiggY!! Member

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    Ditto...

    I've started using flatwound 12's with a wound G on my LP and it has the tone and feel i've been looking for...
     

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