How to tell what guage strings on a guitar?

vintage66

Member
Messages
6,697
Is there an easy way-I'm not sure just comparing the diameter side by side is reliable. It's a new guitar so I'm not sure what's on there (actually used guitar). I'm used to .10's but these kind of feel a little lighter but I don't think they're as slinky as .09's, but it's a Tele, which is new to me.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,049
yep........in fact, i have a digital caliper from harbor freight, and for 4 years not it's worked great and i've tested it on known string gauges to see how accurate it is. It will tell a .009 from a .008. i actually bought it for valve shim measuring for a bike, but i tried it on strings a was surprised how accurate a $15 digi caliper could be.
 

vintage66

Member
Messages
6,697
Hmm, the caliper thing is pretty cool-don't know how much I'd use it after the one time though. I was thinking how easy it was to bend strings with it, then I played my strat with .10's and it was actually pretty close so maybe they are .10's. I'll try comparing some strings first-if I string it with .10's maybe I'll be able to tell right away if they're the same or different. I actually like being able to do those Jake E. Lee type overbends. I can't stand hearing someone with big strings underbend and come up flat because they can't push the strings, but that's another topic.
 

Bhodie

Member
Messages
603
My guitar repair guy uses a caliper.. and says it is extremely accurate.. his is not digital, but the old world, read the dials and figure it out kind.. but I am sure either works great..
 
Messages
8,093
I use a micrometer, but what about "how do the strings feel to you"? Do you like them? Good. Do you not like 'em? Change 'em to you your usuals.

I bought a Firebird a coupla years ago. The gtr arrived with low action and light strings. I generally prefer higher action and heavy (.052- .011) strings, but enjoyed playing this gtr as it was. I was shocked when I mic'ed the strings and found they were .009's! Put my usuals on and hated it. Went back to the .009's.

My point: sometimes it's better to not know the specs and just go with your visceral impressions, eh?
 

dspellman

Senior Member
Messages
8,309
Is there an easy way-I'm not sure just comparing the diameter side by side is reliable. It's a new guitar so I'm not sure what's on there (actually used guitar). I'm used to .10's but these kind of feel a little lighter but I don't think they're as slinky as .09's, but it's a Tele, which is new to me.
You should own a digital calipers -- it's the accurate way to find out what gauge strings you've got onboard. Most in the $30-40 range will be accurate to within .0005".

A set of 9's on a Tele will have about the same tension as a set of 10's on a Les Paul because of the difference in scale.
 






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