If you fitted 11s to your Lester, did you keep them on or go back to 10s ?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by BryanMatthews, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. BryanMatthews

    BryanMatthews Member

    Messages:
    3,919
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2007
    Location:
    Planet Claire
    I know 11s sound fuller and fatter , keep tune better and all that , but, I do know there is a degree of extra string tension to contend with. I wouldnt even dream of 11s on a strat as the string tension involved would make that type of guitar unplayable for me.

    So, if you fitted 11s onto your lester, are they still there or did you drop back down a gauge to 10s ? Its the aching fretting hand that concerns me about using the heavier gauge.:worried

    Bryan
     
  2. KillerV

    KillerV Member

    Messages:
    339
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Ladismith WC, South Africa
    I switched from 10's to 11's on my LP a couple of years back and I've never looked back. It was like the guitar, which sounded good in the first place, came alive! The increased tension really wasn't a problem for me. Maybe I just didn't notice it because I was overjoyed with how great it made the guitar sound.

    In last year I started wrapping the strings over the tailpiece instead of just going through it. This made the strings a lot more slinky-feeling, which made the guitar a breeze to play. And as an added bonus I almost never have string breakages anymore.
     
  3. jgyn

    jgyn Member

    Messages:
    5,295
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    san francisco
    Stayed with 11s on my Les Pauls. Use 10s on my Fenders.
     
  4. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

    Messages:
    11,516
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2004
    Location:
    playing in traffic...
    I use 10's on all the electrics,12's on the Martin.
     
  5. Unburst

    Unburst Member

    Messages:
    4,221
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I play 11's on my Tele with low frets, bending is trickier but that's mostly the frets.

    I have a friends Les Paul with 10's on it, if it was my guitar I'd put 11's on it.
     
  6. Rock Johnson

    Rock Johnson Member

    Messages:
    4,692
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Platteville, Wisconsin
    I go back and forth between 10-46 and 11-48s on my LP. IMHO, 11-48s tuned to Eb = heaven, but 10-46s in standard tuning are pretty close.
     
  7. brad347

    brad347 Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    On the contrary, once I got used to .011s I've been moving toward .012s with a plain G on all my electrics. I use the roundwound Thomastik ones.

    I do still use .011s on the strat and tele, but everything else is .012s except the big archtop which is .013s.
     
  8. mojoslide

    mojoslide Member

    Messages:
    1,096
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    Upstate, NY
    I had 11s on my LP for quite awhile...But eventually I went back to 10s. Well actually a modified 10 set: 10-13-17-28-38-50. The big low strings sound thick and the lighter strings on top are just easier to play at three hour gigs. I definitely prefer the sound of 11s, but the long gigs were just killing my fingers. I think I've found a good working compromise.
     
  9. brad347

    brad347 Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    What's weird is that people talk about the thicker strings hurting their hands or fingers, but I wonder why that is?

    I'm a total frail weakling of a skinny muscle-less human being but I don't really have too much trouble mustering up the gusto to bend .012s a whole step. It doesn't hurt the skin either because my fingers like most of us are callused.

    With a proper setup, heavier strings require a modest amount more gusto to bend and are just as easy to fret, in my perception anyway.

    I wonder why so many people seem to have such difficulty with it?
     
  10. mojoslide

    mojoslide Member

    Messages:
    1,096
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    Upstate, NY
    It is weird because for short gigs and practices, etc. I never had an issue with the 11s. I could do 1 or 1 1/2 or even 2 step plus bends with them relatively easily. It was more of an issue of wear and fatigue over hours of playing live. I play harder at shows, and while the thick strings were nice tone-wise, I just couldn't stay comfortable with them any longer. I think the 10s reel me in a little and that makes as much a difference as tension or size of the strings.
     
  11. brad347

    brad347 Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hm. Well, I never had much problem with them for long gigs etc.

    Maybe it has to do with technique or something. My technique has definitely changed a lot over my career, perhaps it has evolved to suit the heavier strings.
     
  12. BryanMatthews

    BryanMatthews Member

    Messages:
    3,919
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2007
    Location:
    Planet Claire
    anybody ever acquire a fretting hand injury as a result of using 11s ?

    Bryan
     
  13. brad347

    brad347 Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    As someone who has been through tendinitis issues, I'll put forth the opinion that hand injuries/problems are almost never a result of the string gauge or the gear at all.

    It almost always has to do with technique, posture, and muscle tension. In my case it was muscle tension in my neck, shoulders and upper back cutting off healing blood flow to my hands and forearms.

    When I was having problems, switching to lighter gauge strings did not help a lick. I mean not even one little bit.

    When I corrected my posture, technique, and a whole host of other issues that had never occurred to me were ever wrong, I can play any gauge strings I want for as long as I want with no problems at all. Completely cured now, playing heavier strings than ever and more hours per day than ever before.

    But that topic is another whole thread. :D
     
  14. surfshack

    surfshack Member

    Messages:
    1,946
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    i've tried 11's, but i don't like 'em, too much of an effort.......i use 10's on all my guitars.
     
  15. Phil M

    Phil M Member

    Messages:
    10,564
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2002
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    I used 11s on my Les Paul for a short time and didn't think they improved the tone at all; they just made it harder to play. I went back to 10s and never looked back. This was 8 or 9 years ago.

    That said, I play in standard tuning. If I regularly played a half-step down, I would consider trying 11s again.
     
  16. Calloway

    Calloway Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,672
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    Austin,TX
    I'll never use anything less than 11's on my R6 Goldtop.
     
  17. Bluesbuff

    Bluesbuff Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    Location:
    Western New York
    I play both 10s and 11s on my 3 LPs almost interchangably. The 11s feel a little tighter but aren't any problem with bends (up to 2 steps) and have a slightly fuller tone but it's not that dramatic. 10s feel looser and I can still break them even with graphtech saddles if I stretch them too far. I've had no problems with sore fingers or wrists with either set
     
  18. James

    James Member

    Messages:
    2,740
    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    .011s on a Gibson-scale guitar are "it" for me. I love the tone and the slightly stiffer feel. If my hands are in good shape, I have no problems with the tension. I wouldn't mind slightly heavier guages on certain strings, but haven't really take the time to experiment with it yet.

    It's been a long time since I've played .010s on a Gibson-scale guitar, but last time I did, I couldn't get the G-string to ring in tune for love or money. Maybe a .010 set with a heavier (or wound) G would be alright, I'm not really sure.
     
  19. 66Park

    66Park Member

    Messages:
    3,038
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Location:
    Savannah, GA
    I've been using 11s on both Gibsons and Fenders for years. I tried going back to 10s on the Fenders awhile back, and didn't like the way the guitars sounded - too thin. I don't have any trouble bending 11s, but I'm pretty used to them by now!
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  20. frank62

    frank62 Member

    Messages:
    5,375
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, Illinois
    i used 11s for a long while on all guitars and then discovered B 52 strings. The 10/46 set sounds as full and rich to me as any set of 11s. I have heard Billy Gibbons uses 8s and he gets what I consider a damm good tone from his Lesters.
     

Share This Page