Is it worth jumping to 11 gauge strings?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by rich2k4, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. rich2k4

    rich2k4 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,241
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    i currently use 9-46 on my fender guitars, recently played a friends wildwood 10 strat which had 11's on it. i liked the increase in tone, and they were easy to bend. however, that might have been due to the bigger frets.

    my fenders have 9.5 radius and medium jumbo frets, and i have a feeling they won't be as easy to bend on my guitars. i bought a pack of 11's to try on the next string change, i know this would mess up my guitar going from 9-46 to 11's but i can always go back to the original gauge without changing anything right?

    the thing i don't like about the 9-46 is that the 9's feel really skinny under my fingers, and i prefer to have more string there. i used to use 10-46, but it seemed like they weren't suited for fender guitars. 10-46 on my tele made the guitar really stiff, but when i changed to 9-46, the 9's on the GBE strings made it a lot easier to play. I'm afraid 11's would make the tele impossible to play.

    i'd like to try 9.5's but i want to switch to using elixer's since i hate changing strings, and elixer doesn't do 9.5 so i'm left with 9-46, 10-46, or 11-49 if i end up liking them.
     
  2. Wheeler004

    Wheeler004 Member

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    I use 11-54 on my Strat and I have no problems. You might want to take it one step at a time and start with 10's before jumping to 11's and let your fingers get used to pushing more metal around. If you're playing a Strat and using 11's, you'll also have to make sure you have all five springs loaded in the back, otherwise it will pull the bridge down (as if if the whammy bar was being pulled all the way down).
     
  3. rich2k4

    rich2k4 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,241
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    my strat bridge is blocked off with wood.

    i've played 10's for many years, and still have 1 strat that has 10's on it that i play a bunch.
     
  4. E Baxter Put

    E Baxter Put Member

    Messages:
    990
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    I think it's worth the jump. I really don't like playing anything less than 11s. The sound is much better and it feels nicer to me. It feels easier to play as well (for me at least). Also... if you use them for a while you will get used to them.
     
  5. DamianL

    DamianL Member

    Messages:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    In fender town the limit is 10 all the way baby....:)
     
    Neimhedh likes this.
  6. TooManyHobbies

    TooManyHobbies Member

    Messages:
    1,957
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    I like 10-52's on my strat... the right overall balance.
     
  7. Alter

    Alter Member

    Messages:
    691
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    on fenders i prefer 10's these days, and 11's on the gibsons. you can play 11s and get used to them after a while, but i think the 10s suit fenders better (specially teles)..

    besides the finger and action thing, the music and what you play on the guitar tends to become a bit different when you change into a heavier gauge. i like 9s also, but i think the sound suffers too much, plus after an archtop or an acoustic, it is difficult for me to play tiny strings...
     
  8. elkym

    elkym Member

    Messages:
    1,320
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Location:
    Provo, UT
  9. JeffOlson

    JeffOlson Member

    Messages:
    2,902
    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Location:
    Lake Oswego, Oregon, USA
    Although I often use 10s on Strats and have tried 11s, some gods of tone use lighter strings:

    Dr. Brian May: 8s on a 24-inch scale neck
    The Rev. Billy F. Gibbons: 8s on short-scale necks
    James Wilsey (formerly with Chris Isaak): 9s on Strats

    If you play lead guitar and like doing subtle bends, with microtonal nuances, like Billy Gibbons, you will not like 11s on a Strat. (I am not talking about SRV Strat abuse or playing slide; I am talking about subtlety and nuance.) But if you just strum chords (or play slide) you will probably love 11s.
     
  10. jb1984

    jb1984 Member

    Messages:
    233
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Bigger strings = bigger tone. Esp. through a clean(er) amp like a Fender. I keep 11s on my 335, and have gotten pretty used to "fighting" the guitar to bend more than a whole step. My Anderson has 10s on it for easier playing and if I feel like pulling out some crazier runs. My hand tends to get "caught" on the 11s if I'm trying to play like Ty Tabor.
     
  11. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    27,707
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    I like 10's on my Tele, and 11s on my Artinger Blondie Jr. Semi. The Tele can get tossed around a bit more like that, and the Blondie stay smoother and round. Plus, the Tele has a longer scale (25.5), so it doesn't need as fat a gauge as the shorter scale Blondie (24.75).
     
  12. JeffOlson

    JeffOlson Member

    Messages:
    2,902
    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Location:
    Lake Oswego, Oregon, USA
    Also, a blocked or fixed bridge will make it easier to bend heavier strings. With a floating tremolo, you will need to exert more force to bend a string up to a given pitch than you would with a blocked or fixed bridge. (Physics.)
     
  13. aziltz

    aziltz Member

    Messages:
    1,540
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Location:
    williamsburg, va
  14. CharAznable

    CharAznable Member

    Messages:
    15,542
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    11's on my strat. Sounds great, no problems.
     
  15. mlavin00

    mlavin00 Member

    Messages:
    905
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago
    I use Thomastik-Infeld Power Brights 11 on all of my guitars including my strat. Great tone and in all honesty, after a few weeks the 11's feel just fine. Bending becomes a no brainer, but it does take time to develop the hand strength.
     
  16. TooManyHobbies

    TooManyHobbies Member

    Messages:
    1,957
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Not exactly.. and definitely not force. What you're saying is that due to the tremolo coming off it's zero point, that you'll have to bend commensurately further (not harder, further) to offset the loss of string length when the trem comes forward until the springs are strong enough to offset any further movement.

    If you think logically, it cannot be "harder" since you're fighting less force over a greater time.
     
  17. dosmun

    dosmun Member

    Messages:
    1,765
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    Midland, MI
    Use the gauge that FEELS right to you. Being comfortable is more important than the slight change in tone.
     
  18. johnspeck

    johnspeck Member

    Messages:
    1,198
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    i normally use 11's, but got a bunch of free 10's last year. when i used up the supply, i went back to my 11's. i prefer an 11-48 set on fender scale-length guitars, i notice a little more volume and 'oomph' in general, acoustically and plugged in.

    practice on a steel string acoustic, and 11's on your electric feel like nothing.
     
  19. plexistack

    plexistack Member

    Messages:
    1,055
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Location:
    Dunwoody, GA
    The force required to bend a string is the same regardless of what the bridge does, since the tension of the string would be the same in both cases.
     
  20. majorledhead

    majorledhead Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,245
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Location:
    Slippery Rock
    11's are my choice on strats. However, proper set up is required if your jumping up from 9's. A neck adjustment, tremolo spring tension, and maybe even some nut work might be needed. I like the tone, and the durability with my big bendy style.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice