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Moving Up (String gauge and Setup)

ZepFuzz05

Member
Messages
1,429
So I'm really wanting to move up in string gauges on my LP copy from 9s up to 10s or 11s. I figured I could try out 11s initially and if they proved too much, back off to 10s as a sort of middle ground.

However, I am just curious whether my guitar, set up by a tech a few years ago, will accept 11s in places like the nut and bridge slots, which were at the time specifically tailored for 9s. Given that the difference between gauges is only a very small fraction of an inch and at least 3-4 years of heavy usage have passed, would it be unreasonable to assume that those slots could accommodate such a heavier gauge?

Also, if the truss rod was compensated with the 11s to yield the exact same setup that I have now, with identical relief and action measurements, how dramatically would the intonation be off? I am fully capable of adjusting it, but I am just sort of curious beforehand about how much a simple change in string gauges would affect the intonation.
 

Mike9

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,956
Hard to say with out measuring the slots - you can cut a piece off each of the 11's and try it in the slot before committing. You will have to adjust your intonation at the saddles. If you do have to have the nut re-cut take it to a competent tech.
 

dirk_benedict

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,467
hmm...I used 11s on all my axes, including a wound G sometimes. Never ever touched a nut slot. Intonation works fine. I think you'd start running into problems if you went up to heavy-ass "jazz" gauge flatwounds...like 13s or something.:banana
 

Bob V

Member
Messages
1,186
If you had the guitar professionally set up, even for a different gauge, that's the good news. It means the slots were opened up so they wouldn't bind on .009's and it's not likely you'll have any problem with .010 or .011. It's not hard to tell - when you string it up, after the strings are stretched, just check and see if there is any ping-ing when tuning up. Or if you press the string behind the nut, does it come back down to pitch okay or does it hang up until you bend a note to stretch it back through the nut slot? Or if it's just hard to tune or keep in tune, then you need the nut checked.

As for the trussrod, that's hard to say. 9 to 10 probably not an issue but 9 to 11 I'd expect it needs an adjustment.

The bridge saddle slots probably don't need anything since the strings dont actually sit down in there, but the action may have to be adjusted for height and intonation certainly would need to be checked with a new string gauge.
 
Messages
23,951
I'd go up in increments.

You could start with 10's and see how you get along. After a few string cycles you can go to a couple 10.5 sets. A lot of folks find 11's, even on a short 24.75 scale, a bit of a shock if they've been playing basically only 9's and it may leave you feeling kinda confused and disoriented. 12's still do that to me on some guitars.
 

Sizeofanocean

Member
Messages
145
Just don't expect to be able to play all the same stuff on different string gauges. For me, that's the whole point; I play different.
I agree, I could see why others might want to keep their playing the same as before, but I switched from 10's via 11's to roundwound 12's with a wound G on my jazz box so I could fingerpick better, it works great for me, at the expense of my ability to do big and easy bends on that guitar, but I like the change, it's a compromise, but one I gladly accept, I wouldn't do this on my Tele.
 
Messages
23,951
Well, I don't want to be pushed by the guitar. I -the player- control the guitar not otherwise. But I agree in that I play a different repertoire when playing a concert guitar, a jazz box or a solid body electric. I don't play rock on my concert guitar, or classical pieces on my solid body electric.

And to allow me to get the typical sound from each repertoire and the sound the guitar was designed to project, I use different strings and different string gauges. But not different gauges on the same guitar, just different gauges on different guitars. I do experiment with different brands, models and gauges.

When I get a new guitar I set it with light strings and try to go slowly up letting my hands to adapt to the new gauge before I toss the set away and go down a gauge - which usually doesn't happen. If I toss a string set away is because of its poor craftmanship, quality or sound, not because of discomfort. But that's just me. YMMV.

Regards
I think I have a better understanding of your approach, reading this post and the previous ones also.

Some guys really do like to dominate the guitar, and hence they can sound pretty much the same regardless of which model guitar, type of strings, etc. they choose. I've seen it done, seen it done extremely well.

But other guys fail when they try to employ this template. What you get instead ( analogy seems to work fastest here ) is a guy with an electric hand held drill, and the bit is dull and heating up fast, and he just presses the trigger harder and puts the weight of his body into the drill. I don't want to be that guy. I can't beat the guitar; heck, the guitar is better than me, in my case. So I try and partner with it and get the best out of it I can. And when the drill bit goes a little dull, I take it out and sharpen it or replace the bit altogether. Let the guitar and amp do more of the lifting if possible.

Nice posts, thanks.
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,522
So I'm really wanting to move up in string gauges on my LP copy from 9s up to 10s or 11s. I figured I could try out 11s initially and if they proved too much, back off to 10s as a sort of middle ground.

However, I am just curious whether my guitar, set up by a tech a few years ago, will accept 11s in places like the nut and bridge slots, which were at the time specifically tailored for 9s. Given that the difference between gauges is only a very small fraction of an inch and at least 3-4 years of heavy usage have passed, would it be unreasonable to assume that those slots could accommodate such a heavier gauge?

Also, if the truss rod was compensated with the 11s to yield the exact same setup that I have now, with identical relief and action measurements, how dramatically would the intonation be off? I am fully capable of adjusting it, but I am just sort of curious beforehand about how much a simple change in string gauges would affect the intonation.
It's usually less fussy to move up a gauge than down intonation-wise.

Just slap 'em on and play 'em.
Play first, then adjust.

Have fun.
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,522
Well, I don't want to be pushed by the guitar. I -the player- control the guitar not otherwise. But I agree in that I play a different repertoire when playing a concert guitar, a jazz box or a solid body electric. I don't play rock on my concert guitar, or classical pieces on my solid body electric.

Regards
You guys are saying the same thing, different instruments with different set ups are different starting points for different styles of music/performance.

The "pushing and control" issues relative to playing are more semantic than real. It doesn't matter how you set the thing up, it's not going to come to you. You still have to go to it, and use whatever it has to offer as your starting point.
Sensitive dependence on initial conditions. That's the reality of it.

peace
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,522
Right, that part of the opinion is shared. What I disagree with Jamie on going back and forth gauges on the same guitar.
Hi Henry, maybe I'm not following the exact nature of your disagreement with Jamie about how the string gauge effects the approach to the guitar, but here's how I see it, and I think it agrees with both your points of view.

I see a "physical balance of resistances" between the guitar and the player.
The size of your hand, the length of your fingers, upper body strength and flexibility, whatever personal quirky stuff we do to address the instrument in terms of posture, strap height, etc.
That stuff is more or less unchanged in the time it takes to switch from a set of 11's to a a set of 13's.

The guitar, except for the strings and the action, is fixed. Same scale, ergonomics etc.

Because the string gauge swap presents the player with a different physical balance of resistances, certain moves and techniques are going to earn or lose favor along with that new balance.
If the demands of the music called for mostly fingerstyle comping, and intonation was critical, I wouldn't hesitate to replace a set of 10's with a set of 12's with a wound 3rd to optimize the right guitar for that gig.

Or vice versa, and that same guitar would be played differently by me, because it is both serving different ends and presenting a different physical balance of resistances to work against.

On the other hand. .
I'm just about to bail out of cyberspace and hit the road again for awhile.
Those trips inevitably begin with a certain amount of rust on my chops, and my instruments' set up and string gauge reflect that.
As the weeks go by, and my calluses toughen, and my road chops come back, and I get back down to fighting weight, the string gauges and the action always come back up along with that.
I'll wind up playing basically the exact same **** on a set of 13's that I started the tour playing on a set of 11's.

So I think both things are true, the string gauge swap allows you access to new techniques, and it also can help maintain the same techniques depending on which side of that physical balance of resistances you see the most change.
In the first example, I change because the guitar is different, in the second example, the guitar changes because I'm different.

"Sensitive dependence on initial conditions", I like that. Would that mean that the guitar or the string gauge pushes you to play in a certain way in the beginning but you develop your own technique at that guitar anyway to play like you usually do on any other guitar? I agree with that.
Not exactly. I think what you're saying there is like my second example where the strings change because I change. It's also true that a few thousandths of an inch difference in your starting point could take you in a very different direction if you let it play out long enough.

From my own experience, I would have to say both things are true, and that there's plenty of evidence to support either point of view.
It's also possible that the whole argument is just philosophical, as I can't think of a way to really prove or disprove either side. I'm fine with either interpretation, I'm pretty sure I've experienced both.

Always a pleasure to talk with you Henry, thanks for participating.

Here's some more "sensitive dependence" http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&hl=en&q=sensitive+dependence+on+initial+condition&btnG=Google+Search

peace
 
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