Report: .009s from .010s after two gigs

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by dave s, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. dave s

    dave s Member

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    I switched from 10s to 9s on both my gigging guitars due to pain in the knuckles in the top part of my left hands. Another reason is that if there is a guitar that sets up stiffer than my Grosh RC with .010s, I've not played it.

    Here are the differences I perceived on the switch to a lighter gauge string set on my #1 player after playing both Fri and Saturday nights on it:

    The upside:

    1) My left hand didn't hurt at all after either gig. This in itself makes the change a success.

    2) The Grosh RC sounded more 'strat-like' in all pickup positions. Had a LOT more jangle in the 2 & 4 pickup positions.

    3) The string-to-string note definition was different. Not better or worse, just went from more of a tight piano-like tone with the 10s to a bit more oscillation of the strings which actually produced more of that 3-D tone some look for.

    4) A much lighter left-hand is required with the 9s compared to the 10s. Probably why my hand wasn't throbbing after either gig or on Sunday after both gigs.

    5) Pedals seemed to like the strings better as well. Not sure if it was the weather, indoor conditions or what ... but pedals and overall guitar tone was smokin' this weekend.

    The flipside:

    1) The only noticeable detraction was the high E string not having the same impact in terms of fullness. Guess that is to be expected and a slight pickup adjustment might compensate.

    2) The strings didn't stay in tune nearly as well as the 10s after dialing in. The 10s dial in after a one-hour set and pretty much stay in tune for about the next 10 sets. The 9s were out of tune by the end of every set. Each string went flat about the same amount so the guitar wasn't hideously out of tune with itself, but I was out of tune with the band. Not blatantly noticeable, but more than usual on the tuner.

    String set used: SIT Nickel Power Wound .009 - .046 set. Definite keepers just for the sake of my left hand (and I AM left-handed but play righty) and probably won't go back to 10s ever.

    dave
     
  2. exodus

    exodus Member

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    I just switched from 10s to 9s as well, just as of last night. In the few hours of goofing around, I can say that I really like it. My hand isn't as tired, the tone has more strat-like jangle, the sustain was just as good, and some effects, like my fuzz box, sounded a better. In my mind, the "bigger the strings the better" theory is just not true.
     
  3. tac5

    tac5 Member

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    I have tried many times to change over to .10s from .09s. Although I agree that heavier strings produce more sound, I make up the difference through my amps. I also feel more freedom in my left hand when I don't have to struggle as hard. Also, the little intricacies (hammers, pulloffs, etc.) are easier for me to accomplish with the lighter strings. My right hand has a light touch and I play mostly with my fingers and lighter strings feel more responsive to the way I play. I do like the .46s on the bottom too; it's like the best of both worlds. I don't worry about rattles and buzzes when I am chording. It's all personal taste. If .10s were all that were available tomorrow, I would eventually adapt my style (and hopefully gain the finger strength) to feel comfortable with them. Now, I use what I play best.
     
  4. tubetone

    tubetone Member

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    I, too, have found some guitars too tight feeling for .10s. But I then found 9s to a bit too light to my touch, and more importantly seemed to have more tuning issues and I was breaking a few E strings after just two gigs.

    I finally decided to give 44-.095 set a try a few years back and I havn't looked back. I still use .10s on my two Strats, but the two PRSi, my Fernandes Tele, and Korean Tokai Love Rock all have the D'addario 44-.095 set on them and have never felt so good. I've also tried the GHS set of that same gauge and found it similar, but I prefer the D'addarios. This gauge just seems to have the best of both worlds for me.

    It might be something to consider if the tuning thing gets to be too much of an issue.
     
  5. BFC

    BFC Supporting Member

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    I also use 9.5 to 44 sets. It's a great compromise.
     
  6. eric-d

    eric-d Member

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    Ahhh, I just can't do it.... I'll stick with my Boomer's 11-50... I like the resistance..
     
  7. slowburn

    slowburn Supporting Member

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    for me 11s do the trick, though I used to play 9s for about 7 yrs tuned to 1/2 step and thought that sounded fine. I don't think it really makes that big a difference in tone that can't be compensated with pickup heights and amps. feel is another thing however.
     
  8. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Hey people,

    I currently use .009-.042 on my Strat style guitars and .009-.046 on my Les Paul Custom and Hamer USA Studio guitars. I like the lighter guage strings due to getting fatigue from the .010- .046 strings I used to use. I enjoy playing my guitars a lot more and the lighter top strings on the Les Paul Custom and Hamer Studio are easier to get around on and still have the beefy bottom strings. Why give yourself tendonitis if your hands hurt using heavy guage strings?

    Guitar George
     
  9. Souled Out

    Souled Out Member

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    I've just really tried to like tens. I play mostly without a pick, poping and pulling with right hand. Lot of hammer on's and pull offs. Finally gave up, tired of fighting them to get the emotion I derive from the 9's. Like said before I can make up the tone difference with amp/pedal setting for what I do. Just my .02 cents.
     
  10. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    Dean at Snake Oil Strings sells 9.5 and 11.5 gage strings.

    Usually I use 9 - 46, but on one of my Les Pauls (Supreme) and Fender Strat (57 RI), I'm using the 9.5, 11.5, 16, 26, 36, 46 and they work really well. Just a little bit more tension.
     
  11. al carmichael

    al carmichael Member

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    I say whatever works best for the player. I read once where BB King was using .008's and his tone is beautiful. Whenever a string gauge is causing physical difficulties, I'm a believer in dropping down.

    My preference is for .10's, but I use .11's if the guitar is tuned down 1/2 a step. I think the bigger the string, the more volume you get, but at what price? If you cant execute your ideas or your hand hurts, why not drop to an easier to play set?

    It also depends on the guitar, doesn't it? On some axes, .10's feel like nines. On others 10's feel like .11's.
     
  12. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    That's the bottom line right there. My guitars usually tell me what they want, and I don't argue.

    A
     
  13. FUSER

    FUSER Member

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    9.5-44 here. Sounds great. Can play long without getting tired.

    I am thinking of trying to mix the 9.5 with a lower 46.
     
  14. Sunstone Recordings

    Sunstone Recordings Member

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    I use 11-50's on my strat, and I'm wondering if I should try 10's to get a more "strat like" tone... also, is there more clarity in chording when using lower gauge strings?
     
  15. rjpilot

    rjpilot Member

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    Stick with the .10s and tune down a 1/2 step. Same looser result and you singer will gain confidence but don't tell him you did it bu make sure you tell your bassist.
     
  16. screamingduck

    screamingduck Member

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    Having played in 1/2 step down tuning for about 5 years,
    the group I am in made a collective decision to return to
    standard tuning many years ago. Nothing at all against
    detuning especially if you are into heavier music as that
    only adds to the atmosphere. As an rock/country/blues
    player, I prefer to hear the sharps when I play in E or G
    or F# and feel the flats when I play in Eb or Bb.
    I mostly play .10's but must admit to putting .09's on one
    of my three gig guitars. I lose a bit of tone thickness but
    damn those strings bend easy! I just hope no one I know
    reads this! :D
     
  17. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    I am playing 11's on all of my guitars. A Historic '57 Jr., a Strat and a 25.5 Zemaitis hand made copy.

    In my experience, the tone lost to lighter strings is not worth the change. Yes, it is easier for me to shred and do hammer on's and pull off's and do more legato like playing, but for all the string types, sizes and the like, not to metion the amp types, resonance and tone are lost to using lighter strings. There is no way that it can be made up as simply as amp settings or addtional boxes. Tone and resonance start at the guitar and end at the guitar and strings are a huge part of that equation. For example, throw a set of light strings on a good acoustic, tell me that the tone is just as rich and full, the top end is just as thick and sweet. Impossible. None of my boxes sound any better with lighter strings by any stretch. Everything just sounds bigger and stronger with the heavier strings on these guitars. I do use 10's on my Selmer style acoustic [26.00 scale and crazy high action].
    I just don't mind working harder. That said, I think that I get the best tone out of my rig when I am fighting it a bit, blitz runs are still quite possible when the piece calls for it, I find that I simply focus a bit more. M.E.
     
  18. drolling

    drolling Member

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    I see no reason to suffer more than necessary, and use the lightest strings I can get away with on all my guitars- both electric & acoustic, w/scales anywhere between 24 3/4" and 27".

    That means; 9s for teles, 10s for strats, 11s for gretsches, 12s for my ancient gibson archtop, 13s for my National resophonic, 14s for the Dobro..

    It comes down to maintaining that delicate balance between tone, tuning stability & playability.
     
  19. BFC

    BFC Supporting Member

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    A chronic case of tendonitis changed my mind about using bigger strings. It doesn't happen to everyone obviously. But it does happen. Don't injure yourself over tone.
     
  20. Souled Out

    Souled Out Member

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    That is made the difference for me. I love the tone and playibilty of SOS 9's. Never come up sharp or flat on bends because of tired fingers!
     

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