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Who else has given up the heavy string ghost


Silver Supporting Member
After twenty years of playing 11's and 12's on my guitars, I've finally given up the influence of SRV and the heavy strings equals bigger tone ghost.
I've restrung the fleet with D'Addario NYXL 9.5-44 and couldn't be happier. Why was I working so hard all them years ? I think that "big" tone is in your attack, not your string gauge and that the low end is tighter with a 44 for the low E. Less mass to get flubby. ... . and you can set your action a touch lower.

So who else was seen the light ? ( hey its a pun )

Stig Ø

I’ve been using 11’s on my electrics (10’s on my CU24) and 13’s on my acoustic. Still using those gauges but tune down a half step on all my guitars now (just a week, but I see no reason to go back). Pleasantly surprised by both the tonal and the ergonomic difference.


Can’t imagine 11s on electric as it’s what I have on my acoustic. 9s are a luxury that works on one of my electric guitars (it’s set up for it), 10s for my tele - lighter gauge with more power is a huge advantage of electric over acoustic to my way of thinking.


Silver Supporting Member
10 years ago I was pounding on a Jazzmaster with 13s.

Couple fuzz pedals, couple delays into a Hiwatt 100 watt half stack.

Brutally thick and loud, but pretty much only thick and loud.

Now 9s go on my shreddy-types, and 10s go on others.


Gold Supporting Member
I dumped the 11s 10-15 years ago. Biggest issue was my hands would tire before I was tired of playing. Been playing 9s since then, about to experiment with some slightly thicker high strings.

Putting together a couple partscasters soon, will probably have to string one of them up with 11s for old time's sake :).


I still, for 20 years, play 11-50 GHS Boomers on my G&L Legacy and ASAT Classic. I play 10.5-48 Boomers on 2 other teles. I literally NEED "this" much string tension. String gauge hff as always been more about that than tone to me. That said, I just bought 2 sets of 10s, one 10-46, the other 10-38 that I intend to try on one specific tele. Gonna try the 10-38s first, as I'm looking for less bass/tighter bass from this HH Tele.


Gold Supporting Member
Went from 11's to 10's on the Tele, but keeping 11's on the 335 and acoustic.

Going down to 10's on the Tele was a revelation, same tone as 11's but much less work!


Silver Supporting Member
I never really took the bait on heavy strings to begin with. I don't like 'em. No sir. Heaviest I've ever used is 9.5-44, but usually I'm at 9's and done.

To me they feel better and <gasp!> sound better.
I was never on the heavy string bus either, at least for electric. I'm happy with my 9-46s. But as my hands slowly are getting a little bit arthritic I've started to rethink my acoustic strings. The standard 12s started getting hard to do things like barre chords several years ago, and I went to 11s. Then I went to low tension 11s (Optima Vintage Flex) and that is almost there for me. I'm thinking of going to the lightest V.Flex set they make - 10-43 I think, which would give me about the same overall tension on acoustic and electric. Luckily my acoustic has a lot of volume (with 11s or 12s it was a cannon).


Cantankerous Luddite
Gold Supporting Member
Don’t care about tone, it’s about feel and technical control for me. If you play acoustic guitar at all, 9s are a joke. 10s are at times a struggle for my right hand because they are squirrelly and loose. I play 10s, but also tend toward 10.5s and 11s on Gretsch or hollow body Gibsons where I’m doing less extreme bending, and more bebop inflected runs, chord melody, and Chet style Travis and thumbpick / hybrid picked stuff.

There’s more than one way to play a guitar.

Gig Young

The Diana Nyad of Guitar
Platinum Supporting Member
12's to 11's on acoustic

(Actually 11.5 on the hi E)
my fretting hand is very strong and fingers have thick calluses, and I can bend ok the top two strings on the 12 set..

But the bottom 4 just didn't have a lot of give for vibrato, nor a 'slight' sinewy feel.
Very little give.

The 11 set rings out a little better on the lowest two strings.
And going lighter gauge has helped that feel.

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I bailed on heavy strings at least 25 years ago.
I use 11-48 on my Gibson’s
10-46 on my fenders

I don’t like the sound of a wound g on an electric guitar
And I found the overall sound to just be too thick, took away all the space for the bass guitar and kick drum when playing with other instruments.
It sounded ok to me when playing alone.
my hands were fine with the tension, but I play a decent amount of acoustic and bass guitar.

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