Who goes from thick to thinner string gauges?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by lightningsmith, May 10, 2008.

  1. lightningsmith

    lightningsmith Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    You know who you are. Is tension and difficulty to bend the main issue or you realise you can't hear that much of a difference in tone, contrary to what you might have heard from others? Not that it isn't true in the first place, many seasoned players swear by thick strings just for that extra notch of tone.
  2. shawntp

    shawntp Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    I could never get the right balance of tension on the low strings to ring out clear chords WITH that signature ease of light effortless fretting and bends on the high notes on my Les Paul.

    I found .10's and .11's were great for chords and .09's were great for high neck solo-ing.

    I finally discovered the Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky (mix of .10 and .09 sets) and they are perfect for my hands/playing/style/guitars.

    I've transitioned to Hybrid Slinky's on all my guitars now.
  3. gtraddict

    gtraddict Member

    Feb 7, 2006
    I had a car accident which I broke my both my wrists, after they mended I found out they were not as strong as once were. I had to go from 12's to 10's. My practice strat used to have a 15 guage set that I had made up for it.
  4. devilrob1979

    devilrob1979 Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    I've done the same thing. I also found out that my benchmark of kick ass rock tone (Billy Gibbons) uses 8s and he's not lacking anything in my book. Aside from a certain wildman from Texas the majority of my favorite rock/blues players use skinnier strings and seem to sound just fine with 'em. I have about 20 sets of Hybrid Slinkys sitting around here.
  5. Oddos

    Oddos Member

    Jul 6, 2005
    Sykkylven, Norway
    I went back from 11`s too 10`s when I was gigging a lot. My fingers just couldn`t handle it with four sets every night + practicing( lots of blues and some 80`s fast lead stuff, too). I find them a nice medium which sounds and feels good for everything I do. God for blues, not impossible for shredding and nice feel when I do my sitar-like slide`n`bend thingy. I couldn`t go lighter, though. I don`t use enough gain for that to sound good to me.

    If I take a break for a few days they feel almost to light, but normally my hands never really have the time to heal. I tend to play all day every day.

    I also used to have my "Stevie" guitar with 13`s tune down half a step. Think I was trying to prove a point(like where a lot of the tone came from). lol
  6. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2006
    Remulon V Beta Colony
    I went from .011s on my Suhr Classic Strat to .010 - .052s. After years of 6100 fretwire and .011s, I was having trouble adapting to med-jumbo wire on my Suhr (and with SS frets, they ain't ever gonna wear out) - .011s without 6100 wire felt weird, .010s felt too thin and stole from the ballsiness of my rhythm sound. I ended up raising the action slightly on the treble side and going with lite tops and heavy bottoms. Bingo! I liked the feel so much that I switch to the same gauge on my Les Pauls.
    Unfortunately a trip to the music store is a nightmare: .011s for my Strats except the Suhr, .010 -.052 for my Suhr, Les Pauls, and Teles, and .010s for my PRS (PRS trem refuses to cooperate with .010 - .052s).

    At one time, back in my blues band days, I played Strarts with .013 -.060 strings. I used to literally tear calluses off of my fingertips (or cut them in 1/2) with those strings. I hit the wall when I played 3 gigs in one day (fundraiser in the AM, wedding in the afternoon, bar-gig at night) one Saturday, with my blues gig being the last. By the beginning of the third set, I couldn't bend anything except the high E (.013), and that was only 1/2 step. After that I wimped out and dialed back to .011s, which is where I've been until now...

  7. Fixxxer

    Fixxxer Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    Land of long neck tenons
    10's are as th9in as I can go. 11's for me are where its at. Then again I am a rhythm player so take that for what its worth.

    The secret to 11'a are strong hands and calluses. Getty up.

    Also don't be afraid to treat your strings.
  8. still.ill

    still.ill Member

    Feb 18, 2008
    i wanna change from 10's to 9's on a 25.5 scale guitar... will i just have to change intonation
  9. Lewkk

    Lewkk Member

    Sep 29, 2007
    Where the cheese rolls.
    I was using 10's-52 on Gibson scale necks for a couple of years, in the last 6 months I have been playing Fender scale and dropped to 9's so I could bend with the same accuracy.

    Im getting set-up for 10's this week now my hand's have adjusted for 25.5". The 9's sound really thin compared to 10's to me.

    I won't bother with anything higher than 10-52 as the diminishing returns past that offset's how I like my set-upfor concert pitch.
    For b/c tuning or jazz boxes I like 12's
  10. franksguitar

    franksguitar Member

    Dec 6, 2006
    Fairfield, CT
    I use a custom light set with heavier bottoms from 009 to 046. I had tendon surgery on my left middle finger when as a teen I injured it in wrestling in gym. Heavy strings are hard on my fingers, but change strings often if playing alot.
  11. JoeYello

    JoeYello Member

    Jan 23, 2004
    New Jersey
    I've been opting for thinner strings of late. 9-46's or 9.5's. It's just easier for me to play and I think it adds a little more jangle to your sound with the reduced tension which for my application is a good thing.
  12. luv2playm

    luv2playm Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    I have an American Standard strat with 10s, and another with 9s. The 10s sound a little fuller, but when I play the blues (with lots of string bending) for a couple of hours, I get a little less accurate and less fluid with the bending and vibrato:messedup. I switch to my strat with 9s when I want to play longer, or I want to have an easier time playing.

    I doubt my hands will become much stronger:(. 11s would be too much and probably would also take a toll on the finger tips, even though they are fairly calloused.

    The 9s aren't much thinner sounding than the 10s, and seem to be the right balance of tone and playbility for me, for general or long-play situations.

    I tried 8s once, and while they were really easy and fun for bending and vibrato, they sounded too thin to my ears :eek:, at least for clean and moderately overdriven tones. I also find that I need at least a 9 for the high E to avoid early string breakage. For that reason, sometimes I'll substitute a 10 for the high string on my otherwise standard 9 set.
  13. PFCG

    PFCG Member

    Feb 23, 2006
    Calabasas - CA
    i had 10s for the longest time on all my guitars, then i went to heavy bottom lite top 10 set. then i changed the saddles on my parker and only had the 10 gauge spring so the lever changed and i HAD to use 9s, and i tuned it to Eb and it sounded really good! ive now been using heavy bottom lite top 9 sets on my parkers and i like how it sounds. Ive also changed to dunlop strings. i like they way they sound so much!

    I use 13s on my Breedlove and flat 11s or 12s on my D'angelico
  14. jaycee

    jaycee Member

    Nov 5, 2003
    I went from 9's to 10's and switched back. My hand would just get fatigued at the end of the night. I have decent hand strength but I couldn't go the distance with 10's.
  15. wilerty

    wilerty Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
    I have arthritis and find it painful to play 10s. Unfortunately, I also find the unwound strings in a 9 set too flabby. I blend a set of wound strings from a 9 set with the unwound from a 10 set to come with a set of 10-42. Works great for me.
  16. SimonR

    SimonR Member

    Jun 6, 2004
    North Bondi, Australia
    To me it really depends on the guitar and the gig. I use 9-46 on my "shred" style guitars (an Ibanez Frank Gambale for Satch-type stuff and a PRS CU24 for EVH-type stuff). I find tapping and fast legato runs just much easier on 9's. I use 10-46 on my Fender guitars and 10-52 on my Gibsons. Hve tried 11's but prefer the tone of 10's.

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