Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Heavier strings on electrics


ksdaddy
 Share

Recommended Posts

We've all experimented with gauges, I'm sure. A while back I bought a bunch of Squier Strats. One of them is strung with 13-56 with a wound 3rd. I've had 12s on my Tele before. Huge sound, not much good for bending though. This cheap Strat feels so good with those caveman strings! The action is very low. It almost has the tactile feedback of an acoustic...which makes sense, given the gauge.

 

Makes me wonder about the 50s and 60s when solid bodies were strung with heavier strings because that was largely what was available. We all know the stories about people swapping the high E with a banjo string and moving the rest down, and it makes sense to want to make your guitar play easier, but I'm wondering about the tradeoff. By tradeoff I mean this: If I play the Tele exclusively for a week (with 10s) I get wimpy hands. I go back to an acoustic and I have to toughen up again. Seems like I'm doing my own playing a disservice by making the guitar too easy to play.

 

Am I making any sense?

 

I love bending strings but I also find I can easily push strings out of tune if I'm not forever treading lightly. And sometimes I just want to 'dig in' a little more aggressively, which is hard with 10s.

 

Only had a guitar in my hands since 1967 and I'm still experimenting. It'll never stop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started on a cheap silver tone with 13's, Went to a hondo with 10's,

Bought a Kramer and went to 8's(Kirk Hammett Played em' so should I!)rolleyes.gif

 

But mostly 10's, except for my dobro, that had 16's on it...

 

I dig in pretty good, I have found that consistency in string gauge helps me control bend pitch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've tried pretty much anything just 'to see'.

 

In my youth I went as light as poss; at the time Picato made a set starting at .006. They broke all the time - sometimes just tuning up to pitch and I'm not joking.

Settled on .009s throughout my Strat days.

LP came with .010s and were nice but I tried .011s and preferred them. Fuller sound to my ears.

Tried 012s and went back to .011s immediately!

 

I still use .010s with an unwound third on my G-J f-hole arch-top which, in G-J circles (it would seem), is akin to farting in the presence of H.M. The Queen.

 

I know SRV used .013s and I know that the Rev. Billy F. Gibbons, Esq., uses .007s on everything - except his slide guits which wear .080s.

Folks like the tones both of these giants have coaxed from their respective beasts so I think it really does just come down to 'Personal Preference' as far as feel / tone is concerned.

 

Not much of a help, I know......

I just don't think there is a 'One Size Fits All' answer in this case.

 

P.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love T-I flats, too, as I have posted in other threads. I don't play with heavy hands, and I like a low action, so I use 12s on hollows, 11s on semis, and 10s on solid bodies. I don't do big bends, either, and don't struggle at all bending 10s. 11s are a little tougher.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My present Optima Electric Chrome sixstring guitar sets are:

 

.010" - .046" roundwounds with plain G3rd on all the guitars featuring vibrato

.011" - .050" roundwounds with plain G3rd on all the hardtail solidbodies

.012" - .054" roundwounds, sometimes .012" - 0.056" flatwounds, both with wound G3rd, on my single semi-hollow

 

I have played .012" - .054" roundwounds as well on my 1978 S-G and my Edge Floyd Rose system-equipped Ibanez RG 430 exclusively for years. I went back to .011s for easier bending of the wound G3rd, and prefer .010s due to the higher effective vibrato action.

 

However, string action is always the lower the higher the gauge, and except for bendings fretting doesn't cause any trouble to me. Tone, in particular purity and sustain, and intonation of heavier strings are also better, so finally it all is compromised a bit. :rolleyes:

 

On my six basses, I play three different brands and four different makes, into the bargain with three different scale lengths [biggrin]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've pretty much settled on 10's for Gibson/Epiphone, and the "hybrid" 9-46

for Fender's. My little black Ric 325 (3/4 scale) gets 11's. [biggrin]

 

CB

 

My little black Ric 325c64 has .13's on it I believe (Ric .13's even. Since I just play rhythm with it I can even barr cord it some. [biggrin] I can hardly hold down .11's these days on any other electrics. Even had to go to .11's on all my acoustics.

 

Aster

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I pick up a guitar with 9s my first position chords are all out of tune due to my kung fu grip.

 

If ya ever need to drain off some of that there "kung fu" grip send some my way SP. [biggrin] I'm a getting weaker & weaker with the barr cords and can use any excess you can spare.

 

Aster

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If ya ever need to drain off some of that there "kung fu" grip send some my way SP. [biggrin] I'm a getting weaker & weaker with the barr cords and can use any excess you can spare.

 

Aster

 

[biggrin] Be happy to share a bit of it... though I might need it later I guess. I have noticed by hands get tired more quickly if I am barre chording the acoustic than they used to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I currently have 4 guitars

 

Gibson LP Studio with T.O.M.

Gibson Explorer with a Kahler

Charvel strat with Floyd

BC Rich strat with Kahler

 

Back in the 80's and early 90's I worked in a guitar shop, so I was a true gear junkie....I tried EVERYTHING that came through......can't count the number of strings I've tried.

 

I finally settled on GHS Boomers in their "CL or custom light" gauge. It's like 9's on top and 10's on bottom. It works perfect to me because I tend to be heavy handed when strumming, but not very stong hand for bends. It lets me bend easily and not overpower the strings when banging chords.

 

What I've done is set up every guitar I own (or have owned for years now) with the CL's. Even with all the above mentioned combinations of guitars, it suits me well. I find that with only subtle variations in my paying (which at this point seem to come naturaly with each individual guitar)they work perfect in each case and helps each to "feel" similar.

 

It's also nice to be able to keep one or two spare sets around and know they will fit everything.

 

Just my two cents on the gauge thing.

 

NHTom

 

 

PS.....the only variation from this formula I ever found necessary for me was when I had an AM STD STRAT...I ran 10 semi-flat wound on that (can't remember brand) and it was great.....but the band I was using that with I only ever played very clean with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my younger days I heard that SRV used 13's so I switch all my guitars to 12's. I thought it was really butch to tell people "10?!! BAH! I snap those like toothpick just breathing on them!!" Then I played my friends Parker Fly with 9's and realized that it was the best playing guitar I had ever touched by a long shot. I also realized that my former position made me sound like a total duchebag. Now all my guitars have 9's accept for my Gibson Chet Atkins Country Gent that sports 10's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

I finally settled on GHS Boomers in their "CL or custom light" gauge. It's like 9's on top and 10's on bottom. It works perfect to me because I tend to be heavy handed when strumming, but not very stong hand for bends. It lets me bend easily and not overpower the strings when banging chords.

 

NHTom

 

 

PS.....the only variation from this formula I ever found necessary for me was when I had an AM STD STRAT...I ran 10 semi-flat wound on that (can't remember brand) and it was great.....but the band I was using that with I only ever played very clean with.

 

Interestingly, a bandmate of mine stays with GHS Boomers .010s on his Fender Strat since the early 1990s. We both share the opinion that they feel rather soft for their gauge. They also sound fat, but lack a bit treble bite to my taste since I love a very bright tone. However, to his demand I switched from Optima Chrome .011s to .010s of same make on a MIM Fender Nashville Power Telecaster I am lending to him, and shortly thereafter he asked me during a rehearsal if he could try one of mine strung with .011s. Then he found out that obviously the heavier strings suit this guitar better, regardless of using magnetic or piezo pickups.

 

Play, feel and tone are mainly matters of taste, and choosing strings also is a rather personal decision I believe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been playing 11s on all my electrics for more than fifteen years. I need them because I am such a ham handed player. When the music gets going an animal comes out and my strumming hand is unleashed. Maybe if I was more of a finesse player or did more than half step bends I'd take the gauge down a notch, but right now that's not who I am.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothing lighter than 9s except on the old solidbody that's 8-38.

 

Nothing heavier than 10s on some flattops.

 

But... I'm experimenting with flats again, although mostly pretty light gauges. Used 'em on some electrics from the mid '60s up through the mid '70s, although I did use some heavier tapewounds at one point.

 

m

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never used anything heavier than 11s. Even on acoustics (at least the ones I put on them). I have a light touch and can handle down to 9s without chording out of tune. I have a couple of guitars strung with 9s right now. Most are strung with 10s. My Midtown Kalamazoo with the 23.5" scale has flatwound 11s, but I want to change them out for 10's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Been there, done that, had the tee-shirt... [biggrin]

 

Mostly 9's and 10's on solids and semis

 

Detuned 8's, 9's and 10's on 12 string acoustics

 

Detuned 12's on a hollow archtop...(C# to match the 12 strings [biggrin])

 

11's on a hollow archtop

 

Tried 13's and 14's with much discomfort some years ago... :blink:

 

V

 

:-({|=

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...