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glp2012

The Joy of 11's

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Wow! Generally, I am a bass player and am used to thick strings and no pick. However, when I play guitar I use 9's and no pick. The problem is that I use my right hand like I'm playing bass e.g. with three fingers and my thumb sitting on the pickup. It's difficult because my fingers pull the strings and I find myself being sloppy because I hit more strings than I want to. Then, I tried some 10's on my Les Paul and found they were stiffer, but gave my fingers more density to pluck. Well, I just bought a guitar that is strung with 11's and I really like them. They are much easier to play with both hands.

 

I think I'm going to switch all my six string guitars to 11's from now on. Thought this might be of interest to some people because I had never considered anything other than 9's.

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I went from 9s to 10s because of buzz on my tiny Mustangs. I mean, the idea was for me to allow myself to be sloppy and not sound too slop.

 

Then I discovered that the TONE is affected.

 

Sure, I had read about it, but I always figured the guitar and amp had the most to do with tone but the string gauge is actually a contributing factor that is noticeable to even my novice ears. Now I have 11s on my LP...it is the first time I use 11s and now I wonder......is the guitar going to need a set up because I did this? oh, man. Why didn't I ask my forumites before I went and changed my strings.

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I always GO UP TO 11 and have for at least 35 years.

 

@Izzy - it should need minimal adjustment - maybe raise the bridge a half turn and re-intonate those saddles. You can do this yourself without fear of messing it all up. Go on.

 

I can absotively recommend DR handmade pure blues nickel 11-50s. Fant-stastical on my Les with P90s.

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...

Then I discovered that the TONE is affected.

 

Sure, I had read about it, but I always figured the guitar and amp had the most to do with tone but the string gauge is actually a contributing factor that is noticeable to even my novice ears...

 

Indeed! Different kind of guitars prefer different gauges, in my opinion. All my Gibsons are strung with 10-46s. But when it comes to Fenders: I've found that the Tele sounds best with 11-48s, while my new Strat is perfect with 9-42s.

 

Best wishes... Bence

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I went over to .11s a few years ago and don't regret it for a second.

Marginal changes in tone and sustain but as I'm a 'slow' picker who plugs straight into the amp both of these changes count as advantages...

 

As far as set-up goes; a slight change, perhaps, in back'n'forth for the bridge saddles but I found bridge-height change unnecessary.

Possibly the extra tension of the heavier strings counteracts the larger diameter of the low wound strings?

 

Pip.

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I've actually been contemplating lately going from 10's to 9's. I use Ernie Ball 10's on all my guitars except my Gretsch double jet which is set up for 12's.

 

A week ago I needed to change strings on my Gibson Les Paul Trad pro 2. It had 10's on it . I decided to put on a set of daddario 9's I had from long ago and wow, what a difference in playability Bends so much easier,less finger fatigue. And I am thinking tone may even be better due to better control I seem to have and bends and vibrato seem to come across with a better tone, like I say I think is because of beter control .

 

I am thinking of going to 9's on all of them when I use the bulk packs up of 10's I have stocked up. Billy Gibbons uses real light gauge , I think 7's. BB King used light gauge. Tony Iommi obviously does. I saw Billy Gibbons interview just other day and he was saying he looked into it and found many of the blues player of long ago who people assumed used heavy strings actually used thin ones.

 

I am thinking the bigger is better theory may not apply to guitar strings so much and may actually be more true the other way around

 

 

 

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Its always personal, but generally speaking I think that sound improves with heavier gauges and comfort improves with lighter gauges.

 

I use 11-50 flatwounds on my archtop to help bring out the jazz voicing on it. (but I cant bend strings or use vibrato on it; -too much tension.)

 

My other electrics are all 10-46.

 

Scale also plays a part here/ longer scale guitars are naturally tensioned higher.

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I went over to .11s a few years ago and don't regret it for a second.

Marginal changes in tone and sustain but as I'm a 'slow' picker who plugs straight into the amp both of these changes count as advantages...

 

Pip.

 

Meaning you expirienced more or less sustain? Fatter tone?

 

I only noticed fatter tone [unsure]

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...I am thinking tone may even be better due to better control I seem to have and bends and vibrato seem to come across with a better tone, like I say I think is because of beter control...

That's interesting, g-r.

After a few days of adjustment to the heavier strings (I used to use 10's) I found that I had more control over the heavier strings than I did with the lighter gauge.

Clearly a case of 'different strokes'.

 

Meaning you expirienced more or less sustain? Fatter tone? I only noticed fatter tone [unsure]

To be perfectly honest I didn't notice any clear gain in sustain so I should probably have inserted 'possible' somewhere in that sentence.

My guess would be that the increased mass of the heavier strings would allow for a slower rate of decay but I'm no physicist...

 

I do think there was a slight change in tone, though. You use the word 'Fatter', Izzy, which is pretty close to the mark. 'Rounder'; 'Fuller'; all these sort of adjectives get the idea across.

 

The Rev. BFG does indeed use .007s (.008s for slide) but then again he rarely plays without some form of FX in his chain so his end-tone is shaped, to a large extent, by forces outside just his guitar and amp.

 

Pip.

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Last weekend I started noodling again after my finger surgery. And I thought it would be maybe easier with nines. But then I decided against it. I think I will recover my fingermuscles better using 10's. One thing I'm gonna change is the brand, was trying Cleartones for two months. Love the tone and durability, but not the feel. I think I go back to d'Addario, they seemed more flexible to me.

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Damnit! It only took two days, despite keeping the tuning a half step lower on all strings, for my LP neck to bow a little.

 

I feel like a bad bad guitar owner. Taking it to Niel Sargent to do the truss...never had the guitar set-up to begin with so it wuldn't be bad to have him sprinkle fairy dust on it. Will the nut be so affected that I will never be able to go back to 9s without replacing the nut? [crying]

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Stupid forum, I have put a set of 11's today, was happy with the 10's but of course reading this I felt the need to try :)

 

So I put 11-48 on my strat, feel good, more hard to bend but not too hard neither.

 

A bit afraid to switch on the Les Paul because even with 10's the nut seems to be a bit tight.

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Damnit! It only took two days, despite keeping the tuning a half step lower on all strings, for my LP neck to bow a little.

 

I feel like a bad bad guitar owner. Taking it to Niel Sargent to do the truss...never had the guitar set-up to begin with so it wuldn't be bad to have him sprinkle fairy dust on it. Will the nut be so affected that I will never be able to go back to 9s without replacing the nut? [crying]

Oh dear..sorry to hear that...you shouldn't have to replace the nut either but I think Mr Sargent's advice will be better than mine! [thumbup]

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