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String Gauge Question...Just bought my first electric guitar....a 2019 SG Standard (used)!


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Sorry no picture yet, it hasn't come yet but I am so excited.  Just a question for when I get my set up...

I will be playing mainly rhythm type/fingerpicky stuff, I know I want a higher string gauge because:

1. I like to alter tunings from time to time  and wouldn't mind a little more tension with the short scale.

2. I would like to keep the feel somewhat consistent with my acoustic with .13's.

3. I like any added tone/low end I might get as a result of the bigger strings.

 

Has anyone had experience altering tunings on their SG?  What string gauge fits the bill here, .12's or .13's?  Would either be fine for the guitar/the neck?  Thanks everyone!!!

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Hi,

Most electric players use 10's. Probably your SG will arrive with 10's or perhaps even 9's.

 

There is no reason why you shouldn't use heavier gauge strings. However, I suggest spending some time with the strings supplied before changing them. You just might get to like them.

There are a couple of things to consider before using a heavier gauge set.

1/ the nut: the slots may not readily accommodate thicker strings. They may bind in the nut and necessitate widening of the slots (Gibson fit 10's as standard).

2/ additional string tension, especially on an SG, could affect the set up. The neck may give; resulting in more relief than you want. Therefore you may need to adjust the truss rod to compensate.

 

As for fingerpicking (I do a lot of finger style); you will need to use a pretty clean tone. Even a small amount of gain will 'muddy up' your sound/technique. In short, you will lose definition. Palm muting would help, but I'm guessing that's not what you are going for.  

Good luck with the new SG. Keep in touch and post pictures when you get it. I want to hear what your first impressions are. 🙂

 

 

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Unless you are planning on emulating Stevie Ray Vaughan, I wouldn't personally recommend going for heavier gauge strings. You will need to adjust your setup, adjust truss rod and things like that as heavier gauge strings are under more tension and therefore change the neck bend. The truss rod will need adjusting to counter this and unless you are confident in what you are doing, it will need someone competent to carry it out. I have never adjusted the truss rod on any of my guitars a) because I don't use any other than Hybrid slinkys and b) I haven't got a clue what I am doing.

Not only that but heavier strings will hurt your fingers more at least until you get used to it. The advantages? Well, thicker strings sound better as simply put, there is more metal vibrating over the magnets in the pickups. Not only that, you can downtune heavier gauge strings more easily so if you are into 'dunga, dunga, squee' type music in weird down step tunings, then you will need heavier gauge strings to accommodate this. The afore mentioned SRV used heavier gauge strings than normal but he also tuned half a step or more down.

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3 hours ago, merciful-evans said:

There are a couple of things to consider before using a heavier gauge set.

1/ the nut: the slots may not readily accommodate thicker strings. They may bind in the nut and necessitate widening of the slots (Gibson fit 10's as standard).

2/ additional string tension, especially on an SG, could affect the set up. The neck may give; resulting in more relief than you want. Therefore you may need to adjust the truss rod to compensate.

 

1 hour ago, Filbert said:

Unless you are planning on emulating Stevie Ray Vaughan, I wouldn't personally recommend going for heavier gauge strings. You will need to adjust your setup, adjust truss rod and things like that as heavier gauge strings are under more tension and therefore change the neck bend. The truss rod will need adjusting to counter this and unless you are confident in what you are doing, it will need someone competent to carry it out. I have never adjusted the truss rod on any of my guitars a) because I don't use any other than Hybrid slinkys and b) I haven't got a clue what I am doing.

 

Thanks everyone!  If I get a professional setup these won't be issues though right?  Like it's not going to damage the guitar?  I also don't know what I'm doing LOL but I would assume a luthier would do a good job.

1 hour ago, Filbert said:

Not only that but heavier strings will hurt your fingers more at least until you get used to it. The advantages? Well, thicker strings sound better as simply put, there is more metal vibrating over the magnets in the pickups. Not only that, you can downtune heavier gauge strings more easily so if you are into 'dunga, dunga, squee' type music in weird down step tunings, then you will need heavier gauge strings to accommodate this. The afore mentioned SRV used heavier gauge strings than normal but he also tuned half a step or more down.

 

I am used to playing a 25.5" scale acoustic with .13's, so I would think I would be MORE used to the heavier gauge strings.  I know with the SG's short scale it will be a little slinkier, so maybe I could get it closer to my acoustic with .12's on the SG?  Thanks again.

Edited by FiggyPudding18
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20 minutes ago, FiggyPudding18 said:

Thanks everyone!  If I get a professional setup these won't be issues though right?  Like it's not going to damage the guitar?  I also don't know what I'm doing LOL but I would assume a luthier would do a good job.

I am used to playing a 25.5" scale acoustic with .13's, so I would think I would be MORE used to the heavier gauge strings.  I know with the SG's short scale it will be a little slinkier, so maybe I could get it closer to my acoustic with .12's on the SG?  Thanks again.

 

Yes, a luthier will be able to get it setup properly without an issue. He/she will also know what to do with regard to the truss rod. No, it won't damage the guitar; if the neck is too far back bowed or forward bowed, you will get fret buzz but it is simple enough to cure by adjusting the truss rod. Just bear in mind once it is setup, if you ever do decide to change string gauge, either lighter or heavier, it will probably need adjusting to set it up again for the new gauge.

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Correct. 

3 hours ago, FiggyPudding18 said:

I am used to playing a 25.5" scale acoustic with .13's, so I would think I would be MORE used to the heavier gauge strings.  I know with the SG's short scale it will be a little slinkier, so maybe I could get it closer to my acoustic with .12's on the SG?  Thanks again.

 

Correct. You are going to find it easy the fret the SG.

Yes, 12s are a good size to try first.  

Dont let the truss rod scare you. I could outline it here, but there are dozens of good YT videos detailing this. Take a look 🙂. Its straightforward enough. Just be methodical & careful.

I would say slot widening is likely more difficult than truss rod adjustment. I suggest using feeler gauges with some medium fine emery paper (100 to 220 grit). Just dont fold the paper under the feeler because you dont want to make the slot any deeper.

Select a feeler suitable for the slot size (+ emery). You could use double sided tape to stick the emery to the feeler. A few strokes will remove a few thou on one side. Turn it over and repeat for other side of slot. Try a guitar string in the slot to check for size & repeat if needed. Again, be slow, methodical and keep checking the size attained. 

Good luck.

 

 

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Dude, I'd encourage you learn how to set your Guitar up. There is really not much to it and you will be glad when you do. You will also save yourself a few bucks. String Action Gauge, Truss Rod Wrench, Notched Straight-edge w/a set of feeler gages...cost less than $50 (less than two 'PRO' set-up's)......... and, maybe, if no one will show you 'HOW-to' do a set-up: Then go out and buy Dan Erlewine's  'How to make your electric guitar play great...' will set you back another $25.....You can also just buy the tools and then go to youtoob dot com! The video's on set-up's are numerous......u do not even really need the Straight-edge and feelers, using the Low 'E' in there  place, but a capo will be require then.

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