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Anyone ever go from .012's to .011's and felt that it sounded better?


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Yes, I have done this very recently. I had always used 13s on my J-45 Legend and Advanced Jumbo. I recently tried 11s on the J-45 and thought the guitar sounded more open, less constricted. I really have not noticed any loss in volume or tone. To the contrary, I think it sounds better. I have just put my first set of 11s on the AJ and it, too, sounds great with them. The bonus is that there is a bit less string tension, thus a bit easier to play.

 

My experience is counter to everything I had always been led to believe. I had always heard, as you describe, that 13s would drive the top harder, give more volume, etc. But now I think the 13s were just choking these guitars and the 11s allow them to breathe more. I have since become a big proponent of lighter guage strings.

 

If you haven't tried the 11s yet, just put some on and see what you think. You've got nothing to lose.

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I think you describe it pretty good. I find that to be the case as you describe.

 

A few things though: I think it's more rare for guitars, particularly accoustic, to like thinner strings and less tension than the other way around, but there does always seem to be a connection, a stopping point, where the guitar no longer gets louder or more 'clear' sounding with thicker strings. And I actually discovered this whole idea myself with an L-7 I have, which to my surprise, likes thinner strings.

 

Besides that, there is a subjective thing as well that has to do with taste. Even just judging by sound alone, there are some things different about thinner strings than thicker that isn't the same as a guitar "choking out". For some guitars, (not all), I prefer the tone of the thinner strings just because, even though the guitar CAN still get louder and sound good with more tension.

 

So, trying to say, besides the taste/preference thing, there IS something to some guitars reaching a tension limit at different points compared to other individual guitars.

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Yes, I have done this very recently. I had always used 13s on my J-45 Legend and Advanced Jumbo. I recently tried 11s on the J-45 and thought the guitar sounded more open, less constricted. I really have not noticed any loss in volume or tone. To the contrary, I think it sounds better. I have just put my first set of 11s on the AJ and it, too, sounds great with them. The bonus is that there is a bit less string tension, thus a bit easier to play.

 

My experience is counter to everything I had always been led to believe. I had always heard, as you describe, that 13s would drive the top harder, give more volume, etc. But now I think the 13s were just choking these guitars and the 11s allow them to breathe more. I have since become a big proponent of lighter guage strings.

 

If you haven't tried the 11s yet, just put some on and see what you think. You've got nothing to lose.

 

What about 12's ?

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This answer'll make ya' more kookoo...I like the 12's in summer, which I think bring both of my acoustics to life. I'm air conditioned for most of it, but still notice that the general warm season humidity slows my tops down a little. Winter is dry as hell in my house, around 25% humidity in the wood heat, even though the guitars stay far from the room with the stove. As soon as the static sparks start jumpin' off my fingertips I swap back out to 11's. Something like changing out snow and summer tires. The Dunlop 80/20's are my string dujour these days. Might try the EBall titanium coated after the CW sound clip from a day or two back.

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I switched to 11-52 about three years ago. I just had a setup done on one woody and the luthier switched back to 11-54's and it actually sounds much brighter.

I think that it's subjective depending on how you feel on any given day

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13s - tuned down a wholestep on the JB, and Half step on the SJ. Works for me. I put 12s on my J45, and tuned them down a half-step, were great, then son comes along to play it and he tunes her up to missionary position - I come back and tune it back down a half a step, and really having fits now keeping it in tune. Have a set of 11s on my campfire guitar, they're fine for what they are, but I'm not totally thrilled. I like the rumble I can coax out of the 13s.

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I had Gibson J200 12's on one of my 180's then put Martin/Cleartone 80/20 11's on it and it was so good. On another I switched from Masterbuilt 12's to Cleartone 80/20 11's and yep so much better. Might try Cleartone 10's and see how that sounds. A friend uses Elixir 10's on his Yamaha acoustic and it sounds great.

 

Bob

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Whether an 11 set would work might depend on whether you stay up in std tuning and do a chimey strums or bends and things. If you are playing a more acoustic-oriented style (Travis picking, Piedmont, Celtic, blues or flat picking), you might not have enough weight. Unless you were tuning up from standard.

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IME over a few dozen acoustic dreadnaughts I've never noticed a tone improvement going from 13s to 12s. Not once. I've got 12s on my J-45 now because I'm traveling, didn't want to change strings for a bit & had coated 12s. It sounds good but sure not better.

 

I use 12s on my LG-2 & have done the same on every smaller flattop I've owned other than an excursion to 13s--made it a cannon--for a few months. Bellied the top a bit much for me.

 

I honestly cannot imagine using 11s on any LG or J-sized guitar in good structural shape. I used them once on a Gibson with some issues but only cuz I had to.

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And less stress on the instrument as well.

I went from .012's to .011's-.049 Pure Nickel on the L5CES ..and feel is just great.

My electrics have always been Gibson 740 Strings which were packaged .009-.036... which they after 30 years they discontinued..(so I then ordered strings individually)..then, Gibson discontinued manufacturing strings all together..and Im gonna run out...

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I had a 70s Ovation legend that i always strung with 12s, untill one day i fitted a set of 11s and was amazed with the

difference in the guitar, much more alive! and easyer to play..

 

The guy that bought it off me to this day still uses 11s, Ovation recomended 12s though & through.. :(

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re whether heavier strings "just chokes the top & restructs its vibration...and gives ye a stiffer sound...in some cases..?" Not sure I buy that. My sense is the average flattop is optimized for standard string pull (acoustic lights [.12] for L00s and OMs, meds [.13] for dreads and jumbos). They can negotiate higher or lower tensions. A heavier set puts you in the direction of punch and definition but not choke it (too much tension will pull the bridge off but that's another story). A boon for Travis style & flatpicking, Steve James has used a .14 set on his Collings L00 (C10) and he has been using the same box since the 90s. Lighter goes toward air and chime. Easier string bends (but watch your thing!). Mileage will vary depending on sale length, tunings used and so forth.

 

Snap poll. How many of y'all who are using an .11 set also play electric with super slinkys?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not because they sounded better, but easier on my hands, and a little less tension on the vintage guitar necks....

I'll go with easierr on the hands too

 

Ever since The Great Karcher accident of 2010 I still feel the nerves in my left forefinger

 

So it's 11s for acoustics,,9s for 335 and LPc and 8s for strat and tele

 

Leaving the index finger free for the traffic wardens!

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