Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Do 11's and higher gauge string put too much stress on neck

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Pine271, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. Pine271

    Pine271 TDPRI Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    Jax Florida
    Do 11s and other higher gauge strings OK to use long term for a Tele or do they put too much stress on the neck. Ive read maple is a very strong wood.

  2. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    When these guitars were first designed, no one could imagine strings as skinny as 11s. Depending on who you ask, 12 or 13 was standard.

    11s are fine.

  3. Wyzsard

    Wyzsard Friend of Leo's

    Someone will correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe the first few years teles were made, 12's were probably the standard.

    I use 12's tuned a half step down.

    EDIT : Koko beat me to it while I typed.

  4. Pine271

    Pine271 TDPRI Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    Jax Florida
    Thanks for the replies, I just put 11's on for the first time after years of 10's and really like them, thought about the neck tension.


  5. paulvcarter

    paulvcarter Tele-Holic

    Jan 6, 2011
    New York City
    They will certainly put stress on your fingers......over time.

  6. Peter Rabbit

    Peter Rabbit Tele-Holic

    Sep 17, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  7. MickM

    MickM Friend of Leo's Ad Free + Supporter

    .011's are great once you get used to them and it's sooo nice being in tune after bending the crap out of the G, B and E. Habit makes me check with a tuner even though my ear says "good" and it's rarely out.

    Results will vary if you don't open up the nut slots. Binding strings in the nut will drive you nutz!

  8. darkwaters

    darkwaters Tele-Holic

    Oct 14, 2012
    I always use 11s on 24 3/4 scales and 10s on 25 1/2. Works for me !

  9. Green Funyuns

    Green Funyuns Former Member

    Mar 9, 2013
    I'm a .10-.46 player myself but many years ago when he was still alive I got a chance to play Stevie Ray Vaughan's main Strat, the severely beat up sunburst with the black pick guard that he's most known for playing. It was in for a tuneup between tours at Charley's Guitars in Dallas, and knowing I was a fan, Charley pulled it out of the case and handed it,to me just to see my eyes bug out. It was the only time I've played a Strat strung with a big .13 set, but I have to say it was definitely not as tight and tough to play as I expected it to be. In fact, I found that guitar easier to play and bend strings on than most Fenders I've played strung with regular strings. Whether it was the physical setup or the nut or the action or all of the above, that experience was an eye opener.

  10. skraprm

    skraprm Tele-Meister

    Mar 10, 2011
    Inland Empire
    Your neck is fine. The truss rod, however needs to be replaced. I would suggest you go two gauges up.

    It is an extensive operation which can only be performed by a species of wood-boring worm native to vacant lots in Fullertone, California.


  11. Pine271

    Pine271 TDPRI Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    Jax Florida
    Green that is an awesome story

  12. Green Funyuns

    Green Funyuns Former Member

    Mar 9, 2013
    Thanks Pine271. The funny thing is, Stevie's Strat was one of the worst sounding Fenders _unplugged_ I've ever played. It was really clangy and metallic sounding, like it was made of aluminum or some other metal. If you've ever played one of those 70s Kramer guitars with the aluminum necks, you'll know what I'm taking about. Besides my surprise at how a .13 set of strings with high action wasn't totally impossible to play, I was shocked by how unFendery Stevie's Strat sounded unplugged. Of course, when he plugged it into his effects and amps, that guitar sounded great.

    I spent a fair amount of time hanging around Charley Wirz's shop because he took a shine to me as a kid interested in blues and working on guitars, and he even gave me an old Duo Sonic body and a trashed 70s Tele neck so I could build a headstockless Fender out of them. Rene Martinez was still working for Charley as a full-time tech, and I was there when he and Charley got in a bunch of WD Strat parts and built 3 Charley's logo Strats with Dano lipstick pickups and custom flip-flop pearl paint job by Rene himself. Charley gave the best one to Stevie in honor of his Grammy nomination for Texas Flood, and that guitar wound up on the cover of Couldn't Stand the Weather. It's a real cool Strat and I was there pretty much the whole time they built it. They didn't tell me who it was for until it was all finished.

    The reason I mention it is because to me, that guitar sounded much, much more like a really meaty vintage Strat when you played it unplugged than Stevie's main Strat did. Yet I always felt that when Stevie played it through his usual setup, that white Strat sounded thin and a lot less meaty than his main beat-up Strat. So the one that sounded weird unplugged sounded great with his amps, and the one that most of us would far prefer when hearing its unplugged sound turned out to sound worse through his amps. I guess the moral of the story is forget everything you think you know about this stuff and just keep practicing.

  13. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    String it up heavy. "And just floor it."

  14. furtherpale

    furtherpale Former Member

    Aug 11, 2012
    Melbourne - 32
    11-50's on my tele, my strat... 12-54 on my jag, and 11-50's will go on my AVRI 65 jazzmaster when I pay it off and get it

  15. Lenderman_k

    Lenderman_k Tele-Holic

    Mar 16, 2011
    Paoli, IN
    11s on my electrics, 13s on my acoustics. Ive been told Im crazy lol

  16. Pine271

    Pine271 TDPRI Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    Jax Florida
    Thanks koko for the info

  17. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 11, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    I've been using 10's for 35 years. Now that arthritis is starting to set in, even those are fighting me. I admire all of you who can and do use heavier guages. I still use 13's on acoustic, but I don't bend the crap out of those, and my setup is so sweet that it's not a fight.

  18. rsclosson

    rsclosson Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 29, 2010
    Tallahassee FL
    11s are my "slinky" strings. (I use 13s on my Jazz guitars) On my Strat and Tele, it is surprisingly easy to bend. I believe that it was Clapton who once said he used 10s because he likes to "fight" his guitar a little. For me 11s are not a fight but more of a control thing. I feel I have better pitch control of my bends. When I pick up a guitar strung with 9s or 10s, I tend to overshoot the pitch.

  19. Dunzie

    Dunzie Tele-Holic

    My 6'1" 225lbs girly fingers appreciate 9-42's, but sometimes 10-46. I need a finger weightlifting routine I guess.

  20. Pepi

    Pepi Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2004
    All my Tele's get 11s

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