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Need some guidance

Discussion in 'Welcome Wagon' started by betterlate, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. betterlate

    betterlate TDPRI Member

    18
    Nov 25, 2018
    Charlottesville, VA
    Hi All,

    Besides my house and my car, my new American Professional Tele is the nicest thing I own. (It might actually be nicer than my house.) The sound is amazing through a THR10 (tube amp to follow down the road) and the neck is a marvel.

    The issue I'm having is that the tall thin frets combined with the very light strings it came with (I assume they're 9s) make bending strings TOO easy. That is, it's sometimes hard NOT to bend them. And the frets are so tall that just fretting a note can actually pull it sharp.

    My question is: Will thicker strings help? Or is it more a question of adapting my very inexpert and probably heavy-handed style to this nuanced instrument? I've noticed that notes still ring clearly even if I don't press the string down to the fingerboard... Is that how I'm supposed to be playing this thing? That's going to take some getting used to.

    I'd hate to think I just bought an instrument that out of my league, but I'm starting to suspect that may be the case.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    62
    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    Great questions, and welcome! Are you normally a 9 guy?

    If no, you know you gotta try 10s on there anyway.

    That'll tell you, but there's no way that guitar is out of your league. That's a concept I don't accept for guitars.
     
  3. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 12, 2016
    Virginia Beach, Va
    You'll get used to it. But a set of 10s might help. I like 9s but we are all different
     
    Charlie Bernstein and betterlate like this.
  4. betterlate

    betterlate TDPRI Member

    18
    Nov 25, 2018
    Charlottesville, VA
    Thanks for the replies.

    I've never used 9s before... but then I've only been playing since summer, so I don't honestly know what my ultimate preference will be. I want to see if I can master it, but I'll probably go ahead and switch to 10s before long and see what that does.
     
  5. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    My Tele came with 9s - well they didn't last a day. Swapped 'em to 10-46 on day one.
     
  6. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    66
    Jun 24, 2004
    Anderson, IN
    Try some 10's, ought to help.
     
    betterlate likes this.
  7. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 20, 2013
    Northeast Ohio, USA
    I often feel the same way about 9s. Give a set of 10s a try.

    Welcome.
     
    betterlate likes this.
  8. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 13, 2007
    Charlotte, NC
    Whatever gauge is on your last guitar would be a great place to start.
    I'm guessing that they are heavier and you are more used to that feel.
     
    betterlate likes this.
  9. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016
    MI
    I agree with the general consensus.
     
  10. Bergy

    Bergy TDPRI Member

    Age:
    34
    70
    Dec 12, 2018
    Denver
    You have found two really interesting topics that guitarists often lump under the category of personal preferences; string gauge and fret size/shape. I can only speak for my own preferences, but I find that a lot of this has to do with how much string bending I am doing. For instance, I prefer 10 gauge strings for bend-heavy styles. 9's feel too light and I unintentionally smear/bend them when I play chords/with a strong grip. I don't lose any nuance in my bending and smearing potential between 9 and 10 gauge strings. With 11 gauge strings I experience an intense drop off in my ability to shake, bend and quiver. I feel like I lose some ability to communicate with the audience without that when I am playing blues or rock and roll. But then there are guys like Billy Gibbons that play great blues/rock and rock with 8 gauge strings. A buddy of mine plays the heck out of a bluesy rock tele wielding 12 gauge strings. I have to marvel. I led a 4 hour gig on 13s one time and actually ended up with blisters underneath all the calluses on my left hand and winded up losing all my calluses for 3 weeks. You don't want that.

    In terms of fret size and shape....if you are playing a bend-heavy style of music, pay attention to whether or not you like the sensation of your fingertips actually coming into direct contact with the wood of fretboard or not. You'll read about big ol' frets having a "scalloped" fretboard feel where your fingers never actually contact the fretboard. For me personally, it bugs me to no end to have a glossy fretboard with small frets, because my fingertips are almost constantly experiencing incidental friction along the gloss surface and I tend do a lot of bending. Just this week, I spent an hour with steel wool on a Strat neck to de-gloss a neck that was also cursed with teeenny tiny frets. Although, I find when I play acoustic guitar smaller frets are less of a problem for me.
     
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  11. Soof

    Soof TDPRI Member

    Age:
    73
    25
    Apr 18, 2017
    Spring Lake Hts, NJ
    I agree with many of you that 9s are too light.
    They move like capellini spaghetti :D
    10s are just fine.
     
    howardlo likes this.
  12. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

    Feb 15, 2016
    Nebraska
    I am a 10 guy on most instruments and have one tele with 11's which I am starting to prefer more and more each day. That said, it is just the feel and you can either adjust to it or change it to adjust to you....I suggest the latter.
     
    betterlate likes this.
  13. betterlate

    betterlate TDPRI Member

    18
    Nov 25, 2018
    Charlottesville, VA
    Thanks all.

    Bergy, very helpful, thank you!
     
  14. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    53
    Jan 23, 2007
    Denmark
    You haven't played for that long, so you can get used to just about anything
    10's will feel a bit stiffer , but they will make you cope better with taller frets , and you wont break as many.....if any at all
    In many ways it will be far easier for you to adjust to the tall frets, compared to many of us that have been playing for decades....
    Go with 9's or 10's , it's not that important
    It's important that you just play the snot out of that guitar , and use your ears. ..... It will be alright!
     
    betterlate likes this.
  15. Greggorios

    Greggorios Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    459
    Jun 18, 2016
    Patterson, NY
    Good advice whether you stay with 9s or move to 10s.
     
    betterlate likes this.
  16. Stringbanger

    Stringbanger Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 18, 2013
    West O' Philly, PA
    Welcome to the fold. We need guitar pics to confirm your membership.

    SB
     
  17. betterlate

    betterlate TDPRI Member

    18
    Nov 25, 2018
    Charlottesville, VA
    also:
     

    Attached Files:

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  18. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Holic

    891
    Dec 6, 2012
    Australia
    They do for me. I play with 11s, and may eventually bump it up to 12 or so. Granted, I play fingerstyle with a thumbpick, and like the extra resistance. Plus, big bends aren't my style, and I think the tone's better. You might give heavier strings a spin for a few weeks and see what you think. It's a nuisance, but not a huge amount of money. And once you know what you like, you're set for a long time.
     
    betterlate likes this.
  19. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 26, 2003
    Augusta, Maine
    One thing you'll quickly discover at TDPRI is that we gleefully agree to disagree. Here's a pitch for nines:

    I started on acoustic in the late sixties and didn't get an electric until the early seventies. At first, I had the same problem you're having - accidentally bending strings out of tune when I was chording.

    But after a while I got used to just not clutching as hard, and the problem went away. It was sort of like going from manual typewriters to electric typewriters to keypads. You know you don't have to hit the keys hard, but you DO hit them hard - until you get used to not hitting them hard.

    Since bending and single-note speed are the main electric advantages, I'm happy using nines.

    Personally I don't like how tens feel or sound on an electric. So I'm for giving nines a chance. Use 'em for a couple of months and see if you can loosen up enough to let your control improve. It doesn't work for everyone, but it does work for a lot of us.

    Welcome!
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
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