Need some guidance

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

  1. betterlate

    betterlate TDPRI Member

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    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 Doctor of Teleocity

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    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

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    You'll get used to it. But a set of 10s might help. I like 9s but we are all different
     
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  4. betterlate

    betterlate TDPRI Member

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    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

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    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

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    Try some 10's, ought to help.
     
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  7. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

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    I often feel the same way about 9s. Give a set of 10s a try.

    Welcome.
     
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  8. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    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.
     
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  9. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree with the general consensus.
     
  10. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

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    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

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    I agree with many of you that 9s are too light.
    They move like capellini spaghetti :D
    10s are just fine.
     
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  12. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    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.
     
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  13. betterlate

    betterlate TDPRI Member

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    Thanks all.

    Bergy, very helpful, thank you!
     
  14. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    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!
     
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  15. Greggorios

    Greggorios Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Good advice whether you stay with 9s or move to 10s.
     
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  16. Stringbanger

    Stringbanger Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Welcome to the fold. We need guitar pics to confirm your membership.

    SB
     
  17. betterlate

    betterlate TDPRI Member

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    <--- pic
     
  18. betterlate

    betterlate TDPRI Member

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    also:
     

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  19. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Holic

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    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.
     
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  20. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    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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