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String Gauge and Telecasters

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by TokyoPortrait, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Meister

    Dec 10, 2017
    Tokyo, Japan
    Hi ho!

    I have what might be a silly question, but it's still a real one for me, as I'm so new to Telecasters (& Fender in general).

    A friend of mine, who has a band mate who plays a Tele (& a Strat), told me he heard from said bandmate that Fender guitars in general don't really agree with heavy string gauges. Here's the quote:

    "...plays at least 11s and 12s on some guitars, and he has said that his strats and teles never really handled having heavy gauge strings for long, because of the maple neck and bolt on construction."

    Does this sound reasonable & accurate, or otherwise? I like 11s on my LP. Thinking of that (or maybe 10.5s) for my Tele.


  2. death-to-yancey

    death-to-yancey Tele-Meister

    Sep 15, 2017
    I think like anything it’s purely preference. But I will say I always played 10’s on my LP but when I got my Am Pro Tele it had 10’s on it and it didn’t sound great to me. Kind of stuffed up sounding. I put 9’s on it and it came alive.
  3. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Aug 6, 2016
    Tucson, AZ
    The only real difference here is the guitar's scale length -- 24.75" on those stubby LP's, vs. 25.5" on the Fenders. This translates to lower string tension, for the same gauge, on the LP's for the same frequency, making the string easier to bend and more flexible feeling for the same gauge on the LP. So shifting to a lighter gauge on the Fenders seems to make sense for some to get the same "feel". Or just stay away from those stubby LP's to start with! :D:D
    Steve Holt, jvin248 and SonsOfMoog like this.
  4. warrent

    warrent Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 15, 2009
  5. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 9, 2008
    S. CA
    I play flat 12s so n theory your statement makes no sense or carries no weight. However, if you have multiple guitar and some are gibson the there may be some subjective player experience going on. 12s on a tele and 12s on an LP will feel different. This could’ve what your friend is referring to.
    Praxis likes this.
  6. picker77

    picker77 TDPRI Member

    Dec 20, 2017
    Comfort and sound are the only rules
    Manual Slim, PigBoy and Piggy Stu like this.
  7. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2010
    Very Deep South
    I use 11-49 normally and have dabbled in heaver strings lately.

    I tried a hybrid set of 11-56's on my American Special Tele, the 0.056 low E sounded a little off.

    But I didn't make any mods to the guitar. I think if one has the nut cut right for the heavier strings and set up the intonation; it would be just fine. I

    I just put a set of 12-52's on my maple neck SG. I like it. It sounds fat. Adjusted the intonation. No issues.

    If you set it up right Fat strings will be fine.
    Manual Slim and Piggy Stu like this.
  8. Vladimir

    Vladimir Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I must admit the last time I put 11's on my Tele, I just couldn't set it up to feel right. Years ago I had no problem with 11's on a Squire Standard, yet I also couldn't set up a CVC to play nice with 10's.
    Maybe I'm just lousy at set ups, but I'm gonna stick to 10's on the Tele and Strat and keep the 11's for the semi-hollow.
  9. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I like heavier strings, at least 11 sets, sometimes 12s.
    I’ve used them for decades, on Teles, and everything else.
    They work fine, with a proper set up.
    So do 8 and 9 sets.
    Really, whatever works for ya.
    Modern instruments are built to be easy to set up, and will accommodate a wide spectrum of string gauges.
  10. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    blow his mind by telling him that a 10-52 set is common in country
    AlabamaOutlaw, danpan and 0911smokey like this.
  11. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    100% pure bull.

    All guitars can "play well" with ALL kinds of string gauges with one condition: a GOOD setup.

    What gauge you choose depends on the SOUND and the FEEL you are looking forward to from a guitar.

    Also experiment and bear in mind that some guitars "like" particular string gauges more than other guitars.

    Heavier does not mean "better" sound anyhow ,just "different".
  12. ieatlions

    ieatlions Tele-Meister

    Jul 26, 2013
    Wales, UK
    I thought 11's were quite common for Tele players. I like 11's on my les paul and 10's on my Tele.
    R00STER and Piggy Stu like this.
  13. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2010
    Very Deep South
    Ha! I do just the opposite. 11's on my solid body and 10's on the semi-hollows
  14. William SantAna

    William SantAna Tele-Meister

    Aug 22, 2017
    Elevens and twelves gauges on guitars, is for blues players, or heavey djent players. Thing of preference.

    I do prefer always 9s, and some people says my hand is made of lettuce, but, they r fool.

    Everyone plays the way that make them confortable.
  15. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 26, 2014
    South London UK
    I don't think that's right originally fenders had reasonably heavy strings and wound thirds.

    I have an 11 to 52 set on a BSB CV and its fine.

    I will say that I prefer lighter strings on the top. 9-46 works best for me on teles and strats.
  16. Crashbelt

    Crashbelt Tele-Meister

    Mar 15, 2017
    Cambridge England
    11s for Gibsons
    10s for Fenders
    Used to have 11s on Fenders too but find whole tone bends at the nut end too much work these days!
  17. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 18, 2010
    Paris France - Rome Italy
    I have been using 11-52 in the past years, took a bit to adapt and today I can say that I would never look back.
    zephyrR1 and brookdalebill like this.
  18. Thin69

    Thin69 Friend of Leo's

    Oct 28, 2009
    Galveston, TX
    I agree with the other posters that have stated it's more of comfort issue. 11's on a Gibby feel very close to 10's on a Tele. As far as neck strength they both should be fine but the only neck that warped badly on me was a Gibson. I've never had a Fender neck warp so that neck relief could not correct it.
  19. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Dean, that's 100% baloney. Play whatever gauge sets you like. There are a few things to watch as far as proper setup is concerned. If you move to heavier strings, you may need to have your nut slots cut a little wider. Heavier or lighter strings will affect your neck relief. And, you should check/reset your intonation. That's all basic setup stuff.

    When I started playing in the mid - 60s, Fender and Gibson guitars shipped with 13s from the factory. Those were sold as medium gauge sets. After a while, I learned to move a medium gauge set over (discard the low E) and use a banjo string for the high E. A DIY light gauge set. :)
    2blue2 likes this.
  20. qblue

    qblue Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 12, 2009
    Clarks Summit, PA
    I don't think it matters what gauge you use. No particular gauge changes the guitar's basic sound. For me it's comfort so I use 10-46 Fender pure nickels on my Tele.
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