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

String Gauge and Telecasters

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

  1. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 11, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    In the past I used 11s all around. Due to a non guitar related injury, I went down to 9s on Fenders (two Teles and a Strat).

    I'm not dogmatic about brand, but I usually use Super and Regular Slinky strings.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  2. flatcat

    flatcat Tele-Meister

    Jan 22, 2016
    If you go with a heavier string, you may want to pick up an extra plain (unwound) third string. A wound third may fret a little sharp as you go up the neck.
  3. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Jun 27, 2005
    Montclair, NJ
    String gauge is only one factor affecting playability. Your SG could simply be not set up to your preference and satisfaction. Or perhaps you're like me. I had an SG standard, properly cut nut, perfect set up from my luthier friend. All that. It still never felt quite right to me, didn't play as easy as I expected. Felt like I was playing a surfboard ... some guitars don't seem to suit me, and the SG is one of them.
  4. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

    Aug 18, 2017
    I've been experimenting a bit about this lately. I play hard, and dig in really deep. So I need heavy gauge. But I'm also getting older and have some arthritis ache in my finger joints. So I need lighter gauge. Catch 22 moment. After some soul searching and listening to my aching fingers I've come to the conclusion that the problems is the B and G strings. 011 on E1 doesn't make my fingers ache. And the wound strings I don't bend much so they're no problem. But a B 014 and a G 018 is where my ache sets in. So I use the D'Addario EXL140 from now on. It's 10, 13, 17, 30, 42, 52 and then I buy a single 011 string and use that instead. One single string costs like nothing, so it's no biggie.

    So an advice to fellow twangers who love heavy gauge strings but have aching hands; hybrid sets really does the trick. And as far as aching hands – my little reaserach prowes it's all about the B and G string – everything else is fine really.
  5. danpan

    danpan Tele-Meister

    Sep 25, 2013
    South Dakota
    I play Country & Classic Rock. I've been running 10-52's on a Tele for 28 years. Works for me!!
  6. Sconnie

    Sconnie Tele-Afflicted

    May 1, 2017
    Denver, CO
    The thing is, I love that my SG is a different animal (it's setup perfectly) because it's used for different things!
  7. Marcus M B

    Marcus M B TDPRI Member

    Aug 31, 2017
    London, England
    I agree that it is all a matter of personal trial and error. To give my own story which includes both trial and error, I had read with interest some of these threads about fat strings and I knew the old SRV story. So I thought I would freshen up and put 11s on my dad's Tele and 12s on my Indonesian Squier Strat that I found on the street and am still planning to convert to a slide vehicle. I didn't get very far as it transpired that the fat A and E strings, and the .24 unwound G, didn't fit in the Strat nut, so I had to use a hybrid set of some of the 12s (top end) and some of the 11s (bottom end) on that guitar. And the tele didn't get any new strings. That said, it doesn't need them. My dad is a big fan of Elixirs and I'm beginning to see why. They just never seem to get old.

    I was struck, though, by just how different the feel is between 11s and 12s. That fat set are fat.
  8. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

    Jul 10, 2005
    Madison WI
    SRV's heavy Whiskey and Cocaine usage has a little something to do with playing heavy strings too... Not really a recommended lifestyle choice, but if you are feeling no pain....
  9. Clifton C

    Clifton C Tele-Holic

    Aug 26, 2010
    I always use Ernie Ball regular Slinkys (.10-.46) on my Telecaster. They sound great to me, and the quality control has always been very consistent.
  10. bigbean

    bigbean Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Feb 6, 2013
    Hartville OH
    11s with a wound 3rd.
    Curt Mangan nickels.

    Anything else feels wrong to me. This setup could feel wrong to you. The journey is more fun than the destination.

    Thanks for reminding me about that. You didn't walk in to the store and ask for "heavytop, semi-skinny bottom, coated, titanium, twince toasted, flash frozen strings" you asked for Black Diamond, Gibson, Fender or Martins, paid your cash and left the store with your strings.

  11. JL_LI

    JL_LI Tele-Afflicted

    May 20, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    I use Half Round 11's on my Gretsch Annie with the 'G' string replaced by a flat wound. This keeps the G string from sounding overly loud finger style. I had been using Half Round 10's on my Strat until I changed to Vintage Noiseless pickups. It just sounds better with NYXL strings. With NYXL's I have the full range of tones I'm looking for. I can deal with the screech. My Telecaster and SG both have NYXL, 10's for the Tele, 11's for the SG. It's coming up on time for a string change on the SG. I'm not sure whether to stay with what I'm using now or switch to Half Rounds. That'll be a tough call. I never would have believed that changing strings would have much of an influence on sound but it does. Mixing sets also helps. It seems at first like a lot of money for strings, but at north of a thousand for a guitar, a few tens for strings is inconsequential.
  12. Jammin'John

    Jammin'John Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 20, 2003
    Tug Hill Plateau
    .011's for me,EXL115.
    I play mostly Tele's. My reasons are tone (I know the argument thanks) and staying in tune for chords.
    I sing a lot so I want my backup to sound in tune. Yes,I know .010's stay in tune pretty well.
    String longevity and breakage. I think the strings last longer and break less often as well.
    My two cents.

  13. Pappy Yokum

    Pappy Yokum Tele-Meister

    Dec 12, 2017
    Chincoteague, VA
    I used to have a '58 Tele (now gone:cry:) I strung with LaBella flat wound 12's.

    What a sound !!
  14. Tele Fan

    Tele Fan Friend of Leo's

    Oct 26, 2007
    Louisville, Ky
    I like .10's on my Tele, but they shipped with .13 flats back in the 50's and 60's so I think they'll handle whatever gauge you'd like to use.
  15. user34603

    user34603 Tele-Meister

    Dec 5, 2016
    Richmond VA
    ...agreed; I switched from .010-.046 to .009-.046 sets. Even an experienced player finds that certain gauges sound and feel better. that is the set I like best ... usually D'Addarios
  16. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 21, 2016
    Rhode Island
    D Addario 11-49 on my 52, D Addario 10-46 on my 72 Thinline - probably due to the strat hardtail Bridge on the Thinline they play pretty much the same. 10-46 bullets on my strats. 10-46 on my Gibson ES 335
  17. Mayas caster

    Mayas caster Tele-Holic

    Dec 21, 2015
    Caraquet N.-B. Canada
    It is like making a spaghetti sauce, go with whatever feels right. Personnally, I don't buy that "you have to play .13 gauge to sound good". For me, it depends on the guitar: .08 on my strat and tele, .11 on my gretsch and .12 on my SG tuned in open E and set higher for slide.
  18. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Holic

    Mar 1, 2011
    Beltway, USA
    I've been using whatever gauge came on the guitar originally. In my case either 9s or 10s. Lately, I've been doing more bending and found that I as fighting the 10s on the G-B-E strings. About and hour ago I restrung my AV '64 with a set of Ernie Ball hybrids. 9s on top and 10s on the bottom. My first time for hybrids and EB strings. I think I'm going to like both. So far, i've only played through my old Kalamazoo II. Tomorrow, I'll bring out the VR for the ultimate test.
  19. red57strat

    red57strat Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Oct 4, 2003
    Shorter scale = lower string tension at a given tuning. That's a fact.

    Fret size, neck relief, action at the nut and 12th fret and other factors also contribute to how hard a guitar feels to play.

    I recently set the neck relief in my ES-335 near dead straight and couldn't get over how difficult bluesy bends were. I put the relief back in and all is good!
  20. red57strat

    red57strat Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Oct 4, 2003
    It's more likely that he couldn't handle heavy gauge strings on a Fender due to the increase in tension over a Gibson because of the Fender's longer scale.

    Teles and Strats initially came with very heavy strings (by modern standards) with a wound third. It's nonsense to say they can't handle heavy gauge strings.
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