Custom String Gauges: Who uses them? And...suggestions sought...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by El Tele Lobo, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've been playing 10-46 gauge strings as my primary electric strings for years. For jazz, I've been using 12 - 52 sets with a wound G (24). One of my jazz teles got mistakenly set up at a shop with 11s (11-48, I think). I loved the feel of them...but they weren't as warm and full sounding as the 12s. Based on the Stringjoy Tension Calculator (https://tension.stringjoy.com), I'm thinking of ordering a custom set (11.5, 15, 20w, 30, 40, 52).

    Anyone else mixing their strings in custom batches...whether for more balanced tension or for more balanced string response? Would love to hear from you guys.
     
  2. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I don't order custom sets (but I probably will try that route soon), but I do like the Daddario Balanced tension 10s or 11s depending on guitar (11 for the tele, 10 for the others for now). They just feel right, especially the B string being just a bit thicker.
    I like that the daddarios don't cost any more either - I get three sets for $12 at my local shop which just about buys one custom set from one of those "other guys"
     
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  3. Buttered Biskit

    Buttered Biskit TDPRI Member

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    I buy strings from them for a Casino of mine. I insist on a wound G for an acoustic guitar in which I consider this guitar on account it doesnt have a center block like an ES 335. FWIW, I'm using a similar gauge of strings you are but I'm unsure of the exact gauge. I'm pretty sure my high E is a .011. I'm @ work so I cant check for you. I can tell you that these strings are ok in quality but dont last long like D'addario's.
     
  4. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I've been using custom gauges for quite a while now. Started when I didn't like the G string as heavy as most sets come with. Been running the Jimi sets (10-38) for a couple of months, but am now switching out the 10 for a 9 or 9.5. I also order extra wound strings as they go dead much quicker than the unwound ones. I leave the unwounds on until they rust or break.
     
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  5. tigertail

    tigertail TDPRI Member

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    I'm experimenting with James Burton's string gauge (9 - 10 - 12 - 24 - 32 -38) on a Tele right now after years of using 10-46. I like it, but I need to bump up the B and G strings a bit. It makes a lot of pedal steel-style bends a lot easier to execute. The treble strings have a very musical chirp that I wasn't able to get with standard 9 and 10 gauge string sets.
     
  6. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I like 10-46 nickel wound with an 0.11 high E string for my CS Strat. A 10 sounds just a little weak. I sometimes hold down strings with my index finger and fret notes in solos with my other long fingers. It's too easy to pull a 10 off the fret board with my pinkie sliding between notes. The increased tension of the 11 is perfect.
     
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  7. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    All I use is the classic 010-038 set everyone used in the late 60s and 70s.
    Since they can't be easily found ,only GHS makes them, (ok Pyramid,Mangan and Fender also do but I am not paying 10 EUR for a set of strings) they are kinda custom.
    What they definitely are is the most balanced and beautiful sounding set of strings ever.
     
  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've done some gauge swapping on acoustics and most recently when I went from 10-46 to 9-46 but swapping the .011 B for a .012.
    Then I went with 9-42 stock gauges.

    My suspicion is that your hearing a less warm full sound is probably a combination of other things and not strictly that an .011 sounds less warm than a .012.
    If they did a setup and changed the strings, the action adjustment likely changed the distance between strings and pickups.
    That would be a big tone change, and I just don't hear a big tone change between a 10 set and a 9 set.

    My technique will change though, and that can change tone.

    I bet raising the pickups by one or two full turns of all height screws might bring back the tone warmth and fullness, as much as going up a gauge.
    When I went from the custom 12b to the stock 11b it just didn't change my tone noticeably.
    Same with the .046 to .042.
    Changed the action though which required saddle and pickup height adjustment.
     
  9. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Great feedback and suggestions, guys. I may try a balanced tension set from D'Addario for a start. Looking at some other stuff too.
     
  10. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Holic

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    I use a 9-46 set that just works for me but I am thinking of bumping up the B .001 to see if it will improve the balance a bit. I do use 10-46 on some guitars.
     
  11. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    Thinking about mixing an unwound 4th-D string into a set of 11 gauge strings on a slide guitar. Any lighter than 11 gauge on my high E string results in a frail slide sound that frets out too easily, even with a Derek Trucks-style/Delta blues claw grip that plucks upward with the pointer finger on the high strings. Wound strings tend to be a little muddier than unwound ones, especially when playing with a slide. I hope by adding an unwound 4th-D string I can make that string a bit more balanced with the 2nd and 3rd strings that I currently use as the primary soloing strings with a slide.
     
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