Do a lot of people use 9's on Telecasters?

Brent Hutto

Dec 6, 2006
South Carolina
I decided over the past week or so that I needed a Telecaster, notwithstanding the fact I already another perfectly fine guitar that I like a lot. Go figure.

When I went shopping I was somewhat surprised to find that they come from Fender with 9-42 string gauges. Do a lot of people actually use 9's on their Tele? And if so, if that a new(ish) trend?

My previous exposure to Telecasters was more than a decade ago and my memory may be tricking me but I thought they used to come with a 10-46 set from the factory and that 10's or 11's where what 90% of players used.

Not sure why I'm asking other than curiosity. I bought one and left the factory 9-42 set on there and it plays really nicely. Sounds good although I still need to figure out pickup heights, amp settings, which pick to use, etc.

On my other guitar, also a 25-1/2" scale length, I use a 9.5-44 set. It's an Ibanez and came with 10-46, then I tried a 9-42 set on there and it felt flabby, sounded thin and plinky and just generally made me think 9's kind of stink (for my playing). But my new Player Tele seems to love the 9's.


Doctor of Teleocity
Mar 29, 2007
Manassas Park, VA
For many years I've 'automatically' used 10-46's on all electrics,
but recently have tweaked things a bit...

I got a wonderful new Squier Tele Thinline in November ( my only Tele, to replace my heavy 2004 MIM Standard- just wasn't getting played) and it came with Fender 9-42's .
Wonderful setup- no buzz, but the strings just felt too slinky on the low strings for chording. So I put 10's on there as usual- all good.

But out of curiosity, I ordered a few sets of D'Addario 9.5-44 XL's in May, and these are just a perfect twangy Tele string- great on bends and vibrato, & better than 9-set of low string riffs and chords.

I also now have these on an Epi SG- Fun with that shorter scale length! Good blues guitar

My Stratocaster keeps the D'Addario XL 10-46's ( and this brand only as tension varies between brands, even w/ identical gauge) because it was setup with these ( the floating Tremolo bridge/springs and intonation) and I don't want to futz with any string change- all very good!

Danelectro gets the same D'Addario 10's ( any good nickel roundwound 10-46's are fine)


Silver Supporter
Aug 17, 2022
Austin, Texas
I like my 10-46’s. If I’m feelin crazy I’ll go 10-52. I don’t see the need to do any crazy bends or anything like that, just a little vibrato here and there. 10-46 is just a good middle of the road in my eyes, and even if I do want to do bends, I can do it no problem. Anything higher than a full step bend is just silly in my opinion, and I’d rather have a heavier string that doesn’t go sharp so easily when playing with gusto


Oct 2, 2012
9s sound too boinky woinky doinky (that’s the technical term) when I play them but they felt great and I might try them again and work on my technique some day.
Lightest gauge I can use is 10s with regular tuning.
I tried a bunch of strings very recently and settled on 11s or 12s and tuned down a half step. Also been enjoying 11 and 12 Flat wounds recently. Very mellow. Sound great on my Strat too.

Blues Twanger

Dec 4, 2007
Personally I'm in the 9.5-44 camp on Teles and Strats.

That being said the folks I know who sell gear retail or perform string changes as a service install or sell more sets of 9s on/for 25.5" scale instruments than anything else, so yeah, plenty of folks like 9s on them. They are also more beginner friendly than heavier strings and Fender knows that, hence the factory size most of the time, and lots of players just stick with it.

Since our amps have tone knobs, we should all be choosing by feel anyhow.