Do I need a change of string gauge?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Lone_Poor_Boy, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. Lone_Poor_Boy

    Lone_Poor_Boy Tele-Holic

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    So I probably didn't play lead guitar for 5 years or so; at least not focused, multiple songs, steady practice, as I've been playing acoustic and teaching myself slide and playing acoustic and harp at the same time. Playing a ton of songs and singing but mostly chords. But in the past with practice I could wail pretty fluently and mostly easily.

    So now I've been practicing leads again for a while, expecting to get more strength, but it seems like I keep fighting strings above the 9th and mostly E B G, not E A D so much. My setup is a Stratocaster 10's(10-46) tuned a half-step down(E sounds as Eb). I also lock the whammy down so I'm not fighting it pulling up while I do double bends etc. I bought a new Strat that came with 9's and it played like butter in E, before I changed it to my 10's, that I've used for decades and had it setup for that gauge and in Eb. And I am fighting it.

    My Gibson 135 with a shorter scale plays like a dream(10's/Eb).

    I'm wondering if my old hands are telling me it's time to go down to Light Top/Regular Bottom(9-11-16-26-36-46) or even 9's? I've always been hesitant because I always assumed the half-step down tuning would warrant heavier strings, but maybe it doesn't matter.

    Thoughts? Experience?
     
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  2. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Poster Extraordinaire

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    Try. No harm.
     
  3. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use 9s on one of my Eb guitars. Plays nice and smooth.
     
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  4. Mr. St. Paul

    Mr. St. Paul Tele-Holic

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    I have 10s on my 24.75 and 25.5 scale guitars (standard pitch) and I couldn't fathom going down to 9s. It would feel like fishing line to me. But that's me, not you!

    There are also 9.5 gauges...you could try those. Split the difference and see how it feels.
     
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  5. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    10-46s for me, please & thank you... But everyone's different -- only one way of finding out! I'd also tru 9.5s first before going lower.
     
  6. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've been running 9-46 on most of my guitars for over 25 years now.
     
  7. Happy Enchilada

    Happy Enchilada Tele-Afflicted

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    I run these on everything but my G&L "Strat," which gets 9s:

    [​IMG]

    Like most guys, I used to run 10s on everything ... but these are SO much easier to play.

    Amazon. 3 sets @ $14.95.
     
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  8. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Tele-Meister

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    It is all about string tension the longer the neck scale the more tension is put on the string I use 10 and 11 on my 24.5 scale necks and 9 on my 25.5 scale necks.
     
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  9. Lone_Poor_Boy

    Lone_Poor_Boy Tele-Holic

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    Lot's of good responses so far so thanks to all, but I wanted to respond to this simplest one of all. It's like the response to my question on speaker break-in. "Just play."

    Perfect common sense advice on both counts.

    And I know that. I've just been stupid-hung-up on changing what I've been doing for decades. And probably hung up on "where do I start" and "where does this lead" having a number of guitars.

    But yeah, dip the toe in or dive in. I'll make the change on one guitar and keep going until I'm happy, and worry about setup later.

    I'm usually much more agile about experimenting and change but I've really been locked up here.
     
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  10. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was using 11’s on my Gretsch and Gibson and dropped to 10-46. Arthritis isn’t fun. I don’t hear a difference in tone and my intonation is still good. I play 10-46 on my Fenders. I tried 9’s but kept pushing them sharp. I also unintentionally pulled the high E string off the fretboard. 9’s felt like rubber bands.
     
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  11. Mikecito

    Mikecito Tele-Meister

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    I recently went down from 10-52 to 9.5-46 on my strat and tele and my fingers are very pleased.
     
  12. tfarny

    tfarny Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just do some experimenting, it's a good thing to do. For me, different guitars "want" different approaches. I have to try a few different strings on a guitar before I know what works and what doesn't. The guitar i just bought came stock with Daddario NYXL 11s, the guitar sounded good but the strings felt pretty stiff so I changed to Daddario regular (cheap) 10s. That was a bad choice, too floppy for me and I don't hear as much of the top being driven. I'm going to go back to 11s and hope the added stiffness was from the NYXL fanciness, whatever that is.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
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  13. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Poster Extraordinaire

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    No affiliation but Stringjoy let’s you pick gauge for each string if you want to try something new.
     
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  14. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    Five bucks and a few minutes with a screwdriver and a tuner is all it takes to try a smaller gauge. So why not give it a try?

    I've been experimenting with gauges this year. I even tried 8s. I found I could any of them to sound good after a period of adjustment (namely turning my right hand technique down an my amp volume up), and it encouraged me to choose on the basis of comfort more than any other factor. I'm using 9s tuned down to Eb on my Fender scale guitars now and I don't think I'll be going up in size any time soon.
     
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  15. arlum

    arlum Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    While I own multiple Fender scale length 25.5" guitars my very favorite scale length will always be Gibson's. I can play leads faster, reach wide spread chord shapes easier and bend the strings like they're rubber bands. I tried for years to master Eric Johnson's "Cliffs of Dover" on my Stratocasters. I just couldn't come close. When I purchased my Gibson CS-336 I went back at it and, (while I never truly mastered it), came damn close to doing so. The scale length, more than anything else, made the difference. If I had a custom Telecaster built it would be be everything Fender from head stock to body shape, tuners, pickups, wiring and ash tray 3 saddle bridge. My mods would be a 24.5" scale length, 10" fingerboard radius and thick "C" shaped back of neck shape.
     
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  16. graybeard65

    graybeard65 Tele-Meister

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    I've had too many birthdays, and then also had surgeries on both hands...and thinking that I'd try a light gauge as I was recovering, I slapped 8's on one of my guitars. Well...for me it really worked, and before too long, I was putting 8's on all of my electrics. I want to say that they're 8 - 38. and aside from altering my touch a bit, they play very well for me, and sound excellent to my ears. Not gonna be able to play any slide with strings that light set low...but I've adjusted.
     
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  17. Midgetje94

    Midgetje94 Tele-Afflicted

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    I like the hybrids. Fenders get 9-46. And Gibson’s get 10-52. Not too heavy to play standard. But thick enough to drop D if I’m feeling it.
     
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  18. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I play .09s on guitars with trems and .08s on hardtails. The tone is great and there is little to no effort in fretting and bending. Try it. You'll like it.
     
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  19. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    As far as ease it just comes the longer you play them. I normally play 11s or 12s on a 24.75” scale guitar (the 12s are usually lighter bottom, like thomastik, more like an 11 set with the top two strings heavier). I went from 10s to 11s on my tele last year and after a month of drilling I hardly feel them now.

    But if you’re actually having arthritis problems or tendinitis then don’t mess around with it. Personally, I’ve never had problems with my left hand, but tendinitis with the right (and I’m not that old). Heavier strings are louder and so my right hand doesn’t have to work as hard.
     
  20. Lone_Poor_Boy

    Lone_Poor_Boy Tele-Holic

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    Judge, I'd like to question the witness!
     
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