Going From 10's to 9's Reluctance To Change

telemaster03

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I also went down in string gauge this last year due to some pain in my left wrist. I was using D'Addario 10-46 and went to the EXL120+ set which is 9.5-44. My wrist issues have vanished and after a little adjustment time I get along with these strings nicely.
 

vcs700s

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I run EB Super Slinky’s on all my Telecasters. 9-42. They play and sound great. I can play longer and don’t end up with sore joints which is why I went back to electric guitars in the first place. They play fantastic and my callouses rock. Sounds like a win/ win to me!
 

mimmo

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Nothing wrong with going down in gauge as long as it makes you feel and play better.

After many (many!) years with 0.11 I have recently gone down to 0.10 because one of my guitars was way too difficult to play with the ticker strings. I loved the new feeling and the rest is history.
 

Slim Chance

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Then, there the option the hybrid set of 9, 11, 16, 26, 36, 46. I used them for a while before returning to straight 10s.
 

fender4life

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I tried a few times but i just can't do it. They break easier, they require higher action for the same degree of buzz free, they mess up my picking hand after a lifetime of using 10's. But i have tried several times for the same reason as you but the truth is, it's not really weak old hands it;s bad technique that causes tensing up. If you can avoid that heavier gauges are no problem for old hand IMO. Unfortunately for me i have a 20 year old hand injury that has made it impossible not to tense up more then i used too so maybe for u with time u will get used to them. I can't tho for that reason and the others i mentioned.
 

drmordo

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After over 30 years or playing, over the last few years I have really settled on 9s as my general electric string of choice. I love being able to bend more than a whole step, and I love how effortless they are to play. I do have a Strat that for some reason shines with 8s on it, but almost every other guitar has 9s now.

When I moved from 10s to 9s, I just changed strings. I don't think any adjustment was required for most, if not all, of my guitars.

If you were moving from 13s to 9s, it would be a different story.
 

stratoman1

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I put 9s on all my guitars. Tele, Strat, SG, 339 And 2 LPs. Not a problem with any of them. The LPs both shipped with 10, first thing I did was restring, didn't need to change anything after. Don't overthink this. Just try it and see how it goes. If you need any adjustments they will be minor
 

supersoldier71

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I have Super Slinkies on everything except one Strat and that was a mistake. I meant to do it, but I don’t like anything about them. I’m changing out the 10s tomorrow.

I switched from 10s a few years ago trying to fix a nasally thing in two of my guitars. Solved the problem and easier to play. Gibson scales are like cheating.

The difference in tension affects vibrato bridges more than anything else. Might not even notice the other stuff, but you might.

But playing is better than not playing.
 

blue metalflake

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9’s demand that bit more precision, but after messing between 10’s & 9’s for a while, became settled on 9’s probably 40 years ago.
You’ll need to tweak your set up just a little to get it just right, but as a try out it will be just fine
 

T Prior

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WOW ! All over the map responses , some good , others are crazy ! 😀

Changing string gauges on your favorite guitar RE: 10's to 9's

#1, what are your fret heights ?

#2, see # 1 !

If your fret heights are say .045 and above , 10's will be a nice fit, 9's "may/will" cause PITCH issues when fretting.

This is called "KNOWING YOUR INSTRUMENT"

Many Teles are under .045 fret heights while many are in the .045 to .047 range. Typical Gibson frets heights are in the .047 even up to .050. Lighter gauge strings ( under 10's) may require a lighter touch when playing. Its a pressure thing. The frets are too tall for the lighter strings , when we fret we cause PITCH issues, we have to press down ever so slightly further on the fretboard.

I suspect many who just tried 9's and didn't like them were not paying attention to fret heights. Its not an old wives tale, its called physics.

I've been using 9's for near 20 years now due to a left arm/hand muscle related issue. 10's to 9's. Adjustments had to be made to the setup. Fortunately my favorite Teles ( 52RI's) have fret heights under .045 , closer to .043 so the changeover was not an issue. One of my former Gibsons I had the frets dressed down to .043,from near .050. it was now ready for 9's.

And then this-

I recently acquired the new Fender Brent Mason Tele, I love it, It came with 10's. except, it doesn't like 9's. Why ? The fret heights are near .047. 9's cause pitch issues when fretting. No shock. So 9.5's are on this guitar, its right on the edge with pitch. Compared to my go to Tele, ( 9's and .043 frets) with the action set as close to each other as possible ( Fritz Ruler) the two guitars are very close but I can still feel the difference.

Another thing of equal importance, set the saddles to the neck radius or as close as possible.

In other words, don't just change strings. Gauges matter. Understand the physics. Yes , we can learn to play differently, a lighter touch, that's always an option. Me ? I'm too old to change my style , my touch is what it is .
 
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T Prior

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" I thought pretty much all new Fenders were shipped with 9’s? "

THX ! Yes MY error, you are correct, these days new Telecasters according to the NET are shipped with 9's .

I'm obviously still living in the past ! I corrected my post.

Back to fret heights, the 08 Tele that I bought has factory fret Heights of .043. It loves 9's ! The Brent Mason Tele which I bought in 2020 came with 10's and .047 fret heights, 9's are not its best friend !
 
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Tall-Fir

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I have five G&L ASAT Classics. 5 years ago they were all strung with 10s. Then, I went to 9.5s. I thought they played great and I was able to play and do my country bending for a couple of hours. About two years later I went to 9s with a 14 on the G string. Even better! Now I can play all day long If I have the time. The G, B, and E strings bend like butter and I am now bending the D string (usually from the 2nd to the 3rd of the chord) also. I believe you will be challenged to play in a lighter fashion. That’s what you should consider. I think this will be a larger problem for you to focus on than any adjustment problems you might have for your guitar. Basically I went from 10s to 9s without changing much of anything on my guitars. I do have a straight edge though and I start out each of my rigs with very little relief and nearly straight necks. Do not be afraid to try 9s on your guitar! It will be a new experience for you and will give you the opportunity to get to know what your guitar can give you when set up differently than what you are currently used to. I would be knocked out surprised if somebody actually recommended a new nut for just going from 10s to 9s. Just MHO.
 

Andy B

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I switched to 9-46 hybrid sets about 2 years ago. Let me bend the higher strings easier and still play chords in tune.
 

JDB2

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I have five G&L ASAT Classics. 5 years ago they were all strung with 10s. Then, I went to 9.5s. I thought they played great and I was able to play and do my country bending for a couple of hours. About two years later I went to 9s with a 14 on the G string. Even better! Now I can play all day long If I have the time. The G, B, and E strings bend like butter and I am now bending the D string (usually from the 2nd to the 3rd of the chord) also. I believe you will be challenged to play in a lighter fashion. That’s what you should consider. I think this will be a larger problem for you to focus on than any adjustment problems you might have for your guitar. Basically I went from 10s to 9s without changing much of anything on my guitars. I do have a straight edge though and I start out each of my rigs with very little relief and nearly straight necks. Do not be afraid to try 9s on your guitar! It will be a new experience for you and will give you the opportunity to get to know what your guitar can give you when set up differently than what you are currently used to. I would be knocked out surprised if somebody actually recommended a new nut for just going from 10s to 9s. Just MHO.
What size frets are on your ASATs? I think G&Ls current stock size is large like 6100. I play ASATs also and now I’m interested in the connection between playability, string gauge, and fret size.
 




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