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

jfgesquire

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I'll be the 4th or 5th in this thread to bang on the .0095 to .044 drum.

The plain strings are still thick enough to ring instead of plink and so much easier to bend precisely. The 9s bend too easy and I'm often too sharp.
 

JL_LI

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I have 11's on my Gretsch and 10's on everything else. The Gretsch gets 11's because lighter gauge strings don't give me the volume I need up the neck. That's at least a potential problem going to lighter gauge strings. I can't immediately tell when I pick up a guitar strung with 9's but after a few minutes I notice I'm not playing in tune like I should. I play thumb over a lot so my long fingers don't always push straight down on the strings. I pusk notes sharp with 9's. Being aware of the problem I could probably train myself not to do that like I trained myself not to pull strings off the edge of a rolled finger board. Try 9's. You can always restring with 9.5's or 10's if you don't like them.
 

old wrench

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When you change string gauge, your guitar and your fingers will tell you what changes, if any, you need to make to your setup :).

10,s to 9,s is not a very drastic change, but it can make a very big difference in how playable a guitar is when a heavier gauge of strings makes a guitar difficult to play for physical reasons.

I string my guitars with lighter gauge strings than I used to because lighter strings make it easier to play - that's all that really matters to me - and I don't give a **** what anyone on a forum says about it ;)

I want my guitars to be able to played comfortably - there is no point in making guitar playing a struggle

I worked in the building trades (retired union carpenter) for over 40 years and my hands took a pretty good beating - as a result, I've got some pretty bad arthritis going on, and lighter gauge strings are what enables me to keep on playing - that's the important thing !!!

.
 
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Slim Chance

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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 !
Vintage reissues and some artist models are shipped with 10s. Most others with 9s.
 

Les H

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I played 10s on my Fender guitars (strats and teles) for 35 years but always tuned at least a 1/2 or a complete step down.

Then 2 years ago I joined a band that tuned to standard. It didn't take long and I was hesitant but I switched to 9's as 10s felt too tight and I missed that slinky feel of my 10s a half step down. Not to mention the skin under my fingernails felt torn back under the nail after a 3 hr gig making it hurt to play the next day.

Switching to 9s gave me back that "slinky" feel and made 3-4hr gigs much more enjoyable.
 

kbold

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Truss rod, string heights, intonation .... no biggie. Half an hour at the most.
With 9's you'll have to get used to a softer touch.

If you're using hex core, changing to round core may be worth considering. Then you can stay on 10's.
 

_dave_

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My new player plus tele came with 9-46 setup very nicely, but with the new player plus noiseless pickups, the lighter 3 strings sounded thin to me so I tried about a dozen different strings and chose EB Primo Slinky 9.5-44.
I would’ve preferred 10-42, but nobody makes the set I’m after.
I liked the Daddario pure nickel 10-45 set too and daddario 9.5-44 are nice but I preferred EB.
BUT
Then I changed pickups to conventional style, non- noiseless and ended up so far with pure nickel 10-38 curt magnan and Pyramid brands. Round core.
I’m gonna try the Primo Slinky with the new PUs too, I think they might play well.

1641688204990.jpeg
 

Dennyf

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I played .009s for many years. Then went to .010s, 'cuz, y'know, everyone said "tone." Played .010s for many subsequent years. Now have just gone back to .009s on my Fender-scale guitar (Peavey Reactor). Sounds fine, plays easier, needed no adjustments to saddle or truss rod, intonation is fine. Still use .010s on my Gibson-scale guitar, 'cuz it already feels slinky enough.

TL;DNR: Go ahead, do it.
 

Tall-Fir

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JDB2–all of my G&L ASAT style guitars came with medium jumbo frets. I do not know what that transfers to regarding fret heights. I know that three of my guitars were pleked at the factory as noted on my build sheets. As far as I know, that process evens out fret height, or at least has something to do with fret height, but I must admit that even though I do my own basic setups for playability and feel, I am not a pro at setting up guitars and would welcome comments by others on this forum who are much more knowledgeable and skilled than I am. However, I am able to give myself pleasing setups on my guitars. They seem to play well anyway.


edit: Got out my StewMac gauge, light and magnifying glass. Hard to tell exactly. If not exactly .050, it measures slightly less, maybe .048 inches. Not exactly sure.

BTW, I use EB SuperSlinkies, made in USA!
 
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Guithartic

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Yes yes yes. The 9-46 will serve you well. The high E, B, and G will be like a normal set of 9s, while the D, A, and low E will be like a normal set of 10s. Best of both worlds. Every post I’ve read and my own experience says you won’t have to do anything to the nut. Possibly tweak the truss rod to compensate for a little less string tension, and intonation maybe. That should be it. If you watch this Rick Beato video you’ll be more convinced. They do a string size test.
 

JDB2

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JDB2–all of my G&L ASAT style guitars came with medium jumbo frets. I do not know what that transfers to regarding fret heights. I know that three of my guitars were pleked at the factory as noted on my build sheets. As far as I know, that process evens out fret height, or at least has something to do with fret height, but I must admit that even though I do my own basic setups for playability and feel, I am not a pro at setting up guitars and would welcome comments by others on this forum who are much more knowledgeable and skilled than I am. However, I am able to give myself pleasing setups on my guitars. They seem to play well anyway.


edit: Got out my StewMac gauge, light and magnifying glass. Hard to tell exactly. If not exactly .050, it measures slightly less, maybe .048 inches. Not exactly sure.

BTW, I use EB SuperSlinkies, made in USA!
Thanks for that info! My ASATs have medium jumbo as well. G&L medium jumbo is like Dunlop 6100, which is pretty large at 110" X .055". Your measurement seems like it might be about right given the Plek. Glad to hear those frets are working well with 9s. I will give 9s a try as I usually play 10s on the ASATs.
 

stratoman1

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When you change string gauge, your guitar and your fingers will tell you what changes, if any, you need to make to your setup :).

10,s to 9,s is not a very drastic change, but it can make a very big difference in how playable a guitar is when a heavier gauge of strings makes a guitar difficult to play for physical reasons.

I string my guitars with lighter gauge strings than I used to because lighter strings make it easier to play - that's all that really matters to me - and I don't give a **** what anyone on a forum says about it ;)

I want my guitars to be able to played comfortably - there is no point in making guitar playing a struggle

I worked in the building trades (retired union carpenter) for over 40 years and my hands took a pretty good beating - as a result, I've got some pretty bad arthritis going on, and lighter gauge strings are what enables me to keep on playing - that's the important thing !!!

.
I've been doing commercial masonry for 35 years. Yup, the hands take a beating. I put 9s on all my guitars. No issues with either the guitars or my hands. Guitars can be adjusted. Hands not so much
 

pippoman

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There seems to be some disdain, perhaps a little ANGER 😡, at the idea of switching to 9s. So, if you were to A/B identical guitars, played by masters going down from 12s to 9s, what would be the results? No BS, no biased macho opinions, just results? Watch this video and be enlightened! For the record, I only use 10s on my Gibsons; my Fenders get 9s.

 

Durtdog

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I don’t care for 9s, but I used 10-38 for a while, really nice feeling set that seems to have most of the advantages of both 9s and 10s, and without most of the disadvantages.
 

SPUDCASTER

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Try it. You’ll need to loosen the truss rod a sniggle.
I totally hear you. My left hand turned into a little %^#?£ and I threw some 8’s on my Tele just to be able to pkay at all. Coming down from 11’s or 12-56 hurts me in the manhood 😢
Will you only use the 8's until you need glasses?

OP. Go with the 9.5's. The move from the 17 G to the 16 G will actually be a big difference.

9's around the house are fine. But, live I'd rather use the 10's.

If you do go with 9's. You'll need to lighten up on your touch. Not so much with the 9.5's.
 

tfarny

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My childhood guitar teacher, Charles Persico, used to say, “A capo is a crutch. Learn to play barre chords correctly.” He made allowance for using the capo to get open-string ringing behind a melody (á là, “Here Comes The Sun”).

Many years later, I still find what he said to be correct. I’d suggest buying heavier gauge strings, and getting back the designed range of the instrument.

FWIW, I used to standardize on 10-46 on Gibson-scale (24.75”) instruments and 9-42 on Fender-scale (25.5”) scale instruments, so that the feel would be similar when I changed guitars. Getting my Epiphone Flying V, which came equipped with 9-42 strings, has made me re-appraise this. I’m likely to use 9-42 strings on all my instruments going forward. Carpal tunnel surgery changes you, and not for the better.
I totally disagree with your guitar teacher.
A capo is a tool that opens up the guitar in various ways and allows a whole variety of chord voicings in any key. It's no more a "crutch" than slides, picks, open tunings, and tuner pedals. The list of accomplished pros who use capos extensively is very long.
Here is Albert Collins with a capo:
1641746328902.png
 

jays0n

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I recently changed two guitars from 10s to 9s, and one to 8s, to learn to play lighter. As others said, a little truss rod and saddle adjustment was required to compensate for the lower tension and buzz. Very minor changes though.

The saddles are now a little higher than I would normally do but the ease of pressing them down compensates nicely.
 




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