Heavy strings and why?

Masmus

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The best reason I had for starting out on 11's were when I was a teenager and people were over at band practice there would always be someone there that would pick up my guitar during a break and try to play it then promptly put it back down because it was uncomfortable. Once everyone grew up and realised you don't pick up a guitar without asking I switched to 9's and now with arthritis I've been switching to 8's
 

CV Jee Beez

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I use 10.5 to 52's (Ernie Ball Mondo Slinky) on my Jaguar. I use 10-46's on my Tele and in the past my Gibson's.
 

mexicanyella

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I use .011s at 25-1/2” because they just feel right. My hands seem to work best against that level of tension. I can’t play very fast anyway but have no trouble fretting and sounding notes, or doing wide bends, with that gauge, so that’s what I buy.

I can play a guitar with .010s but don’t care much for the feel. I have to have a constant conscious effort to play light if I pick up an instrument strung with .009 strings. My ham clamps overbend and go sharp and just sound bad with .009s.
 

The Angle

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My jazzbox has fairly heavy flat-wounds on it. I don't recall exactly what they are; 11s at least, probably 12s. I don't like how hard they are to bend (tuning down a half-step helps), but what I do like is how mellow they sound when playing fingerstyle. With light strings (9s and even 10s), the high E and B don't roll off your thumb or finger as smoothly. They can catch a bit and then you don't get that nice, soft attack. But that's about the only advantage I see to them. My right hand likes them; my left hand doesn't.
 

brookdalebill

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I use D’Addarrio XL Heavy (12-54) on my gigging guitars.
These:
D02AB4C7-4B5C-4409-B552-FF4F41C9764C.jpeg



CFDB938A-DED7-4B76-AC37-406ED0669589.jpeg

The heavy strings stay in tune well, and the guitars really ring.
I use D’Addarfio XL Medium (11-49) on my recreational guitars.
These :
CFDB938A-DED7-4B76-AC37-406ED0669589.jpeg
D02AB4C7-4B5C-4409-B552-FF4F41C9764C.jpeg
0859081C-92DC-45FE-B191-EED4EEA2040E.jpeg
C4E59C4B-B748-460D-AA00-4D8DF20A82AF.jpeg
0DB162A9-265B-45A1-A5B9-802F06EAC9FE.jpeg
DFE02497-E925-419D-B93D-6E9986D6EAFB.jpeg
6C65A0D5-0B31-4B50-90DE-95972A05ABC6.jpeg
5913DFF9-30B5-455C-8851-75905A04A3E3.jpeg
E06E93E3-BED4-4AD7-83B5-AD4E5BAC2AE8.jpeg
A2F61DE8-E098-42B8-9499-4EF6171F4695.jpeg
 
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mad dog

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I played .010s on teles, strats and semi hollows for a long time. Then a pro friend of mine advised me to switch to .011s. Said everything felt and sounded better. He was right. D'Addario EXL 115 has been my go to for a long time now.

Heavier on archtops, usually .50 to .012. On an ES-330 type I use for slide I swap in heavier on the treble strings (.14 for B, .012 for E) to improve slide sound.
 

brenn

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I use 11's on short scale guitars and 10's on everything else.
I'm a simple man.
Shorter scale is definitely the main reason I would do it.

Then again, SRV did it for tone and some people say he knew more about tone than me.
 

Billy3

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I use D’Addarrio XL Heavy (12-54) on my gigging guitars.
These: View attachment 979058


View attachment 979059
The heavy strings stay in tune well, and the guitars really ring.
I use D’Addarfio XL Medium (11-49) on my recreational guitars.
These :
View attachment 979059 View attachment 979058 View attachment 979060 View attachment 979061 View attachment 979062 View attachment 979063 View attachment 979064 View attachment 979065 View attachment 979066 View attachment 979067
You have some cool guitars.
 

Billy3

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My thoughts are that it's really about the hands to instrument relationship. They obviously are going to be different for everyone. Some people bend a lot. Some people have really strong fat hands and fingers some people got really skinny weak hands. That's going to be the big difference. I use what the guitar wants. There's a relationship. I use 13s on my round neck resonator. 9s on my Tele. Could never swap the two. Let your hands, fingers, and guitar make the decision. Not us.
 

Lawdawg

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Over the years I've been using progressively thinner strings. Back in the late 80s/early 90s I used 12's. My thought at the time was that I could get a thicker more sustaining tone from my Strat. As I got a little better and could play some rudimentary lead, I switched to 11's to facilitate bends. I've been using 10s for the last 10-15 years and am thinking about going to 9's, at least for my Strat.
 

loopfinding

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i use 11s on fender and 12s on gibson scale.

strings other than the high E or B never break, like ever. even a plain G holds up. i play flats too, and i change my strings like once or twice a year. more bottom end and output for less effort. a little bit ballsier of a clean tone (using electronics to cut is more fruitful than hyping what isn't there). i can get the action down such that the increased tension isn't a big deal. i can live with the increased tension on my left hand, because my right hand is doing less work - i've never had any tendonitis problems in my left hand, only my right.

the 12s on my archtop run light on the bottom (thomastik). i am thinking about going to 11-50 on the archtop and 10-48 on the tele to keep the feel a bit closer. my tele with the 11-50s is definitetly stiffer feeling than the archtop, but it does compensate for lack of bottom a bit. my archtop with the action super low and the shorter scale almost feels like my strat with 10s...feels like i barely have to touch the string to fret on the archtop.
 
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Jazzcaster21

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I tend to play heavy handed so heavier strings have always been my preference on all my guitars. My semi hollow body and acoustic currently both have .12s. The use of heavy strings started once I began listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan after I first started playing guitar. I went from using .10s on my Strat to .12 and then .13. I know that Hendrix, Clapton, Beck and a host of other players used .08s which explains why they could do 2 whole step bends but, I never went that route.

I have .10s on my Telecaster however with a .12 and .16 for my B and G strings (instead of the typical .13 and .17) to help with pedal steel and oblique country bends. After switching to light top strings (9, 11, 16) for a while and then switching back to a regular set of 10s with the slight change, I think I have finally found the right combo. Plus, I don't have to work as hard. There is still an adjustment of NOT trying to play as heavy on my Tele as on my other guitars for risk of going out of tune and eventually I will probably go back to the regular B and G string gauges. But for now, this works.
 

Hodgo88

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As a teenager I played a 12-12-something setup because Steve Howe did. That was a weird feeling, with the heavy E and slinky B, especially for double stops. That was also the same time as when I obliterated an Ibanez fretboard with a file because of Yngwie.

I also like the heavy bottom slinkies, for dropped tunings and chunky power chord purposes really. But on most guitars I own, 9-42 is a okay.
 

tubedude

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I use 13-56, or 14-62 when I can afford the T/I's.
I have big fat fingers and nerve issues and if strings are thinner I can't feel them. I wish I could play those spiderweb 8's and 9's.
 

wangdaning

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I use heavy because it is what I am used to and what is comfortable. Anytime I play a guitar with something under 10 I feel like the strings are going to slip away. I can deal with 10, but prefer 11-12. I also play electric and acoustic, so that might have some influence.

I don't really see much change in the tone, I guess it might be there with a direct A/B test. For me it is just what feels comfortable.
 

Blazer

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Yeah, with me it's also a case of it being what I'm used to, D'Addario XL 011's for the better part of 28 years already.

If I put a set of those on a guitar I just bought, it instantly makes it feel as 'My guitar."

Prior to discovering those I played Fender Dynamaxx strings and hated them because they would oxydise like crazy leaving black rust on my finger tips.
 

Maguchi

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TLDR: who’s using heavy strings and what advantages to they bring to your playing?


I’ve been experimenting over the last several months with heavier strings on a couple of my guitars. It’s been fun to have a different feeling under my fingers than the .10s I’ve been using for years. But they are much less zingy and slow me down considerably. So I’m just think through whether to keep them, switch them to another guitar, etc and thought I’d see what other folks are using heavy strings for!
9-42s on most electrics although I have a couple of electrics with 10-46s. 11-48s on a jazzbox and 11-50s on an acoustic steel string.

Strings.jpg
 




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