As I was putting together my monthly look at the Guitar Player magazine from 30 years ago, I was struck by the times that Stevie Ray Vaughan had to talk about his string gauges. By 1990, he was famous for using thick strings, and influenced more than one player to try to go up in string thickness--me for one. Anyway, the February 1990 issue had SRV and Jeff Beck on the cover, and here are the excerpts about strings: The Strat requires a lot of hand strength. And you both use fairly macho action on top of that. SRV: If I put smaller strings on there so they don’t hurt, I can’t get the same sound. Then my tendency is to play harder, and I just tear things off. Sometimes at home I either tune down to C and leave the same strings on, or I put lighter strings on and use a light pick so I start remembering about a lighter touch. But when I get on stage, I really need the big strings. You’re using pretty tough strings. I’m using a lighter setup now because I’ve got a hole in my finger. Because of the schedule we’ve had, Rene [Martinez] hasn’t had the chance to dress the very edges of my frets, and I just found yesterday that at the points where I play a lot, my calluses were getting ripped off to where it stuck a hole in the finger. Right now I’m using a little bit lighter strings, just until I get my calluses back. Then you’re going back to an .013 E? Yeah. I like the sound of them, I really do, even though it’s painful to use them. I used to use a lot heavier. I used to use an .018. On the E string ?! Yeah. In a way, it was insane, but I played a lot more simply, and what I chose to play was very to the point. I got out of that, and into using smaller strings just looking for recognition, I guess, looking for flash. But using bigger strings and playing slower was my way of being able to be reserved. Of course, I couldn’t see playing as many gigs as we’re doing now like that; I don’t think my hands would hold up. They’re not holding up right now. What did you have on the bottom, a .127? [Laughs]. The biggest one I found so far was a .074. It’s been years and years since I found them, and I just used them for a little bit, because they ate tuning heads, but it was great. You’d hit an open E and it sounded like “Crosstown Traffic”, that piano part. Those things are fun, and I like that sound, but then again I don’t think there are many amps that can take that for very long. Right now I’m using .058s through .012’s. I know that I switched from 10s to 11s after reading this article (eventually settling on 10-52 sets) and that one of the reasons had to do with the idea of being "stronger" than players who use lighter gauges. Clearly that is NOT the case, but I wonder if the tone of this article ("macho", "tough") influenced me more than the tone of Stevie Ray's Strat?