String gauge to twang ratio

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Art VanDelay, Mar 16, 2019.

  1. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Afflicted

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    Ok, so the title suggests I have some scientific theory explaining a mathematical equation. Sorry, I can't deliver you that. But I am wondering people's thoughts as to why they play the gauge they do. Light gauge = easier bends is obvious, but what about things like twang (a big deal in the Tele universe) or just desirable timbre? Oh yeah, I think we've all heard the B.B. King played 0.08's because "why work so hard?".

    Me personally, I always played Ernie Ball Super Slinkys (pink pack) on my Strat, but since my Tele's B5 Bigsby has return-to-tuning issues with that gauge (which is why I now play EB Regulars in a 5-string Open-G "Keef" tuning).

    So, EB came out with 2 new string sets: Burly and Ultra. The Ultra could easily be named "Skinny-Top & Not-quite-as-Heavy Bottom", but I guess the boys in marketing thought otherwise. I myself bought a set of the Burly because Bezos 'n Pals have them as a Prime item. I'm curious to see what the twang-o-meter reading will be!
     
  2. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I find 10s to be a good place for twang. 9s work too, but I'll break them and have tuning issues. For jazz, 12s with a wound G.
     
  3. RoCkstAr256

    RoCkstAr256 Tele-Afflicted

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    Not thicker than 11-52. Maybe try 9,5-44 ?
     
  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Interesting question. My guess would be thinner strings are easier to get the twang 'snap' going. But for practical string sizes a thin string might be picked closer to the saddle while a thicker string picked further away so the movement over the pickup is the same. Choosing the best twang location by ear.

    .
     
  5. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've never used EB electric strings. In part, that's because I didn't buy my first electric guitar (a tele, of course) until 2008, and since at that point in time I had been using D'Addario phosphor bronze strings on my acoustics for many years, I just tried D'Addario EXL110s, and was happy with them.

    Around that same time, shortly after I bought my tele, the local GC had a sale on Dunlop electric strings, 3 packs for $10, or something like that. So I tried them, and they did the job, but they weren't better than D'Addarios, so I went back to the EXL110s, and have been using them exclusively ever since.

    But brand of strings aside and speaking of gauge, I had been using 12s (D'Addario EJ16s) on my acoustics, and though I was new to electric guitars/teles, the idea of going lower than 10s just seemed like too great a change. So I tried 10s, and was, and have been, completely happy with that gauge.**

    Now, as to why I'm completely happy with EXL110s (10-46, in the EB world, that would be comparable to Regular Slinkys), for me, it isn't just about twang, but about spank and snap. Even as I write those terms, I find it difficult to define them. I suspect that for a lot of us guitarists, we either think of or hear terms that for some reason resonate with us as to expressing what we feel and hear, but when we try to define or explain them, we come up short. I guess for me spankiness and snap speak to an aspect of string tension that creates a certain feel that is also somehow associated with the sound we hear and/or are looking for. I tend to think that the string tension/gauge contributes to the twang, but it's really more about the responsiveness of the string to the the touch.


    ** Years later, I bought an Ibanez superstrat for $25 with the intent of flipping it, which I eventually did. I tried a set of D'Addario EXL120s on it (09-42), but they felt like playing rubber bands to me. That was my one and only experiment with 9s.
     
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  6. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Afflicted

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    Hmm, my thinking was in the opposite direction. I would assume thicker strings equals more twang due to increased tension. Maybe someone in a lab coat or fancy degree can explain:D
     
  7. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    I have used EB regular slinkys for over 30 years. Anything lighter than 10's and I can move strings with my fretting hand out of tune grabbing a chord.

    I like the sound of nickel wound strings. I sometimes use the D'Addario equivalents but have found the EB's to be very consistent over the years.

    To me the twang is in the Tele and the fingers.
     
  8. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Afflicted

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    I hear you, I've used nothing but EB for over 20 years now. I think we all experience something unexplainable yet personally profound with things. I'm not a marketing guy but I believe that's called "product association" (and ad men would give a kidney to get that from people).
     
  9. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree...but there are certain things (like string gauge or type) that can make a difference
     
  10. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    What is twang? Just one man’s opinion here. The closest I can come is sharp attack with good sustain of the high frequencies. I think the combination of long scale and single coil pickups gets you that. Too much magnetic pull in the string and you lose it. I can play country on my SG but it doesn’t twang. Heavier strings seem to sustain better but high frequencies seem to decay faster. I get great twang from my Telecaster from the bridge or combined pickups with a flat pick, even with N4’s. A lot of what I think of as twang is lost playing finger style. I wonder why finger style is so widely used by country musicians. Twang and where it comes from and how it’s lost seems much more complex and nuanced than string gauge to me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  11. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Pick attack, hot pickups set low, tube amp with a touch of gain to emphasise the attack... I reckon you could get twang on 9s with the right playing style.
     
  12. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Strings are a cheap disposable item ... You try different ones til you find the ones that work ... It's not like spending $200 on a set of pickups, which may leave you disappointed and in a financial hole...
     
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  13. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Afflicted

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    Nailed it ;)
     
  14. rickthescot

    rickthescot Tele-Holic

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    GC string club, try new strings monthly, cheap! I've been doing this for years.
    10's on both Tele and Strats for me. Lighter and I tend to pull things out of tune or break one of the higher strings.
     
  15. danpan

    danpan Tele-Meister

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    I've been told that every guitar I play ends up sounding like a Tele. I run 10-52's on my Teles and 10-46 on my PRS and my '78 Ibanez 2618. Maybe much of it really is in your hands and a little bit of knob turning?
     
  16. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    I like 10s for most electric guitar uses. If I go any heavier I lose some nuance in my bending and vibrato. If I go lighter I smear the notes out of tune too much and gain no playability.

    Heavier gauge strings sound a little bit more pianistic, to my ears. Lighter ones sound a little more plucky to me. With light gauges I tend to notice the attack of my notes a bit more because the notes decay a bit quicker.
     
  17. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    The thinner the wound string the better the twang.
    The 010-038 classic light gauge set (also known as the "Hendrix" set) is the ultimate twang set in my book and I have decided to use it exclusively from now on.
    A medium gauge pic also helps (heavy pics kill the twang).
    Of course FRESH strings are absolutely essential for good twang so I change them after 8-10 hours of actual playing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
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  18. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    0.15

     
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  19. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Play what's comfy and the twang will do its thang.
     
  20. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    The tone twang is in the fingers.
     
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