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 Post subject: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:01 am 
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I typically use 10-46 strings on my les paul but I'm thinking of trying the thinner 9-42 gauge strings on my strat. I assume thicker strings stay in tune longer and thinner strings bend easier but has anybody here learned other advantages or disadvantages? For instance I heard that Jimmy Page used 9-42 for metal while Malcom young used heavier than 10-46 for the rythem guitar of AC/DC.


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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:20 am 
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A lot of players, like Billy Gibbons, say that it is a myth that to sound better, you have to play thicker strings. He has gone down to 7's before, and often uses 8's or 9's. Then again, some artists, like Hendrix, got their tone from thicker strings, and tuning down a semitone. I have done that on my strat, because before I tuned down, the bridge was at quite a big angle to the body, the tension was probably very high, with the 10's. Ultimately, it's up to you. Try out 9's, 10's, 11's and 8's if you want to, and see what you like, and what sounds best with your equipment and style. With my tele (two humbuckers), I find that 9's have a really nice thick sound, and are also very easy to play. But with my strat(MIM Standard), it sounds a bit thinner with 9's on. But if I upgraded the pickups, it may sound better with 9's.

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:46 am 
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I like the half steps .095 / etc. and usually alternate the unwound
strings depending on a variety of things.

I do like the heavier low strings especially on Teles.

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:08 am 
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Contrary to popular belief Jimi Hendrix used light gauge strings,most likely 8s or 9s you can easily tell by some of the extreme close-ups of his playing at Woodstock,Berkeley and Monterey etc. that his strings are of a very light gauge.I also read in an interview that in the days before light gauge sets Jimi used a method of stringing the guitar that was popular with blues players of the early 60s.To facilitate easy bending they'd buy a regular gauge set of strings-throw away the E 6th and put the thinnest gauge banjo string in the E 1st slot.

I have used 8-38 strings on all my electrics ever since they became available in the late 60s.Thin strings don't in any way equate to thin tone.Billy Gibbons,Tony Iommi,John Lennon,George Harrison and the aforementioned Jimi all used light or superlight gauge strings yet none of them had light or wimpy tones.I do a lot of very heavy bending in the Jimi Hendrix/Buddy Guy vein-sometimes over 3 whole steps and super light strings are a necessity.

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:17 am 
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guitslinger wrote:
Contrary to popular belief Jimi Hendrix used light gauge strings,most likely 8s or 9s you can easily tell by some of the extreme close-ups of his playing at Woodstock,Berkeley and Monterey etc. that his strings are of a very light gauge.I also read in an interview that in the days before light gauge sets Jimi used a method of stringing the guitar that was popular with blues players of the early 60s.To facilitate easy bending they'd buy a regular gauge set of strings-throw away the E 6th and put the thinnest gauge banjo string in the E 1st slot.

I have used 8-38 strings on all my electrics ever since they became available in the late 60s.Thin strings don't in any way equate to thin tone.Billy Gibbons,Tony Iommi,John Lennon,George Harrison and the aforementioned Jimi all used light or superlight gauge strings yet none of them had light or wimpy tones.I do a lot of very heavy bending in the Jimi Hendrix/Buddy Guy vein-sometimes over 3 whole steps and super light strings are a necessity.


Thats news to me...Learn something new everyday. And I know thin strings don't always equal thin tone, but with my MIM standard strat, with the stock pickups, they do. 10's just sound a bit warmer and thicker. If you do not have really expensive equipment-amp, pedals, guitar and pickups etc, then thicker strings can sometimes be the easiest way to get a thicker tone, but they do not always.

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:36 am 
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teledeluxe72 wrote:
A lot of players, like Billy Gibbons, say that it is a myth that to sound better, you have to play thicker strings. He has gone down to 7's before, and often uses 8's or 9's. Then again, some artists, like Hendrix, got their tone from thicker strings, and tuning down a semitone. I have done that on my strat, because before I tuned down, the bridge was at quite a big angle to the body, the tension was probably very high, with the 10's. Ultimately, it's up to you. Try out 9's, 10's, 11's and 8's if you want to, and see what you like, and what sounds best with your equipment and style. With my tele (two humbuckers), I find that 9's have a really nice thick sound, and are also very easy to play. But with my strat(MIM Standard), it sounds a bit thinner with 9's on. But if I upgraded the pickups, it may sound better with 9's.


I have never gone above 10's on my electrics, be they the Strats I currently play or the Les-Paul I used to play....However on my acoustic I use 12's and on a Jazz guitar it would be at least 11's .

The gauge size doesn't really matter, however a rythm player predominantly will use a heavier gauge string since chords will be clearer sounding, but if you play a lot of lead then a compromise has to be made.....It really is about experimentation and finding the right gauge for your own playing.....That takes years and is always going to be dictated by the style of music and more importantly what guitar you are playing....

As for the bridge issue of raising too far when using 10's or 11's, that is just an adjustment issue of your trem Claw and springs. The springs gauge as welll as the number of springs and the tension must be adjusted every time you switch gauge sizes.
It should be equal tension so that your trem bridge is floating......and horizontal or at least slight rise...5 springs and/or the extra heavier set that came with your guitar may be the answer..Back when Leo designed the Stratocaster, string gauges averaged 10's and 11's...

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:56 am 
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I've used 9s most of my life, though I do have 10s on a couple of my guitars right now at the urging of my professional playing partner. I find that 9s bend a lot easier on the higher strings and I'm a major string bender.

Most of the time I use sets of 9s that have bigger bottoms, like 9-46 or even 9-52, mainly in the DR brand. That way I get the bends I like on top and the beefier rock tones on the bottom - the best of both worlds.

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:39 am 
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I think with heavy guages most guys are trying to be like SRV with the massive wires he used. Thing is Stevie had enormous hands with incredible power and strength in them, we all don't have hands like that. I find heavy strings too hard to play and i agree that the idea that heavier equals better tone is wrong. I'm using 10-46 on my Clapton and would never go heavier than that because i wouldn't feel comfortable bending and so on. I've often thought of going back to 9-42 as that's what i used to use, it feels easier and i don't notice any decrease in tone.

Billy Gibbons gets incredible tones from his guitars and i couldn't believe how light he strings his instruments when i saw a YT with his tech describing his rig. As mentioned Jimmy Page too used incredibly light strings during Led Zep, an .8 on the high E if i remember correctly although i believe he uses a .9 guage nowadays, and he had a massive tone! 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:06 am 
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i started with 9-42
i had this problem that my fretting hand fingers have serious wear
someone recommend that i use 10-46
and my fingers no more have these wear
the finger wear had looked serious

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:06 pm 
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It's difficult to overlook over the ease of string bending on a 9 to 42 set. But 10 to 46 work the guitar harder and make more of the wood contribution in the sound.

I do have 10 to 46 on some shorter scale guitars, but generally speaking, I now use 9 to 46 sets. Ernie Ball call them Hybrid Slinkies I think, and D'addario do that set too. Strats are cool with the slightly heavier lower strings - you can hit them harder and get more of that percussive/hard playing vibe that Stratocasters do so well..

If I was only playing rhythm guitar (I'm a keys and 2nd guitar player) I'd stay with the 10 to 46 set, but I play the odd solo and riff and like to push compound bends when I do so. So I go for that skinny top/big bottom compromise..

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:14 pm 
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guitslinger wrote:
Contrary to popular belief Jimi Hendrix used light gauge strings,most likely 8s or 9s you can easily tell by some of the extreme close-ups of his playing at Woodstock,Berkeley and Monterey etc. that his strings are of a very light gauge.I also read in an interview that in the days before light gauge sets Jimi used a method of stringing the guitar that was popular with blues players of the early 60s.To facilitate easy bending they'd buy a regular gauge set of strings-throw away the E 6th and put the thinnest gauge banjo string in the E 1st slot.

I have used 8-38 strings on all my electrics ever since they became available in the late 60s.Thin strings don't in any way equate to thin tone.Billy Gibbons,Tony Iommi,John Lennon,George Harrison and the aforementioned Jimi all used light or superlight gauge strings yet none of them had light or wimpy tones.I do a lot of very heavy bending in the Jimi Hendrix/Buddy Guy vein-sometimes over 3 whole steps and super light strings are a necessity.


This. I've always used 9's and I can easily get a decent punk or metal tone.

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:02 pm 
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I have used 8, 9, and presently 10's. At this time I prefer the tone of Pure Nickel 10's on my guitars.

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:42 am 
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I'm currently in the same situation you're in. I guess I'm on a string soul searching quest trying to find what's right for me. I used to use 11's. All the music I play is half a step down (Eb tuning) for vocal longevity. GHS Boomers seemed to always work for me with minimal breakage (even more so than Ernie Balls) and they sounded great.

Recently I've realized how much 11's tire my fingers out after playing 3-4 hours in my cover band, especially after quick solo runs. By the end of the runs, my fingers would tire out. So I went down to 10's (10-48). I found it less tiring doing solos and bare chords. When I got my new MIA Strat for Christmas, which came with 9's, I kinda fell in love with 9's. Easy to bend, sound great, and the low strings were easy to bend and do vibratos. Best part, my fingers aren't as tired.

I think it's a myth that thicker strings equal better tone. Something I'm unlearning after 16 years of playing, having idolized players such as KWS and SRV whom use(d) 11's and 13's.

I've recently discovered how many great players use such light gauge strings. From my research, Jimi Hendrix used 8 - 38. He used an 8 gauge E string for his B string.

Billy Gibbons uses 7's. That's right, 7's. Sometimes uses 8's for open E tuning.

http://www.jimdunlop.com/product/rev-willys-strings

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6DrxfrbbF8


Toni Iommi uses 8's... so there's many great players that use light to extra light string gauges. I say use what's most comfortable to you and forget the hype of thicker strings.


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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:57 am 
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i've used 10's for more years than i care to remember and about a month ago i went to my local shop for string elixer 10's , they were sold out , bugger it i said gimme a set in 9's then , i put them onto my 85 mij 50's reissue and wow , what have i been missing all these years , and there was no decline of tone or thin sound (hard to get with a jcm800 half stack ) :lol: so i switched the other mij strat onto 9's as well . i'm debating weather to put them onto my uas strat , i use that for hendrix tuned down yummyness and it feels good with the 10's but i might give it a go at the next string change , cheers
Alan

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 Post subject: Re: Strings: 9-42 vs 10-46
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:01 pm 
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mattchevy wrote:
I think it's a myth that thicker strings equal better tone. Something I'm unlearning after 16 years of playing, having idolized players such as KWS and SRV whom use(d) 11's and 13's.

It's a total myth that one about bigger strings giving better tone. What they can do is maybe give you a thicker tone to a degree, whether you think that's better is down to the individual, bearing in mind you can adjust any differences from the amps eq.

As i said before a lot of people get into it because they hear about Stevie Ray doing that, but very few of us are equipped with the size of hands Stevie had, he had so much muscle and strength in his hands he could work those heavy strings. I would say the vast majority of us are not equipped to handle and control heavy strings like that.

I think i'm going to transition back to 09-42 from 10-46. I think the lighter guage is better for me, i don't feel i can control the heavier guage as well. I play strats and tele's, the strat has a longer scale. On a Les Paul, when i had one, i'd use the 10-46 on that because of the shorter scale of the LP. For me the 9's felt a tad too light on the LP.

I think my take on it is the perceived benefit in heavy guages doesn't really show up when you're going through amps and your effects devices etc. If there is an audible difference it'll be very slight.

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