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String Gauges vs Tone

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This just popped up on my youtube feed; very interesting!

I might be playing around with strings this weekend.

Take notice that they used one brand-type of strings.  But I would imagine you would still hear a difference with other brands, albeit with different differences.

 

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1 hour ago, seeker said:

different differences.

Is that the same thing as something being intermittently intermittent?  😃

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4 minutes ago, Thundersteel said:

 

Is that the same thing as something being intermittently intermittent?  😃

Certainly certain it’s a potential potentiality.

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2 minutes ago, gtrdaddy said:

Certainly certain it’s a potential potentiality.

It’s a probable probability...

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2 minutes ago, Travis said:

It’s a probable probability...

That’s a presumable presumption.

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Most assured assuredly!

Yeah, I did that on porpoise. 

 

Just watch the video, wankers. 

Edited by seeker
wankers on parade
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Would that be a wankerly wanker?

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I have no recollection of anyone using 8's in the 70s/80s.  It's been only the last ten years or so that I became aware of them.  I grew up playing 9s or 10s and only played Gibson scales.  When I got a longer scale guitar I settled into the typical 10s on G scale and 9s on F scale.  As my hands became weaker and weaker from arthritis/injuries I played less and less until I heard about 8s and started using them on a few guitars.  I care far less about the tonal differences than the comfort and feel.  

I don't know why people go to all the trouble to do these comparisons and not include (or focus on) a clean signal.

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2 minutes ago, cynic said:

I have no recollection of anyone using 8's in the 70s/80s.

Page, Gibbons, there's a long list.

3 minutes ago, cynic said:

I don't know why people go to all the trouble to do these comparisons and not include (or focus on) a clean signal.

Very True.

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I watched it. Didn't tell me anything I didn't know, but it also didn't cover everything. 

While playing bar chords, the most notable difference, and one to be expected, is that the smaller the string gauge, the lower the output. Not a big deal, you can turn up your amp and it will sound the same. But while playing individual notes, there is a difference, not so much in what is recorded, but the feel while you play, and how it comes out of the amplifier in a way that a recording doesn't really capture. Especially if you use heavy picks. If you play an A at the 17th fret with 10s or 11s, and then play the A on the same guitar with 9s or 8s, what you will notice is the sound is chunkier, even if you compensate with the volume on the 9s. The larger string has more bass to it than the thinner string. This is hard to hear when played saturated with overdrive, but if you're a guy that plays clean or with low - mid overdrive sounds, you will hear and feel the difference in the gauge coming through the amplifier. It is tough to capture that difference on a recording, it is more of a feel/response thing. But the differences can be astonishingly apparent, when recorded while playing clean. Also what makes a difference is the pickups that are used and the string height that you prefer. The lower your string height, and the heavier the string, the more mids become prominent. These differences become very clear specifically when using low output PAFs, instead of moderate and high output pickups. Many variables weren't addressed in the video.

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Ok... I've got nothing for the wordplay that someone hasn't already beat me to, so I'll just respond to the video!

Interesting that the conclusions they drew were all from playing distorted rhythm tracks. I know they need to objectively compare by using the same guitar and amp with the same settings, but I didn't settle on my favored brand, variety and gauge for their tone in one setting with one style. I like my strings because they sound and feel the best to me across the different genres I play, not because they sound the best at one tone setting playing crunchy rhythm guitar. For a shredder playing metal and pulling out incredible tapping and speed runs along with heavy use of a Floyd, they aren't going to value the same combination of characteristics as most hollowbody blues players, who won't be looking for the same thing as a chicken-pickin' country boy on a Tele. But at the end of the day it's all subjective and about what sounds right to you. For me, it's DR Pure Blues 11s (occasionally 10s on the Strat).

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It’s pretty simple, if the methodology of the testing doesn’t suit you, do your own testing.  

Edited by Studio Custom
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2 minutes ago, Studio Custom said:

It’s pretty simple, if the methodology of the testing doesn’t suit you, do your own testing.  

Holy shit!!  You're just pure genius on a stick!!

 

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3 hours ago, Studio Custom said:

It’s pretty simple, if the methodology of the testing doesn’t suit you, do your own testing.  

I do believe what  @joshoowah and I posted pretty much tells you that we already have 😉 

Also, we ought to play what we like. Don’t let some cheesy bar chord wankery on a lackluster video influence your decision on what to play. I’m pretty sure if SRV hadn’t been forced by tendinitis to drop from .013s to .011s he wouldn’t have changed. Them mentioning his going to .011s prior to his death is by no means relevant to their summation of their video.

 

Edited by gtrdaddy
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SRV was a big man with large fingers.   His tone was also the result of running several different amplifiers maxed out.  

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3 minutes ago, Studio Custom said:

SRV was a big man with large fingers.   His tone was also the result of running several different amplifiers maxed out.  

Indeed, so many variables, strings being one of them.

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A very interesting video.  Thank you for sharing.

For what it’s worth I’ve been using 9’s on Gibson scale and 8.5’s on Fender scale for years.

I like the idea of 7’s but I worry I’d break the thin E string with big bends.  

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Eric Johnson heard us playing this video today. He says:

0CCBE390-C5A0-41FE-86A1-0C1F05B2AE5F.jpeg
 

End of discussion.

...EJ 

 

Edited by gtrdaddy
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Personal preference is, obviously, the most important factor, and to that end, I posit that a players"baseline" tone affects the "tonal" influence on string gauge selection. When I was younger and played mostly metal on Floyded guitars through high gain preamps/amps, I played only .009 sets. Tried a .010 set once: saw no benefit and only the downside of fighting heavier strings. In recent years, I have changed my baseline tone to a just-on-the-edge-of-breakup clean tone and I add a rather mild amount of dirt while working my volume knobs for variation . As a result, I began finding that playing guitars with slightly heavier strings imparted a significantly better tone and feel, especially when playing rhythm patterns..

So, I have gradually converted all of my 24.75 scale guitars to .010 sets while settling on .0095 sets for 25.5" scale guitars. My fingers are getting used to the tension and my tone at stage volume sounds better. YMMV.

Edited by Biz Prof
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Anyone that tells you that string gauge doesn't matter is disagreement with me.  String gauge matters.

I started using .009 to .042.  Then, in the eighties, I changed every guitar to .010 to .046.  I noticed more output from my pickups and a fatter sound.  Then, when I was playing out every weekend, I changed to .010 to .052.  I achieved better tone with a deeper bass response and a more prominent midrange.  I enjoyed the fight with the larger strings.  It was the early nineties.

These days, I've settled on .010 to .046.  And they have to be all nickel.  I hate stainless steel or the other "mixes".  I just don't like "bright" strings.  So, .008's are out.  I have tried them.  But there's a stark difference in tone.

Strings matter.  I use the DR Nickel .010 to .046 sets now.  Too many of my guitars didn't like that .052 on the bottom.  And scale length doesn't really cause me to deviate.  The same strings on both of the usual scale lengths plays into the differing tones and feel of the guitars.  

My two cents...

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I think the conclusion of the video is wrong. I strung my Newport with high-tension power cables stolen from the back of an Edison truck and my educated speculation is that it would have sounded far better than the sissy strings made for guitars that they were testing. Of course, those power cables won't fit into guitar tuners, but after JB Welding things together and trying to tune the guitar, the neck snapped like a twig... But if it had worked, I'm comfident it would have sounded better. 

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11 hours ago, The Shark said:

These days, I've settled on .010 to .046.  And they have to be all nickel. 

I’m in the same camp. There’s just something about the all nickel strings I prefer! I like the tone and for me the just feel more comfortable! I use a blend in a pinch but Pure nickel wound EB 10-46’s are my fave’s!!

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DR Blues on G scale length guitars - .010s.  EBs pure nickels on F scale length -  .009s.  D'Addario's are always good.  Why the differences?  I dunno.    Probably whatever I had lying around at the time.

Some more food for thought...

https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/String_Myths_Part_1

Edited by BubbaVO
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2 hours ago, Dutchman said:

There’s just something about the all nickel strings I prefer!

Years ago I experimented with bass strings. I'd been a Rotosound Swing Bass fan for years - these are stainless steel and are quite bright sounding.
Anyway, I switched to nickel strings (forget the brand) and immediately noticed more fundamental and volume. Haven't used Rotosounds since.

 

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2 minutes ago, killerteddybear said:

Years ago I experimented with bass strings. I'd been a Rotosound Swing Bass fan for years - these are stainless steel and are quite bright sounding.
Anyway, I switched to nickel strings (forget the brand) and immediately noticed more fundamental and volume. Haven't used Rotosounds since.

 

Also nickel strings are more kind to your nickel frets.

Edited by gtrdaddy
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