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Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:20 pm
by bubbayork
i play a '65 strat my Grandpa from Arizona gave me for Christmas a while back.
i believe it has 9's (9-46) on it now. but im wantin a grittier sound.
i know guys like Stevie Ray used thicker gauge strings.
if i was to go up in gauge, what size would be good for it?
and would the guitar be able to handle a thicker gauge string without fretting out?
the action is perfect, i dont wanna mess up a good thing.
but i know the tone i'm looking for, and these thin boys might not be helping.

if anyone has any light to shed, i'd b grateful!

thanks!

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:18 pm
by rustyslide
You won't hurt anything by trying a thicker gauge. Start with a set of .010s and see how you like them.

If your guitar doesn't play right with the new strings, when doing a setup write down what you changed! Which saddle screws you turned, how many turns, which direction. Makes it possible to go back to how it was if you decide you preferred the .009s.

I use .011s; there's a huge difference in the all import tone when playing with a slide, but nothing dramatic when fretted. I just grew to find .009s too slinky and thread like, so use .011s even on the guitars I don't typically play slide on.

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:53 pm
by hollywoodmark
MIght be an urban legend, but I've read that SRV used 13s but tuned the guitar down half a step to make bending easier.

I0s should be about right for a strat. I use 10s on my solid bodies but prefer 11s on my hollowbody. Provides a nice thick jazz/blues timbre.

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:03 pm
by OldWailer
SRV was also known for using super glue on his fingers when he played the skin off them--I even heard he would glue a finger to his arm--then pull off pieces of arm skin to make the skin on his fingers thicker so he could bend more without pain. That's probably folklore and bullshit--but it's sure going too far for me--although I do carry super glue and I'm not afraid to use it--it works great when you've got a gig and sore fingers. . .

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:56 pm
by Disciple
According to my guitar teacher, who is a bass player the pro trick to make your fingers more durable is to simply dip them in rubbing alcohol which apparently hardens and desensitizes them allowing worn out fingers to keep going. Bass players have been doing this forever.

This is definitely a tip worth knowing if you plan to fret heavy strings in the 13 plus range.

Nothing would surprise me in the way of "get thru it" tricks, Tony Iommi after losing the tips of fingers on his fretting hand re-learned using prosthetic finger tips made from the leather of an old coat he has. He says he thinks he'll have to quit playing once he uses up that entire old coat cause he's never found another with the right quality of leather to do the job.

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:30 am
by Stackabones
Let your amp or effects do the work to get a grittier sound. Turn up your amp (smaller amps are quite capable of getting grit without getting too loud) or get a fuzz pedal. Keep the 9s and the perfect setup.

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:33 pm
by zhyla
Stackabones wrote:Let your amp or effects do the work to get a grittier sound. Turn up your amp (smaller amps are quite capable of getting grit without getting too loud) or get a fuzz pedal. Keep the 9s and the perfect setup.


I'd have to agree here. Different string gauges will change how the guitar plays but you're not likely to notice the subtle changes in sound. I'd bump up to 10's, 9's are just too flimsy for my taste, but don't expect it's going to give you a different sound.

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:54 pm
by texas blues
Billy Gibbons uses .008's. Tone as fat as you wanna' be.

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:25 pm
by Stackabones
texas blues wrote:Billy Gibbons uses .008's. Tone as fat as you wanna' be.


For slide. :shock:

He uses .007 for regular playing.

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:38 pm
by zhyla
Wow. Any thinner and you're pretty much in air guitar territory.

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:43 pm
by maxx england
Personal choice on an 87 Japanese 73 reissue Strat, 13s, plain 3rd for the way I play slide and the clang of heavy strings. I'm a lefty. people often don't want to shke hands twice with me. Never had a problem with skin durability, I fingerpick and it's ok.

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:09 pm
by texas blues
Here's Elwood Francis spilling the beans about Billy Gibbons gear. .008 is his heavy gauge and uses mostly .007's. Enjoy!

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

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:36 pm
by hollywoodmark
texas blues wrote:Billy Gibbons uses .008's. Tone as fat as you wanna' be.


You could probably put dental floss on that gorgeous LP of his and still get a great sound.

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:01 pm
by bubbayork
Thanks everybody!

i think i'll try 10's and if i dont like the sound or the play of the guitar changes, i'll change it back.
maybe i'm wrong, but the 9's just make me think i'm getting a "thinner", "slinky" sound.

I'm not too worried about pain n my fingertips, it takes sacrifice to get where you wanna be.
it can only strength'n my hands. if i find too much pain, i'll try sum tricks.

i cant quite afford a new Tube amp yet. So i'm playin' thru a Solid State Fender amp.
Any Pedal suggestions for me to reach top quality "Bluesy" tone?

thanks again!

Re: Thicker Gauge Strings question! Help

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:01 pm
by rustyslide
bubbayork wrote:i think i'll try 10's and if i dont like the sound or the play of the guitar changes, i'll change it back. maybe i'm wrong, but the 9's just make me think i'm getting a "thinner", "slinky" sound.


Again, I didn't find a big difference in how I sounded when the guitar was played fretted, still, I like the way the bigger strings feel.

bubbayork wrote:i cant quite afford a new Tube amp yet. So i'm playin' thru a Solid State Fender amp.
Any Pedal suggestions for me to reach top quality "Bluesy" tone?


You might be better starting a new thread for this. I don't think there's a magic bullet, but there a number of pedals that can get a better overdrive than your amp, probably.