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Factory string gauges in 50s and 60s

Discussion in 'Pre-CBS Strats (before 1966)' started by Carl Sars, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. td148

    td148 Strat-Talker

    231
    Aug 4, 2009
    Central TX
    Curious questions for those using 11's and bigger on your guitars: how much bending do you do? Do you gig regularly and if you do, how long are your gigs? I love the way 11s sound, but cannot hack them for 4 sets a night, no matter how long I build up strength. That's why I use 10s. Just curious about everyone else's experience.
     
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  2. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    US
    I used to use 11's. My main reason was for the strings to last longer since I have corrosive sweat and I sweat a lot. After a good 10 years of that I tried some 9s. They felt too flimsy, but I liked how they brightened up my tone. 10's became a happy medium for me...and I use them on my strat, lps, and my G&L ASAT.
     
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  3. TheDudeMan

    TheDudeMan Strat-Talker

    Age:
    39
    249
    Sep 19, 2016
    The Crossroads
    You build up serious calluses, and bending isn't an issue on vintage trems.... now on my ultra with the trem setter installed it's stiff for bending.... but that was my main guitar for many years, and it helped build finger strength.
     
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  4. Chont

    Chont Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 25, 2012
    Pennsylvania
    How do you find bending on the wound third? I think i'm going to go back to the Gilmour 10.5s I previously had and liked on my strat and get a 3 pack of wound 18s to try in place of the plain 17 G string. Won't know until i try I guess.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
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  5. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 19, 2014
    Comfy Chair
    One of my all-time favourite strat tones (probably many will agree) is Knopfler's on the first two Dire Straits albums - playing 8s!!!

    I can get close to that snappy, poppy, shaky sound with 9s (multiple string vibrato with one flat finger etc). But mostly, I prefer the tone of heavier strings, so I stick with 10s.

    I wish I could push a button to switch the string gauge to 9. Or 11. Rather then have to completely restring....(which of course I can never be bothered doing).
     
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  6. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 27, 2014
    Arizona
    I used 10s for many years, then went to 9s and a couple of years ago I switched to 8s. I teach guitar classes in high school, 5 days a week from 8 to 3 . . . play guitar a lot. I've recently discovered that EB 8s get pretty tight after a couple weeks of playing, feeling more like 10s. Am trying out Rev Willie's 7s on a couple of my guitars and they're made by Dunlop. So far they're still pretty slinky feeling.

    When I do the Blues jam on stage on weekends I use the 8s. when I'm onstage with the adrenaline flowing the tighter string feel is easier to handle. Wondering if Daddarrio 8s might not be looser feeling, though.
     

  7. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter Vendor Member

    Age:
    45
    Oct 4, 2008
    Stratford,Ontario
    Never had any trouble with it. The 12s come with a 24w third and the 11s I would swap the 18p for a 22w.
    Then again, I am in the company of a few on here who are left handed but play right handed, so I personally never found strength or hand endurance were an issue with heavier strings, since my dominant hand is on the neck. I even tried 13s, but that's when they did start feeling like cables, so I backed off to the 12s again...:D
     
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  8. conehead

    conehead Strat-Talker

    Age:
    46
    302
    Apr 12, 2017
    way out there
    I use .11 flatwounds (with a wound G) on solidbodies, .12 flatwounds on my archtops.
    I've never used lighter strings, so bending isn't a problem for me. The wound flatwounds don't feel like normal roundwounds, the most I ever try to squeeze out of them is a half-step bend. The plain strings are easy to bend a full step, even a step-and a half sometimes, although I very rarely bend that far.
    Yes, single 40-minute-to-an-hour-long sets on multi-band bills with one band, three x 45-minute set bar gigs with the other band. In both cases the material is pretty old-school 1950s style stuff, jump blues, rockabilly, and a little bit of western swing (meaning the bit that I know how to play without embarrassing myself). Those aren't really playing styles that require light strings or excessive bending.
     
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  9. Rastus

    Rastus Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 1, 2014
    Australia
    Yo,

    A1. I've never really analyzed this to be honest, but for sure, part of a guitars method / character of getting the notes out is through bending. This is a vital part of what makes a guitar sound like it does, so I'd say I bend-strings as often as anyone else lol !

    A2. I was gigging fairly regularly between 1993-2004, & typically the average gig was comprised of 3 x 45-minute sets. Add in 3-4 on-cores, & the night might see you start around 21:00, & wind-up around 01:00, with the bar closed ( only special orders for band members allowed shhhhh...), & most folks gone. The strings would last 2-nights like this guaranteed. Also guaranteed is string breakage on night -3 if you didn't change-them-out !

    A3. My main move to thick-picks ( Big Stbby-3.0mm) & 0.011's was from my "Jazz & Pop Diploma" days, where my teacher insulted the sound of my Stratocaster ( fitted with likely 0.009's back then ), & could not grasp the concept of anyone using less than a 1.0mm pick....

    So out of spite & anger, I strung the Strat-Plus with 0.011's, & started using Big Stubby 3.0mm picks...The teacher didn't say much at all after the move, but we both did have smiles on our faces...Why ?...He was happy that I actually listened to him, & I was happy because that guitar was a better guitar for the move IMO, & my playing technique improved over-night. No denying this result in my own experience lol ! And I still use 0.011's & Big Stubby 3.0mm to this day.

    I also considered at one point moving on to 0.012's, but the Strat-Plus's Wilkinson Roller Nut won't cater for this gauge.

    IMO, anything below the 0.009 gauge string is for folks with issues with their hands etc, & need this to overcome their issue. 0.009's through to 0.011's are the only gauges I'll consider stringing up with.

    Ciao,

    Rastus
     
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  10. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter Vendor Member

    Age:
    45
    Oct 4, 2008
    Stratford,Ontario
    Come on now, you haven't lived dangerously 'til you've put 8s on a tele.........;):D
     

  11. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    48
    Jul 27, 2012
    Virginia
    I have 12s and sometimes 11s on the acoustics. Most all of the bends are on the B string, just a few on the G and E.
     
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  12. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    56
    Jun 28, 2011
    ok
    I think a good 50s or 60s Strat sounds great with 9s, 13s or anything in between.

    I've tried all sorts of gauges over the years, but always come back to 9s. And as I age and my left ring finger (main bending appendage) joint starts to hurt, I darned sure aren't going to go up a gauge any time soon. May even try 8s next time I buy a set.

    Has nothing to do with sound for me. I can adjust the amp to get what I want. It has everything to do with me being able to bend how I want without loosening the trem springs to where I pull other strings out of tune when I bend.
     

  13. Jkstrat65

    Jkstrat65 New Member!

    Age:
    53
    6
    Aug 14, 2017
    Finland
    On a mid/late 60's Fender Catalog all available string sets are listed and this following set with gauges 012, 016, 26w, 34, 44, 52 is noted as what was put on guitars that left the factory. Wound G sounds very nice on a vintage staggered pole pickups. I have noticed that on Jazzmasters and some era Telecasters and Strats that have flat pole pickups the wound G is a bit quieter. I have used sets with wound G for over 15 years now on my '65 Strat. 11's and 12's, flatwounds and roundwounds. At the moment my favorite is John Pearse custom set: 11, 14, 22w, 28, 38, 48. I just installed a set of Lollar GoldFoils on my Strat and that string set with those pickups sounds just superb.
     
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  14. ripgtr

    ripgtr Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 16, 2012
    austin
    Yea, 12 flats, with a would G.
    I have a set of 11 flats with wound G on my old 330 right now. The sound is significantly different.
    I used 11s on my old strat for a while, I liked the sound but on a couple hour gig, my left hand got tired. I bend a lot. Using 10s now.
    Since I don't really gig the old one much anymore, I have thought about putting some 12 flats on it, just to see what it sounded like. One of these days.

    Fyi, guys would go out and buy a banjo string, apparently they make them lighter for banjo, and use that as the high E and move the rest down one string. So similar to what we have now. James Burton talks about using banjo strings for his high strings, as far back as playing with Ricky Nelson which would be the fifties.
     
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  15. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 27, 2014
    Arizona
    Wow! You sound just like your avatar looks. You young gorilla-grip players really must be insecure to put down people using lighter gauge strings to having hand issues. Regardless of your opinion, some players
    may just be different stylists. With a Strat Plus, sounds like you have a flatter neck and beefy frets. Many of us here prefer the vintage 7.25 radius and vintage frets with a smoother lighter touch. I can adjust my guitar and amp knobs to get the tone and volume I want. Different strokes . . . etc. :)
     
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  16. guitarface

    guitarface Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 11, 2012
    New York
    Almost two full pages in and no mention of the time bb king asked billy gibbons why he was working so hard, or whatever the story is.
     
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  17. dbbluesproject

    dbbluesproject Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 3, 2015
    Maine
    I agree with this.....I use different size strings and even different brands depending on the guitar.......
    I think it’s good to experiment..........find what works for you and your guitar(s).
     
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  18. Rastus

    Rastus Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 1, 2014
    Australia
    Hello,

    LOL, I guess I've also painted a bulls-eye on myself, so here comes my reply...

    1. Thank-you ! Much appreciated. I actually wish I could write heavier music for the Heavy Metal Thread where my music seems to be appreciated here, but I guess I'm more Rock n' Roll than a Metal guy...

    2.(a). I'm 47 years of age, thanks for the young compliment !(b) I don't think I'm insecure at all. In-fact, quite the opposite gauging from the response to some of my posts LOL ! (c).Where have I put anyone down ?...I used to use 0.009's until I was advised by my lecturer to use strings that produced some sound & tone that would better suit the Jazz that I was learning at the time. I adjusted & found that I couldn't & wouldn't change back. He was correct, & improved my playing ability immensely.

    3. The only opinions I throw out here are from personal experience. Take them or leave them...

    4. Yes, modern "C" neck, & apparently medium jumbo frets. Unsure about the radius.

    5. I also have 3 x MIM Classic Series 70's replicas. These have 7.25 radius & vintage frets. Nice !!! I also string these up with 0.011's without fault, issue or complaint. I'm glad that you dial in your sound to suit your needs.

    Life circumstance also means that when I play my electric guitars, they're often unplugged for my dogma-practice-routines. The volume obtained is surprisingly nice & usable for being unplugged. I would not be able to do this with strings less than what I use, & be forced to plug-in to something...Ergo, no complaints from neighbors etc etc.

    Ciao,

    Rastus
     
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  19. abnormaltoy

    abnormaltoy Thread derailer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 28, 2013
    Tucson

    I was going to...but I was enjoying the show.

    Another thing is...modern strings are made from completely different alloys...that may or may not make up for the missing mass.

    For me...I change all the time anywhere from 9.5 to 11.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
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  20. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 27, 2014
    Arizona
    Thanks for the nice reply!
    At 47, you're still young to me . . . I'm 70 and still going strong.
    Your comment about folks with issues with their hands kinda sounded like a put down IMHO, but perhaps you didn't intend that. I use 8s and 7s because it's fun to have that slinkiness not because I have issues.
    Glad to hear you have some 7.25 necks. I really like them and never have trouble with fretting out on bends. I'd try a 6.25 neck if someone made them. :)
    Cheers!
    TGF
     
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