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String gauge question

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by D_Kita, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. D_Kita

    D_Kita Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    15
    57
    Oct 21, 2017
    Japan
    Sorry for all the posts, but I’m new to this guitar thing and am a curious person.
    I looked up some posts but none fit my exact situation.
    My guitar came from the shop with what I believe are 9 gauge strings. I feel like I want to go up to 10s or 10.5. I don’t have a floating bridge. Vintage fretboard radius and fret wire.
    My question is, will I have a problem with the action? It is currently set up to be pretty low. And will I need to make truss rod adjustments?
     

  2. TheDuck

    TheDuck Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    53
    Jan 12, 2016
    Lil' Rhody
    You may have to raise the action slightly, and possibly tighten the truss rod.
    You wont know until you install the heavier strings, though either way, its a simple and minor adjustment.

    NOTE: Dont buy into the hype, or bulls*** as I call it, that heavier strings play better, sound fatter, etc;, etc.
    Its just not true.
    Many players prefer heavier strings, and you might too, but dont go in believing they are something they aren't. You can do anything and everything with light strings that you can do with heavier gauges.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
    s5tuart, 2-Finger, Hal Nico and 5 others like this.

  3. suncrush

    suncrush Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 25, 2014
    Pittsburgh
    Going further, since you're new to guitar, I'd find the string weight you like, then drop the $50 for a professional setup. There can be a million things a little out-of-whack, and banging them all in as a newbie can be very difficult. Well worth getting a pro to do it.

    Now, lots of people don't play a standard setup, but lots of people do. You'll go in knowing that you're in the ballpark in any case, and you can make adjustments to suit you as you get more experience.
     
    Stratoskater and D_Kita like this.

  4. Whittler

    Whittler Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 23, 2013
    Maine
    If the 9s feel good why not stay with them unless your getting a very good deal on the a lot of 10s. 9s are very good strings a little easier on the fingers and for sound that's why the have tone bobs on the guitar and amp.

    If you just want to try them go for it and good luck with the adjustments.
     
    D_Kita likes this.

  5. El_Pistolero

    El_Pistolero Strat-Talker

    Age:
    26
    436
    Nov 27, 2015
    North Carolina
    Is there any reason why you want to go up to 10's? Is it a sound thing? You could also try experimenting with different brands of 9's and see if you like any in particular then stick with it. I agree on having it set up by the way. You'll be learning on a fine tuned machine that won't hinder you in any way. Enjoy!
     
    D_Kita likes this.

  6. D_Kita

    D_Kita Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    15
    57
    Oct 21, 2017
    Japan
    I’ve got a friend using 9s saying that he’s got a lot of string breaking. No trouble so far with mine but it does get played everyday and restringing often seems to be a pain.
     

  7. D_Kita

    D_Kita Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    15
    57
    Oct 21, 2017
    Japan
    I don’t think they would sound much different. At least, not between 9s and 10s. Just looking for durability.
     

  8. TheDuck

    TheDuck Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    53
    Jan 12, 2016
    Lil' Rhody
    Unless you're a brutally hard player like SRV was, 009s will suite you just fine.
     
    El_Pistolero likes this.

  9. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 8, 2009
    Area 51
    Another thing to consider with string gauge is your touch, or how hard you play - the reason some players sound great using lighter strings is usually because they have a lighter touch.
    If you are more heavy handed, your sound will be more choked on light strings, and you probably won't sound as in tune either.
    Heavier strings are more forgiving of heavy handed players, which is why someone like Stevie Ray Vaughan used 13's, because he had a downright savage attack.
    You also have to consider how you play on stage into the equation - you may have a light attack sitting at home practicing, but on stage with the adrenaline going is a whole 'nother story.
     
    Chont, s5tuart, weavert and 3 others like this.

  10. D_Kita

    D_Kita Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    15
    57
    Oct 21, 2017
    Japan
    I know I should get a setup. But spending that kind of money is tough as a student. I’m kind of leaning towards sticking with 9s for a little while, at least until I can afford a setup.
     

  11. El_Pistolero

    El_Pistolero Strat-Talker

    Age:
    26
    436
    Nov 27, 2015
    North Carolina
    @D_Kita, ^^^ this. Your friend may have worn a groove into a saddle that is catching the string and eventually breaking it. There could be a burr, there are a number of things, but strings don't break regularly regardless of gauge. If anything, you should generally change them before they break as general maintenance.
     
    Miotch likes this.

  12. suncrush

    suncrush Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 25, 2014
    Pittsburgh
    It's not uncommon for new players to have a heavy touch, too. There's two schools of thought here--play a heavier string so that you actually stay in tune, or play a light string and figure out how to lighten your touch to stay in tune.

    I can't tell you which is better. I can tell you what I did, but your mileage may certainly vary.
     

  13. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 8, 2009
    Area 51
    You could give Ernie Ball Paradigm strings a try - apparently they are super tough to break - more expensive then most strings, but cheaper than a setup.
     

  14. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    59
    May 21, 2010
    Sheffield, UK
    My friend used to shear the heads off bolts when he was rebuilding his car engine. It didn't mean that the bolts were faulty or not up to the job, just that my friend is a hamfisted gorilla who has no place doing such tasks.
     
    henderman and Hairy Bear like this.

  15. Biddlin

    Biddlin Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 11, 2013
    USA
    Why? Stick with the 9s and develop some technique. Contrary to popular belief guitar playing is not a feat of strength but a matter of practice and nuance.
    You can get a professional setup in Florida for $50? Is this at a roadside stand where you can buy stuffed alligators and armadillos?;)
     
    s5tuart likes this.

  16. nederemer

    nederemer Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    31
    730
    Oct 25, 2017
    Somerset, Kentucky, USA.
    If you are really interested in the guitar it would be worthwhile to learn to do a setup yourself. It might seem kind of daunting but in reality it's fairly simple and it will save you money over time since you'll negate the setup cost every time you purchase a new guitar or switch string gauges etc.
     

  17. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    45
    Oct 4, 2008
    Stratford,Ontario
    Unless there's something wrong with the guitar, or the strings, for that matter, I think breaking strings is often more a matter of playing beyond the strings limits, if you're a heavier handed player. Then it might benefit to go up to heavier gauges. Then again, just as an experiment, I took my guitars from running 12s with a wound 3rd to custom 8s, 8-38, and haven't broken a string yet. Not from playing, anyway. One high e, despite being new, broke from downtuning, but possibly it was a weak string to begin with. It happens.

    As to big strings = big tone, I never really bought into that, especially not now. Nothing about my sound really changed. I'm still not quite Tony Iommi light(8-32, for D# tuning) and he has no trouble getting heavy tones...........:D
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017

  18. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 8, 2009
    Area 51
    The one thing I will say about bigger strings is that you tend to get better string-to-string definition on chords - mainly because the vibration field is tighter, causing the string to modulate out of tune less.
    Again, this going back to the touch thing - lighter touch on lighter strings will cause the strings to vibrate in a tighter area and sound more in tune, where a heavy touch on light strings will cause them to vibrate like a loose rubber band, at least on the initial attack. You can actually see it on a tuner - hit the string hard and the initial attack will be out of tune, and as the string vibration settles down it zeroes in.
     
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  19. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    45
    Oct 4, 2008
    Stratford,Ontario
    No disagreement here. There's definitely a couple areas where I had to adapt my touch, lighten up a bit, to keep things in tune.
     

  20. suncrush

    suncrush Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 25, 2014
    Pittsburgh
    From a guy who toured as a tech with Parliament and Enrique Iglesias, no less.

    Well, you could. He's on tour with Enrique at the moment.

    But, yes, in North Florida, $50 for a strat setup is the going rate. There are many fine techs who do great work at that price.
     
    trapdoor2 and Biddlin like this.