10 gauge strings too heavy

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by StevenCH, Apr 15, 2021.

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  1. StevenCH

    StevenCH New Member!

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    I've been using 10 gauge strings for 3 years up to this point. Even though it's been so long, it still makes playing the guitar quite uncomfortable for me. The strings feel heavy, bends and vibrato are hard and I've been playing guitar for more than 10 years but I felt like I couldn't do **** on my instrument. Two days ago I switched back to 9's and there's a hell of a difference. My guitar is much easier to play, the strings don't hold me back and I rediscovered my touch, which was something I couldn't fully have when playing with 10's. I feel a lot better about my playing now and I'm not ''afraid'' of my guitar anymore.

    The weird thing is that I spent so much time playing with 10's and I couldn't seem to get comfortable with them. I just did it because people say that anything thinner than that is a big compromise in tone. But I think I'm gonna stick with 9's now since they make playing feel much more natural and easy. Any thoughts on what could be the reason I struggled so much with 10's?
     
  2. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Silver Member

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    J/k..no shame in playing 9's...play what is comfortable! Why work harder than you have to??
     
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  3. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

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    Yeah, that's the problem.

    And that is a bunch of crap ;)

    10's are harder. Even if you get used to them there will always be stuff you can do with lighter strings that you can't do with the heavier strings.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  4. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    There are some differences in the sound. Thicker strings have more of the root and less of the harmonics, which makes them sound bigger and beefier--while thinner strings have less root and more harmonic, which makes them brighter, more complex, and more cutting. Some people prefer one sound, some prefer the other.

    No one can tell the difference between 9s and 10s unless they're holding the guitar. 7s vs 14s--many people will hear a difference. The best at-home test: Your set of 9s probably has an 11 for a B string. Tune the B string up to an E. Right next to your .009 E string. Compare the two directly, in real time--you'll see that there is a difference in how it feels as well as how it sounds. That's how much difference there is between 9s and 11s.

    A set of Rev. Willy's 7s has a 9 as its B string. Tune your E down to a B--compare it to your B and you'll know how the B string on a set of 7s would feel and sound on your guitar.

    I find some guitars sound a lot better (to me) when the strings are heavy enough. I like 10s on Fender scale, 11s on Gibson scale. And 12s on my acoustics. But you're not me, and you don't have to like what I like.
     
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  5. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Most Honored Senior Member

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    To paraphrase B.B. King's famous comment to Billy Gibbons, "Why are you making it hard on yourself?"
     
  6. J4ME5

    J4ME5 Strat-O-Master

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    I think you answered your own question friend! They're heavier – which makes them a little harder to play... there's something nice and solid about 10s, but I am with you on this... – for YEARS I played 10s, this was when I didn't REALLY pay too much attention to ANYTHING, I just played the guitar... – I had assumed 10s were the standard, that everybody uses 10s – therefore I must use 10s also. Then I discovered that 09s were equally as standard, I tried them once – and never looked / changed back :) !
     
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  7. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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    --Doc...it hurts when I do THIS.
    ---Then don't do it.
     
  8. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

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    10's feel stiffer at home, but the minute I'm on stage and the adrenaline is pumping they feel right - sometimes a little light, even.
    Then again, I used to use 11-50's and have played as high as 12-56.
     
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  9. Rudedawg

    Rudedawg Senior Stratmaster

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    I switched from 10's to 9's years ago and haven't looked back; my old as dirt fingers with a touch of "arthr" still say thank you.
     
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  10. WelhavenT

    WelhavenT Strat-O-Master

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    I can’t play 09, feels weird. Been playing 10-52 the last 5-6 years (11s before that).
     
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  11. soulman969

    soulman969 Senior Stratmaster

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    The tonality issue is a myth. Billy Gibbons, and others, play with .008s. I like half size sets like .095-.044s or .095-.046s myself but yeah, play whatever is most comfortable for you.
     
  12. CigBurn

    CigBurn Total Hack

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    I really like the feel of 11's. Tonally I find which brand of strings I use to be as much or greater influence.
     
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  13. Murphcaster

    Murphcaster Senior Stratmaster

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    Not for nothing but I switched from 10s to 11s. 10s have felt too slinky for me. Different strokes as they say.
     
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  14. dbb541

    dbb541 Strat-Talker

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    I play 10's but did put some 9s on tele recently, feels really slinky, not bad just different.
    This is an interesting video on the topic.
     
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  15. Stratafied

    Stratafied Most Honored Senior Member

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    Will 9s as opposed to 10s , make much of a difference in fretting chords. I’ll hang up and listen.
     
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  16. Stratoman10

    Stratoman10 Dr. Stratster Silver Member

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    I can play 10s but prefer 9s. Your brand will have something to do with it too. I tried NYXL 9s and the felt like 12s. I cut them off in 15 minutes
     
  17. Pandamasque

    Pandamasque Strat-Talker

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    The string gauge pissing contest has to stop. 9s are not a compromise in tone. Nor are 8s! Did Jimmy Page have terrible tone? Or Billy Gibbons?

    Besides that, in my opinion, if chasing tone hinders your playing and you struggle to surpass that, then it automatically hinders your tone.

    Currently, my favourite gauge is 9-46, since the plain vs wound tension to me feels more balanced than 9-42 or 10-46.

    Different gauges do sound different, but it's a matter of taste.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  18. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Total of 114lbs of tension vs 95lbs?

    Ya... It makes a noticeable difference.

    I used to run 10s on my Gibsons and 9s on Fenders, but a couple of years ago went to the 9-46 hybrid set for everything and I love it.
    9s are just too floppy on the shorter scale Gibsons tuned down to D
     
  19. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

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    The thicker string thing can be a myth to a certain extent - playing with lighter strings - especially something like .008's - requires you to adjust your technique, or they will sound like crap.

    I can use .008's at home and they sound fine - on stage when I tend to play harder they don't sound as good - definition goes out the window.
    I can struggle with a set of .011's at home, but on stage, even if I hit them hard - the string-to-string chord definition is still there are it sounds better.
     
  20. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Senior Stratmaster

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    I fell for the “thicker strings means better tone” idea as well (I blame SRV mostly) I also started out on acoustic, and tended to overbend with stock 9s and using heavier strings seemed like a good idea all around. Making my Strat play more like my acoustic seemed like a good idea at the time. I was foolishly trying to make them less “different” from each other.

    I actually got up to 12s for a short time, but went quickly back to 11s and then 10s. I eventually realized that acoustic and electric guitars really are different beasts and decided it best to treat them as such. I also realized that I was working way harder on the electric than I needed to.

    Now I am working my way back down in gauges, but I modified a couple of my guitars nuts for heavier strings, and will likely need new nuts installed on those guitars. I’m planning to try 8s on at least one of my guitars.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021