.11 string gauge vs .12

Fenderama

New Member!
Feb 10, 2011
9
California
Hi, I have been using Dunlop Heavy Core 12-16-20-32-42-54 guitar strings for 3 months now on my strat. At first it was difficult adjusting from .10's to .12's but then I got the hang of it very quickly and I can't believe the tone I was getting from these strings. Of course, I dropped tuned to Eb g# c# f# bb eb for easier bending, I have no idea if the letter's mean its tuned down half or a full step (I cant read music notations i play by ear) , I am just basing things on what my tuner says.

Anyways I recently switched back to .10 strings for better bending and I thought it would make my playing easier however the opposite happened, my notes were all over the place and I really missed that heavy tension that forced me not to bend my notes every 2 seconds for no apparent reason.
So I want to go back to .12 strings again, however there is a problem, I have a guitar class and everyone is going to be in standard tuning except me if I use 12's. I was wondering if I went to .11's and set it to standard tuning, will the string tension be similar to the 12's? And is the tone quality from .11 and .12 strings really that far from each other? Or is there another option I am not aware of?

Thanks for all the help :)
 

ghostwolf

Mod Admin
Jan 5, 2009
5,489
texas
give it a shot, the difference in tension between 10s and 12s is pretty drastic, 11s might just be what you're looking for.
 

Gravy

Strat-Talker
Nov 23, 2009
244
New Jersey
You could always just put 12s on and tune to standard (if you dont mind doing a set-up) thats what i do

I do use a slightly different set than you though 12-15-18-30-38-52

Hmmm now that im looking at it...i guess it more like a set of 11s with a 12 for the high e...oh well its a custom set anywho:rolleyes:
 

Hugh

Got Cluck ?
Jul 26, 2009
9,567
Louisville (KY)
Hi, I have been using Dunlop Heavy Core 12-16-20-32-42-54 guitar strings for 3 months now on my strat. At first it was difficult adjusting from .10's to .12's but then I got the hang of it very quickly and I can't believe the tone I was getting from these strings. Of course, I dropped tuned to Eb g# c# f# bb eb for easier bending, I have no idea if the letter's mean its tuned down half or a full step (I cant read music notations i play by ear) , I am just basing things on what my tuner says.

Anyways I recently switched back to .10 strings for better bending and I thought it would make my playing easier however the opposite happened, my notes were all over the place and I really missed that heavy tension that forced me not to bend my notes every 2 seconds for no apparent reason.
So I want to go back to .12 strings again, however there is a problem, I have a guitar class and everyone is going to be in standard tuning except me if I use 12's. I was wondering if I went to .11's and set it to standard tuning, will the string tension be similar to the 12's? And is the tone quality from .11 and .12 strings really that far from each other? Or is there another option I am not aware of?

Thanks for all the help :)

yes, 11's tuned standard are about the same tension as 12's a half step low
 

Alan0354

Most Honored Senior Member
Feb 2, 2011
5,739
US
12 for frequent bending is really tough. Particular if you play the older style that bending is the main thing and hold for sustain. Does it really improve the tone that much. I know heavier strings and heavy pick is good for fast picking. Lighter strings get too sloppy and cannot follow the fast picking from my experience.

I am using 10,13,17,26,46,56. I am thinking about changing G and B string to 18, 14 and leave the other alone.
 

Gravy

Strat-Talker
Nov 23, 2009
244
New Jersey
Alan0354 said:
12 for frequent bending is really tough. Particular if you play the older style that bending is the main thing and hold for sustain. Does it really improve the tone that much. I know heavier strings and heavy pick is good for fast picking. Lighter strings get too sloppy and cannot follow the fast picking from my experience.

I am using 10,13,17,26,46,56. I am thinking about changing G and B string to 18, 14 and leave the other alone.

IMO it does great things for tone...and the extra tension is something you just get used to...it's best to go up one gauge at a time, that way you "grow" into them...that's what I did

My favorite thing about the heavier gauges is that it let's me be more dynamic...I can play whisper quite with them one minute then hit them real hard and get some great bark out of em
 

Fenderama

New Member!
Feb 10, 2011
9
California
Thanks again for all the info its greatly appreciated. Great tip about the capo, why didn't I think of that! I actually have a G7th capo I use for my acoustic that would work. So I can use the capo for class and switch it any time I want.

Gravy wrote: IMO it does great things for tone...and the extra tension is something you just get used to...it's best to go up one gauge at a time, that way you "grow" into them...that's what I did

My favorite thing about the heavier gauges is that it let's me be more dynamic...I can play whisper quite with them one minute then hit them real hard and get some great bark out of em

Thats exactly what I realized was missing when I went back to the 10's, its a lot harder to oscillate between really quiet, medium, and loud volume levels with good control. 12 gives the sound more then one dimension. Also my speed and accuracy seems to increase with thicker strings. It does hurt way more when playing long hours, but thats why I started stretching and warming up properly before playing and wearing wrist braces when I go to bed to avoid problems in the future.
 

Felixq78

Strat-Talk Member
Dec 19, 2019
11
Sydney Australia
Hi, I have been using Dunlop Heavy Core 12-16-20-32-42-54 guitar strings for 3 months now on my strat. At first it was difficult adjusting from .10's to .12's but then I got the hang of it very quickly and I can't believe the tone I was getting from these strings. Of course, I dropped tuned to Eb g# c# f# bb eb for easier bending, I have no idea if the letter's mean its tuned down half or a full step (I cant read music notations i play by ear) , I am just basing things on what my tuner says.

Anyways I recently switched back to .10 strings for better bending and I thought it would make my playing easier however the opposite happened, my notes were all over the place and I really missed that heavy tension that forced me not to bend my notes every 2 seconds for no apparent reason.
So I want to go back to .12 strings again, however there is a problem, I have a guitar class and everyone is going to be in standard tuning except me if I use 12's. I was wondering if I went to .11's and set it to standard tuning, will the string tension be similar to the 12's? And is the tone quality from .11 and .12 strings really that far from each other? Or is there another option I am not aware of?

Thanks for all the help :)
12s on a Strat, WHY? Heavier string gauges don't sound better, it's a myth all they do is chop your fingertips up and wear out your frets faster.009s are good even 008s but don't listen to me check this video out. The guys on it know what they're talking about :
 

Stratattack72

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 4, 2010
1,038
pluton
Seems like people fear going past ten gauge and comment because of how hard it is to bend . Not really. The set up is everything . I recently went back up to 11's on my tele and it's wonderful . I set it up proper and it is not really noticeable in terms of bending or feel and the sound is much fuller .. Now 12's that is another kettle of fish . that But I used to use that gauge, and honestly it wasn't that bad . You do get used to it believe it or not and I was playing a lot of blues and classic Rock at the time . But it should be a gradual going up in gauge not a huge leaps . as your hands do need to adjust . I also due hand exercises to keep my hands string which aides me a great deal and prevents injury.
 

BuffaloHound

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 25, 2018
1,238
S
Increasing gauge by one step and tuning down a half step shouldn't change your setup a noticeable amount unless your original setup was on an extreme. So like you were already playing with very low/high action. Or your intonation was decent but not perfect.

And it seems like you’re changing string gauge for the right reasons. If you want you’re guitar to fight you more than you should go up a gauge. Tone difference are, arguably, nothing an EQ can’t fix.

If I was you I’d do 11s tuned standard. Only make adjustments to the setup and intonation if you hear something wrong or it bugs you. But I would be looking for intonation issues at first.
 

Stratoskater

Fuzz Meister General
Feb 8, 2011
11,160
Naked in NC
12s on a Strat, WHY? Heavier string gauges don't sound better, it's a myth all they do is chop your fingertips up and wear out your frets faster.009s are good even 008s but don't listen to me check this video out. The guys on it know what they're talking about :


Tone is subjective, what sounds better is up to each person. I personally think 8’s and 9’s sound like dog crap and won’t play em. And no those guys don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to my preference cause they’re not me. They’re salesmen trying to get views and earn money. I don’t listen to anyone except my own ears when deciding on gear.
 

CattleDog73

Strat-Talker
Jul 18, 2020
298
MA
Good god, 10 and a half year old zombie thread revived about a topic that has no correct answer other than play what you like. :rolleyes:

Yes!

Tone is subjective, what sounds better is up to each person. I personally think 8’s and 9’s sound like dog crap and won’t play em. And no those guys don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to my preference cause they’re not me. They’re salesmen trying to get views and earn money. I don’t listen to anyone except my own ears when deciding on gear.

Double yes!
 

fretWalkr

Strat-Talker
Apr 10, 2019
271
Dallas via Memphis
It's whatever works for you. I use .11s on most of my electrics and I've tried just about every string gage from .008s to .12s. I have .12's on my jazz box. For me .11s give the best tone, bends are no problem, and I'm used to the relatively high string tension.

Also I play in tune much better with .11s. Sometimes with strings much lighter than that, I grab a chord too hard and some or all of the notes go slightly out of tune. I don't have that happen with.11s or higher gages.
 


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