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9s on a Strat

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by draelyc, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Most Honored Senior Member

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    I tired 11-52 on my OM and 000 before but did not really like them. I imagine 10's would feel tiny to me on an acoustic.
     
  2. draelyc

    draelyc Strat-Talk Member

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    Cool. I’ve played around with customized sets before, and this time I may go to a 12 for the B string, and possibly a 48 for the low E, for the reasons you mentioned. :thumb:
     
  3. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    I've used the same approach, using the tension calculators available online from Stringjoy and D'Addario. I don't like a big tension gap between strings (I don't mind, or even really notice, tension differences up to 3 lbs) and heavier strings on the bottom end. Part of that is my ears, I'm a bass guy...trombone, tuba, bass guitar. And I find highs uncomfortable earlier than a lot of other people do, which might be related.

    Playing with those calculators, some major brand string sets are stupidly unbalanced. There are acoustic strings still on the market with a 30 lb difference between adjacent strings.
     
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  4. NorthShore

    NorthShore Senior Stratmaster

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    Does moving down to 9's from 10's necessitate a new full set up, or intonation check, or is it case by case?
     
  5. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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    I find I can get really sweet little tones out of my OM with those strings and can dig in and still make it boom pretty good.

    With modern amplification small strings do the same job. I know my two favorite luthiers advocate for .10’s and .11’s to be used in acoustics.

    I honestly started doing it because my OM had a high action when I got it and I switched gauges to make it more playable from a bending perspective. And I’ve pretty much stuck with them since.

    I do play .11’s on my dreadnaught though.
     
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  6. draelyc

    draelyc Strat-Talk Member

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    In my case, since I’m dealing with floating trems, I pretty much need to do a full setup when going up or down in string gauge. It’s not so drastic on my fixed bridge axe though. Fwiw & ymmv, of course.
     
  7. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Case by case I'd say - depends how sensitive your neck is to changes in tension. More than likely you'll need to slightly loosen the truss rod and then spot check the action and intonation - nothing too major though.
    If you trem is floating it will require some adjustments to the trem springs though.
     
  8. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

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    Finally, someone besides myself admits this. I think strings just sound better after a week or two. Period. And they certainly feel better, to me.
     
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  9. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    It depends how picky you are about action, neck relief, and staying in tune as you go up the fretboard. A set of 10s on a Strat would have 17.8 lbs tension per string (depending on the exact set of course) while 9s would have 14.4, a difference of 3.4 lbs. Times 6 strings, so we'd guess a 20.8lb difference in overall tension on the guitar. That a significant change in tension.

    Still, if you tune with a pitch pipe and you only play open chords and prefer kinda high action, and have a hardtail or decked trem, it probably won't make a setup difference you notice.

    On the other hand, if you play with extremely low action, use a strobe tuner because nothing else is accurate enough for you, or play chords with combinations of open strings and fretted notes above the 7th fret, if you care how high your trem floats, or if your 14th position solo HAS to be in tune with the other instruments, then you probably want to check and adjust as necessary.

    I personally check neck relief with every string change; it does change a little with humidity and temperature. And I check the trem float height, action and intonation any time I adjust the truss rod.
     
  10. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm also that way, I hate the "new string" sound. Pure nickel wraps seem like they get broken in a lot faster, but it still takes a couple hours of playing for that "zinginess" to mellow out.
     
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  11. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    the amount of neck relief and the intonation will change for sure. whether you can hear it, feel it or care is up to you but the science will happen if you change string gauges.
     
  12. johnnymg

    johnnymg Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I rather like the feel and tone of 9-46 strings BUT ..................... I get only modest usage out of the high-E string before it breaks when doing big bends. Stepping up to a 9.5 or better yet a 10 will give me a LOT more full step bends on the High-E. Hence, I now use 10-46 or 10-48 sets on my Strats.
     
  13. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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    I deck the trem on my Strats and have really low action and see no issue when I change strings. Twice a year I adjust relief on my necks if it’s necessary.
     
  14. Stratoman10

    Stratoman10 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    You're a bit of a brute I see :cool:
     
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  15. Stratoman10

    Stratoman10 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    My hands get beat up enough at work . I'm not going to fight guitar strings when I want to relax
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  16. draelyc

    draelyc Strat-Talk Member

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    That’s interesting, because physics would suggest that thicker strings, needing higher tension to come to pitch, would break more frequently than thinner ones at lower tension. :confused:
     
  17. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Most Honored Senior Member

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    9's feel way to slinky for me and I overbend on Strats and 10's on Gibson scale feel the same. As for the acoustics those gauges are what the Martins came with and what Martin designed the bracing around according to their custom shop builder I met at a local Martin event so I figured those gauges would properly drive the tops.
     
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  18. rlongnt

    rlongnt Strat-Talker

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    I've tried quite a few sizes and brands. I like Fender 9-42 in pure nickel but nobody carries them locally. I finally decided that with all the guitars my kiddos and I have I'd just keep a steady supply of Ernie Ball Super Slinky 9-42 on hand. Minus one Jazz Bass the rest are Strats so it seems to work for us.
     
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  19. Stratoman10

    Stratoman10 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I came to the same conclusion
     
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  20. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    That would depend on how the increase in tension compares to the increase in strength.

    Here's a chart I found via a Google search, not sure who the original source is so take it with whatever grain of salt, Steel Guitar forum and credited to "Mount Joy's chart":

    Diameter Tensile Break
    (inches) Range (PSI) Strength/Lbs..

    .004 439-485.000 5.5-6.1
    .005 426-471.000 8.4-9.2
    .006 415-459.000 11.7-13.0
    .007 407-449.000 15.7-17.3
    .008 399-441.000 20.1-22.2
    .009 393-434.000 25.0-27.6
    .010 387-428.000 30.4-33.6
    .011 382-422.000 36.3-40.1
    .012 377-417.000 42.6-47.2
    .013 373-412.000 49.5-54.7
    .014 369-408.000 57-63


    And for comparison's sake, from Stringjoy's tension calculator assuming a 25.5 scale and tuned to high E:
    .007: 8.7 (7 lbs under break strength)
    .008: 11.4 (8.7 lbs under break strength)
    .009: 14.4 (10.6 lbs under break strength)
    .010: 17.8 (12.6 lbs under break strength)
    .011: 21.6 (14.7 lbs under break strength)
    .012: 25.7 (16.9 lbs under break strength)
    .013: 30.1 (19.4 lbs under break strength)
    .014: 35 (22 lbs under break strength)

    So while heavier plain strings do require more tension to tune to pitch, they are also stronger, and the strength increases faster than the required tension does. This lines up with my experience that heavier strings break less often.
     
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