Equivalent string gauge between electric and acoustic

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by cspencer, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. cspencer

    cspencer Strat-Talker

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    Let's say acoustic lights are 12, mediums are 13, and 11 extra lights.

    What are the equivalents in electric gauges?
    Is electric regular 10 equivalent to acoustic light 12?
    Electric medium 11 equivalent to acoustic medium 13?
    Electric light 9 equivalent to acoustic extra light 11?
     
  2. busted-e-again

    busted-e-again Strat-Talker

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    They aren't really comparable, and acoustics and electrics play and feel different.

    Acoustics need the mass and area of larger strings to ring out without amplification, and along with that comes higher tension. You can put the same gauge strings on an acoustic as an electric and you'll be able to bend notes like an electric, but it will sound anemic.
     
  3. cspencer

    cspencer Strat-Talker

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    Actually my question was if you play 12 on your acoustic, would you be more comfortable playing 10 or 9 on a strat. I understand the point of tension and driving the top. I am trying to figure out what's similar to an acoustic 12 gauge for strats. Because you can go down to 8 on electrics but lightest gauge on acoustic is 11. The steps don't seem to match.
     
  4. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    thwre is not really a comparison to make. If your looking for equivalents I'd say 9s on an fender type electric occupy the same space as 12's on a acoustic and 10'd on a short scale electric.

    I have 10's on any acoustic I'm playing through an amp anyway and the sound is fine...
     
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  5. cspencer

    cspencer Strat-Talker

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    I thought 10 on strat was more comparable to acoustic 12. And 11 on Les Paul. That's why I asked. I'm not sure.
     
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  6. Bluestrat83

    Bluestrat83 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    I play 12's on acoustic and 11's on electric
     
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  7. cspencer

    cspencer Strat-Talker

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    Strat?
     
  8. Tim S

    Tim S Strat-O-Master

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    There's no such thing as "equivalent". You'll have to try out the various gauges and see which one works best for you -- the same thing we've all done.

    I use 12s on acoustics, 11s on Teles and Gibsons and 10s on Strats and PRSes. I wouldn't expect that to work for anyone else - but it works for me.
     
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  9. Bluestrat83

    Bluestrat83 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    11-49 on strat and 11-52 for extra tension on my les Paul and guild bluesbird.
     
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  10. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Do it or screw it.

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    I figure Extra Light is comparable to Extra Light, etc.
     
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  11. Blackmore Fan

    Blackmore Fan Senior Stratmaster

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    I play a mixed set on my Strat (11 high E and two other strings from the same pack, the other 3 strings from a set of 10s--I found the mix from a Eric Johnson inspired post) and 12's on my acoustic. I still have to be more precise on the acoustic, but the acoustic doesn't chop up my fingers since I'm already used to heavier strings from the Strat.
     
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  12. Diamond_Dave

    Diamond_Dave Strat-Talker

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    Geez, everybody stop being so obtuse. Sure there are equivalents.

    Take D'Addario strings. Electric lights are 10-46, and acoustic lights are 12-53.

    Electrics generally come from the factory with 9's or 10's; acoustics with 12's or 13's. Those are generally considered light to medium gauges.
     
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  13. RnR Nolan

    RnR Nolan Strat-Talker

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    I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding your question. A set of .10s for electric are the same size has .10s for an acoustic (.11s are not the thinnest you can get on acoustics as you've said, I've used .10s before).

    The number is a measurement of the thickness of the thinnest string; The High E.

    For instance, the High E on a set of .10s is 10/1000s of an inch. So the thickness of a Electric set of 10-46 strings and an acoustic set of 10-46 are the same thickness. Just that you normally used thicker strings on an acoustic (.12s are a more standard gauge).

    I'm sorry if I misunderstood your question and this solved nothing. :confused:
     
  14. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Senior Stratmaster

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    There's no need to speculate. Acoustic mediums ARE 13/56. You are close - For electric, I consider two sizes smaller than acoustic to be standard for electric:

    Guitar-----Medium-----Light-----Extra Light
    Acoustic----13/56-----12/52-----11/46
    Electric-----11/49-----10/46-----9/42

    Which is consistent with labelling. The plain strings, or unwound strings are the same. Only difference is labelling. The wound strings are the same too, except electric guitars have electromagnetic pickups, that like more iron and nickel, therefore nickel and stainless steel are standard wounds for electrics, whereas acoustic guitars prefer the heavier mass of brass and bronze winding, therefore those materials are standard for acoustics. To compensate for the lower tension of nickel, most manufacturers now upsize nickel wounds one size, explaining the "thicker" wound strings matched with an .011 for electric, versus the acoustic. This "balances" the tension or feel.

    NOTE: nickel wound strings were invented and used before electric instruments were available, so at one time, both nickel and brass/bronze wounds were used on acoustic instruments.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
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  15. cspencer

    cspencer Strat-Talker

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    Awesome. That's what I thought. Thanks so much for confirming. I have been using .010 nickel plated hex core on my Strat. Now I've switched to round core pure nickel and the wound strings can gone up 2 gauges e.g. 28, 38, 48. But they feel like 26, 36, 46 plated hex core. However, if you use pure nickel on hex core you'll need to go the other way or it'll be too firm.