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Strats and string gauges

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by draelyc, May 7, 2019.

  1. draelyc

    draelyc Strat-Talk Member

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    So I recently got my first actual Strat, an '09 American Standard. Getting it set up threw me for a loop, though, as I had not expected the 9.5 radius to make as much difference in the feel of the guitar as it does ~ at least to me … but then, I didn't realize until I got the Strat that my other axes all have 14" radii, so that is a pretty big difference, in hindsight.

    I've ended up setting the action a little higher on the Strat than on my other guitars, mostly to keep notes on the upper frets from fretting out with big bends. As a result, my Strat with 9-46s on it feels about the same as my Hamer Mirage with 10-48s, as I'm able to get the action a little lower on the Hamer with its flatter radius.

    Is this a thing, or just me being weird? :p Anybody else run lighter gauges on your Strats than on your other guitars, even of the same scale length?

    Just curious. :)
     
  2. guitarface

    guitarface Senior Stratmaster

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    I tend to go 1 or .5 gauge lighter on a strat than on a 24.75 scale length guitar, but I've never thought about it in terms of the radius. I think about it in terms of the scale length.
     
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  3. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier Freak Strat-Talk Supporter

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    That's 100% normal, to be able to have lower action on a flatter fretboard.....
     
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  4. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    Sounds like you are doing the right thing - making it work for you. Don’t worry about what anyone else says!

    Carry on...
     
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  5. guitarjack

    guitarjack Strat-Talker

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    I think the height of the action should not necessarily change the tension of the strings.

    Maybe a stupid thing to suggest but new strings always feel ‘harder’ to bend than an old set of strings. So if the strings on your strat are fresh in comparison to the .10s on your hamer you could play the strat a few weeks and see how it fares.

    Also with a strat the amount of springs on the back and how deep the trem claw is screwed in also has an impact on the overall string tension specifically for bending strings. So if you are a heavy bender you might want to have 3 springs in the back.
     
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  6. draelyc

    draelyc Strat-Talk Member

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    Really? Maybe just my subjective experience, but higher action always feels, under my fingers, like there's more tension on the strings. Which makes sense, to me, if you think about the fretboard, the bridge, and the string forming a triangle: raising the bridge would make the hypotenuse of the triangle (the string) longer, right?

    But maybe that's all psychological and I just *think* there's more tension there when the action goes up.

    Yawp, good call. I've already got all my trem guitars (Hamer Mirage, Ibby RG470, and the Strat) set up with three springs on the claw. That does make a difference in the feel/tension, for sure!
     
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  7. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    It's not just psychological, it's just you and @guitarjack aren't talking about the same thing. The tension on an open string is one issue--and the action doesn't change that. If a given string is tuned to the same pitch at either height, it's got the same amount of tension. But the amount of force it takes to fret the string does change with the action. More action requires stretching the string over more distance to fret it.
     
  8. Gemini 51

    Gemini 51 Strat-Talk Member

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    I use 8's on my main guitar, a 2005 American de luxe HSS, that has the same radius as yours, I have it set up as a fast low action which may not suit everybody but it suits me, don't have any choking out and I do plenty if big bends
     
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  9. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Most Honored Senior Member

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    I use 10's on Fender scale length and 11's on Gibson scale. This way the tension on bends feels pretty close to the same.
     
  10. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I like EB 9-42 on my Fenders and Gibsons

    I like the familiarity
     
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  11. SAguitar

    SAguitar Senior Stratmaster

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    I play .010-.046 on all my guitars. That works for me.
     
  12. Will Lefeurve

    Will Lefeurve Senior Stratmaster

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    Play an acoustic with 12/13's for a while.. going back to a Strat wired with 10/11's will seem like playing with elastic bands.. Works for me.. :thumb:
     
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  13. spizike231

    spizike231 Strat-Talker

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    I’m right there with you.

    My acoustic is medium gauge, my Strat 10-52’s.

    Makes it seem easy going from acoustic to electric.
     
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  14. banjaxed

    banjaxed Senior Stratmaster

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    I use 8 - 38 gauge on mine because they feel much easier on the fingers and far easier to bend.
     
  15. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    For my old arthritic hands, 8s or 9s , depending which are cheapest when I need more.
     
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  16. ocean

    ocean Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    It shouldn't fret out from bending because of radius of fretboard

    Sent from my SM-A520W using Tapatalk
     
  17. draelyc

    draelyc Strat-Talk Member

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    But with a smaller radius, isn’t the middle of the fretboard “higher up” in relation to the strings than with a larger, flatter radius?
     
  18. owenmoney

    owenmoney Strat-Talker

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    Exactly ! The only tension difference on open strings is in relation to scale length and string gauge !


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  19. Swampash

    Swampash Senior Stratmaster

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    Action has nothing to do with fretboard radius. You're imagining it.
     
  20. mimmo

    mimmo Strat-Talker

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    On all of my electrics I use 11-49.
    After a little your fingers will know what to do.
     
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