Would I feel the difference between 9's and 10's?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by ZalicX, Nov 29, 2020.

Which gauge should I use?

  1. Stick with 9's

    62 vote(s)
    54.9%
  2. Go for 10's

    51 vote(s)
    45.1%
  1. ZalicX

    ZalicX New Member!

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    Been playing on 9s on my strat and I'm curious about 10s but don't want to do another setup for the new tension. I mostly play a lot of 80s Funk/AOR/R&B stuff (lots of cutting/chord playing), would there be a big difference in playability and sound if I moved from NYXL 9s to 10s?

    I'm imagining the 10s would be darker than 9s (not what I'm after). Is that accurate or just my imagination?

    I imagine it wouldn't change my left hand muting control any more than just raising the action a bit on the 9s would. I find that a lower action and string tension makes doing this harder for some reason, takes slightly longer to let those strings up to get that sharp cutoff.

    I started with 9s a looong time ago because Nile played 9s, but then I found out he played 10s and then moved back to 9s when D'Addario sponsored him so everything I know is a lie.

    So...worth it? Or just stick to what I know?
     
  2. soulman969

    soulman969 Senior Stratmaster

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    You feel a little more "fight" from 10s when bending and you may need a slight tweak in your setup but I've never heard any tonal difference between 9s and 10s of the same string.

    I split the difference and have been using 9.5s for five or six years now. Usually D'Addario XLs or Curt Magnan Pure Nickels.
     
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  3. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too.

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    10's are going to be tighter, but they're my preferred gauge for 25.5" scale guitars.
    Give 'em a try, if you don't like them, you can go back.
     
  4. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    Bending and vibrato ll definitely feel harder.....other that that you wont feel or hear anything different....also there is no real need to up a gauge unless you regularly do things like tuning down and dont want strings to feel like spaggetti.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  5. Cesspit

    Cesspit Strat-O-Master

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    I used 11s on my Fenders for years but arthritis forced me back to 10s.
    No difference tone wise, as been said, a little more fight with 10s and a slightly higher action depending on your set up. Once used to it I feel there's more control with bends and vibrato,, but that could just be me.
     
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  6. rolandson

    rolandson Most Honored Senior Member

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    I do. See above. From 3 decades of 11's, to 10's to 9's within the course of a year...arthritis also.. Though I do hear a difference.

    Whether that's the result of the string or my approach to playing I'm not able to dispassionately say.

    Arthritis sucks.
     
  7. Rocket King

    Rocket King Strat-Talker

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    I have 10s on all my guitars, Gibsons and Fender. No issues.
    Don't like 9s. Not enough grip.
     
  8. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    Me too. I tend to overbend 9s. If you have a heavy grip 10's will play more in tune. Tonally there is no difference (speak to Billy Gibbons if you don't believe me).
     
  9. Martins Strat

    Martins Strat Strat-O-Master

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    I don’t think you’ll notice any difference in tone, you will notice a slight difference in feel.
    If you’re looking for it to feel the same, keep the same gauge.

    Any gauge you get used to after a bit of playing. I bought a Telecaster recently that came with 9s on it, after playing it for a bit I changed to my usual 11s. The 9s felt like they going snap each time I bent a note, but then the 11s felt like a bigger change than I was expecting. A quick tweak of the truss rod though and an hour of playing and it had the usual slinky feeling I was used to. No difference in tone, just feel.
     
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  10. systolsys

    systolsys Strat-Talker

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    I play 9-46 or 9-48 for E-standard and with the occasional Drop-D. 10-50 or 11-52 for D-standard, Open-G/D (Keef tuning) or the (extremely rare) Drop-C. I like the light top, heavier bottom. Been playing that way for 30 years, so it's too late to change now.

    You will feel the difference, especially on the lighter strings. Note you may need a minor setup change - truss rod, bridge height and intonation. Nothing serious... just be aware and don't hate the strings if the action feels slightly higher.

    In terms of tone? Don't sweat it too much. Hendrix played 10-38. Gilmour plays 10-48. Billy Gibbons plays 7-38. SRV played 13-52. Your fingers are more important than the string guage.

    Edit: Here's a list...
    https://www.jeffperrinmusic.com/blog/string-gauges-of-50-legendary-guitar-players/
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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  11. systolsys

    systolsys Strat-Talker

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    I only ever put Fender Bullets on my strat because I don't want it to become a partscaster ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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  12. lukido86

    lukido86 Strat-Talker

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    I put Ernie Ball 9-46 on all my Fenders.
    Good attack on the low strings and easy bends on the high strings.
    Also with thinner low strings, I tend to bend them without wanting to, and then being sharp.
     
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  13. Michael919

    Michael919 Senior Stratmaster

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    It will be time when your curiosity to try 10's is greater than your aversion to setting up your guitar for them.

    Until then, play.
     
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  14. jbylake

    jbylake Regular Dude Silver Member

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    I used to play 12's. That was quite a few years ago. Now I play 9 thru 42's. I just hit the hell out of them, and can play much longer than I used to. Not quite sure what an instructor might say about that, but my fingers don't start aching after an hour or two. I often wonder if that's just normal aging, or playing impossible chords with 12's a few years ago.:(
     
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  15. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    I used 10's "for ages" on my Strats and Tele. In the last year I've changed to 9s on the Strats and can detect no significant tonal change and they are more comfortable to play. If you played a lot of power/metal type chords, or if you tune down a step or two, you would probably like the heavier wound strings 10's offer. But for the music you say you are playing, I'd recommend staying with the 9's.
     
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  16. Stonetone

    Stonetone Senior Stratmaster

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    Custom Hybrids for me, because really it's all about preference
     
  17. knh555

    knh555 Most Honored Senior Member

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    I prefer 10s. Easy enough for everyday use and still enough tension to be slide-friendly.
     
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  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Billy Gibbons played heavier strings thinking he'd get more toanze until he played a few gigs with BB King who asked him "Why are you working so hard?"

    Thinner strings give you easier string bends.
    Thicker strings can help a beginning player through the 'death grip' stage of fretting, but if you've played a while you don't need higher tension for that.




    .
     
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  19. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    You’ll definitely feel the difference. I’ve ventured into playing 10s on Fenders.... never liked it. I can make it work, but I wouldn’t prefer it.

    still easier than playing most acoustics, but I’d prefer to make it as simple as possible.
     
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  20. Rudedawg

    Rudedawg Senior Stratmaster

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    I have used 9's for as long as I can remember and they have been fine for me, especially when bending. If you want to try 10's to cure your curiosity then have at it, it's most likely not going to hurt a thing in the world other than intonation and your fingers when bending.
    Here is some interesting reading: https://hazeguitars.com/blog/setup-faq-should-i-setup-if-i-change-string-gauge
     
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