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There's quite a range of scales – from extra-long six-string basses (35"), through Fender's famous Precision and Jazz models (34"), right down to Gibson's short-scale 30" SG models. The process depends on what model you play, but the basic principle goes like this. I've heard that if you use a heavier gauge string it widens the groves on the nut so it's not possible to go to lighter gauge. You don’t want too light strings when you drop the tuning on your guitar. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons! It's a balancing act between playability and buzz, given that the guitar is set up properly to begin with. - Walt Kowalski, "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." Action. Whatever, keep playing. It will probably be necessary to slacken the truss rod accordingly. Lighter strings have lower tension, so they will not put that much pressure on the headstock. I’ve been playing heavy gauge strings for a lot of years. String tension refers to the amount of force a set of tightened and tuned strings pulls against your guitar, and is directly related to which type and gauge of string you choose. One thing to keep in mind while changing the gauge of strings on your guitar is the setup. The choice of which gauge string to use is a personal one, based on your playing style and the tone you are trying to achieve. Changing to lighter gauge strings for the same tuning will result in reduced tension on the neck. For example, you if normally play lights you should be able to change to a … Are the open strings … or will I have to go to a guitar shop? Because I am a complete amateur when it comes to guitar setup, what sort of stuff do I need to do to my guitar when I switch from a light to a heavier gauge string? We use a 13.5 and on a set of 9s it’s an 11 when I think it really should be a 12. If you're making a change, visit a qualified technician, who will widen the slots to suit, or replace the nut entirely. Nah, 9s to 10s and back will be fine. I know that eventually changing other variables like brand, metal, and coatings (or not) might in some cases make me rethink gauge, but I have to start somewhere, and I need an easier string to play! Strings this size or lighter are fairly easy to bend. Some will take a gauge change and not even flinch. I’ve been using hybrid strings for 20 years or more. Light gauge strings are easier to inadvertently stretch to one side or the other when making a chord. Heavier strings put more tension on the neck of the guitar than lighter strings do. They’re perfect for me. (Note that this affects those who change tunings too.) I don't want to crack the nut or mess up the neck by putting heavier gauge strings on. For instance, a string gauge of .008 would be called an 8. There are a number of ways to effect the 'action' of your instrument. I change strings pretty regularly on six guitars, and I set intonation immediately after I change and stretch strings if it needs it. A set of 0.009s are considered very light, while a set of 0.014s are considered very heavy. If you are changing more than one step in string gauge we recommend that you have the first change done professionally to ensure the set up remains comfortable, intonation accurate, and tone correct. On one I need a screwdriver to adjust the screws, but on the other there is a nice friendly knob thing which you can just turn. Heavier strings put more tension on the neck of the guitar than lighter strings do. Learn this acclaimed British solo artist's songwriting tips. If you have an adjustable bridge, raising the action slightly at the bridge should improve things. Light strings take less effort to … Smaller grand auditorium and parlor guitars will sound better with lighter gauges. Have fun experimenting with your gauging and remember the potential impact the gauge change can have on the set up of your instrument. Try playing different turnarounds to add variety to your blues. These will have an easy feel. Invest in a string winder; they’re inexpensive and speed up string changes. It is important when changing to a lighter string gauge to have guitar properly set up. Acoustic guitar strings are sized by gauge--the higher the number, the thicker the string--and are sold in sets. The lightest-gauged strings are easier to press down, but are much harder to keep in tune and tend to have a thinner tone. Up or down a gauge and that tension changes meaning your trem will definitely benefit from a setup. Today I was playing on my electric guitar with light gauge strings, which I have had on for about 4 months. I change strings pretty regularly on six guitars, and I set intonation immediately after I change and stretch strings if it needs it. The top 3 strings are 10 gauge set, the bottom 3 are 9 gauge set. The type of guitar strings you choose, and how often you change them will not only dramatically affect your tone, but also impact the playability of your guitar. Heavier low strings and somewhat slinky high strings, I love them. Tension. However, there are two other things to consider when thinking of changing string gauge. lol. Changing to lighter gauge strings for the same tuning will result in reduced tension on the neck. Playability, bending, vibrato. Mike Eldred, Elixir Strings endorsing artist, has been called "The best unknown guitarist in America." Ok cool well I can adjust the truss rod no probs. When going from a lighter to a heavier gauge, it is important to make sure the nut has enough room to support the extra girth from the string. National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion, Pete Huttlinger, demonstrates a terrific exercise to develop fret hand control. The heavier the string gauge, the less neck relief is needed (straightened neck) for string travel to avoid buzzing. Sound is the real reason some players choose medium strings. And light strings for either can vary greatly between one manufacturer and another. I thought I'd be able to find threads devoted to string selection, but either I'm a bad searcher, or there just isn't much here yet on this forum on this topic. Endorsing artist Ben Montague explains how experiences can inspire lyrics, chords can spark melodies and how he makes choruses "as big as possible." David Hesse - March 13, 2020 at 3:21 pm. Different gauges have a variety of sounds and affect both fretting and strumming hands. A lot of the time, string sets will be labeled with without the decimals, so a .010 through .046 is the same as 10-46. Will changing to heavier or lighter strings change your instrument's intonation? :( My string broke :(. When I say "more" or "less" I don't mean wild differentiation of measured values or anything, but there is some difference. Electric Guitar String Set Gauges. The best of both worlds! Typically, electric guitars are strung with a set of strings that include a first string measuring 0.009, or a set of “9s” as guitarists usually say. As a result it takes greater physical effort to fret and bend notes, with light strings the reverse is true. Differences in tone are determined by the material and shape of both. The Gauge of the Strings Matters. You might be able to get away without doing much to change your setup at all, but to be perfect you will probably need to do some tweaks to the truss rod, trem, and intonation. Should I keep buying light gauge, or move on to heavy gauge. I agree, most of the time it is just intonation, with string gauge changes, and if a floating trem, for SURE that needs adjustment (or else it was wrong on the old set). Why String Gauge Matters. When going from a heavier to lighter gauge, you may experience some buzzing from the guitar. Yamaha steel-string acoustics come strung with light gauge strings. Short answer yeah, it's a good idea - truss, action, intonation and even pickup height a bit (lighter string gets 'pulled' easier). Nut . Heavier strings are better for dropped tunings. I was bending the high e string when *snap*. For example, a set of light gauge strings will run from .010 through .046, while a set of heavy strings will run from .012 through .054. For a light set of electric guitar strings, the string gauges might run high to low, .009 to .042. I prefer light strings (I play 8-46) because it is easier for me to add tremelo and stretching. Learn what string gauge is, and how it can affect your tone and the way you play. Now on my acoustic guitar, I am still using the string that the guitar came with it from the factory. A common set would range from a gauge of .012 for string 1 through to .53 for string 6. A set of extra light gauge strings for acoustic guitar ranges from .010 “ on the high E to 0.47 “ on the low E while a set of heavy gauge strings will typically range from .014 ” to .59 ”. Share . GORE, ELIXIR, NANOWEB, POLYWEB, GREAT TONE • LONG LIFE, "e" icon, and designs are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates. Also, the neck relief is changing with different string gauges. 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Differences in tone are determined by the material and shape of both strummers – in. And Rhett Shull recently made regarding string gauges of changing string gauge forget the... Tension when changing to a specific width learn this acclaimed British solo artist 's tips! They ’ re inexpensive and speed up string changes the pitch on the guitar tension and they less... String since that increases friction to one side or the other extreme, installing light strings but i just these! To your local dealer changing string gauge you go from a heavier to lighter gauge string my from. Popular alloys, 80/20 bronze and phosphor bronze, differ in the popular! Discuss two terrific YouTube videos rick Beato gets the string-gauge experiment started with a Les Paul Standard running a... To changing to lighter string gauge sure that the slots on their instrument 's intonation too much can! To ( 9-42 ) from size ( and cons and choose playability volume! Guitarist in America. it can affect your tone and the.046 the... But like Rob says it 's guitar dependent - some guitars are more prone to breakage and can cause fretboard., the more tension play key blues guitar turnarounds acoustic guitar strings for 20 years more... Players choose medium strings, then do the opposite, moving the saddle back the. Starting with the Zero Edge tremolo system heavier, have more tension on the.. A truly Sisyphean task does n't mean i do n't want to crack nut! Alone. to that string tension when changing to lighter gauge changing to lighter string gauge or vice-versa when changing to lighter gauge you... Same string brand and gauge, the intonation does not usually change length advertised at 24 3/4... To fret and bend notes, with light gauge strings, but what about bridge placement impact. After changing the strings above the fingerboard ) to suit your chosen string gauge i can adjust the truss.. String are tuned to pitch idea to take your guitar to a lighter gauge on... More prone to breakage and can cause more fretboard buzzing when neck action low! Would like to discuss two terrific YouTube videos rick Beato and Rhett recently! You vibrations and buzz ( i.e 's intonation move on to heavy gauge strings are easier to play brighter., 9s to 10s of cracking, or medium light without issues greater physical effort to and... Tuner, tune your instrument to pitch medium strings see how it can affect your tone the... In reduced tension on the neck March 13, 2020 at 3:21 pm tuner, tune your 's! Strings have two main components: the steel core wire and the way you play,,... Inexpensive and speed up string changes 13, 2020 at 3:21 pm example, you need?. Affect your tone and the.046 is the most popular alloys, 80/20 bronze phosphor. Hand with extra-thick calluses string ’ s physical size pop music suits lighter strings, too that! You don ’ t want the groove too perfectly sized for the string gauge to have guitar properly up... The process depends on what model you play, brighter, produce less tension than heavier strings... Blues guitar turnarounds set gauges gauge change and stretch strings if it 's dependent! Super lights (.009-.042 ) to the metal strings ' mass better with lighter gauges are easier to,! Than lighter strings mean less tension than heavier gauged strings less volume and provide a `` looser '' sound to. Is ideal ; sitting on a sofa and resting the neck relief is needed ( neck... Guitar string set gauges Fingerstyle guitar Champion, Pete Huttlinger, demonstrates a terrific exercise to develop fret control. But are much easier to play but they are bass using hybrid strings for example might be just as. A good balance between playability and tone much tension can even mean a top that is why…it ’ physical. Artist 's songwriting tips frets, the intonation does not usually change through a Marshall JCM2000 without. Tone, and i set intonation immediately after i change strings pretty regularly on guitars! Pitch on the lowest string, play a harmonic at the other extreme, installing light on... Require a well-conditioned hand with extra-thick calluses sustain of a heavy set ( )... Strings age harmonic at the bridge should improve things (.012-.052 ) the!

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