String Gauge

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Strattoro, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. Strattoro

    Strattoro Electromatic

    Nov 27, 2009
    Hi all, has anyone moved down to 10's? Guitars usually come from the factory with 9's and most people go to 10's or 11's. I was just wondering since my Gretsch came with 11's should i stay with 11's? Will it change the whole Dynamics of my guitar if i go to a lower gauge? I guess my question is , Are Gretsches supposed to have a heavy string gauge?
  2. Thunderball

    Thunderball Synchromatic

    Oct 2, 2009
    New York
    Go to 10s. There are no problems with the guitar at that gauge. I went down to 10s on my 5120 simply because I don't like a bassy sound from my guitars. 10s give you smaller bass strings and gives the guitar that much more bite/twang. That's good on a Gretsch.

    I did go to a wound G that is a .22 gauge. Factory gauge for a G on a 5120 is .18. From .18 to .22 is quite a jump up, but I just like playing a wound G. My fingers like the feel of it.

    Try different things and see what you like.
    MikeSchindler likes this.
  3. Big Burly

    Big Burly Synchromatic

    Jul 23, 2009
    Avoid 9s or lighter like the plague on a 5120. 10s are okay and usually don't cause any issues or need a new setup.

    I use 11s on all of my electrics, including my Strat-O-Clone. YMMV.

    You could try the Gretsch Electromatic strings if you stayed at 11. They have a smaller core on the wound strings and feel slinkier.
  4. charlie chitlins

    charlie chitlins Synchromatic

    Aug 4, 2008
    near philly
    I like 11's on shorter scale guitars (Gretsch, Gibson, etc) and 10's on longer scale (like Fender). It's a bendability thing for me. You don't have to push the strings as far to change the pitch on a shorter scale, so I go with heavier strings.
    stevo likes this.
  5. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

    I've used both on my Annie. My Mosrite seems to like 11's better.
  6. Strattoro

    Strattoro Electromatic

    Nov 27, 2009
    Thanks all ,for the info. Charlie this really made alot of sense thanks.

    Maybe ill take Big Burly's advice and try the Gretsch Electromatic 11's to see if they are slinkier.

    Thanks again gang :cool:
  7. Bengal65

    Bengal65 Country Gent

    Sep 11, 2009
    Houston, TX
    It should be no problem and it depends on your ears. The only Gretsch that sounded OK with 10's (and it was 10-49 set) was a recent G6196T Country Club. All the other's have 11's and even 12's on them.
  8. rick31797

    rick31797 Synchromatic

    Oct 27, 2009
    I wonder what Gauge of strings from the factory they put on a White falcon.
  9. Bengal65

    Bengal65 Country Gent

    Sep 11, 2009
    Houston, TX
    Not sure. Mine was new. They were 10-46 or 10-49. They came off in about 5 minutes. Way to wimpy for me.
  10. if you're talking about one of the hollow bodies, yes 10's or 11's are fine. I have 11's on my old Annie. if you're talking about one of the Jets, try a hybred set. I use ghs cl's on my "New" Jet. they are 9's(E(1st),B, & G) and 10's(D,A, & E(6th)). you get the best of both worlds. :D
  11. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    I use 10s on my bigsby-equipped jets without any problems :)
  12. rick31797

    rick31797 Synchromatic

    Oct 27, 2009
    Not sure. Mine was new. They were 10-46 or 10-49. They came off in about 5 minutes. Way to wimpy for me. I usually use 10-46 on a hollowbody, on a LP 9-42. What did you go up too with the falcon, 11's -52 ????
    I can only think it would give you a thicker tone. I may have to try this.
  13. rick31797

    rick31797 Synchromatic

    Oct 27, 2009
    What did u put on your Falcon 11's - 52 ??
    I can only think a heavier gauge would give you a thicker tone. I may have to try this.
  14. mikante

    mikante Country Gent

    Aug 11, 2009
    I use the gauge 11-50, the tone is much better, thicker and brighter, I don't even want to spend time telling about the longer sustain.
    Also the neck tension improves in my opinion.
    I would never go back to a smaller strings gauge.
  15. Scott

    Scott Country Gent

    Jun 27, 2008
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Longer scales(such as a White Falcon, Gibson L-5, or Fender Tele or Strat) can get by with lighter gauge strings because the longer scale length creates more tension. Lighter strings can improve bendability(if that's part of your style).
    Shorter scales can get by with thicker strings.

    That being said, I just picked up a used Keith Scott 6120 that I'd swear has 9s on it...10s at best. They'll be coming off very soon...I keep 11s on my 6120s.

    For overall reference I keep it simple. Usually, my Jets(and my Fender Esquire) are strung with 10s, while my hollowbodies(including my Country Club and Falcon) are strung with 11s. The longer scale Falcon and Club play just fine with 11s...a little more work to bend a string but nothing I can't live with.

    The bottom line is it depends on what works for you, your ears, and your fingers.
  16. db62

    db62 Synchromatic

    Apr 6, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    As has been said - does it feel right and does it sound right - that's the first stop.

    I've recently tried some D'Addario Light Top/Heavy Bottom on my hollow bodies and have really liked them. (10, 13, 17, 30, 42, 52).
  17. Chaz

    Chaz Gretschie

    Sep 27, 2008
    Oregon Coast
    Been real happy with .11's on my G5120. Lighter than .10's, you'll find the Bridge may tend to shift a little...


    Nov 19, 2012
    newmarket NH
    Great information and very timely. I just restrung my 5420 with 10-46's last night and haven't palyed through an amp yet but they sounded ok and were naturally very comfortable. My guess is that the guitar came with 11's and I may go back to that size set. Plus I tune down 1/2 step for everything - that way I can reach those Roy Orbison notes!! - so the guitar feels good with the heavier gauge. I'll keep experimenting though. God, I love that guitar!!!
  19. jflintmac

    jflintmac Country Gent

    I tend to use the heaviest strings that I can for the circumstances. I wouldn't want to go heavier than 11's on a hollow body unless I tuned down as Bill mentions above.

    Changing string guage at all should technically involve a little setup work as going from 10's to 11's is a little like hanging a 5lbs. weight from your headstock and expecting nothing will move - which is obviously not the case. The Bigsby arm moves as does the truss rod.
    I spend a lot of time getting that arm at just the right height.
  20. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    10's are good enough for Brian Setzer, and good enough for me!
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