...And yet, another "guitar string" question ;)

Butch Ammon

Gretschie
Jan 3, 2016
479
Richmond, VA
I am curious as to the 900,000 varieties of guitar strings out there, for different makes models, hollow body, solid body, humbuckers, single coil, etc...

I have always played .010's on my Strat and .011's on my Gretsch 5122. D'Addario and Ernie Ball, with the edge going to Ernie Ball Slinkys. I have stuck with Ernie Ball for a number of years.

Anyway, you all know I ordered that beautiful brand new black Strat from Sweetwater a week or two ago, taking advantage of those insane "Black Friday Sales". Well, the new Strat is absolutely perfect! It plays like a dream, but what is rather odd is that is came stock with .009's which are very light to me. I mean, it's great and the guitar stays in tune, it's intonated, neck is fine, action is fine, etc... So, I will leave it with .009's I guess, but I just roll the tone pot down to "8" to take the bite off the bridge pickup and bridge/middle pickup setting.

1995 Fender Standard Strat --- Open G, action raised up for slide. Ernie Ball Slinky's .010 - .046
2011 Gretsch 5122 --- Regular tuning, gorgeous guitar! Ernie Ball Power Slinky's .011 - .048
2021 Fender Player Strat --- Regular tuning, amazing guitar, just like Clapton's "Blackie". Came stock with Fender 250L crappy strings, .009 - .042 straight from the factory.

Getting to the point: I am wondering about changing to an easier string gauge, like .010's on my Gretsch 5122. Don't Gretsch's come factory stocked with .010's originally, or do they come with .011's? I find myself liking .009's on a Strat with the tone rolled off a hair, and I can do incredible string bends and literally FLY all up and down the neck! My Gretsch 5122 has a stock unpinned bridge with the awful TOM bridge saddles, held in place by Blue Loctite. Would .010's be a bit light for it, to where I cranked out Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" on my Gretsch on the high gain channel, I'd end up moving the whole entire bridge?

What do you think? What gauge do you prefer on your Gretsch?
 

Butch Ammon

Gretschie
Jan 3, 2016
479
Richmond, VA
My 5122 also has the infamous "Gretsch-buckers" for pickups, and I find myself constantly having to brighten my amp a hair -vs- when I play my Strat. Maybe switching back to .010's will help brighten up the Gretsch-buckers and add a little bit of brightness and/or twang that is missing with .011's.

Hmmm.....
 

Randy99CL

Country Gent
Feb 17, 2020
1,921
Albuquerque
About a year ago there were a slew of videos that popped up testing the affects of string gauge on feel and sound.
Generally, most players detected very little change in sound but a big difference in how the guitar plays. Many decided to use lighter gauge strings than what they were used to.
You’re Probably Using The WRONG Guitar Strings - YouTube


I read that Fender normally ships their guitars with 9s but both of my new MIM Strats came with 10s. I'm trying a set of EB Mighty Slinky 8.5-40 and like them so far.
All my Gretsches and Epis came with 10s and my Gibson LP came with their hybrid set of 9-46 and I like them so will phase in 9-42s on all my 24.75" guitars.
I haven't been playing long and my fingers still hurt.

But it is 100% whatever you like.
 

wildeman

I Bleed Orange
May 10, 2015
15,997
norcal
They also make .0095's! Give those a try. Dadarrio makes them. 10s will work ok on your electro. Put fiddle rosin on your bridge base to keep it still.
 

freddyfingers

Gretschified
I have gone up and down over the years. 10’s for a long time, then up to 11, tried 12’s a bit, then eventually down to 10 again. With electric pickups i didnt hear that much of a difference that would sway me to the heavier gauge. On acoustic archtops, it made a big difference. My Eastman ar610 came with 12’s, and had a fuller low end , i think i have 11 on it now as i play it out with a electronic saddle bridge pickup designed for it. I know some folks wont do anything lighter than a 12, and the guy that plays with me I believe at times has 13’s on his acoustic. Those are strong fingered people.

The positive about gauges is if you go up or down its like having a new instrument for a bit. It plays different, maybe sounds different, requires a different approach. As long as it doesnt require to much fiddling with nuts, bridge height, action, why not?
 

Axis39

Country Gent
Jun 2, 2008
1,619
Beaumont, CA
I'm with @freddyfingers on this one... Played 9's early on, went up as high as 13's on a Strat for a little while, but then slipped back to 10's and been there for years.

I play 10's on all my guitars, Fender, Gretsch and Gibson... all different scale lengths, etc. Except my Acoustics. I think I have 12's... Might be 11's. I know which set I buy, just can't remember the spec off the top of my head (I bought a pile of them a few years ago, and still have several new packs laying around).

I've tried going lighter... But, I spend my days working in a workshop, ir on a jobsite. I have thick callouses over the entire surface of my hands and fingers. That means I can't feel a 9 under my pinky.

I used to have issues when trying new string gauges when it came to bending. Lighter gauge and it took a little while to keep from over bending. Heavier, well, under bends can sound so bad! LOL. But, these days, between switching scale lengths, and a couple of years of experience, and the first bend is the only one that might sound sour.
 

bhatta

Gretschie
Jun 29, 2020
397
Bangalore
I have used hybrid slinkies for a long time.
My tele, strat n lp clone all were good to bend and sounded good.
On My streamliner, the 9's sounded a bit thin, so I chose Darco 10's. Good strings but don't last long.
I finally settled for Daddario flatwound ECG23, 10's for my streamliner.

Play around, see what you like, what checks your boxes n gives you your sound.. my 2c
 

Gretschtim1

Country Gent
Dec 4, 2012
3,629
Dundalk, Md
I use D'Addario 10-46 on my Gent with one addition - I replace the 46 with a 48 to give me a little bit bigger sound on the E string. I tried a 52 but it felt unbalanced to me. I love the sound of the 10-48.
On most of my other guitars I use Ernie Ball 9-42 for easier bending.
I've been Using Ernie Ball slinkys for about 30 years. They always seem consistent to me.
I sometimes use 10-46 on my Telly when I use open G tuning.
I use Thomastik-Infeld flat wounds on my Rickenbacker 12 string and bass.
I use Pyramid flat wounds on my Mustang bass.
 

Desirsar

Gretschie
Jun 9, 2021
211
Lincoln, NE
12-56 Cobalts on other guitars, heaviest Cobalts on all my basses, but 9-46 hybrids on my 2420T, because I want the chonky guitar to have more twang. (Which reminded me I need to order a wound third for it, but then I looked and nowhere seems to have 18s in stock, never mind 16s.)
 

LeSainte

Gretschie
Oct 4, 2021
141
New York
I am curious as to the 900,000 varieties of guitar strings out there, for different makes models, hollow body, solid body, humbuckers, single coil, etc...

I have always played .010's on my Strat and .011's on my Gretsch 5122. D'Addario and Ernie Ball, with the edge going to Ernie Ball Slinkys. I have stuck with Ernie Ball for a number of years.

Anyway, you all know I ordered that beautiful brand new black Strat from Sweetwater a week or two ago, taking advantage of those insane "Black Friday Sales". Well, the new Strat is absolutely perfect! It plays like a dream, but what is rather odd is that is came stock with .009's which are very light to me. I mean, it's great and the guitar stays in tune, it's intonated, neck is fine, action is fine, etc... So, I will leave it with .009's I guess, but I just roll the tone pot down to "8" to take the bite off the bridge pickup and bridge/middle pickup setting.

1995 Fender Standard Strat --- Open G, action raised up for slide. Ernie Ball Slinky's .010 - .046
2011 Gretsch 5122 --- Regular tuning, gorgeous guitar! Ernie Ball Power Slinky's .011 - .048
2021 Fender Player Strat --- Regular tuning, amazing guitar, just like Clapton's "Blackie". Came stock with Fender 250L crappy strings, .009 - .042 straight from the factory.

Getting to the point: I am wondering about changing to an easier string gauge, like .010's on my Gretsch 5122. Don't Gretsch's come factory stocked with .010's originally, or do they come with .011's? I find myself liking .009's on a Strat with the tone rolled off a hair, and I can do incredible string bends and literally FLY all up and down the neck! My Gretsch 5122 has a stock unpinned bridge with the awful TOM bridge saddles, held in place by Blue Loctite. Would .010's be a bit light for it, to where I cranked out Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" on my Gretsch on the high gain channel, I'd end up moving the whole entire bridge?

What do you think? What gauge do you prefer on your Gretsch?

I'm a big fan of D'Angelico Electrozinc strings. They are made by D'addario. The ball ends are also silver, brass, and black and look super snazzy on guitars where they're exposed (Like a hollow-body.)

Haven't noticed a huge tone difference in electric guitar strings (Of the same gauge,) but I like the coated feel.

The only downside to them is they don't make a 9.5 - 44, which I like as my general purpose gauge. That said, I really like 11-49 sets, and I think that's my preference for Electrozinc strings now.
 

jvin248

Gretschie
May 16, 2017
153
Near Detroit
.

Scale length matters to string tension and playing feel
... 9s on a Strat/Tele are like 10s on a Les Paul.





Gibbons switched to 7s on his Teles and 8s on his Gibsons (Lately I think he uses hybrid string sizes, and sells his own branded strings).


I put Curt Mangan Fusion Matched strings on my favorite playing guitars and Ernie Balls/DR/cheapest on the rest. D'Addario makes strings for many other brands out there that subcontract to them, and most of the string suppliers get their wire from a single source.

.
 

juks

Country Gent
Nov 26, 2020
1,828
Fremont, California
In my gigging days I played bass. I came across these gold plated strings. I can dig out the brand if anybody is interested. I'm sure they had guitar strings too.

They were expensive but lasted a long time before going dead. Way longer than normal strings. Never used anything else.
 


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