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

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Butch Ammon, Dec 4, 2021.

  1. Butch Ammon

    Butch Ammon Gretschie

    Jan 3, 2016
    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?
  2. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    After experimenting with 12-52s, 11-48s, I'm back to using 10-46. To me, the Gretsch twang and jangle starts to fade at 11-48.
    Butch Ammon likes this.
  3. Butch Ammon

    Butch Ammon Gretschie

    Jan 3, 2016
    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.

  4. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
    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.
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  5. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    Pure nickel, round core flatwounds or roundwounds (10-46).
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  6. GreTschocaster

    GreTschocaster Synchromatic

    Feb 11, 2013
    I use 9's on all my guitars. Moved down from 11's due to severe arthritis in my left hand fingers. Just started experimenting with 8's, so far not bad.
    sgarnett, Mr Twangy and Butch Ammon like this.
  7. wildeman

    wildeman I Bleed Orange

    May 10, 2015
    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.
    Archtops likes this.
  8. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    I landed on 009er sets with all my guitars.
    I bend a lot and this gauge is friendly to the fingertips. Especially when playing for hours.
  9. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    10-46 for me. Tried 11's on my power jet to be able to dig in harder but it weren't worth it really. 10-46 is a perfect blend of attributes.
    Duo Slinger and Butch Ammon like this.
  10. 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?
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  11. Axis39

    Axis39 Country Gent

    Jun 2, 2008
    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.
  12. bhatta

    bhatta Gretschie

    Jun 29, 2020
    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
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  13. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    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.
    Butch Ammon likes this.
  14. Desirsar

    Desirsar Gretschie

    Jun 9, 2021
    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.)
    Butch Ammon likes this.
  15. Archtops

    Archtops Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2021
    I use the D’Addario 9.5’s on my LP. Great feel and super close to feeling like 10’s.
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  16. LeSainte

    LeSainte Gretschie

    Oct 4, 2021
    New York
    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.
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  17. jvin248

    jvin248 Electromatic

    May 16, 2017
    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.

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  18. juks

    juks Country Gent

    Nov 26, 2020
    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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