Down The String Rabbit Hole

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Robbie, Jul 4, 2020.

  1. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Age:
    67
    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    Reoccurring tendinitis in my wrist, elbow and thumb has me trying out new strings to see if any of the strings that advertise less tension/pull without going down a step in gauge have any merit. I’ve played D’Addario 10-46 XL for 20 years. I recently tried regular EB Slinky and from a feel standpoint there is a difference that helps. I personally can’t stand the sound of them however.

    I believe at this point I’m going to try some strings with pure nickel round wrap over a round core. Apparently round core strings have slightly less tension than strings produced with hex cores. There are companies like Stringjoy, Pyramid and DR that make these.

    Just wondering if anyone has any experience with this they would like to share, or recommendations. To be clear this really is a first world problem and easily fixed. If this little experiment with round core strings doesn’t work out I can drop to 9.5 - 44’s and get on with it.
     
    Back in Black, Tater and G5422T like this.
  2. 5120mantis

    5120mantis Country Gent

    Age:
    46
    Mar 6, 2011
    nj
    I always used D'Addario 10-46 or the 10-45 sets, ny xls on the jet 11-52 on the synchro and 11-52 on the EJ200
     
    Robbie likes this.
  3. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    409
    Apr 14, 2020
    Kentucky
    The D’Addario balanced tension sets tend to be a little lower in overall tension compared to the corresponding regular sets. I use the balanced NYXL 9 set on my Strat, and the balanced Nickel Bronze set on my two 25.5” acoustics. The balanced sets seems slighter brighter in chords, but I think this is mainly a matter of emphasis: with regular sets, I dig in a bit more on the treble strings; with balanced sets I keep the attack more ... wait for it ... balanced.

    I haven’t tried them on my Gretches yet.

    Also, when playing something with a lot of barre chords, I use a more classical-like playing position. This allows keeping the wrist straighter, which really helps everything for the left hand.
     
    Groutsch and Robbie like this.
  4. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    409
    Apr 14, 2020
    Kentucky
    I think D’Addario offers the balanced sets in the XL series also, and they have both 9 and 10 sets. I don’t think they offer a balanced 9.5 set though.

    The TI Blues Sliders are nice too, but the overall set tension is a little higher. They are sort of a light top, heavy bottom combo, so the 9s might be worth a try in those. I like the 10s also, but they don’t really feel any softer overall than a regular 10-46 set.
     
    Robbie likes this.
  5. Groutsch

    Groutsch Gretschie

    312
    Jun 9, 2018
    Maryland, US
    Newtone Strings is another company that makes round-core strings, but they wrap with nickel-plated steel, not pure nickel. I love their Archtop double-wrapped strings on my vintage National archtop, but I haven't tried their other designs yet.
     
    Robbie likes this.
  6. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa
    Ain't getting old great! I've been fighting hand issues for several years.

    For me, neck profiles can be heaven or hell, and for comfort, I stay away from "thin" necks.

    It's not so much the shape, but the thickness from fingerboard to back of the neck. More wood just feels better.

    The exception is the Gretsch Vintage "V" profile. It just feels perfect to me.

    I too have been thinning down on string gage. Been using XL 10's or 11's forever, depending on scale length. Short scale 11's, and long scale 10's.

    I mentioned this in another thread, but my Phoenix has been giving my hands fits. Neck profile is great, and being a long scale is no issue.

    Back to the strings. XL 10's just aren't comfortable on it. They just seem too stiff on this one, but OMG, the thought of going lighter than 10's would get me banned from Gretsch Heaven, right? Well I sinned and I couldn't be happier, along with my hands.

    I put on a set of XL 120's, 9-42's, and I'm not looking back. Problem solved, plays and sounds perfect to me.

    Guess that I'm not a real man anymore. Oh well, the Phoenix and I are best buddies now, all because of those 9's!

    I'm smiling, my hands aren't hurting, folks can say what they want, and I'm loving the 9's on this big Bird.

    Best to you on your string quest.
     
    Vrodri1, Robbie, rake_ether and 3 others like this.
  7. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Synchromatic

    713
    May 20, 2016
    Australia
    I think Willy has it worked out.

    Sadly I'd be surprised if a change in string tension will address wrist, thumb and elbow soreness.
    These are more in the Repetitive Strain realm I believe.

    Perhaps you need to do a Jimi in reverse - string ém all left handed and get on with it. :eek:

    I've had a bit of the same problem for years. As in the case of @5422T above bigger neck profile make life comfortable for me. Thin necks agony.
     
    Robbie likes this.
  8. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Could also try a half step down, 10.5s.
     
  9. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    54
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    Going down to a set of 009 did not change sound or tuning stability but changed the feel in a positive way.
    I do not have any problems with my hands/fingertips anymore, too.
     
    Robbie, new6659, Merc and 1 other person like this.
  10. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    Florida
    If you’ve been using 10-46 for 20 years, maybe a lighter gauge would surprise you if you give them a fair shake for a few weeks. After getting used to the lighter touch of course. Now might be the time if you’re not gigging with this Rona thing going on. Maybe 9’s would not only ease your pain but extend your years of playing. A lot of the old greats played up there in age with lighter strings.
     
    Robbie, loudnlousy and G5422T like this.
  11. LongJohn

    LongJohn Synchromatic

    545
    Apr 22, 2016
    Queens, NY
    Or stick with the strings you know, tune down and capo up. My.02 cents worth.
     
    Gregor, Robbie and loudnlousy like this.
  12. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    There's no shame in playing with light strings. Lots of people use them to great effect.
     
  13. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    TI Jazz BeBop Round wrap over a round core. Last forever.
     
    Robbie likes this.
  14. oneforsorrow

    oneforsorrow Gretschie

    114
    May 15, 2020
    Iowa
    I LOVE Curt Mangan stings. You can build custom sets of pure nickel round cores as well as off the shelf sets. I've been very, very happy with them. They break in nicely, hold intonation well, and last a good while. I almost took the plunge on some Gabriel Tenorio but was afraid I might really like them and they are crazy expensive. I wrote to him and asked a question but never heard back so I tried the Curt Mangan and I've stuck with them for several years now.
     
    Robbie likes this.
  15. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Age:
    67
    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    Yep getting a few miles on you sucks, but we have to adapt.

    Neck profile is something I’m messing with too. Interestingly enough my Les Paul Special is the most comfortable guitar I own to play and it has more of a slim profile 60’s neck. That may be due to the fact it is just a shorter guitar than my 355 and Panther, although the Panther is a little shorter than than the 355. I think the change in angle of my fret hand by not having to reach as far is a factor as well, at least where the thumb joint issue is concerned.

    Yesterday I went out and bought a few sets of D’Addario 9.5 - 44’s and strung my LP with the E,B and G from the 9.5’s and used the D,A and E from a 10 - 46 set. For now that took care of any issues where bending is concerned.

    So with using an overall shorter guitar and stringing the E,B and G a little lighter about 80% of the pain I experience playing has gone away. Once I can spend a decent amount of time in a music store trying out LPs with thicker necks I’m going to try that as well. Perhaps a Jet too.

    Thanks
     
    Tater, new6659, G5422T and 1 other person like this.
  16. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Age:
    67
    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    Thanks. I’ll use whatever works, no issue there at all.
     
    new6659 likes this.
  17. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Neck profile is a funny thing. I have two Strats one had a thick C neck the other a very slim fast neck. I have to change my gripping technique to play them and adjust the position of the guitar as well. If I try to play the thin one like I play the thick one I will cramp up in my hands and my wrist will begin to ache. I would be interested to see how the neck radius plays into this a well. One other odd change is I have moved up in string sizes. The TI I use are 12s in the bebop or jazz swings but I am not a big string bender. I have to work to get a full step bend.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
    Merc and Robbie like this.
  18. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Age:
    67
    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    You bet. If I need to go to 9’s I’ll do it in a heartbeat.
     
    Merc likes this.
  19. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Age:
    67
    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    Thanks. There is that thought as well. I’ve always played a 12” radius and wonder at times if a smaller radius might help.
     
    G5422T likes this.
  20. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Apologies I was editing my post as you repled so it has a bit more to it now. Radius bugs me and I think I actually have preferences based on string spacing. I have small hands and on the rounder 7.25 Strat fast neck, I have a hard time cleanly fretting bar chords. It seems no matter how I place my hand one of the strings will fall on a joint and not fret properly. It tends to sit in the crook of the finger rather than get a firm press to the fret if it was flatter I wonder if it would allow it to fret cleaner. My radii go from 7.25 to 9.5 to I think the Martins are 12 but might be 10 and the Gretsch are 12.
     
    Robbie likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.