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Thread: I'm restringing all my guitars because of this video

  1. #1

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    I'm restringing all my guitars because of this video

    Rick Beato did a video on string size and tone that was pretty revealing to me.

    I changed all my guitars to regular 10's maybe 15 years ago and just stayed with them for some semi-valid reasons and because I have a tough time adapting to different gauges I wanted consistency.

    Well, Rick Beato blew up my world with this video to I tried changing my 2 Reflexes to 8's and an Armada and PRS (shorter scale length) to 9's.

    No doubt I think the tone, especially on the low wound strings at medium or even higher gain, is way improved. Much tighter and better for most mixes. More snap or bark on the attack which I think is a better sound. Got rid of a lot of low noise that I would have just shelved out anyway.

    On the neck pickup or higher up on the neck on the non-wound strings I don't hear as much of a difference, especially as with higher gain tones.

    I really like how easy it has made my picking and I think it's improved that part of my playing.

    The bad parts: It really changes the way you use your fretting hand as it's real easy to either bend or just kind of squeeze the notes out of tune. I'm hoping this is just an adjustment in technique that I'll make if I stick with it.

    Also, for my Reflex's I've had to go down to 2 springs to get the bridge to float at all. With 3 springs and 8's you can't let the screws out far enough! And I always like my bridges to have at least a 1/2 step on the up side.

    Just wanted to see if anyone else had seen this video. I expect there will soon be run on thinner gauge strings!

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  2. #2

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    I like 8s
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  3. #3

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    Great video and great subject!
    Actually, I always wondered how the majority of guitarists chose their string gauge. I remember arguing with other guitarists about this when most guitarists believed that the thicker the strings the better the tone. This common opinion back than was mainly based on the fact that many metal guitarists where playing thinner strings and most of the blues guys thicker ones. As in the video SRV was a strong example. Some peoples claimed that the blues guitarists have the better tone since they use less gain and post production and so on. Ergo, thick guitar strings make a better sound. I am glad to see this discussion here and the video proving the opposite, although from a physical stand point this is not very surprising.
    However, I will stick with 10s on all my guitars. The video did not discuss all aspects of sting gauge. The benefits of thinner strings also relates to the scale length of the guitar. A Les Paul has a short scale length of 24,5" making it prone to thicker strings. The same set of strings can sound better on a 25,5" guitar. This is the reason why a Les Paul has been chosen for this clip; the effect will be more pronounced on this guitar. This brings the tens back in the race. I have tried 8s and 9s quite for a while but these kind of gauges break much easier than tens. A solution for that might be the enforced string sets that are supposed to be very unbreakable. I think Ernie Ball offers them, too. However, these sound different. My favorite strings are regular slinky's. Another important factor for me choosing tens is the string resistance. Since I am a big fan of alternate picking I need a rather high string tension. The fluency of the notes is depending on that. If the tension is too low, it is much easier to bend the string with the pick instead of picking it properly. Therefore, I do not have to restring my guitars after watching this YouTube clip;-)…….luckily…….
    Have a nice Sunday!

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  4. #4

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    I’ve defended my using 9s for years. I tried putting 11s on my Valentine and it made negligible difference in low end ... if at all, but it played completely different .... and not in a good way (to my fingers)
    Last edited by Astrofreq; 02-18-2020 at 09:13 AM.

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  5. #5

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    I use Billy Gibbons' .007 gauge for years. Really fun to bend, and you play for hours without getting tired. The tone is a nice bonus.

  6. #6

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    Haven't watched the video yet, but I've experimented with different gauges for years. It's a very personal choice, and different instruments seem to prefer certain strings, imho.
    I've pretty much settled on 9's mostly and used to have to special order 9.5's for certain guitars.
    I've not tried the 7's, but have used 8's a few times... you definitely have to adjust your touch...
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  7. #7

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    For some cases this works, but good luck playing 80s thrash with .008 strings. The pick feel is totally different, and having the higher gauge strings really is an inherent part of the sound and articulation used for that style.

    I believe Billy Gibbons started using thinner strings after talking to BB King. Many played thicker strings to get a louder and thicker tone. More metal = more signal. BB told Billy "that's what the amp is for".

    The stock strings on the Steve Morse guitars have .010 tops and .009 bottoms, probably to give a tighter low end response.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    I believe Billy Gibbons started using thinner strings after talking to BB King. Many played thicker strings to get a louder and thicker tone. More metal = more signal. BB told Billy "that's what the amp is for".
    Yup. I've seen Billy Gibbons talking about this episode in various interviews, like this one:

    Billy Gibbons: “BB King strummed my guitar, looked at me rather quizzically and said, ‘Why you working so hard?’” | MusicRadar

  9. #9

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    I watched the video and gave it a try , went from 10s to 8s and so far I kind of like it. I tried 8- 38 gauge strings and then also tried 10-38 the Hendrix i really like the feel of that set too . I thought it was a fun video that have you something to think about . I remember years ago a bunch of guitar players trying to outdo each other of who uses the heaviest strings .
    It was kind of funny.

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by gforce013 View Post
    then also tried 10-38 the Hendrix i really like the feel of that set too
    It's important to mention that Hendrix tuned his guitar to Eb (half step down) while using 10-38 gauge.

  11. #11

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    Yes he did , my guitars are all tuned to eflat. Most every band I’ve ever played in has tuned that way .

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  12. #12

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    I don't like the feeling and sound of 9s, compared to 10s.
    It's very subtle and I'm not gonna shake my head more than that about it
    Not every aspect has been covered in the video and when implying guitar heroes from JP to Dick dale are wrong using thicker strings needs some artillery of arguments to prove it !
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  13. #13

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    Anything that gets rid of the old nonsense of "real men" use 10s, or 11s, or 16s or whatever, or that "tone is better" with heavier strings, is a good thing. It's just all BS! Jeez, I swear if SRV had a bowling ball there'd be people out there saying we should use the same weight and span and finger hole sizes he did. Look at it that way, it's obviously nonsense!

    For a few of my gigging years I had 10s and high action and it was a great day when I decided that was not for me. It was a great day the first time someone said "Oh really? But SRV used..." and I cut them off and said "Stop. My job as pro musician is to sound MY BEST when *I* play. That's my best tone. For me, that's 9s and medium-low action."

    And remember, Tommy Emmanuel - heavy strings (and he practices constantly to maintain his strength). Larry Carlton 10-52 on Gibson scale. With his tech he did a blind test over a few gigs, the tech put strings on without telling larry what they were. He chose the set that felt best to him. John Petrucci - stupid low action that for mere mortals like the rest of us will buzz like crazy so much that people actually take the time to sign up to a guitar forum to complain that there is something wrong with their guitar!

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  14. #14

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    Dr Kev - Speaks the truth. Guy I know plays with what I describe as fence post wire, but he's done it for so long he just can't adapt his feel to anything else to sound as good as he does.
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  15. #15

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    I wonder sometimes how much of the tone I "hear" is actually influenced by what I feel. I used to swear by 10s or even 11s on some guitars thinking it was giving a much more powerful sound but in a blind sound test I doubt I would hear the difference. Same thing with rosewood/ebony/maple fretboards. While playing I swear I can hear the difference but would never be able to tell you what someone else was playing by sound alone.

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