View Full Version : What size/gauge of strings do U use and Why?

10-24-2005, 04:24 PM
I grew up, a child of the 60's...I remember when "Slinkys" first came out (way before "super slinkys")...Before that, everyone was trying to put together lighter and lighter gauged strings. In those days a med. gauge of gibson electric strings was 12 - 62 (I know this because I still have a set that I never opened and never used from back then)!

When I was a kid, I had 8's and 9's, usually from Fender or Ernie Ball....on everything for every reason. Years later, when I was managing Survivor, Jimmy Petrick (founder/leader/principal writer of the group & fellow guitar collector), after playing a Moserite of mine with 9's on it, told me to "...at least put 11's on it, and I will get a much richer tone". Needless to say, I did and was converted. Jimmy used to tease me that all the "midwest" guitarists used "logs" for strings, and all the westcoast guitarists used "rubber bands" and thats why you could always hear the difference on record or live between the two ! I don't know if he was "right", but you can definitly hear the difference immediately ! Now I use 12 - 54's on most of my "working axes" (all tuned down to "D" - I like the deeper tones) - but I also have a couple of guitars with 11's, 10's and yes, even one with 9's on it (mostly so my 14 year old daughter can play it easier) - all tuned to concert pitch - usually for taking to "jams".

I was wondering what other members of this site use....and their reasonings behind such decisions?

10-24-2005, 04:32 PM
I use 11's on all my guitars. Lately I've been using GHS Boomers 11-50's. I keep my short scale guitars tuned to E and my 25.5" scale guitars tuned to E flat.

The thicker strings just sound better to me. Also, I do not have a light touch with my left hand, so I tend to fret lighter strings sharp, especially on guitars with jumbo frets.

10-24-2005, 04:38 PM
Went with 10-46 GHS Boomers in '86 when I started... I saw an ad in Circus Magazine with Queensryche playing them, so I decided to go with those, been using them pretty much ever since, tuned to either E or Eb (I also use Carvin strings which are Boomers in Carvin packaging). Now I sometimes also use Ernie Ball Power Slinky 11-48 on a couple of guitars usually in either Eb or D.
I've tried 9s a few times through the years, but they always broke too easy and feel like spider webs to me!

10-24-2005, 05:03 PM
I use Ernie Ball Super Slinkys (9-42's), I used to use Fender Super Bullets, but I ran out and someone gave me a set of EB's, been converted ever since.

10-24-2005, 05:43 PM
10-46 boomers

more metal, more tone, but i'm still a whimp so i'll stick with 10's

10-24-2005, 06:06 PM
EB 9-42s, soft feel, bend so nice, hybrids on my tele, standard tuning, classic rock.

Jack Napalm
10-24-2005, 06:16 PM
9-42's on all stardard tuned guitars. 10-46 on all that are 1/2 step down. Started on 9's and have always stayed with them but when I tuned down a half step they seemed to spongy.

10-24-2005, 06:43 PM
EBMM 10-46 pure nickel stringes (normally tuned to E on 25.5" scale lengths) but I think I'm going to move up to 11-48 soon. I like the feel of bigger strings and ther warmer tone & softer feel of nickel as compared to steel or steel core.

10-24-2005, 06:45 PM
I'm all over the place... I've been using EB for awhile, but am gonna give D'addario a shot. I usually tune to drop C (CGCFAD), and use 11-54 or so, but a buddy of mine just turned me onto a really light D'addario set. He uses the same tuning as me, and strings up 10-49.

So, what do I use? Whatever works best at the moment /images/graemlins/smile.gif

10-24-2005, 06:58 PM
I just can't stand any "flop" in my strings. I'm still thinking of moving up to 12's, because I put alot of power into my picking.

Shawn Lutz
10-24-2005, 07:02 PM
GHS Boomers 10-46. I've been using them since about 83. I've tried going to 9's a few but always ended up breaking them so I stuck with 10's. I tried a couple different brands but noticed some had slightly different tension, even though they were 10-46 and each string gauge identical, the Floyd wouldn't be exactly level with the body....I liked the GHS's and stayed with them ever since and they are consistent. All of my guitar are Floyded so consistent string tension is a good thing

10-24-2005, 07:59 PM
10-52 tuned to either Eb, Eb dropped Db, or D dropped C. 9s just seem too flimsy to me. I have to be able to feel my strings more.

Cleveland Metal
10-24-2005, 08:12 PM
SIT 10-46 S-1046 tuned to D.

Hard to find anymore...

10-24-2005, 09:03 PM
Boomers 10-46 for me. The Lynch ads from back in the day sold me on them when I started playing. Pretty good bang for your buck too when they're only $4.36 a pack to boot.

The thicker strings just sound better to me. Also, I do not have a light touch with my left hand, so I tend to fret lighter strings sharp, especially on guitars with jumbo frets.

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more metal, more tone, but i'm still a whimp so i'll stick with 10's

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Same with me Travis and Dreamland_Rebel, plus 9's just sound too bright for me. I'm going to experiment with 11's the next time I restring the Model 2. I have it tuned to standard D, and I'm wanting to see what a difference 11's will make.

Boxcar Willie 84
10-24-2005, 10:36 PM
I use Dean Markley Blue Steels, 11-52. I like the way the steel strings sound and feel, and I use heavier ones cuz I like to hit them pretty hard with my pick. I tune my guitar to drop D and the 52 doesn't flop around at all.

10-24-2005, 11:27 PM
GHS 9-42 on all my Floyded guitars.
GHS 10-46 on my v-trem strat.
All tuned to E.
I've never had a problem with string breaks using 9's.

Nuclear Vampire
10-25-2005, 12:58 AM
Dean Markley Custom Lites on my Charvels. One's in Eb and ones E standard. I like having the top 3 strings at a heavier gauge and the 9's on the bottom 3 for lead.

My King V is in C standard with a set of Dean Markley Jazz strings (12 - 54). Nice and crunchy.

10-25-2005, 07:44 AM
years of typing poorly at a computer has forced me into lighter strings - I use 9-46 - mostly Ernie Ball's but I'm flexible. On acoustics I tend to use 11's. My baritone Telecaster has either 12's or 14's on it depending on what I have handy.

10-25-2005, 07:47 AM
I use D'Addario 9-42 on all my guitars. They last long, never break, sound and feel great to me.

10-25-2005, 08:26 AM
Pretty good bang for your buck too when they're only $4.36 a pack to boot.

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Walmart in my area has them for $3.84 a pack, but I'm interested in getting a lower price than that.

I use the hybrid 9-46 Boomer sets on everything.

10-25-2005, 11:29 AM
I use 9-42 on strat scales and 10-46 on LP scales. Everthing is tuned E at A440. I use whatever I have laying around, but I mostly order from webstrings.

10-25-2005, 07:05 PM
I use D'Addario 9-42 on all my guitars. They last long, never break, sound and feel great to me.

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+1. I've tried other brands, but always came back to these. I tried 10s once but just couldn't get used to them.

10-25-2005, 10:58 PM
GHS 9-46 when I can find them here. No one has more than like two sets here /images/graemlins/scratchhead.gif

10-26-2005, 12:16 AM
I'm an Ernie Ball 10-46 man. My first guitar must have come with that gauge and they seemed fine. When I did my first ever string change I bought 9-42 and it was like, whoa, where's the meat in these strings. I tried 10-46 and they seem like a good compromise, not too heavy, not too light, decent tone out of the high strings.

The sound of anything lighter seems too weak to me, though I know lots of guitarists in bands use 9's, or even 8's and seem to sound fine, I just can't do it myself.

10-26-2005, 04:29 PM
I use DR 11-56 Tite-Fits. I started of on GHS 9-46 but I always felt something was wrong so I tried out a set of 11-48 Slinkys. I loved the feel of the strings but I dont like the tone I got with EB's. So then I got a set of DR 11-50 Tite-Fits back in the day and have been hooked ever since. I wish they made a 13-70 set.

10-27-2005, 06:56 AM
D'Addario EJ22's (13-56 Jazz Medium). Going to be switching back to EXL140's (10-52 Light Top/Heavy Bottom) simply because I feel that those strings are the best balance of everything that I want.

10-27-2005, 08:24 AM
I use Ernie Ball hybrid slinky .09/.46, very easy to bend and thick enough at the botton.

On my Strat I use fender super bullets 250 of the same gauge,both last for long and they're smooth.

10-27-2005, 09:34 AM
This is great ! Keep it up ! ! !
I find it interesting that there are very few users of "big" (11's or higher)gauges. Most seem to be 9's or 10's. And I was those expecting those Midwestern Ax men to be touting those "logs"!

Oogadee Boogadee
10-27-2005, 10:18 AM
D'Addario EXL-140 "light top/heavy bottom". 10-52 tuned to standard E

Sound great, long lasting, short 'break-in' period, consistent, good pitch bend.

I like how the notes seem to 'bust' out of a guitar slung with heavier strings. I like the resistance of the string to the pick. My picks are .97 dunlop gator grips IIRC... the string seems to just snap right off the tip of the pick for a fast and immediate response...

too bad i have a hard time finding exl-140s in the store.

10-27-2005, 11:34 AM
Elixar 9-42. They coat them and the "New String" sound stays around for a hell of a long time. They cost a bit more but, they sound really good/bright.


atomic charvel guy
10-27-2005, 02:46 PM
the guitars i like and always have played were set up to fly on with 9's cuz i'm a pussy.
i don't break 'em often at all, and i've got big hands , you'd think i would use heavier gauges but 9's are the show for me. boomers, ernie's, d'addario's, anything in 9's.

10-27-2005, 07:22 PM
Was a Boomer user (still like them) but Steve (Severed Serenity Steve) turned me onto D'Addarios and Paul sent me a bunch... so I'm using those now. /images/graemlins/laugh.gif
I like thems too! /images/graemlins/headbang.gif

Drake S.
10-27-2005, 07:38 PM
I use 8's from Ernie Ball it's easier to change my tone with them useing all the digitech stuff I've been thru all these years. Sometimes I use 12's depends on what i'm going for.

10-29-2005, 02:23 AM
I've been using D'Addario's 9-46s (E/Eb tuning) for years. I also tried 8-38s - too thin.
When I tune to Eb I don't like the fret buzz, so I switched back to E. I'll probably try 10-46s because I'd love to have a bit "stronger" sound on the treble side. It just takes adjusting to it. That was electric.

On the accustic I use as thick as it (and I) could go. It/I could handle up to 13-56 (somewhat downtuned). D'Addario Phosphor Bronze.

11-01-2005, 12:27 AM
I use 9-42 on strat scales and 10-46 on LP scales. Everthing is tuned E at A440.

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pretty much the same.

Although I do have one guitar strung with 11s, down a halfstep. And another with 9s down a half, just to see how I like it. Both are 25 1/2". For some reason I've never liked downtuning short scale guitars.