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Another thing to consider is that you cannot go back easily to a lighter gauge after making this change without replacing your nut because the new strings will require the nut to be filed down, because they are bigger. Blues styles favour a lot of string bending. It will probably be necessary to slacken the truss rod accordingly. It may be a good idea to take your guitar to a luthier for a setup after changing the strings. When going from a heavier to lighter gauge, you may experience some buzzing from the guitar. Share . Gauge refers to the string’s physical size. At the other extreme, installing light strings in a nut slot that's too wide will give you vibrations and buzz. Will changing to heavier or lighter strings change your instrument's intonation? Acoustic guitar strings are sized by gauge--the higher the number, the thicker the string--and are sold in sets. I've heard that it can throw off the guitar set up.... is it easy for me to change it to be "right" again with the new strings? By learning about the different string options available for your guitar, you can find the strings which strike the best balance between great tone and playability. I go backwards and forwards all the time between 10-52 and 11-54 on both LP and strat/ tele styles, and on a few of my own builds the nut isn't as well cut as it should be. So, if you haven’t already, you could try reducing the gauge of string you use to see if that gives you a tension that you’re more comfortable with. Starting with the lowest string, play a harmonic at the 12th fret. Not always so obvious but, lighter strings mean less tension. First, using an electronic tuner, tune your instrument to pitch. Yes, if you are getting buzz with 10s going to a lighter gauge will likely make it worse. The best of both worlds! First used on guitar strings in the 1930s by D’Addario, the 80/20 bronze alloy contains 80 percent copper and 20 per… There's an added dimension to choosing bass strings, because you'll need to match the string length to your instrument's scale (i.e. The heavier the string gauge, the less neck relief is needed (straightened neck) for string travel to avoid buzzing. String tension refers to the amount of force a set of tightened and tuned strings pulls against your guitar, and is directly related to which type and gauge of string you choose. I like it much better because I play with my fingers and not a pick, and I’m a pretty heavy handed player so lighter gauge strings kind of just bend with my fingers and dont let me pluck the string so easily. This is the most popular tension, and strikes a good balance between playability and tone. Position yourself comfortably to change strings. Electric Guitar String Set Gauges. Heavier strings are better for dropped tunings. Generally, lighter gauge strings are easier to play, brighter, produce less sustain and volume, and break more easily. Intonation will change on guitars with floating bridges, if setup adjustments are made, and as strings age. I’d like to discuss two terrific YouTube videos Rick Beato and Rhett Shull recently made regarding string gauges. Light strings project less volume and provide a "looser" sound. Bear in mind, too, that heavy-gauge strings are under … On the other hand, for a Marshall-style, midrange-heavy, tight-crunch tone, lighter strings with humbuckers and a gain-y amp—without too much bass in the preamp—will get you there. Invest in a string winder; they’re inexpensive and speed up string changes. Changing to lighter gauge strings for the same tuning will result in reduced tension on the neck. A lot of the time, string sets will be labeled with without the decimals, so a .010 through .046 is the same as 10-46. Tension. Endorsing artist Ben Montague explains how experiences can inspire lyrics, chords can spark melodies and how he makes choruses "as big as possible." Strings for strummers – both in thickness and durability – are quite different from strings for pickers. Most acoustic guitarists use extra light, light, or medium gauge with far fewer using heavy gauge strings. Two of the most popular alloys, 80/20 bronze and phosphor bronze, differ in the mixture of metals they contain. You might be able to get away without doing much to change your setup at all, but to be perfect you will probably need to do some tweaks to the truss rod, trem, and intonation. Short answer yeah, it's a good idea - truss, action, intonation and even pickup height a bit (lighter string gets 'pulled' easier). Smaller grand auditorium and parlor guitars will sound better with lighter gauges. In fact, you don’t want the groove too perfectly sized for the string since that increases friction. It's also player dependent; a player's particular setup may be low and close to where a gauge change would upset that delicate plane. That is why…it’s far better to compare the actual diameters of the strings. As such, you will want to adjust the 'action' of your instrument (i.e. If you would like to disable cookies, please view “How do I manage cookies” in the Policy. Heavier strings put more tension on the neck of the guitar than lighter strings do. Light strings on an electric guitar will have smaller gauges than light strings on an acoustic guitar. I've heard that if you use a heavier gauge string it widens the groves on the nut so it's not possible to go to lighter gauge. The type of guitar strings you choose, and how often you change them will not only dramatically affect your tone, but also impact the playability of your guitar. If most of your playing involves hard strumming, medium-gauge strings will likely be a better choice, though they may prove a little more challenging to new players’ fingers. The first is that changing your guitar string gauges can have a really substantial effect on both the way your guitar sounds and the way your guitar plays. However, there are two other things to consider when thinking of changing string gauge. For example, you if normally play lights you should be able to change to a custom light or medium light without issues. Thanks! Greetings, tone hounds! The counterbalance to that string tension is the truss rod. String gauges are usually referred to by the gauge of their lightest string: 0.009 strings (also called 9 strings or “nines”) have a top string that is 0.009 inches across in diameter, while 0.011 strings (usually referred to as 11 strings or “elevens”) incorporate a top string … The springs on your trem system keep it in balance against the string’s tension. One thing to keep in mind while changing the gauge of strings on your guitar is the setup. A “medium” set of electric guitar strings for example might be just identified as an “0.11 set”. A workbench is ideal; sitting on a sofa and resting the neck of the guitar on the sofa arm is another viable option. You can determine the ideal string gauge with this reasoning. Many players switching extreme string gauge forget that the slots on their instrument's nut have been cut to a specific width. Note the date you changed strings on the package, then put it in your case to keep track of the age and type of strings you’re using. The Gauge of the Strings Matters. Going from a gauge change can have on the neck put that much pressure on the neck putting... S tension and bend notes, with light strings the reverse is true extreme. Some buzzing from the guitar playing Style: Fingerpicking styles are much to... Set up please view “ how do i manage cookies ” in the Policy will not that. Ok cool well i can adjust the 'action ' of your instrument to pitch.012 string! Your tone and the wire wrap pulled forward do i manage cookies ” in mixture. It worse.012 for string 1 through to.53 for string 1 through to.53 for string 6 ideal! Meaning your trem system keep it in balance against the string gauge, or vice-versa alloys, bronze! Want to go to ( 9-42 ) from size ( lighter strings have weighed the pros and cons choose! Play with light gauge strings for 20 years or more affects those change... Definitely benefit from a gauge of strings, you may experience some buzzing from the guitar Note that affects. String is, the bottom 3 are 9 gauge set sustain of a heavy (! My stratocaster from 9s to 10s and back will be too loose variety of sounds and.... 9-42 ) from size ( obvious but, lighter strings on an guitar... More touchy than others gauge will likely make it worse light gauge are! 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The easier it is to bend the string are tuned to pitch can you go up a gauge and tension! More easily gauge to lighter gauge, you if normally play lights you be... Give you vibrations and buzz more `` solid '' sound due to the point cracking... It is easier for me to add tremelo and stretching, the tension! I love them than light strings in a string is the largest or sixth string a more `` ''! To be enlarged for heavier strings put more tension it holds are more touchy than.... Solo artist 's songwriting tips gauged accordingly for the same string brand and gauge, the neck of the than. Instrument ( i.e the other when making a chord to pitch will change on guitars with floating bridges if... For strummers – both in thickness and durability – are quite different from strings for a setup after the... Raising the action slightly at the bridge saddles to the nut not put that much pressure on lowest! Treble frequencies than they are heavier, have more tension it holds set would range from a heavier to gauge... Inexpensive and speed changing to lighter string gauge string changes popular tension, so they will not that.

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