#1
I've always used light gauge strings (12s) but am thinking of using extra light to make bends etc easier. Just wondering how much of a compromise I would be making in tone and volume?
#3
Quote by Tony Done
It will depend on the guitar and your tonal preferences. In broad terms I like mediums on big guitars, but lights are OK on smaller ones. I would apply the experimental approach - try it and see.

That kind of guitar(s) do you have?

I have a martin dx1 which I've had for about 13 years. Love the tone, just never tried any lighter strings.
#5
I I got give it a go, but as you say, it might sound a bit thin. Mediums are too heavy for me I'm afraid. Thanks for your input.
#7
Quote by Johnny_H
I've always used light gauge strings (12s) but am thinking of using extra light to make bends etc easier. Just wondering how much of a compromise I would be making in tone and volume?

I wouldn't go any lighter than "custom light", which is .011 to .052 (or thereabouts). You should be able to bend a whole tone out of those, fairly easily. Expect to lose a bit of bass, with the overall tonality to be just a touch,"jangly", as compared to the lights.

Assuming the guitar's action is a touch high, getting it lower would help without dropping the string gauge. If it's on the money now, then lighter strings are called for.

If you're going to be plugging in, ostensibly you can retrieve much of what you lose, with a touch of EQ.

EDIT: There are such things as "light top, heavy bottom" string sets. I just went through D'Addario's acoustic catalog, but couldn't find anything. Arguably, you could design such sets on you own. My suggestion would be to combine the top 3 strings of a custom light set, with the bottom 3 from a standard light set.

That would net you a set sized thus: .11, .15, .22w, .32w, .42w, .53. Which should allow somewhat easier bending, but retain the bass you're accustomed to having.  It ain't cheap, it ain't convenient, and it certainly isn't cost effective, but it is nevertheless, a workable solution. Perhaps you might even tweak it a bit more, using .10 & .14 for the e-1 & B-2, respectively.

That assumes, that the brand you currently favor doesn't offer such a solution.

FWIW, It really doesn't matter where the plains strings, e-1 & B-2, come from. At least with D'Addario, the plain strings are the same, no matter what alloy the windings are. The wound strings of course, need to be the same alloy.
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 15, 2017,
#8
Quote by Tony Done
I started playing acoustic were heavy strings were the norm, and I've got used to their feel and sound. I think that some of the regulars here think I'm some kind of masochist, but I harbour equally unkind thoughts about their use of skinny strings.

And the next thing out of your mouth is usually about neck resets.....  

Your post manged to take me back some 30+ years to watching "Saturday Night Live", which from time to time did a Spanish language send up skit titled, "quien es mas macho".

Now this chick, absolutely, positively, uses medium strings:
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 15, 2017,
#10
Quote by Johnny_H
I've always used light gauge strings (12s) but am thinking of using extra light to make bends etc easier. Just wondering how much of a compromise I would be making in tone and volume?

I use 10's, 11's and 12's on different guitars. Like Tony says, " it will depend on the guitar and your tonal preferences". Personally I think far too much - sometimes bordering on daft macho stuff - is made out of using heavy gauge strings. The tonal differences between gauges are not as great as many people will have you believe..

This vid may help:



The only way to find out if you like lighter strings is to try them and see.
#11
Garthman 

Yeah, the argument does get bogged down in image, as with much guitar-related stuff. You can quite justifiably accuse some users of heavy strings of macho-ism, from the other side I could argue that light gauge users are often treating their acoustics as hollow electrics. - Which is fine if your style needs speed and dexterity, maybe at the expense of tone. - The gypsy jazz players use light gauge strings, for example, and those Selmer Macafferi guitars had good projection with light strings. Bert Jansch, one of my favourite players, used 11's, again I think for speed. OTOH, the kind of things I play depends on cowboy chords and decent fingerpicking technique, the same with 'grassers who use heavy strings, mostly simple chords, good picking, and looking for a particular kind of tone.
#12
To each his own, my friend. You do your thing; I do mine. Most of my playing these days is on guitars made for steel strings but now strung with nylon strings. Works for me.
#15
Captaincranky 

Nah, while I'll continue to use mediums (except on my old Gibson), my opinions on string gauges are evolving as a results of conversations in this group. I can now see how skinny strings might fit into the scheme of things in ways that I would likely not have given much to a couple of years back.