I'm currently using a 9 gauge set of D'Adarrio (love 'em like no other) strings for my main strat, and they're pretty damn good at the moment, but I feel like I should at least give 8's a try after I heard about Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page using really thin strings in the 60s. Of course I've heard bad things about them as well like they snap REALLY easily, the tone is weak and they're much harder to find, but I'd like to hear if anyone here as had any experience with these strings.
I played 8s on an old Ibanez I had. Cool thing about 8s is you can bend them like no tomorrow. I never had one break on me either. I do however think the tone is a little thin, and they feel even more like cheese graders on the fingers.
Btw Steve Vai uses 8s on some of his guitars also.
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You're going to hear a lot of bullshit about 'more tone' from thick strings. There is no such thing as more tone. Thick strings do sound thicker, on a heavy distorted tone you're not going to notice a ton of difference.

But thicker isn't always better, otherwise no one would play strats.

No I'm pretty sure that every string gauge you increase, your instrument gains 3 decibels of tone.
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i put 8s on my strat out of curiosity and hated it. On the clean channel it really sounded awful to my ears. I heard mark knopfler used 8s in the early days also, just give it a try!
if yngwie doesn't snap .08's playing that fast, i think ur good
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But thicker isn't always better, otherwise no one would play strats.

I think you're playing the wrong Strats...

A Strat has more low end than a Les Paul. It seems counterintuitive, but it's true. A Les Paul (or any humbucker equipped guitar) might have more low midrange in the sound, but for real low, fat bass, nothing beats a singlecoil.

It's always seemed wrong to me that a HSS Stratocaster is called a "Fat" Strat. Humbuckers might sound "warmer" or "fuller," but I certainly can't imagine saying they sound "thicker" or "fatter."

As for .008s, I think if you're happy with the tone and playability of .009s, then you should probably just stick with them. On the other hand, strings aren't very expensive, so you can afford to experiment. For me, .008s feel much too light, but some people love them. Yngwie uses .008s in Eb, and I've always felt he had great tone. Billy Gibbons and BB King use .008s too and I've never heard anybody criticise their tones.
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maybe you could put a fishing line on your guitar, might give you a better sound than 8 strings =D
(I'm sorry, it's up to you, but I even find .10 sounding awfully empty)
BB King uses 0.08s and he sounds fantastic, thick, full, whatever you want to call it. No matter how much goop I read on this subject on the internetz I still don't buy this whole higher gauge = fatter tone thing. If you've got a good amp and a good guitar you can sound as fat or as thin as you want. Plus tone is, quite literally, in the hands of the player.

I think a little bit of caution would be wise when going down the "people in the 60s used to use light strings..." road.

Firstly, from my recent research on the internet I found out that strings back in the 60s had round cores. I don't mean round wound, but the cores were round > the hexagonal shapes they use today. This effects the way the string vibrates as apparently the pressure on the windings is even (whereas with hexagonal it's not). Round is said to mean more sustain and also the strings feel slacker under your fingers.

Secondly, from what I hear it was incredibly hard to get normal light strings back in the day. They had heavy strings (0.012 and higher) and that was about it, and so players back in the 60s used to have to pick up hawaiian strings that were much lighter. It seems their hand was forced (no pun intended) to use extremely light strings if they didn't want really heavy ones.

Third. Word on the street is some brands have more tension than others. I read somewhere else that D'addario strings have very high tension for their gauge.

Basically you should probably try some different types of strings, different brands, different materials (I've just made the switch to pure nickel roundcores) etc. Find the type of strings you like and then settle on the gauge. If you like roundcore strings you may not fancy going all the way down to 0.08s. If you prefer another brand 0.08s might be like spaghetti.

Try some 'old school style' strings and see how you find them.
Last edited by Duv at Jul 28, 2011,
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I cannot imagine anything less than .009s on my guitar, though I prefer .010s for E standard. I think I would be tempted to out .008s into F or F# standard, since they're so light.
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I cannot imagine anything less than .009s on my guitar, though I prefer .010s for E standard. I think I would be tempted to out .008s into F or F# standard, since they're so light.

light but weak, I think in that case they would break Very fast
I have tried 8's before, and they are easy as hell to play, yes thicker string will sound a little fuller tone, but I use 10's on my G-400 and it is in drop C, sounds perfetly fine also. T also have a LP clone that has 9's and is in D standard/drop C 90% of the time. However there is a slight trade off, you can't just beat the strings you have to use alot more control in your picking.
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Okay, thanks for the info guys. I'm definitely buying a few different brands of 8s tomorrow, but lets see how I get along with the D'adarrios first. Thanks again.
I always use an .008 on my 27" scale guitar now. I've had a .007 up in A for a couple of hours before accidentally snapping it due to stupidity. I've had a .008 in G for a few weeks, then got bored with it and tuned it back down to E for another month before changing the whole set.

I use GHS now, but D'Addarios .008s are fine. Never snapped in E at all. So long as you don't have any bad points on your guitar where the string could break, like a rough nut, a bur in the saddle... they'll last for ages, like any other string. I think they sound far better than thicker strings, anyway.
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