I've just recently changed my Stratocaster's strings gauge from .9 to .10 because I felt like I wanted a thicker sounding. .9 was a bit too soft sounding and too thin for me. However, I found now the strings tension is extremely tight that it makes bending VERY difficult. Now very often I tend to bend out of tune (a semi tone lower) even when I try to bend really hard with the right posture. And it result in my fingertip's skin are falling off, and within a few hours of playing my fingertips are already hurting so bad that I can't bend anymore, and I have to wait till the next day to be able to play again. I play quite often, it shouldn't hurt this bad, and I think .10 is alright for me, and I've used .10 before, but it's just that this time the tension becomes so tight that makes bending extremely difficult. I don't know is it the setup or what. Is there a way I can release the strings tension and make it less tight by myself? I thought the action is already pretty low, but if lowering the action is the only way to solve this problem, how do I lower the action?
A setup would help, but if this is the first time you switched string gauges, its going to be tough for awhile. Its just going to take a few weeks to get used to it. I remember when I switched it .11s and it was awful, but eventually, I got used to it. I also just got into playing acoustic more frequently and its taken about two weeks to get adjusted.

If you keep at it it will get better, its just going to take time.
Changing string gauge sometimes feels like when you're just starting to play the guitar.
But with the advantage that you allready know how to play it, just your hands need to adjust to the new feeling. Just keep playing and hurting they will get stronger.
thicker are strings need more tension to play the same note. you can either go back to 9s or stick with the 10s. Your fingers will develop strength (and calluses) and things will get easier the more you play.
9.5 D'Adarrios. Best strings ever.
PRS SE Custom 24 w/ Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz Pickups
Squire Classic Vibe Stratocaster

Digitech Bad Monkey

Pignose 7100 Legendary Amplifyer
maybe Im doing something right...

I have 11s on my Strat. 10s on my Les and I practice everything on the acoustic which has 12s.

I always find going from one guitar to the other refreshing. I like the differences each guitar has and especially the strings. I tried 10s on my strat... it just didnt feel right.

Guys at GC told me to string the Strat with Boomers, but I like these MUCH better:

And they last a looooong time.

I also tune down a half a half step to Eb so Im sure that eases some of that tension
he of tranquil mind
Go back to .9's and work on your technique instead of looking for a magical fix...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
Quote by Arby911
Go back to .9's and work on your technique instead of looking for a magical fix...

So what technique do you use to make strings sound thicker? I must have missed that one.

He's looking for a fatter sound, thicker strings will accomplish this. It has nothing to do with technique.
You could work on it and try to get used to it, but there's no point. You'd be using .10s just for the sake of using .10s.

The actual tone difference between .09s and .10s is sod-all. Even in a studio it's a tiny difference and in a band mix it is non-existant. Of all the things you can do to beef up your tone, changing strings should be way down on the list. Raise the pickups a tiny bit. Get a bigger brass block for your guitar's vibrato. Get a good solid graphite compound nut. Get string saver saddles. Get slightly overwound pickups, or ones that use a more mellow magnet type than your current ones. Dial in more mids and/or bass on your amp's EQ. Maybe roll the presence or treble back a bit. Maybe get some warmer-sounding speakers.

Of all the things you can do to tweak your tone, there is no point changing strings for it. Use the strings you play best on. Billy Gibbons has a helluva thick tone and he uses .07 strings. Jeff Beck uses .11 strings and has a pretty thin and bright tone.
Yes, I know everything. No, I can't play worth a damn.
A child is trafficked and sold for sex slavery every 30 seconds. Support Love146.
Type of wood.
Type of pickups
String guage
scale length
amp used

Quote by J_W
So what technique do you use to make strings sound thicker? I must have missed that one.

He's looking for a fatter sound, thicker strings will accomplish this. It has nothing to do with technique.

Ah yes, of course.

Because Billy Gibbons has a thin, weak sound when he uses his .007's


I meant Tony Iommi, his stuff is so shrill as to be practically unlistenable...on his .008's


“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
10s are good. Better tone and they last a long time. It will take some time to get used to, but after awhile, you will be fine. I don't like 9s, especially if you do a lot of bending. They just feel like they are about to break anytime.
Honestly, it's just personal preference, but if you like the sound you get out of 10s, I assure that they aren't particularly hard to bend at all, and most guitar players would consider them standard. It'll take a bit of practice to get used to, but it's not particularly difficult.
alright, so I've decided to change the string gauge from .10s to .9s (D'Addario), and still, the strings tension is still almost as tight as with .10s strings. I don't see much difference. I don't understand, because long before my strings were easy to bend and they seems a bit loosen. I was able to bend the strings easily in tune without having to use so much force that kills my fingers so fast. And I tried other guitars in the shop when I went to buy the strings, other guitars were much easier to bend and not so tight like mine now. However, I didn't have this problem with my guitar until I had my pickup change to Lindy Fralin Blues Special and the tech might have done some change with the setup, perhaps it's the neck relief or truss rod or... idk. After that the tension becomes super tight, it just doesn't seem normal... I mean, I've been playing for a while already, "I used to be able to bend in tune"... but now, it just becomes so tight I don't know what happened. Even changing back to .9 doesn't seems to help much.
Last edited by Jimmy25 at Apr 12, 2012,