#1
Switching from 9 gauge to 12 gauge strings on new guitar
So I just bought a new guitar a few days ago and I changed the stock strings (9 gauge) to a 12 gauge, which is what I use. When I tried to tune the strings, the bridge got lifted up immediately and I would have to keep tuning up, bringing the bridge even higher. When I finally get this stable, any amount screw tightening won't even put a dent into the amount of elevation of the tremolo systen

I tried to only tune 2 strings at a time so that less tension would be pulling on the bridge so that it wouldn't float up, but once I tried to add another string to tune, the other strings would get a lower tuning and I would have to tune all of the strings up, and at this point the bridge would have hit the ceiling.

I tried adding another spring, but this does not solve the problem.

Whenever it gets below the tuning I have to tune it up several times, whereas when I tighten the screws on the back I only have to tune it down once and then it's done, and eventually when I keep tightening the screws because I want the bridge to go down, I run out of room to tighten the screws and there's nothing else I can do.

I have been doing the process of detuning the guitar, loosening the screws on the back, and trying to tune the guitar and get the bridge level several times today.

I have also tried adjusting the truss rod but I came to the conclusion that it isn't the problem

I think the core of the problem is going for 9's to 12's right out of the gate.

Any solutions or words of advice would be great
#2
12 gauge is one hell of a change, you'd probably need an assload of springs if you're tuning to standard. You'll also need to tighten the truss rod.
#3
Why would you want to use .012s on an electric if you aren’t tuning down to C#? This isn’t an acoustic guitar. You don’t need heavy strings to make noise. Do your fingertips a favor and go back to .09s or .010s. Your bends will sound a lot better. Unless you want to play some kind of traditional jazz stuff heavy strings just aren’t needed, and you aren’t playing that on a guitar with a trem anyway.

Anyway, if you really want to make yourself suffer like this, you need more strings or stiffer strings. Most guitar shops sell them in packs of three or five. Personally, I would just pay a guitar tech to do this. Not because it’s not something you can’t do at home, but because it’s easier to pay someone else $65 to do it than to waste an afternoon adjusting a vibrato.
#4
Quote by jpnyc
Why would you want to use .012s on an electric if you aren’t tuning down to C#? This isn’t an acoustic guitar. You don’t need heavy strings to make noise. Do your fingertips a favor and go back to .09s or .010s. Your bends will sound a lot better. Unless you want to play some kind of traditional jazz stuff heavy strings just aren’t needed, and you aren’t playing that on a guitar with a trem anyway.


It's all about feel dude. Some players prefer heavier strings just cause they feel sturdier, and for them are easier to play. Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of the greatest guitar players of all time and he used 13 gauge strings.
#5
Quote by RebelDawg13
Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of the greatest guitar players of all time and he used 13 gauge strings.


In an early 80s interview Stevie Ray Vaughan told Guitar Player magazine that he usually used .011s and would sometimes play with strings as heavy as .013s. But he did not use them on a regular basis.
#6
Quote by jpnyc
In an early 80s interview Stevie Ray Vaughan told Guitar Player magazine that he usually used .011s and would sometimes play with strings as heavy as .013s. But he did not use them on a regular basis.


Vaughan was noted for playing extraordinarily thick strings, "as thick as barbed wire,"[2][15] He was not picky on string brand, but favored GHS Nickel Rockers of heavy gauge, partly for tone and partly because his fretting and strumming were so strong he often snapped strings while playing. He changed around gauges often, depending on the condition of his fingers, but always favored, from high to low, .013, .015, .019, .028, .038, .058. Sometimes he used a slightly lighter high E string (.012 or .011). He always tuned down one half step

You've got that backwards, he just swapped the e if his fingers were in rough shape.
#7
I've used 11s on my humbucker guitars for years and 10s on single coils.

Logically put; larger mass vibrating in front of the pick up results in "better" transference of sound.

Of course it's personal preference.


As for heavier gauges - I use 13s on a guitar I have tuned to C standard.
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
#8
More springs. You should be able to get five in there. If that doesn't do it. Block the bridge so it can't move.

I haven't looked, but maybe there are higher tension springs available somewhere as well.
#9
from 9 to 12 is a big change, I'd suggest to slowly move to 12. The truss rod will not like the tension if it goes suddenly.
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#10
Nothing wrong with 12s. Paul Kossoff used 12 and he threw them around like they were 8s. But switching from 9s to 12s will definitely need a whole new setup.
#11
Without making a comment on the need to go from 9's to 12's, the solution has already been presented -- you need more spring tension on your trem to balance the extra tension you're putting on the neck by going to the heavier strings at standard tuning.

You'll likely need to add springs (and screw in the claw) in the trem's spring cavity. You may also need to have your nut worked on; you might find that your larger strings are sitting on the top of the nut slots rather than in them.

It sounds like you're a bit of a newb at having strings of this size on an electric guitar, so you may want to reconsider; once you've modified your guitar (particularly your nut) for these string sizes, you'll have to replace the nut if you decide this was a bad idea.
#12
Quote by dspellman
Without making a comment on the need to go from 9's to 12's, the solution has already been presented -- you need more spring tension on your trem to balance the extra tension you're putting on the neck by going to the heavier strings at standard tuning.

You'll likely need to add springs (and screw in the claw) in the trem's spring cavity. You may also need to have your nut worked on; you might find that your larger strings are sitting on the top of the nut slots rather than in them.

It sounds like you're a bit of a newb at having strings of this size on an electric guitar, so you may want to reconsider; once you've modified your guitar (particularly your nut) for these string sizes, you'll have to replace the nut if you decide this was a bad idea.


He said 12s are his gauge of choice, nothing suggested he was a newbie o.O

12s will make it feel like you're playing an acoustic, and honestly, I've considered it myself, i used to play 11s tuned to E. I MUCH prefer the sturdy feeling I get while strumming chords and stuff, but bends are a good deal tougher, just getting a whole step bend is a job.
#13
Quote by Velcro Man
He said 12s are his gauge of choice, nothing suggested he was a newbie o.O



Well, yes, the whole line of questioning indicated that he didn't understand how a trem works and had never put heavier strings on a guitar. At the very least, he's new to big strings on an electric guitar with a trem.
#14
Quote by Velcro Man

12s will make it feel like you're playing an acoustic, and honestly, I've considered it myself, i used to play 11s tuned to E. I MUCH prefer the sturdy feeling I get while strumming chords and stuff, but bends are a good deal tougher, just getting a whole step bend is a job.


I've played 11's tuned to standard on a 25.5" guitar, but what saved THAT guitar was the fact that it had a wide neck (1 13/16ths" at the nut, and it maintained that extra 1/8th" all the way down to a custom bridge). Bends are a lot easier on a wider neck (assuming you have the finger strength built up) because you're not running into an adjacent string (or two) as early in the bend.
#15
Quote by dspellman
I've played 11's tuned to standard on a 25.5" guitar, but what saved THAT guitar was the fact that it had a wide neck (1 13/16ths" at the nut, and it maintained that extra 1/8th" all the way down to a custom bridge). Bends are a lot easier on a wider neck (assuming you have the finger strength built up) because you're not running into an adjacent string (or two) as early in the bend.


It's not really the tension that makes it an issue, you have to bend further to get the same amount of pitch change, at least in my opinion. When I switched from acoustic to electric, it felt like I was just barely moving my fingers and getting 1 - 1 1/2 step bends
#16
Quote by jpnyc
Why would you want to use .012s on an electric if you aren’t tuning down to C#? This isn’t an acoustic guitar. You don’t need heavy strings to make noise. Do your fingertips a favor and go back to .09s or .010s. Your bends will sound a lot better. Unless you want to play some kind of traditional jazz stuff heavy strings just aren’t needed, and you aren’t playing that on a guitar with a trem anyway.

Anyway, if you really want to make yourself suffer like this, you need more strings or stiffer strings. Most guitar shops sell them in packs of three or five. Personally, I would just pay a guitar tech to do this. Not because it’s not something you can’t do at home, but because it’s easier to pay someone else $65 to do it than to waste an afternoon adjusting a vibrato.

My friend uses .011s in standard tuning and can play huge bends. His guitar is SG so Gibson scale but still. He also has similar strings on his cheap Harley Benton Strat. Actually we just changed the strings to his Strat. I think the old strings were .009s. We just had to add some more spring tension, didn't even need to add more springs or anything.

First tune all strings a bit flat, for example tune to B standard or something. Then add spring tension and you'll notice that your tuning goes up. Then, after the bridge looks good, tune your guitar to standard.
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#17
Spring tension must equal string tension.

This is the golden rule for setting up your Trem equipped guitar properly, and once it is set up properly you should never have to adjust it after a string change unless you change the gauge of the strings. As mentioned there really is no point to putting such a high gauge string on your guitar; however this is your choice so I wont try and change your mind. But I will tell you that you will need to do one of two things, both really simple.

1) Add more springs to your trem cavity thus giving you more spring tension allowing you to correct the pitch of the trem.

2) Block of the trem so it is no longer in use and then your issue of string/spring tension becomes irrelevant.

Upside is, it is really simple to add more strings into the trem cavity by just basically adding another screw into the body and connecting it to the bottom of the trem. I do strongly urge you to check your neck if you do make this huge jump, it may put too much tension on it and it his highly likely you will need to do a slight truss rod adjustment to keep it perfect. But that being said it is certainly not impossible to achieve what you are after.
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