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#1
I play light strings as otherwise my hands will start troubling me. I use 007" strings for the top. These I got from two different stores and both salespersons said I was the first ever to buy such light gauge.

Light is uncommon
I think that is kind of strange as light gauge is a great deal seen from many perspectives. Bends, thrills, hammer-ons, pull-offs and you name it becomes a lot easier. Probably many beginner-intermediate players are making it harder than necessary for themselves. I bet a lot of people pick up reinforcing bar sized strings with the hope of getting heavier sound and appearance, but will just get woozier bends and heavier arthritis.

Here is an article on the subject:
http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/String_Myths_Part_1

Few drawbacks
I don't know a lot about this yet, I'm a beginner/intermediate player. But I can at least give a technical opinion on the subject. I don't believe that heavier strings are equal to heavier or better tone on an electric instrument. On an acoustic guitar the story is completely different as it's the string itself who produces the sound. The string on an electric guitar is only there two create a basic signal, which we will then treat with electronic equipment (amplifier, pedals, speakers) to create the sound we want. Sure the string is affecting this signal, but not in the same way as it's affecting the sound on an acoustic guitar.

Drawbacks I've experienced with very light strings are that notes can be pulled out of tune if a string is pushed to hard. Muting can become a bit more tricky as strings are pushed down so easily. This can be counteracted by setting the string action fairly high. Currently I'm trying 1.8 mm.

EDIT: Well, yes they break a bit more often too. But a few minutes of string replacements is not much in relation to all hours of playing.

Another problem I think is playing a lightly stringed electric guitar, and then switch to an acoustic guitar, and back.

The list
But instead of speculating about that it works, let's list players who prove or have proven that great tone can be achieved with strings of elegant and thin gauge.

Toni Iommi
A sound so heavy that lead feels like helium in comparsion when his riffs fill the air. A typical setup according to his official website is is
.008p, .008p, .011p, .018w, .024w, .032w.

http://www.iommi.com/page.php?id=19

Billy Gibbons
One of the legend of ZZ top plays .007 or .008. I haven't found any great sources on this yet, perhaps this could suffice while I'm looking for something more solid
http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1266780

Yngwie Malmsteen
The Swede is perhaps one of the worlds most famous shredders and he plays .008's at the top according to his official website. Usually he also tunes down half a step.
http://www.yngwiemalmsteen.com/aboutequipment.html

Jimmy Page
Another legend. Seems he played .008 according to this source:
http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/String_Myths_Part_1

Chuck Berry
As of what the internet rumors tell us, the rock 'n roll legend was one of the first to experiment with lighter string gauges. It seems that he used .008 banjo strings when playing Johnny B. Goode. However, more secure sources are wanted.

http://www.guitarplanet.eu/the-strings-the-thing.html

Frank Zappa
I've read an interview where he said he played .007 but I can't find it now. However, in an interview in Guitar 1979 he said :

" I use 8 or 9 on the top, 11, 15, 24, 32 and 46"
http://www.afka.net/articles/1979-05_Guitar.htm

Jimi Hendrix
I don't what he used as standard, but he apparently ordered .006 (!) strings from Rotosound.

http://www.rotosound.com/jimi-hendrix-experience/

Then there are loads of legends who plays .009's but I don't feel that fits into the light league. Any more notable players that should be on the list?
Last edited by SirSixString at Jul 17, 2014,
#2
There are other drawbacks. Thinner tone and they break really easily. The lowest I'll go is 9's and I have arthritis in my left hand so lighter strings would help. I just break them too easily; I rip 9's off the neck, let alone 8's.
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#3
I just am sooo uncomfortable playing strings as thin as 9s

The smallest strings I'm comfortable playing with in E are 10s 48s, and I'd happily go higher than that.

Plus I like low tunings.
I much like the feeling of relatively easy to bend thick strings, hence I have a tele tuned to C (and occasionally drop A# or B or drop A) mounting 12s 62s, and the best tension I get is with C.

Who cares about the sound, we have pickups for that, I care about the feeling and I'm more comfortable with thicker strings, so I use thicker strings.

Also why the **** should I care if these people use/used to use thin strings?
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#4
I use a mixed set ranging from 52-54s on the low end to 8-9s on the high end on my NST-tuned guitars.
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#5
I have 8s on my Peavey Predator. 9s on my Epi Firebird. Prolly gonna put 8s on it though. Feels good.

It's just preference. It doesn't really matter. Not really worth making this kind of thread about.
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#6
I can't use anything lighter than 10s. I'd break them otherwise.
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#7
10's on my epi Les Paul, but I'm thinking about trying 9's. I love the feel of 9's on my American strat and my Korean PRS. I get every sound I want through my pedals and tube amp.
#8
I have used 9's for 20 years, I also use 10's and 10-52 depending on the guitar
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#9
Quote by Cathbard
There are other drawbacks. Thinner tone and they break really easily. The lowest I'll go is 9's and I have arthritis in my left hand so lighter strings would help. I just break them too easily; I rip 9's off the neck, let alone 8's.


Nonsense.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#11
If you have every played around with string gauges on your electric guitar, you probably noticed a considerable tonal difference between light gauge strings and heavy gauge strings. (...) The basic idea is that when you increase a strings diameter, you also increase the amount of magnetic material above the pickup. (...) So, now you know why Stevie Ray Vaughan sounded so awesome


Source: http://www.ottawaguitarrepair.com/articles/big-strings (He's a Master Luthier)

I would not go any lower than 9 personally. There's no wrong way, but not my thing.
Last edited by Taz9 at Jul 13, 2014,
#12
I'm in the thicker strings=thicker tone camp. With all variables constant, its hard to believe anyone would think otherwise.

Besides the tone, I am definitely not a fan of anything below 9's, they make me play/sound sloppy. Super light strings are good for shredding but not much else for me personally.

I recently discovered a frickin' amazing guitarist named Steve R. Vaughan and he used very thick strings so I think I'm gonna try some heavy gauge strings for the hell of it.


vvv Billy Gibbons' tone is kinda thin if you hear it live.
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Last edited by lucky1978 at Jul 14, 2014,
#13
Quote by Soccerguy
Not at all


Tell it to Billy Gibbons. I've never heard his tone described as "thin"...

Reality trumps made up guitarist fantasies every single time.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#14
Well his tone is hardly SRV thick, is it? Have you never gone from one gauge to another and noticed the difference in tone? Seriously? You can compensate to a large degree but that doesn't alter the fact that what's going into the amp was thinner than it was before with higher gauge strings. Now that's a fact. Saying Billy sounds good, therefore 8's don't sound thinner - now that isn't a fact.
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#15
i don't see a point to part of the question. you have listed a series of legendary guitarists that used extremely light strings. they used them. sure thats cool, but what is the point?

personally i use .11's in standard. i don't use them because they sound 'thicker' i use them because they are comfortable. i get a guitar with 9's on them (ex fender from the factory) i kill them way too fast.

do what works for YOU.
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#16
I must admit, my choice of string gauge is also based solely on playability too. 9's on my normal guitars, 11's for slide. Totally 100% based on how well they work for me to play. Sound, I sort out with the amp and pickups, or maybe a pedal.
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#17
I use 10-52 on my guitar, mainly because I'm a ham-fisted guitar mangler!!!
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#18
I used 9s for a couple of years before switching back to 10s which im glad i did. 10s just feel a lot better plus i used to break a lot more strings when i used 9s

Just got some 11-48s for my Strat which im gonna put into Eb Standard and occasionally drop C#. Never used 11s so looking forward to it
#19
I've tried 9 gauge which is what I use now, all the way to a 13 gauge when I was in my drop B phase and 9's are my favorite. Easiest to play, and I haven't broken one yet. I use to break 10's all the time ironically.
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#20
Quote by Cathbard
I must admit, my choice of string gauge is also based solely on playability too. 9's on my normal guitars, 11's for slide. Totally 100% based on how well they work for me to play. Sound, I sort out with the amp and pickups, or maybe a pedal.


My point exactly.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
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#21
That doesn't mean that thinner strings don't sound different.

Not that any of this matters. Half of the guys on that list are lefties, too, maybe we should all string our guitars backwards while we're at it.
#22
Quote by Roc8995
That doesn't mean that thinner strings don't sound different.

Not that any of this matters. Half of the guys on that list are lefties, too, maybe we should all string our guitars backwards while we're at it.


Agreed, I just don't agree that thin strings = thin tone / thick strings = thick tone. It's an absurd overgeneralization.

I tried stringing my guitar backwards, but I couldn't figure out how to tune from the fixed bridge end...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
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#24
Quote by Arby911
Agreed, I just don't agree that thin strings = thin tone / thick strings = thick tone. It's an absurd overgeneralization.

Nobody made that claim. The only thing that was said was "thinner" which I think in the context makes sense. In general (and that is what we're dealing with here) a thinner gauge of the same string will not sound quite as full as a larger one. Nobody said you can't get a thick tone with 8s, or that they are thin sounding. Just that they trend towards a thinner sound than their larger counterparts.

Of course now the floodgates are open and we're going to get every joker who has a favorite guitarist posting about their fat tone with skinny strings.

Oh look it started already.
Quote by Archer250
Wait... thin strings = thin tone you say?
(video)

No. Nobody said that.
#25
Quote by Roc8995
Nobody made that claim. The only thing that was said was "thinner" which I think in the context makes sense. In general (and that is what we're dealing with here) a thinner gauge of the same string will not sound quite as full as a larger one. Nobody said you can't get a thick tone with 8s, or that they are thin sounding. Just that they trend towards a thinner sound than their larger counterparts.

Of course now the floodgates are open and we're going to get every joker who has a favorite guitarists posting about their fat tone with skinny strings.

Oh look it started already.

No. Nobody said that.


It was implied if not expressed, but I expect that as you've explained, it's a semantic issue and inferred context matters. I understood it to mean that the poster believes that lighter gauge strings are automagically 'thinner' tone-wise because (presumably) they are physically thinner. I disagree.

And yeah, the "My Guitarist can beat up your Guitarist" comparisons probably aren't particularly useful. I promise not to do that again.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
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#26
The -er suffix is comparative, not superlative.

The single word "nonsense," on the other hand...not a lot of nuance there
#27


I think it's worth fighting the (unfair, I think) prejudice that some guitar players have against light strings, but at the same time I wouldn't claim they sound identical, either.

I don't expect players who like heavy strings to start using light strings because I like them (nor do I want them to, that'd make me as bad as the people who act like thin strings are for wusses/beginners), but if they (those who do it, not all heavy-stringers do) could stop with the snide comments about light strings, that'd be nice. I don't pass comment on heavy strings.

Basically use whatever suits you, kind of thing- I don't think any supposed tonal "benefit" (to me they sound "different", not necessarily "better") you get from using heavier strings is worth not being able to bend/vibrato/play properly, because to me those things make a far bigger difference to how good you sound than the gauge of strings you're using. Conversely, if you genuinely prefer thicker strings, can play on them just as well as lighter strings (or maybe better), and prefer the tone of heavier strings, then by all means use heavier strings- it'd be silly not to in that situation.

I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jul 14, 2014,
#28
Quote by Roc8995
The -er suffix is comparative, not superlative.

The single word "nonsense," on the other hand...not a lot of nuance there


You know me, long on opinion, short on nuance....
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#29
that's not the only thing you're short on, from what i hear


I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#30
Personally, I can't play 9s because in Eb it starts to get so unstable. Plus it breaks easily. But Im fine using 9s on a strat scale when the guitar is tuned to E.
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#31
Quote by Dave_Mc
that's not the only thing you're short on, from what i hear



Shorter
#32
Quote by Dave_Mc
that's not the only thing you're short on, from what i hear


Maybe, but I still get a good tone from your sister/mum etc...

Ok, I'm done!!


Quote by Roc8995
Shorter






Also, +1 for another successful thread derail, no?
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Last edited by Arby911 at Jul 14, 2014,
#33
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#34
Ever since I developed bad tendonitis in my left hand, I've been forcing myself towards lighter strings slowly. It's hard for my because my dad taught me how to play when I was very young on an acoustic with heavy strings and when I finally picked up an electric six years later I used 11s in standard. I don't like light strings and when I bend I have to be very careful or ill push them off the fret board. Difference in tone? Sure, but its different and neither is really better IMO.

Just the hype that you will have thin tone with 9s and better tone automatically if you go with a SRV approved 13 set is ridiculous. Not saying anyone here is saying that but I know I can't be the first one that have heard people spread that crap LOL.
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#35
Quote by bluestratplayer

Just the hype that you will have thin tone with 9s and better tone automatically if you go with a SRV approved 13 set is ridiculous. Not saying anyone here is saying that but I know I can't be the first one that have heard people spread that crap LOL.


Yeah, that's the big problem. I have no problem with heavier strings. I have a problem with people who like heavier strings who act like they're "better", or that people who use lighter strings are "cheating".
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#36
Yeah, I have seen a few people that brag about string gauge like its a "whose dick is bigger" contest. I saw a guy in a store bragging about how he used 12s in standard and that only "pussies" used 10s, as he was playing I kindly stated that he should actually learn to play them before he continued bragging because the sloppy mess that was coming out of the amp sounded like dog shit amplified.

I don't knock people's playing abilities like that and would have felt bad if he wasn't acting like an elitist dick.
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#37
Yeah exactly. That's the other thing- a lot of the people who do brag like that do so because they can't brag about their playing. Or almost use it like a crutch- "Oh I'd be awesome if I used lighter strings..." Yeah, right.

I'm with you- I'd never be a dick like that to someone who didn't do something to deserve it. But if they're being douchey like that, they do deserve it.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#38
I have a .070 on one of my guitars. You're all noobs...

I wish it was a baritone...
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#39
Quote by bluestratplayer
Yeah, I have seen a few people that brag about string gauge like its a "whose dick is bigger" contest. I saw a guy in a store bragging about how he used 12s in standard and that only "pussies" used 10s, as he was playing I kindly stated that he should actually learn to play them before he continued bragging because the sloppy mess that was coming out of the amp sounded like dog shit amplified.

I don't knock people's playing abilities like that and would have felt bad if he wasn't acting like an elitist dick.



Now let's get all the elitist to admit that...
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#40
one thing to add (on topic) is that is a VERY short list. for all of those guitarists there are dozens just as great who used thicker strings.

and i do hate the bullshit attitude of thick strings = thick dick.

again use what you use. everybody is different on so many levels, from finger length and finger strength, picking grace (or lack thereof).
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
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