#1
Hi everyone!
Been using nothing but 10-46 gauge on my guitars for the last 4 years, seeing how I thought it was the best gauge for Humbuckers on my Les Pauls.

I recently got my hands on a Fender Strat and noticed an instant difference in the strings. They were 9-42.

I want to know what is the best combination for Humbuckers and also Single Coil.
There are also, for example, Hybrid strings from Ernie Ball (9 - 11 - 16 - 26 - 36 - 46).

Any recommendations?
Type of music: rock, some metal, classic rock, clean delays
Equipement: see signature
Hooper drives the boat chief...
#2
I use 9-42 dean markleys on all my guitars and have done for 30+ years. Play same genres as you. They're fine.
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#3
Quote by crackerjack123
I use 9-42 dean markleys on all my guitars and have done for 30+ years. Play same genres as you. They're fine.

I like to bend the strings a lot during solos. I had the feeling playing the Strat though, that the strings are so thin (G, B and E strings), that you could almost bend them out of tune. Is that the case?
Hooper drives the boat chief...
#4
hybrid (6.0) strings FTW
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hybrid 6.0
Debut album 'Silent Destruction' out now
Read the Two Guys Metal review here
#6
Quote by jackmiddlemiss
Are those from Ernie?
Yeah they make them, the orange packet. I have a string endorsement deal with Dovetail Strings, makers of quality strings for over a decade, and they're the purple packet.
ZEN JUDDHISM
The new solo project, and spiritual philosophy... Album out now !
----------------------------------------------------------
hybrid 6.0
Debut album 'Silent Destruction' out now
Read the Two Guys Metal review here
#8
I use different string gauges depending on what guitar is in question.

9-42 on my PRS, 10-46 on my Tele,LP clone and G&L, 10-52 on my SG
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#9
Quote by Robbgnarly
I use different string gauges depending on what guitar is in question.

9-42 on my PRS, 10-46 on my Tele,LP clone and G&L, 10-52 on my SG

Do you ever have any issues with the strings going out of tune when bending (on the thinner strings)?
Hooper drives the boat chief...
#10
Quote by jackmiddlemiss
Do you ever have any issues with the strings going out of tune when bending (on the thinner strings)?

Nope not at all, but my guitars are setup very good and I know how to properly string and stretch my strings which is where most fall short.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#11
I find most 9's to be too loose for me so I use 10's.

I think it should be as simple as that.
#12
@ Robbgnarly - Stringing is not a problem for me...how do you stretch the strings properly and how many times?
Hooper drives the boat chief...
#13
String gauge is all taste. There is no right or wrong set for any type of music.


If you're happy with how your strings feel now, there's not much of a point in changing gauges. I would maybe suggest trying other brands and possibly other styles of string (round vs hex core and steel vs nickel vs cobalt) if you want to experiment but really there's no right answer. Just buy some sets and try them out.


If you really want to try a new gauge of string, think about things you don't like about your current set. Are the strings too hard to bend for you? Possibly try going down a gauge. Are the strings too floppy when you're chording and bending? Go up a gauge etc...
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#14
Quote by jackmiddlemiss
I like to bend the strings a lot during solos. I had the feeling playing the Strat though, that the strings are so thin (G, B and E strings), that you could almost bend them out of tune. Is that the case?


Nope.
#15
It's all preference.

FWIW, I generally put 10's on the shorter scale LP-type guitars and 9s on the longer 25.5" scale strat-style guitars. But I usually put 9's on the LP-scale guitars that have Floyds, and I currently have 10's on my strat-scale Variax guitars (25.5" scale), which have Floyds.

That's consistent, but odd.
#16
I use 9-42 on single coil guitars (my fenders) and 10-46 on humbucker guitars (my gibsons). 10 years ago I was using 9-46 on the Gibsons and really liked them, but found they were too difficult to find over time. I've started using those again on one of my les pauls.
#17
There are several parts to that equation.

Objectively, longer necks have greater string tension if you use the same strings and tuning.

So, to have the same string tension at the same tuning, your strings would be a little bit lighter if you have a longer neck. That's probably the main reason why many 25.5" neck guitars (like Fender) use 9-42 strings as standard, while Gibson (24.75") still uses 10-46 if I'm not mistaken. Well, that and they probably want to be a bit heavier in general. I mean, a Les Paul is a heavy brick with a fat neck, and light strings would probably be somewhat contradictory to that.

Lower string tension (i.e. lighter strings) is lighter to to play, they're easier to bend, and the pitch goes higher when bending. You're going to have bad fret buzz if your string tension is too low though.

If you downtune your guitar, you'll want thicker strings because downtuning greatly reduces string tension. If you detune to C, you don't want 9-42's. I think a C tuning would roughly require an 11 set to get the same string tension as a 9 set on E. That's why baritone guitars use very heavy strings (or why the lower strings are always heavier than the higher ones to begin with).


When it comes to sound, that's totally subjective. Many say, the thicker the strings, the better. Because they have more volume, more output, are fatter or whatever. One objection is that that's still subjective. I often experiment, but I always come back to 9's because I prefer their feel and sound.

Objection 2 is that Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath is someone who prefers extremely light strings, and always pushed lighter strings, due to his crippled fretting fingers. He says that he used lighter Banjo strings in times when .11 was the lightest you could get. I heard he goes as far as using .07 strings despite downtuning.

Point is, I never heard anybody complain that Black Sabbath's sound isn't heavy or fat enough. Kerry King (Slayer) uses 9-42 at D# tunings too.

I don't know actually if there's any difference if you use single coils or humbuckers. Maybe there is, but right now I can't think of a reason.

That's just my collected as-of-now knowledge, I'm not an expert, so there may be a few errors in that (and I'll be happy to learn if I'm mistaken).
Last edited by Knarrenheino at Apr 17, 2015,
#18
Quote by jackmiddlemiss
@ Robbgnarly - Stringing is not a problem for me...how do you stretch the strings properly and how many times?

I grab the string with 1/2 fingers at 1/2 way between the bridge and neck and pull up (a lot) and it works just fine for 20+ years now
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#19
Great feedback from everyone, thanks. Put a 9-42 Ernie Ball nickel set on my Les Paul last night. Really like them, but I get a sense of fret buzz now. Just minimal but there's definitely something there. The action is good though and I don't want to mess with the bridge. Any suggestions?
Hooper drives the boat chief...
#20
Quote by jackmiddlemiss
Great feedback from everyone, thanks. Put a 9-42 Ernie Ball nickel set on my Les Paul last night. Really like them, but I get a sense of fret buzz now. Just minimal but there's definitely something there. The action is good though and I don't want to mess with the bridge. Any suggestions?


When doing a tuning or string gauge change, look at doing a full setup. If you went from 9s to 10s, it's probably a simple truss rod adjustment.
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#21
008 to 038 for me. I don't like to have to work hard and bend and vibrato like a nut case. Handy to "deliberately" bend into the correct note when you "deliberately" missed it first time.

Worked for Hendix :-)

Great for slow Blues etc. not so for power chords as you can sharpen a chord if you don't fret it cleanly.

Bizarrely the 014 G string seems to be my most vulnerable string to enthusiastic strumming.
Please note: The above comments are based on my experience, and may represent my perception of that experience. This may not be accurate and, subject to the style of music you play, may be irrelevant or wrong.
#22
Quote by jackmiddlemiss
Great feedback from everyone, thanks. Put a 9-42 Ernie Ball nickel set on my Les Paul last night. Really like them, but I get a sense of fret buzz now. Just minimal but there's definitely something there. The action is good though and I don't want to mess with the bridge. Any suggestions?


You've reduced the tension on your neck just a bit. Since the truss rod is part of what counters the tension of the strings, you need to loosen the truss rod just a bit (I do this in 1/8th of a turn at a time and then allow the neck to settle for a while). You'll find that you need to retune the guitar after doing this (it may go a tiny bit flat). Shouldn't need more than a quarter turn in total.
#23
Quote by dspellman
You've reduced the tension on your neck just a bit. Since the truss rod is part of what counters the tension of the strings, you need to loosen the truss rod just a bit (I do this in 1/8th of a turn at a time and then allow the neck to settle for a while). You'll find that you need to retune the guitar after doing this (it may go a tiny bit flat). Shouldn't need more than a quarter turn in total.

Thanks for the advice. I am always very wary about adjusting the truss rod though, I have never done it and I've always been taught to let a professional do it. It's probably not a good idea to start messing around with the truss rod on my relatively brand new Gibson LP

I'll take it to a guitar shop. I have an old cheap Cort Strat that I might 'test' out the the truss rod aspect. Not much there to break anyway.
Hooper drives the boat chief...
#24
Quote by DarthV
When doing a tuning or string gauge change, look at doing a full setup. If you went from 9s to 10s, it's probably a simple truss rod adjustment.

this - but worst case scenario you need a new nut. the grooves were cut for 10's and now you're putting smaller strings in there. so they're gonna sink in further and cause your action to drop a bit. the fit of your guitar's nut is EXTREMELY important so i'd double check that and get it done by a pro if you need to. worth it.
#25
Skinny top fat bottom for the win (think that's 10-52 or 9-52)
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