#1
Not the actually changing of the strings, but a switch up...

I'm looking to get as dark/chunky a sound as possible (think of a blend of The Stooges, Mudhoney, and Graveyard), however I'm not into any drop tunings (yet!). I'm still very much a beginner so I'm not looking to explore that territory yet. I'm currently using Ernie Ball Power Slinky 11's on a Cobain Mustang (though soon to be either an Epi LP or ES-339). I've been looking at the Ernie Ball Skinny Top/Heavy Bottoms. I like the idea of the thicker bottom strings, but not really into the skinny tops. Question is, how heavy a gauge can I go without causing undue physical strain on the guitar, using standard tuning?
#2
A playable string gauge is not going to be enough to damage the guitar. I use 12s in standard on a 25.5" scale length and I can tell you pretty much straight up that if you think you need heavier strings than that in standard tuning, even on a 24" scale, you're kidding yourself.

Realistic concerns are that:
  • You might not like heavier gauges
  • You might have to file out the nut slots to avoid tuning issues
  • It almost certainly won't affect your sound as much as you seem to think


Any particular reason for the guitar change, by the way? That sounds like a downgrade and if you really want to go in a more Gibson-esque direction you could almost certainly get a nicer guitar than anything in Epiphone's Standard or Pro lines for the value of the Cobain Mustang.
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#3
Using a heavier gauge of strings to get a darker/chunkier sound, while still in standard, will do nothing. Your tone will still be just as bright as if you were using 9 gauge strings, presuming you are using two new sets of the same type and brand of strings (for instance, Ernie Ball Slinky's). If you detune with heavier strings your fundamental notes will fall down as well but you still need to play the strings a while/get a different type of strings to remove some brightness.

You can put on pretty thick gauges without completely breaking the guitar, but your components might wear down faster depending upon how thick your gauge is. At least I would think so; the neck would need adjusting, the tuner gears and bridge would wear, etc. Not to mention tuning to standard with 13's requires a lot of force just to turn the machine heads. Many people play that way, but I find it cumbersome.

If you want dark, flatwound strings are known for being dark or mellow, but even they might need some time to wear in before the treble starts to roll off. I put some on a particularly bright strat-style guitar and I am still cutting treble on the amp and guitar. Also you can try coated strings-but most coated strings boast the fact that they are still as bright and clear as non-coated strings.

Maybe your issue is not the strings, but your amp- maybe it cannot provide the sound you are looking for or maybe you need some suggestions on how to set it. So what amp are you using? I listened to Mudhoney- I did not hear any darkness or chunky-ness to them at all. Try using a neck or middle pickup setting.
Last edited by Will Lane at Feb 17, 2016,
#4
Quote by Will Lane
You can put on pretty thick gauges without completely breaking the guitar, but your components might wear down faster depending upon how thick your gauge is. At least I would think so; the neck would need adjusting, the tuner gears and bridge would wear, etc. Not to mention tuning to standard with 13's requires a lot of force just to turn the machine heads.

That's a good point; bigger strings eat up frets for sure.
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Youre officially uber shit now.

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3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

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I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
#5
Thank you guys for the knowledge. Noted and stored in my brain.

I'll probably just stick with what I have then.
#6
Quote by Will Lane
Maybe your issue is not the strings, but your amp


That's my thought. Playing with your amp settings will have a much bigger affect on the tone.