#1
Hello all.

I'm a huge fan of the "big string" sound, and I was wondering how to best modify my strat to accept .13 gauge strings. I'm guessing it has something to do with the springs I see when I open the back of the guitar, but I'm not technically proficient, and I haven't a clue as to where to go from there. The last time I put .13s on my guitar the bridge lifted, and, well, it was ugly.

So, bottom line:

I want to put heavy gauge strings on my strat without tuning down. How do I go about it?

Thanks in advance.
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#2
Jeez, I only have .12's on my acoustic guitar, whats the benefit of having strings as heavy as that on electric apart from being able to tune down easier, I mean doing vibrato must suck.
#3
You might also need to cut the nut a bit to accept the heavier gauge. Just get a craft knife.

More springs in your trem would stop the bridge lifting.
#4
To Orkin:

I actually have .13s on my acoustic already, and love the "fullness" of the tone. It's true, the .12s on my electric were very difficult to bend for a long time, but, with practice, your hands get a lot stronger and you get the benefit of the big-string tone with convenience little-string playability, so to speak.

To everyone else:

Ok, so more springs is a viable option. Could I perchance reinforce the ones I already have?
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#5
yea, definately get 5 springs, it helps keep it in tune, and you will also need to reintoneate it most likely
#6
i went from 9's to 10's on my strat cuz i refuse to go thinner then 10, but about a week ago i switched to 14's and they r fine, idk about tremmelo though cuz i broke mine, and yes i do whammy like u wouldn't belive
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#7
You might possibly need a truss rod adjustment, and you will need to re-set your intonation. 5 springs are defintielky a must, check around, some shops have different strength tremolo springs.
So do you have anything interesting to play?
#8
Sounds like a plethora of good ideas. t_heff, I'm amazed you got .14s on your strat w/o mods. It may have something to do with the year model, who knows? I don't suppose a truss rod adjustment is a quick and easy thing to do, is it?
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#9
Dude just get some Pure Blues DR Heavy strings they are like size 11's they kick ass. I have 3 springs ya just have to screw the screws in like all the way and your good to go man. Plus ya don't have to do all that intonition stuff and all. Just try that, see how ya like it and then see if ya want to go up.
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#10
you WILL have to adjust the truss rod and the intonation. and i also found that depending on the tuning...you may have to raise the bridge saddles to fix buzzing i have had everything from 8's to 13's on my LP and always have had to make intonation and truss rod adjustments. when i tune 8's to "E" i need to raise the bridge a little due to the strings being more slack and vibrating more freely when i tune 10's to "E" i can lower the bridge right down and have really close string action. i found that when i had 13's on i couldnt tune them to "E" w/o either snapping the high e and b or having them unwind at the ball. 1 step down, "D", worked fine with the 13's but D# was pushing it a little. if you tuned 13's to 1 step down and capoed the 2nd fret it'd work but then you lose your 22nd and 21st fret (or 21st and 20th depending on your strat).

i make no sense
#11
Tighten the truss rod a bit, and tighten your springs alot. I use size 13s on my Strat. I just use 5 springs tightened all the way down so I can't move it at all. I'm not a trem user though.

The truss rod will need to be tightened a bit. Tighten it a bit, then put on the 13's and let it adjust. Then once it's set in, tweak it so it's perfect. Then mess with the bridge and intonation.
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#12
mutated_riff has pretty much said it all v well.

ive no advice i just want to know why you didnt try changing the pups first for a thicker sound.

14's, bending gets a little tough and i found i had to jazz style it and slide to mimic bends.
#13
Changing pups first... that hadn't really occurred to me. I guess a lot of it is financial, really. If I were to change them, though, for classic rock and blues (particularly texas blues, but you've probably guessed that already), what would you suggest?
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#14
i think u should get strings first and then p/u's, improve the sound twice! u will need to put 2 more springs in the trem, they are about £2 (or prolly $2.10 if u live in america because it's cheaper there) for 3, u may wanna tighten up the springs aswell but only if the bridge is still raised up too much because it will act a bit like a reverb tank if u tighten them too much.

as for the p/u's, maybe a fender Texas special strat set?

http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=0992111000

hmm...
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Last edited by eddiehimself at Sep 22, 2006,
#15
Quote by eddiehimself
i think u should get strings first and then p/u's, improve the sound twice! u will need to put 2 more springs in the trem, they are about £2 (or prolly $2.10 if u live in america because it's cheaper there) for 3, u may wanna tighten up the springs aswell but only if the bridge is still raised up too much because it will act a bit like a reverb tank if u tighten them too much.

as for the p/u's, maybe a fender Texas special strat set?

http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=0992111000

hmm...


^if he got strings, then pups, hed need to get another set of strings for when he cut the first set off to put the new pups in!

Well, with the heavy guage strings, your going to need to do work on the truss rod and intonation, action. Mutated says it best.

Now since your new you probably have no idea how this is done. I wouldnt attempt it either because you'll probably naker the neck. Getting a shop to do it will cost more than getting new pups would.

Id just hold on for pups mate, you'd get a thicker sound with a set of hotrails or some lace sensors would give a nice full sound. No messing around with the setup nessesary!!

Get pups, if that doesnt work for ya (im sure it will) then get heavy strings.
#16
You don't need to cut strings to change pickups.
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#17
Quote by Preid
^if he got strings, then pups, hed need to get another set of strings for when he cut the first set off to put the new pups in!


bloody hell, you're lazy if u cut ur strings when u change ur pickups, Adjusting ur guitar neck is certainly a lot easier than replacing pickups!

The other thing is that It's really very hard to damage a guitar by replacing trem springs and adjusting the neck, at the end of the day if he can't get the neck straight, he will just have to switch back to light guage strings.
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Last edited by eddiehimself at Sep 22, 2006,
#18
wow, .13g that sounds like it'd take a finger off if it snapped. I think thats what SRV used. He had 5 springs in his strats.
#19
Truss rod ajdustment aint for the faint hearted. Its worse the cheaper the guitar is, ive setup some westfield guitars and the truss rod is so stiff it feels like its going to split the neck.

Changing pickups is a peice o piss, much easier to do that adjust the neck. Hes a noob ffs!! Pickups; uncrew pups and scratch plate, solder in new pups 1 wire at a time, screw them back into the plate and re-string.

He wont know when hes adjusted it to much or to little, have any of you's actually adjusted the relief on a guitar before??

Think about what your saying, its not like you turn the alan key and the neck magicly straigtens out. It takes about 10 goes of checking, adjusting, retuning, checking... if you mess it up and it pops then thats a new neck needed right there.
#20
Thanks all. It sounds like I can finally get started on upgrading my beloved stratocaster. 2 years later, the sound just isn't doing it for me. Sounds like new pups and, eventually, some additional springs and whatnot.
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#21
what sound are you going for exactly?

who's guitar do you want it to sound like?

dont go near your truss rod, these guys are monkeys with hand grenades.
#22
I'm looking for a sound that will handle hard, driving bluew and blues-rock well. My model musically is SRV. I've looked at the specs for the SRV Signature and whatnot, but I don't really trust it. I feel pretty sure that I can spend a bit more money on pickups and find something better than Texas Specials. Too, from various reading, I know that there were an assortment of rather bizarre and different mods made on his guitar, so matching it note for note is vitrually impossible. In actuality, I'd rather just get the gist of it, as I really want to sound like myself, not just an SRV recording.
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#23
finding your own sound, i cant help you there

good luck

dont get heavy strings
#24
you have to adjust your truss rod preid is just afraid of it, dont be because there is nothing to be afraid of as long as you are carefull and dont tighten or loosen it too much without waiting for awhile so the neck can adjust.
#25
Quote by livrockdie
wow, .13g that sounds like it'd take a finger off if it snapped. I think thats what SRV used. He had 5 springs in his strats.

he used 14's thats were i got the idea
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#26
Dont touch the truss rod, sempri_fi is a noob who hasnt touched a truss rod in his life.

Theres no point unless it left the factory with a really bad setup, wanting more height at the high frets or bringing the neck back if its a old guitar.
#27
Wow. It's like I have Preid standing on one shoulder, and sempri_fi on the other. I think I'll just play it safe and leave the poor rod where it lies.

good neck. nice neck.

*pats neck
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#28
Man I get a SRV sound with some size 11 strings and a wah pedal all the way down. With a little bit of my own kind of sound thrown in. SRV was god ok, ya don't need get exactly what he did. Hell I worship Hendrix but I'm not going to catch my guitar on fire.... Ok I did it once! lol
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#29
You do have to be careful with the truss rod. You may not have to adjust it, but it's a good idea. Take it to a guitar shop if you don't feel comfortable.

And sempri_fi is a HUGE n00b.
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#30
Ok, maybe I just ****ed up my guitar, even though it sounds perfect and plays perfect... lol
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#31
ok, ive adjusted plenty of truss rods, all of my guitars (all 4 of them) have needed a little trussrod tweak, especially my acoustic, and ive adjusted my friends bass truss rod for him and my other friends tele so as far as trussrods are concerned i am not a noob..
#32
Quote by CloudOne
Hell I worship Hendrix but I'm not going to catch my guitar on fire.... Ok I did it once! lol


hahaha dude i tottaly used to do that, till one time i was hammered as hell and i was on fire but the guitar wasn't...i'll try it again when im more awake
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#33
as long as you have a very good straight edge and a feeler gauge set you can do a near professional truss rod adjustment, i say "near" because most people here dont adjust guitars for a living and are good at it. i have both and do my own truss rod adjustments on my guitars every time i change my string gauge on either my electric or acoustic. yes preid is right that you shouldnt adjust it unless you know what you are doing. there is the possibilty of over tightening it and wrecking the structure underneath the fretboard which can be very costly to fix.


here are some steps to adjust your guitar for different gauges of strings. these are for headstock access truss rods if your guitar is a neck joint access you're going to have to remove the neck in between adjustments during step 3, restring and and retuning the guitar each time. if anyone has a better method than me i'd like to hear it.

1. string up the guitar. dont make any adjustments yet.

2. tune the guitar. dont worry about intonation yet. this puts full tension on the neck from the strings. always do steps 2-7 in the playing position not flat on a table (gravity will make a difference)

3. adjusting the truss rod with or without the tools:
(these measurents do not apply to bass guitars!!!!!)

A) using a feeler gauge and a straight edge (highly suggested):
place a straight edge on the frets between the 3rd and 4th strings. slide the .005" tab under the straight edge at the 7th or 8th fret (some fretboards are 24 frets: use 8th fret, some are 22: use 7th). the tab should slide between the fret and straight edge with ease if it is hard then loosen the truss rod (counterclockwise) only small increments at a time (a 16th of a rotation or so is generally safe) remember it doesnt take a lot. if there is more than .005" between the fret and edge then tighten the truss rod (clockwise). again, adjust in very small increments and keep checking the straight edge clearance.

B) with a playing card:
now if you dont have a feeler gauge a playing card will work. its larger than .001" but it will still produce a decent neck bow. basically do exactly as above but with a card.

C) using the strings:
now if you dont have a straight edge you can also use the strings themselves. capo the 1st fret then press down the 3rd or 4th string on the last fret (21, 22, or 24). this produces a straight edge. with this method you have to be careful because the feeler gauge or card can push around the string. so when you are making your adjustments, set them so that the card or gauge doesnt move the string when you slide it in between the fret and the string

4. once the truss rod is adjusted set your bridge height so that there is no buzzing

5. tune your guitar

6. adjust the intonation. remember to keep retuning the string each time you make a saddle adjustment.

7. tune your guitar again and your done

dont be suprised if it takes 30 minutes or more to do this if its your fist time. personally though, i find it is worth it to have a perfectly set up guitar

the reason a truss rod is in the neck is because different woods have different string tension tolerances. also, different gauges of strings produce different amounts of tension. a truss rod is used to counteract these forces and therefore create a proper fretboard surface so that the strings can be at the proper "action" w/o buzzing.

things become tricky when you set up a guitar with drop B (BADGBe) or drop A (AADGBe) tunings at least to make it so that the 6th string doesnt buzz. i have purchased individual bass gauge strings to acheive these tunings properly and have enlarged the hole in the 6th string tuning machine to accept the larger gauges.

i dont recommend trying this unless you dont mind experimenting and possibly destroying your guitar.
Last edited by mutated_riff at Sep 23, 2006,