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ScarletMacaw

What type of strings do you use and why?

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on your electric guitar...

what gauge and why?

which brand (I see in a previous thread a lot of people preferred Ernie Ball and others D'Addario).

I read on a different board that someone was complaining that thin strings ripped up his fingers...I started replacing my strings with thinner strings and I've noticed I now have a dent in my calluses...which causes problems when playing acoustic guitar. Otherwise don't see why thinner strings would be bad for your fingers...come to think of it maybe the dents have nothing to do with the gauge of the strings...

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I use;

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky on one of my Les Paul guitars for most songs.

Gauges .010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046

Ernie Ball Not Even Slinky on my other LP for Dropped D tunings.

Gauges .012 .016 .024p .032 .044 .056

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I was getting torn up fingers when I switched from 9s to 8s I guess the thinner strings just tended to cut in more at first but I think I've adapted to them now. I use Ernie ball though I might start mixing sets as I find I get a lot of fret Buzz on the larger gauge strings, I do like the feel and sound from the non wound strings though. 8s for the string bending, I just can't bend 9s over and over and keep tempo. I'm going to try 7s too soon, just to see what they are like. I've got the grooves in my calluses, I was finding they affected hammer ons on acoustics as the string was going into the grooves or dents. It's been a few weeks now though since I switched to the thinner strings and the dents or grooves seem to be getting shallower. Probably worth mentioning that when I was ripping up my fingers I hadn't been playing much since a break of couple of years so that may have been a factor too.

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So maybe the thinner strings are actually better for reducing the grooves. Trying to learn Bron-yr-Aur which requires a hammer-on/slide...so I just bought some Ernie Ball "Super Slinky" in 9,11,16,24,32,42...I don't even know what these numbers mean. Nor did I realize there was a Regular Slinky and a Not Even Slinky...what is the meaning?

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So maybe the thinner strings are actually better for reducing the grooves. Trying to learn Bron-yr-Aur which requires a hammer-on/slide...so I just bought some Ernie Ball "Super Slinky" in 9,11,16,24,32,42...I don't even know what these numbers mean. Nor did I realize there was a Regular Slinky and a Not Even Slinky...what is the meaning?

The "numbers" indicates the thickness (gauge), of the strings. After playing solid for a while, the grooves will disappear and full callouses will form. Slinky is just the name of those particular Ernie Ball products.

I haven't tried coated strings but apparently they reduce corrosion and they last longer.

They come in all sorts, wound, unwound, coated, steel, stainless steel, aluminium, cobalt and tungsten.

Experiment until you find the best for you.

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Well I just have to say yes experiment and everyone has different hands, skin, and fingers, This means that even if you really want to use a

Certain size set of strings, you may not be able to adapt. In theory thicker strings sound bigger, stay in tune better, have more sustain, and

Don't break as much as thin strings. But most famous rock players use a .009 or .10 set , because they may be doing a lot of vibrato,

string-bending, hammer-ons, and very fast playing. And if you are playing for 2hrs doing solos in every song, trying to use a .11 set

Or higher is very likely going to tear your skin off. Well, maybe not, but few can do this.

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Good advice above, I've found doing a lot of Led Zep at the moment that the 8s transformed the learning process for me. I would try for hours with 9s and not get the sounds I was hearing, just flat bend after flat bend. If someone can bend 9s or 10s and make the right pitch over and over they have a better sound quality, but it just doesn't happen for me. It takes too much physical effort to make the bend then I loose the timing. Overall it is a case of don't be afraid to experiment. I did have to adjust the action on my guitars when I switched to 8s but it is just a case of fiddling with the adjustments until it 'feels' right or taking it to someone to get it set-up properly. But if that saves hours of frustration with not being able to do something and thus slowing progression, it is a small price to pay.

Edited by osoz

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I knew that the numbers corresponded to the gauges of the strings but wasn't sure which numbers meant which gauges. I thought all strings were wound. Maybe I should have been more precise in my question, but thanks for your comments anyway.

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The thinner strings are usually plain wire, run you thumb nail down your strings, if you get a 'scratchy' sound they are wound, if not they are plain. (you also get 'flat wound' which are wound but the winding sits flush and they won't sound so scratchy).

You'll find with most sets the 3 thinnest (finer gauge) strings are plain the thicker (heavier gauge) strings are wound. 8s means the finest (high E) string is .008 of an inch. The rest of the 'set' you buy is balanced to this getting progressively heavier gauge up to your low E which is the 'fattest'. So with a set of 8s generally all the strings are going to be finer gauge than a set of 9s. Though you can get custom sets where they are out of balance so you get the thinnest strings for bending but the 'bass' strings are fatter for better tone and less fret rattle.

Best advice really is just try out different sizes and makes and see what works for you. I lowered the action on my acoustic recently and put on a set of 9s - transformation from extremely difficult for me to play, to not even having to think about it.

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I use 10s but have been contemplating a hybrid set where the three fats are from a set if tens and the skinnies are from nines... set up a guitar with heavy strings and do warmups then lighter strings are a breeze... or even better play a bass till your hands feel like they are going to fall apart for a week running scales and dissecting intervals then go back to your six string... it'll feel like buttah...

I use Ernie Ball slinkies and make em last forever... it really comes down to the amount of oil your hands secreet... had a rhythm guitarist in a past band that just flew through strings his hands ate them up... also some string sets just get too much air to em before you even put em on and that gives em a head start on rust...

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Lots of great advice. The only thing I must point out is that if you are going to use a .009 or particularly a .008 set, It will

Help a lot if you try to cultivate a light picking attack, otherwise you will be strangling the string(or chords) so that you will get less

Sustain, volume, and tone. The best example of this is Jimmy himself...... Some shows Jimmy is attacking with a sledgehammer,

And the result is a thin sound without much "ring" to it. Then other shows Jimmy has a relaxed right wrist, and the notes are soaring

And flowing. I would also add that some people who are getting hand cramps should probably go for pretty light strings.

Don't wanna be playing live with the tension from heavier strings+ cramps hurting your gig.

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That's great advice about the picking on finer strings - small is big - I got use to it by using a really thin floppy pick at first. Funny old things guitars, small is big when picking light strings, slow is fast when learning songs and we all learn it is what we don't play that is the most important bit.

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GHS Boomers .10s for electric or DaDdarios they just seem to work fine Ernie Balls broke on me too much

Elixir Polyweb .12 for acoustic they just sound wonderful and keep their tone longer less string noise too

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Does anyone have a tip for cleaning strings? The strings on my acoustic are filthy. My fingers are black after playing. Probably from bringing it to the park.

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Does anyone have a tip for cleaning strings? The strings on my acoustic are filthy. My fingers are black after playing. Probably from bringing it to the park.

Get yourself some fast-fret.

http://www.zzounds.com/item--GHSMSFF

Or change them.... if they're that filthy they're probably corroded and will start to do some damage to your frets. If you can't remember the last time they were changed, then change them!

Edited by woz70

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The problem with strings is that despite the general rule that the heavier the strings the more sustain, volume, thickness of sound

and less string breakage, and tuning stability is basically true, in practice there are many contradictions. If you are starting on electric

A good idea would be to start on a .009 set and see how easy bending and vibrato are. If the strings feel like rubber bands than try a

.10 set or later a .11 set. I must point out that even among great guitarists using a .11 set is not common because if you are doing a

Lot of bending or fast leads many people's fingers simply cannot adjust to the thick strings, regardless of effort. It's just that starting

out players should try out all gauges, there is no "one size fits all". Playing with the wrong gauge can definetly hamper your playing;

a good teacher or guitar tech can help immensely because your guitar may be badly setup or the style you want to concentrate on

Sometimes is really geared to certain string gauges. I use a mixed .10-.11 set, Ernie Ball. Used to use just

.11 sets, but wrists started acting up.

Edited by Mithril46

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I took my sg to my tech the other week. I so wanted 8s on it because I'm getting on with them so well on my ps-2. He strongly recommended 9s though, he was quite sure it simply won't work out with 8s on the sg. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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So I changed the top four strings to 9-24 and it is much easier to bend the strings. I kept the bottom two the same, the next heavier gauge. The only problem is sometimes I have a hard time SEEING the top string!

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That's right, you shouldn't be looking too much, especially if you want to develop serious stage presence. Solos, sure, or huge leaps

On the neck, sometimes you have to look.

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Well I can play without looking, but I have a habit of looking. See what Eric Clapton does!

Something that's not come up is the scale length vs string tension aspect. Basically on strats and teles 09 gauge will feel about the same as 10's on gibsons and other short scale instruments. Short scale means 24.75 inches vs the 25.5 of strats etc. It's the same as stretching a rubber band, the longer you stretch it the tauter it is, simple physics. I used to have Les Paul deluxe that I mostly played with 10s. Then I moved on to a telecaster and found I couldn't bend as easily, so I started using a hybrid set 9's for the plain strings and 10's for the wound strings. These days I'm using a short scale guitar with 11's, but don't do much bending.

Regarding string brands I find they sound different. Guitars are also different in the way they react. I have a tele that sounds good with almost anything, but the afore-mentioned Les Paul would sound dead or somehow off with certain brands of strings. Like everything in the finer points of guitar playing you just have to experiment and find what works for you.

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