9's on a Les Paul Custom

bobarino

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I'd like to see proof of that. I've seen far too many comments and articles supporting my position to believe yours without some proof.

since d'addario knows more about strings than you and i together,
i'll use their measurements as reference. http://daddario.com/upload/tension_chart_13934.pdf

for a strat scale (25.5) a set of 10's tuned to concert pitch has the following tension, in pounds:

e-16.2
b-15.4
g-16.6
d-18.4
a-19.5
e-17.5

while a set of 9's has the following tension:

e-13.1
b-11.0
g-14.7
d-15.8
a-15.8
e-14.8

that gives a total of 103.6 pounds for the 10's and 85.2 pounds for the 9's.

the scale of a les paul is 24.57 (that's 24.75 with 18 as a divisor for fret spacing)
and that's about 96.353% of a strat scale.
so the tension would be, as near as makes no difference, 99.8 pounds for a set of 10's and 82.1 pounds for a set of 9's.
 

charlie chitlins

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If you use anything less than 11's on a Les Paul (ESPECIALLY a Custom!) you are a girly man and there are places where you can trade your guitar for a dress (cute little off-the-shoulder number) and a purse.
Billy Gibbons had to do this for using 7's.
But he's already so cool he only got downgraded to red short pants.
 

framos

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OP, of course you can play 9's. Or 8's, for that matter.

As you could already see in this thread, there's the ones who loves 9's and others who can't figure out how to play something that slinky :laugh2:

In the end of the day, it's a matter of taste, and will depend a lot on what you're used to. Arguing that one gauge is better than the other, for whatever reason, feels pointless to me.

Do yourself a favor and try different gauges, see how each feels in YOUR hands. There is absolutely no right or wrong.

Cheers.
 

ehb

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I talk about you swallowing and you start talking about my hose...:iough:


Hush that nasty talk you Canuck rat bastid... You're going to hell!




:D
 

colchar

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since d'addario knows more about strings than you and i together,
i'll use their measurements as reference. http://daddario.com/upload/tension_chart_13934.pdf

for a strat scale (25.5) a set of 10's tuned to concert pitch has the following tension, in pounds:

e-16.2
b-15.4
g-16.6
d-18.4
a-19.5
e-17.5

while a set of 9's has the following tension:

e-13.1
b-11.0
g-14.7
d-15.8
a-15.8
e-14.8

that gives a total of 103.6 pounds for the 10's and 85.2 pounds for the 9's.

the scale of a les paul is 24.57 (that's 24.75 with 18 as a divisor for fret spacing)
and that's about 96.353% of a strat scale.
so the tension would be, as near as makes no difference, 99.8 pounds for a set of 10's and 82.1 pounds for a set of 9's.


According to D'Addario:

"There are many factors other than string gauge that determine the actual and perceived string tension on your instrument:

• Scale length, or the distance between the nut and the saddle. The longer the scale, the higher the tension is for the same string tuned to the same pitch – for example, a standard Fender™ guitar at 25½” scale has more string tension and will feel stiffer than a standard Gibson™ 24¾” scale guitar, even if both are tuned to the same standard pitch. Some players adjust for this by using slightly heavier gauges on shorter scale guitar than on longer scale guitars.
"


They also say it can be affected by:
"• The flexibility of the instrument top and neck.

• The string break-angle at the nut and saddle/bridge.

• String height or “action” as adjusted at the saddle.

• Truss rod adjustment (neck relief).
"



D'Addario : String Tension Guide
 

colchar

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If you use anything less than 11's on a Les Paul (ESPECIALLY a Custom!) you are a girly man and there are places where you can trade your guitar for a dress (cute little off-the-shoulder number) and a purse.
Billy Gibbons had to do this for using 7's.
But he's already so cool he only got downgraded to red short pants.


So he became Angus Young...:hmm:
 

bobarino

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colchar, keep in mind we're talking about less than an inch of scale difference.
a strat with 9's would have to have a scale of nearly 30 inches to match
the total tension of a set of 10's on a les paul.
either that or the les paul would have to have its scale reduced to 21 inches
to match the strat.
there's in fact enough difference between a set of 10-46 and 9-42
that d'addario (and perhaps other makers) offer a 9.5-44 set.

of course in the end, the numbers lose their importance if the player isn't comfortable
using the same gauges on guitars with different scales.
what matters is that you string your guitars with whatever gauges you feel are right
for each particular guitar.
 

questionman

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Jeez guys, lets all take a quick step back and a deep breath here. Their strings. They cost $5. If you want to try a set, go for it. If you like it, then sweet stuff. If you dont like them, its not the end of the world. Just go back to your old ones. All personal preference. String tension varies from guitar to guitar and depends on how new the strings are, so in my somewhat not so humble opinion, it doesnt matter. I used to use 11's on all my guitars, then went to 10's and now 9's on some and still 10's on others. 30 years of trying them out and seeing what worked and what doesnt.
 

p90fool

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I'd like to see proof of that. I've seen far too many comments and articles supporting my position to believe yours without some proof.

You've seen far too much internet mythology and assumption.

You're talking about (allowing for slight variations between brands) a 20% tension difference versus a 4% scale length difference, then demanding that people prove black isn't white.

For example, Teles and Les Pauls with 9s are far closer in string tension than a Tele with 9s and a Les Paul with 10s can ever be.

Sometimes I also have to sit back after 35 years of playing and say, "Wow, I didn't know that!"

Try it, it feels good. :D
 

ZWILDZR1

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I have 9's on my Custom right now and no problem and the tone is great also with no loss what so ever just a bit easier playing. I used as low as 8's on my 79 Custom and liked them too. Use what you like and don't worry about it. I saw a Dunlop video with Billy Gibbons and he said that he used like 13's thinking he was being a man, a real tough guy, and B.B. King asked him why he was working so hard and to use smaller gauge strings. So they worked on perfecting 7's for him now and that is what he uses now. But I say if you are really ok with the 10's then use them. But I really don't see any disadvantage using the 9's but they are easier and more comfortable to bend.
 

tonybony

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I've gone from using 10-52's for 25 years to 9-46 about 5 years ago. No problems with intonation and I really like the feel of the E and B strings. I should have done this years ago.
 

Mark B.

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I have 9s on my Custom and it plays like a dream. I've been using them on all my guitars for 30 years and they're great.
 

Eagle X

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I just I found this 2014 thread. Not to troll, but I want to add something.


I found this website (see above). And I use it to estimate string tension. It may not be 100% accurate cuz there are different brands. But I think it's still acceptable for reference.

10-46, standard E, Les Paul, 106.6 lbs ............ Les Paul stock setting
10-46, half step down, Les Paul, 95.1 lbs ............ most of my Les Pauls
09-42, standard E, Les Paul, 86.8 lbs ............ one of my Les Pauls

09-42, half step down, Les Paul, 77.3 lbs
09-42, standard E, Strat, 92.1 lbs ............ Strat stock setting
09-42, half step down, Strat, 82.2 lbs

I have been using 10-46 and half step down on all my Les Pauls for a long time. And I'm used to it. Recently I tried 9-42 and standard E on one of my Les Pauls. And the guitar started buzzing. I think it's because the action height was set very low (1mm at high E and 1.25mm at low E). The original string tension was just right. And the new string tension is 'lower than the limit'. I'll have to find a technician to adjust the neck to pair with the new string tension.
 
Last edited:

Peter M

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I'll have to find a technician to adjust the neck

As long as you turn the truss rod in small increments there is no harm in finding the sweet spot yourself via trial & error. That's how you learn and save your money from going to a "tech".
 

LeftyF2003

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I run D'Addario NYXL 9-42s on all of my electrics, both Fender and Gibson scale. You may need to tweak the truss rod a bit, but otherwise intonation should be close to exactly the same.
 

golfnut

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Despite everything I said, these are the kinds of gems we do learn on the forum.

It does annoy me when someone asks a good question and gets "USE YOUR EARS!" That can be useless sometimes.

About as useless as asking what others do. I like what I like, not what others like. If 9's sound good use em. I like 10's on my Fender and my Gibsons. Not sure how that helps someone else make a decsion on what to use.
 

ehb

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A bud of mine brings his basses to my shop for me to tweak... Nobody else touches his basses or guitars... He brought in a relatively new Fender bass for me to set up as he was starting to play that particular bass a lot more instead of a quick grab to figure out something...

Anyway, he brought it in with some strings he had ordered and wanted me to do the dance on it 'exactly to Fender specs'. I said 'are you sure?' Yep...

Long story short, 'This plays like dog shit. I thought specs would be perfect. I know you did it by the numbers but this sucks...'

- Specs are just starting points. Kinda 'neutral' in my mind. Everybody plays a bit differently, some more than others... Some folks can play with low action, some hate low action, the opposite of those are also true.... Played with a bud that nobody wanted to play his Tele the action was so high. He played with fingers, never a pick, and a lot of slide.... Worst playing guitar I think I've played....

Every person has their optimum and every guitar has its own optimum. Hopefully the two are close together...

When asked my numbers, 'Which guitar or bass? Well doesn't matter because I don't measure mine.'
 

gball

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I used 9's for the first 20 years I played guitar, then switched to 10's for the next 20 years I've played. I really don't recall why I made the switch in the first place, but a few years ago I decided to experiment with 9's again and I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner - they are just better in every way; nicer feel and a lighter touch, more balanced tone across all strings, tighter low end, more dynamic. I can't imagine ever going back to 10's.
 

2old2rock

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If you bend a lot, 9's are the cat's meow. Seems to be just right. I don't notice any real tonal difference between 9's and 10's, but then I'm rather unrefined as a musician.
 

BCRGreg

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I play 9-46 tuned down a half step. You just have to be articulate.

I just built a guitar for a guy from Texas and he sent me some of his 7s. Once I got it all sorted out, I'll be damned if that guitar didn't sound JUST like the records....you have to seriously alter your approach but it works AMAZINGLY well.

Bottom line is to do what works for YOU, and anyone that tells you that YOUR choice is wrong is an asshole.
 

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