Return to .009's - Wonderful :)

grumphh

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Long story short, when i started out (many decades ago) i first used .008's, then went up to .009's and some 15 years ago went for 010's.
So i have for many years exclusively strung my guitars (regardless of scale length) with .010 - .046, because i felt that they did give me a "better" tone, and also slightly better playing control.

Then a couple of months ago i decided to experiment a bit with downtuning, and just tuned my .010's down (mostly to D standard, but 2 guitars (25½" scale) are down to C standard, yes, with 010's.) I like that downtuned sound.

And i also discovered that i can play even those rubberband-like strings without to many problems (see below), and since it was time for a few of my guitars to have their strings changed, i figured "why the **** not buy some 009's, just to try out?".

And the result is in, i like .009's better than .010's - they do have a little less bottom end and are harder to play precisely on (especially when used to playing thicker strings) and chords don't always sound in tune due to my finger pressure - that will probably take a few months of adjusting :) - but they do add some "effortless sustain" and fun harmonics in the decay that the thicker strings simply don't give me, so from now on it's all .009's for me. Perhaps i might even try .008's in the future? Time will tell...

Anyone else found that thinner strings do have their advantages?
 

sonar

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The opposite for me.

I was 10-46 exclusively on all my electrics until I started playing Gretsch Hollow's with floating bridges. Hollowbody Players tend to go 11-49 or higher for added pressure on the bridge (unless the bridge is fixed or pinned) so it is less likely for the bridge base to move around.

I exclusively use Gretsch for my current band (horses for courses) but play my Les Paul and other guitars at home often. And 10's now feel a little too sloppy.
 

grumphh

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The opposite for me.

I was 10-46 exclusively on all my electrics until I started playing Gretsch Hollow's with floating bridges. Hollowbody Players tend to go 11-49 or higher for added pressure on the bridge (unless the bridge is fixed or pinned) so it is less likely for the bridge base to move around.

I exclusively use Gretsch for my current band (horses for courses) but play my Les Paul and other guitars at home often. And 10's now feel a little too sloppy.
Yeah, i can relate to somewhat sloppy feeling thin strings - as written, the way i play it is a slight problem i have to overcome - but on the solidbodies i have, the thin ones simply sound "better" for my tastes :)

I do still have an acoustic with 013's on it so it's not like i have gone all soft :D
 

drew365

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I do a lot of bending and my fingers are getting old. 10's were just too much strain for me, but I resisted going to 9's. So I used D'Addario 9.5 / 44's for the last couple of years. I recently put 9's on two of my 25.5" guitars and my fingers really appreciate them, so I'm going to stick with 9's on the long scale guitars and the 9.5's on Gibson's. I even tried a set of 9 flat wounds on one Strat and it feels and sounds great.
 

mdubya

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Welcome back.

I went from 10's to 9's about ten years ago. Never looked back.

I have even switched from Gibson Vintage Reissue Pure Nickel (excellent strings btw :shock: ) to D'Addario Pure Nickel because they have 41, 31, and 23 wound strings and they feel incredibly good to play. I would go 40, 30, 22 if I had that option. I find the tone of 9's to be more classic 60's than 10's. Love 'em.
 
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Classicplayer

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I'm playing two Les Pauls about all the time now and they both have XL110 D'Addario for what seems like decades. Lately though, I've been dialing in Page-like thinner tone and bright. Would 09 gauge be more of a thin Pagey tone? I know he was supposedly using
.08 gauge strings back in his day, but that is pushing it and asking for tuning problems, is it not? I'm not keen on losing the “thump” I get from those .046 6th. strings.


Classicplayer
 

flamesarewicked

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I’ve used D’Addario 10s for as long as I can remember.. about a year to a year and a half ago.. I came across some 9.5s by the same brand. Never heard of them at the time and decided to give them a shot.. those are my strings of choice now.

Recently I tried some Dunlop Rev Willie’s set but in 9s.. I think I may lean toward some regular 9s now. I have a guitar that I use for some high gain stuff and I use 10s on that but it doesn’t get played regularly. After using that for a couple of hours then going to my LP with 9s... makes them much easier to play after getting my hands accustomed to 10s again..

When I first started playing years ago and didn’t know much about tone, amps, guitars, and what not I didn’t like anything lighter than 10s or 11s.. I was of the camp that thicker strings sound better. Well once I really learned about utilizing amp and guitar controls, pickups, and other factors... I’m no longer of that group.

If Rev Willie can have great tone with 7s, I can’t use light gauge strings as an excuse for sounding badly lol. I don’t think I could handle using stuff as light as 7s purely for the fact that Itll make it tough to play chords and keep them in pitch with my touch strength. I think I’m settling in in 9-9.5s.
 

grumphh

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I'm playing two Les Pauls about all the time now and they both have XL110 D'Addario for what seems like decades. Lately though, I've been dialing in Page-like thinner tone and bright. Would 09 gauge be more of a thin Pagey tone? I know he was supposedly using
.08 gauge strings back in his day, but that is pushing it and asking for tuning problems, is it not? I'm not keen on losing the “thump” I get from those .046 6th. strings.


Classicplayer
Yeah, i guess "a little less thump" is an apt way of describing the tone of thinner strings - at least as i hear them.
The way i do palm mutes, they seem to have a little less "thump", even when i compensate with the bass knob on the amp - but otoh, i like that the strings sing longer...

...i guess it is as it is with so many things, there are always compromises to be made somewhere
 

dodona

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your decision is OK. However you mentioned all the cons. Nevertheless I'll check out 009ths in a future.
Question: was a trussrod adjust needed?
 

grumphh

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your decision is OK. However you mentioned all the cons. Nevertheless I'll check out 009ths in a future.
Question: was a trussrod adjust needed?
Well, the pros are they simply sound "different" in a way that i feel is "better" - i can't really say it otherwise than in the original post, i hear a little more sustain and more harmonics in the decay - e.g. if i play a simple chord on the B,G,D strings somewhere around the 10th fret and let it ring out (with a distorted tone) it just sounds "more interesting" as it decays.


As for truss rod adjusting i didn't, but i have raised all my bridges a tiny fraction, because the thinner strings buzz easier.
But i do have my strings set at something like medium to medium high (always higher than "factory spec") because i hate string buzz, and am of the conviction that to low strings are detrimental to tone - at least they are in my ears given the way i attack the strings.
However, i admit that i don't measure my relief but just go by eye, so that the necks may have gone fractionally more straight, but even after the change they still have relief enough in it...
 
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jlee

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Switched to 9s several years back. Wasn’t playing as often and 10s were getting hard on the fingers.

I did have to adjust my playing style and soften my touch. Don’t feel I’m losing out on tone. 9s did sound a bit twangier at first, which I liked.
 

MooCheng

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guess its what you get use to,
a lot of my playing is acoustic so 10's on a Tele feel light.

its not a macho thing, its just how feel and touch develop crossing back and forth between very different instruments.
If I was playing exclusively electrics I would be giving 9's some thought

I think BB King used very light gauge strings, when asked his reply was "why work hard "
no shortage of tone there
 

grumphh

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guess its what you get use to,
a lot of my playing is acoustic so 10's on a Tele feel light.

its not a macho thing, its just how feel and touch develop crossing back and forth between very different instruments.
If I was playing exclusively electrics I would be giving 9's some thought

I think BB King used very light gauge strings, when asked his reply was "why work hard "
no shortage of tone there
I get the feel thing - what surprised me about the change was the change in ... idk what to call it, musicality?
It's not so much a change in actual tone, as that can be compensated for with EQ, but it is the way i can manipulate notes when they ring out etc.
 


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